We have all been affected in some way by the Christchurch earthquake nearly 2 weeks ago. It has been an incredibly difficult and tragic time for so many in New Zealand. So much devastation, loss and sadness followed by a national outpouring of love and support. There must have also been a lot of weddings planned in those lovely old churches and in private homes, which are now it rubble.
So what do you do when a disaster of this magnitude strikes close to your special day? Do you halt, postpone or proceed?
You won’t want a tragedy overshadowing your big day, but sometimes you just have no choice. How you continue may depend on how much the event will directly impact on you. The death of someone close to you will obviously have a far bigger impact than the disruption of a distant relative’s travel plans. Talk it over, problem solve and decide together what you should do. There is no right or wrong answer. Enlist the support of others, and proceed with as much grace and dignity as you can muster. Don’t worry about shedding tears; it is all part of the process….. just be true to yourself.
It is often helpful to remind ourselves that in our lives there will always be times of great joy and also times of great sadness….sometimes within the some day! We have no control over weather, storms, earthquakes or ultimately death itself. What do they say? … The day a person dies is also the day a new life is born.
Some suggestions if you choose to proceed.
Make an acknowledgement of the event during the day. Celebrants are pretty good at this, so ask them to say something. (Contrary to popular belief, a well placed acknowledgement or remembrance done with integrity, often lightens the atmosphere rather than bringing it down).
Other thoughts….You may want to include a special reading, song, prayer or a moment’s silence. Perhaps you could quietly tie ribbons of love and hope on a tree, throw pebbles (along with your thoughts) in to a stream, or light a remembrance candle. Leave an empty chair, release butterflies, doves, or blow bubbles in to the sky. You could put out a donation box for a relief fund or perhaps invite guests to make a donation rather than bringing a gift. The possibilities are endless. Sometimes using humour, especially black humour is a way people cope. Honour it and be forgiving to those who may be politically incorrect or have a habit of putting their foot in their mouth.
Remember too, that the celebration of your special day may be just what is needed to lift sagging sprits and remind people that love, hope and life are still part of their world.
To end on a lighter note, my congratulations to all the lovely couples I have had the privilege to marry during February. Some photos are below.
“May joy and fresh days of love accompany your hearts”.