Dancing Six Feet Apart? They’d Rather Not

The coronavirus pandemic has upended the lives of many American families. Follow this weekly feature called “Family, Interrupted” to find out how.

The wedding date came and went. No vows. No toasts. No tears from proud family and friends. The coronavirus pandemic caused Matthew Cohen, who works in the operations department of a technology company, and Ben Schwartz, a medical student, to postpone their September wedding until September 2021. The couple, who live in the Bay Area of California and are both 24, will spend the next few months waiting and planning for the big day — with their fingers crossed.

Ben – It’s kind of crazy that every twist and turn has somehow worked out for both of us, barring the pandemic. Our first date was at the end of high school. We went to what quickly became our favorite restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen, saw a movie and went to this beautiful viewpoint in Orange County. It was a starry night and a kind of quiet, isolated area — it was really romantic. I decided that if we were ever to get married or engaged, it would be cute to propose there. So five years after we started dating, we went back to that viewpoint and I surprised him there — and it was really cute.

Matthew – It was an easy yes. That was April 2019, and we started planning for the wedding almost within a month. We planned for September 2020. After we found the venue, we started making a guest list and tried to find food and everything else. Our ceremony was going to be on a grassy hill right above the ocean. Since we’re both from Southern California, it would have really captured us. We wanted to keep it casual.

Ben – Around March of this year, we heard from my medical school that our quarter would finish remotely, and Matt heard that he would work from home. But at that time it didn’t really seem fathomable that the pandemic could last for months on end, certainly not until the wedding. So in March and into a little bit of April we were still planning, to the point where we had drafts of our invitations. We even had our wedding tasting set up, and we had to cancel that. Around April or May it became pretty clear that it just wasn’t going to be safe.

For us, the wedding was really about celebrating with friends and family of all ages, and we wanted it to be really special. Dancing six feet apart just didn’t seem like what we were going for.

Matthew – We were able to postpone it one year, but given how this disease has progressed, the only thing that’s certain is the uncertainty. We’ll have to make a decision by maybe May of next year, so hopefully by then we will have made a lot of progress in combating this disease.

One of these days, it will happen. We will have a vaccine, we will be able to resume our lives, I am certain of that. If I’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s to take stock of what you have and be grateful, because so many people had it so much worse.

Ben – I remember the beginning of September, with the date coming by and realizing that that was the day we were supposed to get married. That week was really tough on me and tough on us, but it also came with a new excitement because it’s a whole other year to think about how lucky we are to have each other, a whole other year to celebrate our love. I hope some other couples can find solace in that.

It’s totally OK to have feelings of disappointment and sadness and loss. You lose a big moment. Your friends and family were supposed to come together and shower you with love — literally. But in the grand scheme of things, you have to take a step back and realize that a wedding is just a wedding. It’s the union that binds two people that really matters, and you don’t need a wedding to have that.

by Will Wright
Source – The New York Times