What’s it like to get married during a pandemic?

stories & advice from real newlyweds

Wedding planning can be stressful no matter when you tie the knot. Imagine adding a global pandemic into the mix?!

Over the last year, engaged couples had to overcome a lot to get married. There was uncertainty and disappointment. But couples learned to navigate the challenges, and many told us they grew closer as a result.


“Planning a wedding in the pandemic was incredibly trying. However, it showed us more than ever how well we work as a team.” 

Chloe & Brandon, 8.30.20

pic: Trang + Nick’s Wedding, Rachel Epperly Media

Our couples have always been our biggest source of inspiration. So, as we begin another wedding season under the pandemic’s shadow, I asked some of our Abernethy newlyweds to share their experience and best advice for couples following in their footsteps. Quite a few responded, more than I have space to highlight in this article.  A sincere Thank You to all who participated.  Although I wish we could include more, the newlyweds I’ve quoted do a good job summarizing what was reported overall. 

We knew if we could get through this, we could get through anything together.  And we did!”  

Chlelsea + Evan, 9.12.20

Silver Linings

The Challenge Brought Couples Together

James & Annie

“We learned that our closest friends and family would be there for us, and it didn’t matter that not everyone could be there because we were there for each other and our own relationship. Most importantly, after 11 years of being together, it was important for us to get married finally and not wait any longer for our special day.”


Jaren & Allison

“Since our wedding was completely planned pre-COVID, I feel like I had to plan two weddings. We told each other that the only thing that mattered was we got married. Our entire process confirmed that we were each other’s best friend. If I had to go through all of the chaos again, he would be the only person I’d ever want by my side.”


James & Rebeca

We are stronger; we were honest with our feelings. We talked about the grieving aspect and everything -is-beyond-our-control frustrating feelings we felt. We got better at asking one another to tackle different tasks and at being flexible as the rules and regulations were constantly changing.”



Direct from the newlyweds

pic: Jess + Tanner’s Wedding, Casi Yost Photography

No one can provide wisdom and reassurance like someone who’s moved through the challenges you’re currently facing. Here’s the best advice from ten real couples who wed in the last twelve months.

  1.   “It is still your day, not COVID’s day. Enjoy it, embrace it. You still get to marry your best friend. Plans are bound to change with COVID. We realized it wasn’t about the centerpieces and decor. It was about the people who were there. Those that came were the people who truly wanted to be there, COVID or no COVID- and that made our wedding day complete.” Allison + Jaren
  2.   “Change is hard, re-envisioning what your dream day will look like is hard, but what you can control is your attitude, and how you lean into the changes, and in the end, it’s about being in love and ready to be married.”  Makayla + Nathan
  3.   “Celebrate your love however you can. You can elope, you can have a small wedding, or even wait until it’s safer. A commitment is a test; whether or not there’s a pandemic and if you can commit to your spouse through that, you can make it through most things.”  Trang + Nick
  4.   “Be flexible. Go with the flow. Be prepared to make changes. Most likely, it will not match your original vision. The love and support of family and friends will not waiver. At the end of the day, you will marry the love of your life.” Chelsea + Evan
  5.   “Don’t give up on having your dream wedding. Our wedding was everything I ever wanted and more because we just kept our faith and love even through all the changes.” Coraleena + Casey
  6.   Our small wedding of 24 people, from our original 130, was the most meaningful experience I have ever had. It was emotional and intimate. Just because your day may not be exactly what you had imagined, don’t sell it short because it can be just as special.” Chloe + Brandon
  7.   “We realized the intimate wedding was so much more memorable [than a larger one] because we were able to spend quality time with everyone.” Kylie + Brandon
  8.   “Try not to stress over things you can’t control! Keep your eyes on the things that are truly important, like you and your honey being together forever & staying present in the moment. Everything will come together, even if it isn’t how you originally saw it fit.” Zayne + Brandyn
  9.   “The significance of a couple’s love for one another and the meaning of marriage is more important than a party…don’t give up, we never know what the future holds.” Tiana + Michael
  10.   “It’s definitely still possible to have an incredible wedding. We had about 40 guests at  our autumn wedding and it actually ended up feeling perfect for us.” Annie + James

These newlyweds have powerful wisdom for all of us. As a reminder of what it means to get married. It’s not about the party or the crowd. It’s love and commitment that makes a wedding meaningful! I’ll be sharing more stories and advice from our newlyweds on Abernethy social throughout the month of April so stay tuned.


Love + Gratitude




Abernethy Center is truly one of a kind! A full-service wedding and reception venue just on the outskirts of Portland in the heart of historical Oregon City. Our property features two distinct gardens, a gorgeous chapel and a classic, elegant Grand ballroom spread out over 9 acres. With nearly twenty years in business, an expert culinary team, and a tremendous staff experienced in providing exceptional service, we have everything for the perfect, uniquely yours Oregon wedding. 

Abigail’s Garden —– Veiled Garden—–Abernethy Chapel—–Grand Ballroom