HARLINGEN — Brides wait a year or two for their wedding to happen. However, the wait became much longer in the spring of 2020.
All over the world major events have had to be cancelled for safety purposes. Because of COVID-19 trips planned in advance have been cancelled, graduations have been postponed or could not happen. Brides are a small group who can identify with this.
However, as sad as many of these brides say they feel, hope and positivity is keeping them going. For some, it’s a start of new traditions.
Elia Alvarez, 26, from Harlingen, got engaged May 8, 2019, and her wedding was going to be May 9. But not anymore.
Alvarez is postponing the wedding for another year. She said bookings are full at the moment. Alvarez was not planning on postponing until she heard about the executive order on gatherings of 10 or less.
She is expecting around 250 guests, but for their safety she decided not to host it. Her final decision was made two weeks ago.
“Everyone was saying things would be fine but once we told them we were deciding to reschedule they were telling us it was the best thing to do,” Alvarez said.
Though she knew it was optimal not to have her wedding in May, she is heartbroken.
“We were really looking forward to it. We were a month away already but at times I’m like what if this is happening for a reason,” she said.
The feelings of sadness made Alvarez feel almost as if this had happened on purpose, she said.
Luckily, a friend added her on a Facebook group of other brides who had to cancel their weddings and understood she was not alone.
“It’s going to be a fun story to tell later on,” Alvarez said.
Another bride from Harlingen had to postpone as well. Bree Rios, 28, said she and her fiancé felt sad and disappointed to postpone since they both had been waiting for a long time, but tried to make the best of it.
Rios was supposed to get married on March 28, but a week and a half before she began to discuss alternate options.
“We were lucky enough to not lose out on any of our money. The locations of our ceremony and reception worked with us on postponing for a later date,” she said.
“On that day we shed a few tears but agreed we can’t control what is happening and can’t wait to have our day and have a great story to tell later on about our experience,” Rios said.
On the other hand, a different bride decided to get married but on her own Centers for Disease Control guideline-approved way.
Bonnie Delarosa Villarreal, from Harlingen, was supposed to fly to Oklahoma to attend her niece’s wedding on April 18.
Delarosa had her flight paid for as well as her stay. Her husband and two children were attending. She received an invitation three months ago but as soon as President Donald Trump announced a travel ban from Europe, plans started to change.
Kristina Holmes is DeLarosa’s niece and is originally from San Benito. Her now-husband is from England and his family members were expected to fly to attend their wedding.
A month ago, the couple decided to cancel the party but to still get married.
“Kristina was very optimistic about it,” Delarosa said.
“At first we were in shock because we knew how much she had wanted it. I think a shock turned out to be something very happy,” she said.
Delarosa was able to cancel her flights and hotel but said she was worried about her niece.
Holmes got married about two weeks ago with just her witnesses present and broadcasted the ceremony over Zoom for her immediate family to watch.
Delarosa lit up a candle, got out champagne glasses and said she got ready with hair and makeup and gathered around with her family as they watched on their laptop.
About 10 different families joined the Zoom meeting to watch both from the U.S and England.
“The priest said during the ceremony it was for everyone to view, there was hope in the world and I thought it was so beautiful,” she said.
“As a family we said she made history. How many times do you see weddings virtually in these conditions? As we watched we all got joyful tears in our eyes. We weren’t able to physically toast her but seeing her and hearing her voice was better than just hearing about it,” Delarosa said.
Holmes, the bride, got engaged the day she got into labor in 2018. Her wait had been long but said as a couple she and her husband wanted to feel complete.
“We both just said this is going to have to happen, this is bigger than us and it’s happening over the whole world,” she said.
The couple had been planning for two years and wondered about when the next possible date would be and decided to just go through with it.
Holmes checked with her deacon to make sure it was possible, and he said yes as long as it was under 10 people.
Now, because marriage licenses were going to stop being issued before her original date Holmes got married sooner.
Her original dress was still being altered, but Holmes made a quick Target run and looked for something to wear and decided to stream the wedding for her close family and friends.
Holmes got a stand to set her cell phone in and started live recording for everyone to watch.
“At first when my grandparents called me and told me they were not going to come I cried. The thought of having everyone there and not my grandparents, I was devastated,” she said.
“When we decided to postpone I felt a little bit relieved. That way when it actually comes to the wedding, everyone will be at ease and we won’t have to celebrate without anybody missing,” Holmes said.
The day she got married, Holmes said she always imagined she would feel stressed but she felt relaxed and happy.
“I’ve always felt no matter what happens in my life it is God’s plan,” Holmes said.
“It was very intimate and no matter what we felt like we were doing the right thing. What matters the most is our family is complete now,” she said.