Attending a Wedding in a COVID World

Last week my niece got married and despite COVID decided she wanted to have a reception.  This put me in an awkward situation because I love my niece dearly but frankly did not agree with her decision.  My choices were further complicated by the fact that my husband and I share a 400 square foot RV so social distancing from each other is simply not practical.  I was keenly aware that any decision I made was also a decision for him, so we definitely needed to be in agreement.

Despite my love for my niece I probably would not have attended except for two things.  First and foremost, my sister was a HUGE help at the weddings of two of my daughters, and I wanted to be there for her as she was for me.  Second, this family has experienced significant loss from the suicide of my nephew a year ago, and I knew this event was a way for them to try and move forward. Thankfully my brother, mother, and father had all had their vaccine shots so really it was just Lee and myself in my immediate family I needed to worry about.  All three of my daughters had declined to come.

After talking it through and being very open with my sister, Lee and I decided to attend only the portions of the event we felt were safest.  None were completely safe, but we did what we could to mitigate our risk and tried to keep things as close to how they would be for us if we didn’t go. We left Charleston and went back to Rock Hill on a Sunday with the intention of spending a week helping her as we were able.  On Thursday many of the other family members came into town and we all went out to an Italian dinner.  The restaurant put us at two long tables, but Lee and I requested a separate booth of our own.  It was kind of a bummer being that far away, but at least we were able to be in the room, and this was no different than if we had gone out to eat on our own.

We are on the right you can see my head poking out


My brother-in-laws family


My family

The next day we went to the venue and helped set up the reception hall.  I took the day off to help as much as possible and Lee and I spent most of the day assisting.  I felt really good about that, because we were able to provide some value.  About 25 people were in a space that holds 150, but at times it definitely felt tight.  The helpers were pretty good about wearing their masks, but the families not so much.  Lee and I did our best to social distance as we did our tasks, but it was hit and miss.

The venue was a converted barn, really pretty


My brother was there as well and he is always a huge help at these things. His daughter is only 12 but he gets the help next 🙂


We spent a ton of time ironing tablecloths and setting up tables


My brother and my Dad


It was wonderful seeing Josh (my brother-in-law) and his sister laughing together


The groom, his mom, and my niece

My sister is super crafty and there were lots of loving little touches everywhere.

All the grown cousins together

After setting up they all went to the church for the rehearsal, but Lee and I met up with them for the rehearsal dinner.  The restaurant was really great and had awesome decor and once again we were seated at a table all to ourselves, which was nice.

This was the coolest thing, it was a bed frame hung on the ceiling with lights in it


And we loved this light fixture at our table

Abram loves Lee and he did a wonderful job of keeping his mask on when we was around us.


My brother, Mom, and Dad


Josh’s sister, future son-in-law, and daughter


We had a choice of three different entrees and my steak was delicious.  The pork chops were even better.

The next day they decided to have the family back at the reception venue for wedding pictures prior to the ceremony.  The kids were doing first look at the venue which made things a little easier, but the taking of pictures was awkward.  It was pouring down rain and we only had a small outside spot to work with plus of course the pictures were without masks.  We probably shouldn’t have taken them at all, but who wants to be that person and at least we were outside in the fresh air when we did it.

My super cutie patooty nephew Abram.  The sneakers and suspenders were awesome


Jake and Abram

My nephew Alec. Wow he’s almost grown up

Josh’s family

My family

Mom and Alec

The classic car that ferried the couple back and forth all day

My sister

The church itself was very safe as masks were provided and it was immediate family only, about 40 people.   I was disappointed that no one on the grooms side wore masks but everyone wore one on our side and we had a pew all to ourselves, with an empty pew in front of us and behind us.

Bailey was stunning walking down the aisle

And I absolutely adored her dress

The happy couple Bailey and Preston

After the ceremony we went back to our RV, because the reception was just too risky for us, and we left to go back to Charleston the following morning without seeing anyone else.   The kids had a wonderful time I heard and I was able to get a picture of their first dance from my Mom.  Looking forward to seeing the video and thankfully as far as I know no one got sick from the event.  It is a difficult time for so many things and we all just have to make the best choices we can.  I wanted to share it with you all though because this has been a big part of the last couple of weeks

One last thing I would like to say.  Culturally accepted behavior around COVID is extremely different in the rural versus city areas.  As we have traveled we have seen that it is less north versus south rather it is rural versus urban.  These two different worlds are starkly different when it comes to the virus and as best we can, Lee and I are trying to navigate both.  I am sure many of you are in the same situation.

When Lee looked at this post, he immediately noticed how few people were wearing masks in the pictures.  It was definitely a mixed bag and as the weekend wore on less people did.  He asked me what I was trying to say by this post, and I guess the answer to that is it is hard.  It is easier to always make the safest choicest when there are few demands on you, but when you have something you really want it is much tougher.

Objectively should I have stayed at home…yes.  Am I glad I went…yes.  And I am trying to reconcile those two very real emotions. I imagine many other people are doing the same.  That doesn’t mean that I don’t get judgmental about those people who throw caution to the winds.  I do. And you certainly have the right to get judgmental about what I did.  But keep in mind that at the end of the day we all have to live our life in a way we can live with ourselves.  I needed to be there for my sister, and at the end of it all did the best that I could to honor that and stay safe.

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7 thoughts on “Attending a Wedding in a COVID World

  1. Although this stirs some tough emotions for me, I appreciate your post. Nothing is ever black and white when it comes to those we love and miss being around. It’s hard when I see pictures my relatives post on social media and the way they gather in mass numbers, no masks, all huddled together. While it appears that some people in your pictures weren’t that cautious, it looks like you both did the best you could. I hope you’re still happy with your decision and that neither of you will suffer from it.

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