Batavia resident Kirsten Kane said she and her fiancé Kyle Wehrli, a Naperville native, first met at Moe Joe's, a Cajun-themed bar in Plainfield, about five years ago.
Kane, an Oswego native, said they got engaged in October 2018 and had a longer engagement because she wanted to finish up school first, with the plan being that they would tie the knot on May 22 at Warehouse 109 in Plainfield with more than 200 friends and family.
With Gov. JB Pritzker extending his stay-at-home order to April 30 because of the COVID-19 pandemic with the possibility of it being extended further, however, Kane said wedding plans for her and Wehrli had to change to closer align with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC recommends gatherings of fewer than 10 people in order to practice proper social distancing in the midst of the pandemic. After getting a call from her wedding planner a few weeks ago to urge the couple to start thinking of back-up plans, Kane said the May 22 ceremony date is still the plan – for now.
“But we’re at the point where I think even at the end of May, even if we were allowed to be in group of more than 200, I don’t think people would be comfortable,” Kane said.
And that kind of comfort for their guests is important to Kane and Wehrli, Kane said. In order to address that concern, she said, the wedding venue is allowing the May 22 ceremony with just the officiant and parents and the reception is planned for Aug. 9.
For the most part, Kane said, her vendors have been pretty understanding about her situation. One of the only snags she has hit with vendors was the makeup artist not being available for the Aug. 9 reception date.
Kane said she feels that she and Wehrli have been pretty lucky with finances, all things considered. She said the only financial implications she had faced was having to pay the contracted photographer a little more to come out to the venue an extra time, since she wanted the ceremony photographed on top of the reception.
“So it’s not necessarily an issue with coming out again, it’ll just be charging a little bit more due to travel fees and whatnot,” Kane said.
Kane said it's been more of an emotional strain for her as opposed to financial. As a Type A personality, she said, she goes all in when it comes to any planning, especially for something as larger-scale as a wedding.
To get down to the wire and just have everything fall apart has been taxing, Kane said. To look forward to something for so long and to be more than a month out, she said, it's supposed to be more of an exciting time.
Now, it's like the COVID-19 situation is changing almost by the day and thus are her wedding plans, Kane said.
“You almost feel like you’re being robbed of your special day,” Kane said.
Kane said her bridesmaids already had their dresses and have been ready to go for May 22 and they're all able to make Aug. 9 – even though it meant some re-working some travel plans for some, including her matron of honor who lives in Texas. Despite everything, she said, her bridesmaids have offered to listen if she ever needed to vent about the curveballs thrown at her in the wedding planning process.
“They’ve been really nice and very accommodating through everything,” Kane said.
For a while, it felt like she and Wehrli were alone in dealing with the change of plans because of COVID-19, Kane said. With everyone being affected in some way by the coronavirus, she said, she had to learn how to navigate some accompanying feelings of guilt whenever she would get overwhelmed about those curveballs thrown at her in planning the wedding.
Both she and Wehrli are very close with their families, Kane said, and they ultimately are also sad for their families who have been helping the couple financially and emotionally in the wedding planning process.
“I don’t think that, unless you’re in this situation, you’ll know how taxing this is for families and everyone involved,” Kane said.