Couple who had to postpone wedding due to coronavirus pandemic: 'We've definitely gone through the 5 stages of grief'

Anna Longworth (left) and her fiancé Patrick Singer (right)

Anna Longworth, 26, and Patrick Singer, 31, of Champaign, Illinois, had been looking forward to their wedding on May 23, 2020 for months. But due to the coronavirus pandemic, they'll have to wait more than a year to say "I do."

They're in the process of rescheduling for May 2021 instead. "The reason we are waiting an entire year — as opposed to scheduling later in the year — is because I am a wedding photographer," Longworth tells CNBC Make It. She's already booked for other weddings most weekends this fall. 

Initially, Longworth and Singer thought they would only have to reschedule their bachelor and bachelorette parties, which were both planned for March. "At that point, I was totally blocking out the idea of having to reschedule the wedding because focusing on canceling the bachelor and bachelorette parties was enough to handle at the moment," Longworth says. 

But before long, the couple realized the pandemic would likely pose a threat to their wedding day, even though it was still a few months away. One evening at the end of March, they sat at home and had "a long talk over a puzzle and a bottle of wine," Longworth says. They came to a hard realization: Postponing the wedding would be their best option.

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First and foremost, they were concerned about their guests' safety. "Asking 150 or more people to travel from all over the country for your wedding is an unreasonable and unrealistic ask to make at a time like this," Singer says. 

Although Longworth has felt calm about the decision to put off the wedding, the pandemic itself has been overwhelming at times. "I had one mental breakdown about COVID-19 just because of the fear and uncertainty surrounding everything," she says. "It really got to me one night."

Although the idea of rearranging everything feels daunting at times, "all we can do is control how we react, and I feel really confident in our decision to postpone our wedding for the health of everyone involved," Longworth says. 

What it's like to postpone a wedding

The first thing the couple did upon changing their wedding plans was tell all of their guests. "Every conversation we've had so far has been met with 'I'll be there!' which is reassuring us that we are making the right choice," Singer says.

Next, they contacted every single vendor on their list to update their plans. The coupled wanted  "to make sure the changes we were going to be acting on weren't going to backfire on us right off the bat," Singer says. 

Thankfully, Longworth and Singer didn't lose any money from changing their date since they're still working with all of the same vendors. "We will be able to transfer everything we've had reserved to the new date, which is amazing and we are grateful for our vendors being flexible during such a crazy time," Singer says.

Although Singer and Longworth's vendors were understanding, not all will be as accommodating. If you're in a similar position, be sure to reach out to your vendors individually and talk to them about how to proceed.

What other engaged couples are doing

Singer and Longworth aren't the only ones who have had to postpone their big day.

Melanie K. Mathewson, 29, of Springfield, Illinois, and her fiance, Zac Charlton, 31, had to put their plans for a May 2020 wedding on hold until August. The process of postponing has been "an emotional roller coaster, to say the least," Mathewson says. "At first I was adamant that we wait it out to see if this virus was as bad as they were predicting."

But by the week of March 15, Mathewson and Charlton realized they were going to have to change the date. Restaurants and bars were forced to close and the CDC put limitations on how many people could safely gather at once.

Although they felt confident in their decision to wait, it was still disappointing for the couple. "I had just started to get so excited as we had finally hit the 60 day countdown and could apply for our marriage license, our invitations had gone out, the wedding checklist was coming along," Mathewson says.

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Chrissy Farr, a health and tech reporter for CNBC, also made the decision to cancel her wedding due to the pandemic after more than a year of planning. "Dismantling a wedding is no joke," Farr writes. "If you've done it before for any reason, I empathize."

Farr expects that she and her soon-to-be husband will have to cancel their honeymoon trip to Portugal, which is scheduled for July, as well. "I'm anticipating that we could be out hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, at the end of this," she writes. "There's not much we can do about that, so we're making our peace. Everyone is hurting." 

Other couples are choosing to still have their weddings during the pandemic by using social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, to host live streams so that their guests can still attend virtually.

No matter what couples choose to do, it's likely an emotional time. Singer and Longworth have "definitely gone through the five stages of grief," Singer says. They're most disappointed about the fact that they won't be able to start their married life together just yet. "I know that part isn't really a big deal because we live together and pretty much act married already, but we were excited to make it official in just two months," Longworth says.

They are also keeping their eyes on the larger picture. Longworth hopes that by May 2021, the spread of COVID-19 will be under control. "If it isn't, we all have bigger problems on our hands rather than worrying about getting married in a ceremony like this one."

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