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Permission Granted: Time to Host the Perfectly Imperfect Wedding

August 31, 2020

by Alan Blitz

From left: Alan & Caron Blitz, brides Rachel Blitz & Melissa Sherman,
and Sue & Dave Sherman

The future brides’ email, dated April 11, 2020, was probably similar to thousands of others sent to wedding guest invitation lists this past Spring.  “So here’s the plan,” they wrote.  “We have re-framed our entry into our marriage chapter, and we could not be more excited to share our plan with you all.”

Guests were informed by Rachel and Melissa that their June 2020 wedding would be pushed back a year due to the pandemic. But one thing was clear: “We don’t know much about marriage, but what we do know is that we’re ready for it.  We’re still going to tie the knot on Saturday evening, June 20, 2020 in a small ceremony with our Rabbi, parents and sisters.”

The decision to delay the wedding—all weddings and other large group gatherings--was wisely directed by the Illinois Dept. of Public Health.   But delay the marriage?  It is a question being asked across the country and addressed in national news stories. 


What Will Happen With Weddings? 

The New York Times article with the above headline observes: “Less is more for 2021 weddings. Extravagant nuptials are taking a back seat to intimate, personalized celebrations.  Coronavirus or not, one thing is certain: People will find each other, they will fall in love, and somehow, they will say their vows.”  

The weekend of June 20, my daughter and new daughter-in-law were married in our home in a very personal, meaningful ceremony with only immediate family present.  After the ceremony there was a car parade as family and friends drove by the house to say hello, express their best wishes while we all socially distanced.  Then, one additional “canine” guest arrived to share in the celebration, Louie, our family’s mini-golden doodle. 


It was important to our officiant to follow State of Illinois PHASE 2 guidelines permitting essential gatherings such as religious services of 10 or fewer (which we did).  Couples and their families will continue to deliberate over how to proceed with wedding plans into 2021 and perhaps beyond.  

The timeline is still unknown when PHASE 5: ILLINOIS RESTORED will occur as it requires that testing, tracing and treatment are widely available throughout the state and either a vaccine is developed to prevent additional spread of COVID-19, a treatment option is readily available that ensures health capacity is no longer a concern, or there are no new cases over a sustained period.


Wedding Dream Deferred Not the Marriage

The pandemic has clearly changed our lives in challenging ways. But our combined new family (Blitz-Sherman) is thrilled that the brides would not allow the coronavirus to stand in the way of starting their life together. The big event will have to wait. It’s on the calendar for next year but “penciled in,” pending the implementation of PHASE 5: ILLINOIS RESTORED.  

As the New York Times article points out: “Small is the New Big.”  What a great opportunity to re-discover what a marriage ceremony is all about: the sharing of a very personal commitment between partners with the handful of people who helped shape your life since birth.  

At our brunch on Sunday following the ceremony my daughter, Rachel, reflected on the experience, “Melissa and I were very fortunate to have experienced the perfectly, imperfect wedding.” 

As parents, it was a dream we never imagined would come true. My wife, Caron, and I felt such joy to see our daughter married in our home where we have celebrated countless life-cycle events over the past 25 years. 

Each member of our expanding family made the wedding extra special from building the chuppah to sharing personal blessings. When the brides said it was their best day EVER we were beyond delighted.