Waiting for forever: Engaged couples face tough decisions with weddings scheduled during pandemic

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Like most brides-to-be, Tori Glass knew she’d encounter some bumps in the road as she planned her dream wedding. She tried to keep an open mind and be as flexible as possible managing an endless stream of details to pull off her perfect day.

Ashish Cherian and Tori Glass were planning to get married April 19, but their wedding has been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Timberline Photography and Films)

But she never expected this.

“When I was thinking about possible things that could go wrong with our wedding, I never imagined a global pandemic,” Glass said.

But Glass, 22, and her fiancé, Ashish Cherian, 24, are among the many couples left in limbo as their wedding date approaches but the COVID-19 pandemic worsens. They planned to get married April 19 – a day before the anniversary of their first date – at Black Iris Estate in Carmel, but limits on gathering sizes and orders to social distance led them to postpone the wedding.

“We have to pick a date to shoot for that we can at least preserve for now,” Glass said. “With the emotional pain that we’ve gone through in the last couple of weeks with all this, we feel like we don’t want to get our hopes up about that date. We have no idea right now what the future holds.”

Ashish Cherian and Tori Glass attend their first prom together in 2014. (Submitted photo)

The couple met as homeschooled high schoolers at a speech and debate tournament in 2013. They got engaged eight months ago after Cherian recreated several big moments from their time together, including a debate, a basketball game and encounters with friends and family that Glass didn’t realize were staged until the day was nearly over.

“He’s always been into grand gestures,” said Glass, a Greenwood resident.

They were hoping for a grand wedding, too, with 240 people on the guest list. Glass said she started getting nervous when Indiana’s governor limited public gatherings to 250 people or less to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. When the limitation dropped to 50 people, she soon realized the wedding would need to be postponed.

“What has taken quite an emotional toll on all of us is the back and forth of hoping that things wouldn’t change anymore,” Glass said. “When we heard the new recommendations for 50 people (at a gathering), we all felt pretty devastated. We’ve been counting down the days, and to not have that anymore has been really sad and hard.”

Michael Wood and Meredith Cervi are among many couples whose April wedding plans have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Rebecca Shehorn)

A positive attitude

Carmel residents Meredith Cervi and Michael Wood were planning to get married April 18 at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Carmel and hold the reception at Black Iris Estate. They want to hold a much smaller version of the wedding they originally envisioned as soon as they are able but will postpone the reception until July.

The couple met on their first day of classes their freshman year at Purdue University, where Wood studied economics and finance and Cervi studied public health.

Michael Wood and Meredith Cervi are among many couples whose April wedding plans have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Rebecca Shehorn)

“This is all right up my alley and really ironic that a pandemic would get in the way of our wedding plan,” said Cervi, who works for a health care consulting company.

Cervi described her wedding planner as a “godsend” as they’ve handled uncertainty with vendors and venues, all of which have been understanding and flexible, she said.

They’ve tried to maintain a positive attitude as celebratory events they’ve anticipated for months got canceled.

“I have to laugh. My bachelor party was going to be the Big Ten Tournament, so I guess a lot of the guys are getting used to some of our marriage-related events getting canceled,” Wood said.

With the pandemic still spreading, Cervi and Wood know their plans could change again, but they are trying to focus on what really matters.

“The marriage itself is miles more important than the reception or anything related to that,” Wood said. “It does make for a fun story, as inconvenient as the story is in real time. Looking back, it’ll definitely be worth a chuckle when we reminisce about it.”

‘My heart hurts for them’

As an event planner, Christine Kingery has found herself in uncharted territory with the COVID-19 pandemic leading to an unprecedented number of rescheduled weddings.

“It is stressful on my end, but I do not show it,” Kingery said. “(Couples) look to me for positivity.”

Four of the weddings she’s coordinating this spring have been postponed, and she’s working with couples scheduled to get married in mid-May and early June to create backup plans. She said the summer months are typically slow for vendors and venues, which has made rescheduling weddings not too difficult at this point.

Kingery, a Fishers resident and owner of Christine Kingery Events, said most of her clients are handling the situation well.

“Some are like, ‘Everything happens for a reason,’ and some brides and grooms are pretty stressed out, but once they have a Plan B, they feel better,” she said. “My heart hurts for them, but I think they know it’s completely out of their control.”

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