By Rebecca Padgett
I don’t need to tell you 2020 was a devastating year. We lived it together but separately. Between hundreds of thousands contracting COVID-19, racial injustices, soaring unemployment rates, natural disasters and more, we have somehow made it to 2021. Through all the anger, sadness and terror, what many of us sought as a guiding light was love.
From the start of my engagement, I told myself that I would remain calm, cool and collected when planning my wedding. I have been the editor of a weddings magazine for five years, equipping me with more than enough knowledge to confidently plan a wedding. As it turns out, no amount of reading can prepare you for a global pandemic.
I will not sugarcoat this — planning my wedding was one of the most stressful and mentally draining things I have ever done. I cried countless times, and when my stomach wasn’t in knots, I found myself stress-eating pints of edible cookie dough that had become a new fridge staple.
I planned, replanned and replanned again. I had multiple rounds of guest-list cuts. Then we made a final decision, a decision I can honestly say I doubted up until the morning of my wedding.
I plan to go into detail about my wedding planning and the ceremony in the 2022 issue of Northwest Florida Weddings Magazine, but there are a few points that I feel I should make now.
First, it was worth it — the stress, the cancelled plans and the constant change. I have talked with countless couples, and they all say it was the best day of their lives. I had viewed this as a placeholder for lack of a better explanation. I had thought that couldn’t possibly be true for everyone. I’m here to say the hype is real, and decade after decade of couples I met are not liars.
Second, my views on marriage and weddings were tested, grew and developed over the past year. I now hold an even more open mind to all of the forms a wedding can take and how huge parties, intimate affairs, virtual gatherings and elopements all have one aspect in common: you’ve made an eternal commitment through marriage.
Third, love will continue winning. Whether you are postponing, replanning or carrying on in a revised way, keep reminding yourself of this — another person has made the first step in committing to loving you for life. Keep your grip firm around that promise, and keep your eyes filled with hope for the future.
For couples, vendors and venues, 2020 was tumultuous. The future of weddings are changing, but as we as humans do, we adapt. In the coming year, both in print and online, I have two main goals for this publication — to provide relevant, honest and helpful articles for couples; and to continue promoting and supporting wedding professionals.
A trying 2020 might be over, but we cannot be blind towards the parts of it that are still so very present. What we can do is keep pursuing the sacredness of love.
Rebecca Padgett Frett