Emily & David, married March 28, 2020
We got engaged in July of 2019 and started planning a March 28, 2020 wedding in my hometown of Austin, Texas. We had no idea that a global pandemic would change all of our plans. We were optimistic that the wedding could go forward—at first with the sad acknowledgement that a few guests might be missing, then realizing that at most our families would still be there. Then, in about 48 hours, we went from being excited that our day was finally almost here to shock and uncertainty in the face of impossible decisions. It was an emotional deep-dive as we agonized over whether or not we should still go to Texas to get married as planned, and whether or not it was wise to have any guests, even just our family. The COVID-19 situation was changing every single day, and with it, we were changing our plans every day, too, rapidly progressing from “at least we can still get married at the church we chose in Texas with our families present” to “we hope we can somehow still get married!”
We talked about postponing until family and friends could join us and we could have some semblance of the day we’d planned, but we wanted to start our life together. Ultimately, we decided that the core of our marriage was always going to be the two of us making promises to each other before God, and that there was something beautiful and sacred about a private ceremony that only held those things. It felt like a declaration of what was most vital to our marriage.
We deeply felt the loss of the presence of our parents, siblings, friends, and extended family. We felt the loss of the fun and excitement surrounding the day and the carefully planned celebration with our friends and families. Of having my little sister sing a hymn and having my wedding band for the exchange of rings, as it was already in Texas . . . with the dress, veil, and so many other pieces of our planned wedding day.
However, after the hard reality hit and our new plans took shape, our emotions shifted back toward excitement and joy. We noticed God’s faithful provision of grace and generosity in a difficult situation. We also saw how God had already been faithful in answering our prayer for a church family: after looking for a church together for what felt like forever, we found CPC in September and joined only a month before our wedding. We had no idea just how quickly God would show us His faithfulness in leading us to this church.
We reached out to CPC to see if the church would be able to help us with a last-minute, intimate wedding, as it was meaningful to both of us to be married in a church. We’re incredibly thankful that Pastor Emily Hamilton and the staff at CPC responded with support and kindness, helping us arrange a beautiful ceremony in the Chapel.
God was faithful in the little things that can seem silly during a global crisis but made our day special—like my mom mailing me the white dress I’d planned to wear to the rehearsal dinner, David picking up his suit from the Mall of America the day before it shut down, finding a last-minute florist, and getting a delicious Oreo wedding cake. And God’s love was shown to us through our community of family and friends, witnessed by a Zoom call with my bridesmaids, the constant support and excitement from our siblings and parents, and our CPC small group delivering delicious take-out after our wedding.
The day was strange, but it was also the best day of our lives. There was a little awkwardness when we all first arrived—how do you know when and how to start a wedding when there’s no procession and no guests?—but once we began, it became real. We were worried about carrying the sadness, frustration, and even anger that we’d felt over the last couple of weeks into a day that was meant to be fun and joyful, and we both worried about what a teeny-tiny ceremony without anyone else present would feel like. But God’s presence was tangible as we both experienced the joy and love we’d always imagined we’d feel on our wedding day!
Our ceremony felt beautiful and sacred—not like a diminished shadow of what our wedding could have been, but a rich, deep, and full experience of God’s love as we began a marriage with Jesus at its center.
Throughout the days leading up to our wedding, we found hope in not focusing on all that we’d lost or couldn’t do—as hard as that was—and instead focusing on what God was doing in and for us, in big ways and small, as we walked through one hard day after another. God showed us that He is unendingly faithful to us even as His faithfulness comes in ways we wouldn’t have chosen on our own. He is constantly with us, and His love transcends our circumstances. In the time since our wedding, we’ve both felt gratitude for all that we were able to have that day and gratitude for all that God has given us in our marriage to each other. Marriage is a gift, and we’re grateful for God’s goodness in bringing us together.