Couples to wait a little longer to say ‘I do’April 8, 2020
By ALLEN LAMAN
Reminders of the day that Andy Chinn and Gabbie Terwiske were supposed to say “I do” are scattered inside their Dubois home. They arrived in the form of wedding gifts for a wedding that hasn’t happened.
A wooden banner announces “we decided on forever” on March 28, 2020. Another home decor block displays the same date, and a blanket sits embroidered with the Chinn family name, followed by “3-28-2020.”
That Saturday was supposed to signal the beginning of a new chapter of their lives together. It’s not that Andy and Gabbie have fallen out of love — they are still very much dreaming of the day they walk down the aisle and become husband and wife.
They just have to wait a little longer.
The spreading coronavirus has prompted weddings across the country to be postponed and rescheduled, further complicating an already incredibly involved and detailed planning process that many couples have been steeped in for months.
As would-be brides and grooms scramble to adjust their ceremonies and receptions, they are grappling with the emotional stress that comes with pushing back their big days. And then there’s the looming concern in the backs of their minds.
Will they have to go through this all over again in the near future?
“It’s kind of nice now [that] we have everything planned for this summer,” Andy said. “But it’s still kind of stressful at the same time. Knowing that it’s still up in the air. It still might not be allowed to happen.”
He and his fiancee were set to be married in front of about 400 people at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Haysville on that early spring day printed on their mementos. It was going to be a big wedding; Gabbie and Andy have big families, and they both coach sports teams at Northeast Dubois High School.
They are close with many in the community, and they didn’t want to cut anybody off their guest list. But as stricter social distancing directives came down from the government, they began to understand that safely having their perfect wedding was not an option.
Gabbie filled with anxiety after Gov. Eric Holcomb limited social gatherings to 250 people. In her gut, she knew that number would drop even lower, and when it did, she and Andy made the decision to postpone their matrimony until July 18 and rushed to inform their long list of friends and family.
“When we made that decision,” Gabbie recalled, “a ton of weight was just lifted.”
Their slowed-down time in isolation has only brought them closer, they explained, and it’s allowed them to strengthen their relationship even more ahead of their wedding.
Kelli Hedinger and her fiance, Tim Schrieber, were set to say their vows on May 16 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jasper. Kelli was born and raised in Jasper, and she now lives in St. Louis.
Nearly 300 guests from throughout the country — as well as a few international travelers — were invited to join them in celebrating their love. Kelli said the day was going to be “what a lot of girls think about for a long time, and put a lot of planning and effort into.”
She and her fiance began that planning process immediately after their engagement last July. While envisioning and looking forward to the day is fun, a ton of work goes into making it just right, Kelli said. For her and Tim, that included breaking the lengthy process down in a month-by-month checklist.
“I was definitely into making sure I did everything the way I wanted it to be done so that we could have an amazing wedding” Kelli said. “We’re only going to get married once and it’s going to be one of the most important days of our lives. I wanted things to go the way we wanted them to go.”
COVID-19 slowly threw a wrench into the mix. First, the couple’s plans to honeymoon in Italy deteriorated. Kelli’s mind then gravitated to her wedding day, and she began to panic when she saw how the virus was spreading and affecting other parts of the world. That anxiety intensified when she saw how it began affecting other sections of the country.
In late March, Kelli and Tim officially postponed their wedding to Aug. 8. All of their vendors were “more than understanding,” Kelli said. She knows of other couples that are having to pay extra deposits or fees — added expenses that the St. Louis couple will not incur.
Still, she does feel a little apprehension about the new date because of all the question marks that extend into the future.
When Gina Norris and Chris Luker were married on Wednesday, March 25, the couple’s ceremony was significantly different from what they had planned. The two had envisioned a relaxed, casual celebration at Venue 1408 in Huntingburg, three days later, with around 160 of their closest friends and family members in attendance.
But there the Jasper couple was on March 25, in Montgomery, dressed informally to become husband and wife with no audience.
“We were going to keep our March 28th date, [but] with everything going on, we didn’t know if that would be possible,” Gina explained. “We didn’t know if everything would be shut down [and] we couldn’t go anywhere.”
Their wedding day was still special. With a laugh, though, Gina admitted it was “kind of awkward.” Not even family members were in attendance, and it was “definitely not how we thought our day would go,” she recalled.
They’d planned for a year — picking the location, assembling the guest list, hiring a photographer and selecting a DJ. But then, just before the event, Chris and Gina rushed to push their public ceremony and reception back to July 25 and pass word to their guests.
Things have been smooth since then. However, Gina is now concerned the new date could be in jeopardy.
“But I just keep telling myself that we’ll just have one great story to tell later down the road,” Gina said. “And so will the other brides and grooms that are in the same boat as us.”
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