Banking on the COVID-19 vaccine to plan the perfect wedding

 By Courtney Heaton

Christine Fay and Cohen Cox have been engaged for two months. Cohen says the wedding will be “sometime in the fall.” Christine can list the time, date and location. Cohen hasn’t decided on groomsmen yet. Christine has already asked her five closest friends to be bridesmaids. They’ve picked out dresses, and she already has her gown. Beyond dress shopping, Christine is brainstorming ways to save her wedding if the COVID-19 pandemic is still going strong on her special day.

Wedding plans

Cohen is adamant that there hasn’t been much planning. The two of them are so busy as homeowners, graduate students and dog owners. There hasn’t been any time.

Cohen doesn’t know Christine has been planning this wedding her entire life.

“The color scheme is rose and gold. It’s going to be a mountain wedding in Asheville in the fall. I’ve had my dress picked out for a while. It’s an A-line cut with lace and tulle all over,” Christine said eagerly while scrolling through her Pinterest board of wedding ideas.

As excited as Christine is about her wedding, she’s concerned about the pandemic’s impact. She said she hopes an efficient vaccine rollout will make her dream wedding possible.

With the pandemic, Christine must plan around many unanswered questions. What will the state’s restrictions be? Will long-distance travel be allowed? Will her high-risk guests be safe? Christine said if COVID-19 is still rampant come the fall, virtual accommodations will be made to include everyone safely.

“As much as I want everyone to come to the wedding, I don’t want it to be considered dangerous or a high-risk situation to put people in,” Christine said. “That’s why I’m really banking on vaccine rollouts and to flatten the curve by fall.”

Cohen’s eagerly relinquished the wedding planning reins to Christine, to the benefit of both of them. Christine has made it very clear that Cohen’s responsibilities are selecting groomsmen and making sure they come to the ceremony sober or can at least pretend to be.  Christine also expects him to behave at his bachelor party.

“Someone mentioned taking Cohen to Vegas for his last night of being a bachelor,” Christine said. “I’m hesitant to let Cohen and his friends loose in Sin City. We’ll just have to talk about it, but to be fair he hasn’t even selected groomsmen, so how is he going to plan a Vegas trip?”

Proposal long coming

“I mean, I’ll wear a tux, probably black, maybe a different color, whatever she wants,” Cohen said when imagining his wedding wardrobe. “It’s her day. My day was proposing to her.”

Cohen proposed last Christmas, six years into their relationship, after Christine pushed for an engagement.

The two met in undergrad at East Carolina University in 2012. They were introduced to one another by a mutual friend, Christine’s then-boyfriend, Cameron Page. Cohen knew Cameron from his hometown, Rockingham, North Carolina. The demise of Cameron and Christine benefited Cohen. He quickly became the counselor, consoler and “ya know, from a certain angle he’s kind of cute” prince charming in Christine’s life.

Christine explained Cohen’s reluctance to propose simply: “He’s just Cohen.”

Possible culprits are Cohen’s constant procrastination that flourishes in his school, work and daily household tasks or his hesitancy to get off his pocketbook for an engagement ring Christine liked.

Christine said the two have reached every relationship milestone other than marriage, even adopting two dogs.

“We have lived together for four years which I’m happy about,” Christine said. “You don’t truly know someone until you’ve lived with them. We are homeowners and have been for a year and a half now. We adopted Miska and Sammy together, furthered our education together. All that’s left is marriage and babies, and I’m not ready for kids just yet.”

That being said, Christine is ready for her wedding day.

Banking on the vaccine

The wedding party will be made-up of ten people, pending Cohen’s groomsmen selection. Then add the plus ones, Christine and Cohen’s family, friends and coworkers. The size of the wedding is “standard,” as Christine put it, if the pandemic is under control.

“We are waiting until the fall in hopes that things will be better, and vaccines will have been given to a larger population,” Christine said.

Christine is a behavioral therapist for children with Autism. She hopes that she will be included in the phase of vaccines being distributed to teachers in North Carolina because she works closely with students.

Christine is considering some COVID-friendly techniques like individually wrapped snacks such as chip bags, mini desserts and other appetizers between the wedding and the reception cocktail hour. Another tactic is to have the dinner served by a catering company that will serve the guests instead of a buffet. This will reduce guests from touching utensils and those serving will be able to wear masks, gloves and any other protection necessary. Christine is also planning socially distant seating.

“If the wedding does have to be small, we’ll just save a lot of money and go on a great honeymoon, but I’ve been planning this wedding for a long time,” Christine said. “I really don’t want to put it off any longer.”

Edited by Megan Suggs