By now everyone has felt the toll of COVID-19 and adding a wedding into the mix makes it even more difficult. Supporting a bride who is trying to plan a wedding during a global pandemic is no easy task. A few months back I shared my top 5 Do's and Don'ts of Supporting a COVID Bride. With the potential of a second lockdown looming and many brides having to postpone for a second or even third time, it was time to update the list. Today I'm sharing an updated guide with more tips for how to support the COVID brides in your life.
Validate:We're all well aware there's a global pandemic, but that doesn't make a couple's disappointment any less real. Sadness is relative, so it's important to validate the bride's feelings without going overboard with putting things in perspective. While well-intended, be mindful of how certain phrases may be received. Comments like "At least you have your health," “We’ll all laugh about this someday," or even worse, “Weddings are overrated anyway” likely won't be well-received. As a general rule, if your encouragement starts with "At least you___", think twice.
Honor the original date: A couple's original wedding date likely has a huge emotional significance, so acknowledging that the day could be difficult will likely mean a lot. Help your bride honor their original date by sending flowers, mailing a card, or even just giving them a phone call or FaceTime.
Ask how they are doing: If you have questions or concerns about the wedding day, that's okay! However, try to avoid getting so caught up on getting your questions answered that you forget to actually check in on your friend and make sure they are okay. Trust me, they probably aren't, and focusing the conversations solely on getting questions answered does not feel good. Even the simplest "How are you doing?" will go a long way!
Check in often: The first few days or even weeks after postponing are filled with texts, calls, or flowers from loved ones, but the attention will fade quicker than the sadness and disappointment. Check in periodically and see how your bride is doing. Be there as much as you can, each step of the way!
Communicate: The current reality that a large number of friends or family will choose not to attend weddings this year. Regardless of the reason, that can be a painful realization for most brides. If you find yourself asking others about wedding plans or avoiding sending in an RSVP, consider how your friend is feeling. Communicate your thought process, ask if she's okay, and keep her informed as you begin to make decisions. Speaking from experience, radio silence from friends does not feel good.
Hold your questions: Did the bride in your life just postpone their wedding? Are they facing negative news from the media as their wedding date grows closer? She probably has a ton to worry about, including communicating changes to her guests. Give her a moment to process and make a plan without overloading her with questions. If a time-sensitive decision needs to be made, explain your situation in the most understanding way possible, and if it's an option for you, consider asking a mutual friend or member of the bride's family instead. Remember, anytime you ask about details for the wedding or potential backup options, be sure to always check in on her emotions, too!
Listen:When friends come to us with concerns, we're often compelled to provide a solution, advice, or a recommendation of what we would do in a similar situation. It's important to remember that no family is the same, no situation is the same, and no wedding is the same. Brides are getting advice from many different sources, and differing opinions can add to the stress of an already emotional time. Be mindful of how often you find yourself sharing advice, and make sure you're taking the time to do enough listening. Give your friend the opportunity to vent out their feelings and until you're asked directly, try to keep your advice to a minimum.
Be direct and empathetic: Unless you're dealing with a total Bridezilla with a serious lack of empathy, there's no way your bride hasn't considered the feelings of her guests. If you have something negative to discuss, over justifying will come off as defensive and possibly insensitive. Share your concern by being direct, yet empathetic, and keep your message short and sweet.
What would you add to this list? How have you felt supported throughout the wedding planning process? How have you supported other brides-to-be? Send me an email and let me know all about it at TieTheKnotInStyle@gmail.com.