Dating and Relationship Advice

I love my parents. They’re categorically the best. Funny, supportive, intelligent, kind—the works. They raised me with an abundance of love, worked their butts off to put me through expensive drama school, never missed a play, concert, or recital, and even helped me pay my exorbitant NYC rent until I could get on my feet. To this day, when I go home to Illinois for a visit around the holidays, my friends from high school come over to the house to hang out with my parents. They’re that cool.

But they’re not just my parents. They’re also human beings with their own baggage, needs, wants and emotions. And I just don’t want to deal with anyone else’s feelings at my wedding. Not right now.

Let me back up a bit.

When I was about five years old, I wanted a My Size Barbie for Christmas. Not just any My Size Barbie, Bride My Size Barbie. She was gorgeous—curly blonde hair, big blue eyes, and a lacy white wedding gown. I would stare at her up on the shelf of Toys "R" Us, gazing lovingly at the flounces of creamy crinoline, fantasizing about the way the sparkles would glimmer in the light of my playroom windows. I wrote to Santa, pestered my mom and dad, and prayed every night for My Size Barbie. My mom, however, knew better. She knew that I didn’t give two shits about the Barbie. I just wanted the wedding dress. So, she made me one. Using a ballet costume, lace, and yards of fabric from Hobby Lobby, my mom sewed me my very own wedding dress.

It was the best Christmas ever. I wore that homemade dress until it was shredded and dirty, even then relishing the romantic, warm, hopeful feeling of being a bride, dreaming about one day wearing a real wedding gown on the best day of my life.

I planned my dream wedding for July 11, 2020. I’m telling you—perfection. A vineyard on a lake, thousands of candles, a soaring room filled with mine and my fiancé’s favorite people, perfectly cooked filet mignon with my family’s traditional red velvet cake for dessert. Music. Dancing. And the dress. Five-year-old me would have been proud.

But then COVID-19 happened.

Like so many other brides, my plans and dreams were shattered. Wiped out by a microscopic virus. I watched in horror and disbelief as the day I had been dreaming about my whole life fell apart and drifted away.

I’d like to say I was strong. That I saw the privilege in mourning a wedding rather than mourning a death. But I broke. I was a ghost for weeks, listless and watery-eyed, breaking down into sobs whenever my thoughts grazed over the throbbing, bride-shaped wound on my heart. It was purely through the support of my ever-selfless fiancé that I survived. We grieved our loss as a team, and then, ever so slowly, glued the shards of our wedding back together.

An officiant and photographer in a lush green park. A simple white sheath and sharp blue suit. Purple Manolo Blahniks. Sunshine, champagne. My fiancé and I, alone, beginning our new life.

Why no one else? Why don’t I want my parents, my amazing, loving, goofy parents there with me?

It’s simply too painful. I will have to use all my strength and optimism to choose to see the happiness in this new and different beginning, rather than the sadness in the loss of our big day. I just won’t have anything left to deal with anyone else’s needs or emotions. And that’s okay.

My parents so wonderfully understand that if this is what we want, if this is what needs to be done, it’s the right choice. I am so grateful to them for that.

It will be a fragile day, colored bittersweet by loss but brightened by hope. Hope that, one day, my fiancé and I will get to raise our children with the same grace and love that my parents raised me with.