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April 25, 2020

Let me start by saying this, I know you've all heard it before, I know you unengaged ladies think it will be different for you, I know you married girls are sitting there like "mhm I told ya so" but here I go...

Wedding planning is NOT easy. 
Planning a wedding during a global pandemic, LOL. Didn't sign up for that. 
 

But before I get to the wedding planning, or should I say at this point, re-planning, let me tell you a little about our pre-pandemic plans. We're set to exchange our vows this September at a gorgeous church on the Upper East Side, followed by a celebration of over 250 guests overlooking the New York City skyline. Of course, this sounds like a dream come true under normal circumstances but under COVID-19 circumstances, it's a recipe for postponement. 

I'd rather not be social distancing from my loved ones on a day that is all about bringing friends and family close together.  While I can admit I have been praying for an excuse to chop the guest list, I certainly don't want to be forced to do so because of regulations.  And finally, walking down the aisle with a custom ITES beaded mask just isn't the look I was going for. 
 
We got engaged within 5 days of me starting to run ITES full time. Remember when I said planning a wedding isn't easy? Well planning a wedding within a year in NYC is next level. Planning a wedding when you just quit your salaried corporate job to run your business full time, that's a challenge I could have done without and one that I will elaborate on at a later date.  Now, replanning the whole thing due to a global pandemic, checkmate. I'm out. 
 
While I definitely have ITES vision boards galore, I've never made one for my dream wedding. In fact, it took me about 6 full months to figure out what kind of bride I wanted to be.  Who knew there were so many aesthetics to consider? Am I a Metropolitan bride? Chic bride? Ethereal bride? Bohemian bride? Luckily by the beginning of March I had finalized my vision just in time to be told I was nothing but a... Corona Bride. 
 

I mentioned in my first blog post that I am a bit of a control freak. I also am a very decisive person. You could ask me to make any business decision and I will do so without looking back or second guessing. Something about making decisions for our wedding was different.  I guess I put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure it would be perfect, especially because we would only plan a wedding once in a lifetime. Little did I know, I shouldn't have been so worried because I am most definitely getting to plan this wedding twice, thank you corona.

Interestingly enough, while the stress of being a brand new full time entrepreneur made the stress of wedding planning even more overwhelming, owning my own business gave me a helpful perspective in the process.  I knew off the bat I wanted to work with people who were striving to provide the best service and most importantly wanted to make our day special.  I was looking to surround myself with a team of vendors for the wedding that run their businesses with the same values that I run Island to East Side.  Now, as I embark on the replanning process, I'm humbled to experience how amazing some vendors and fellow business owners have handled these unprecedented circumstances.  For the most part, everyone I've spoken with has been immensely understanding and helpful in terms of cancellations and postponements.  Unfortunately, I have experienced firsthand working with some businesses that have a pretty disgraceful tone about this situation.  It's disheartening to hear and experience this, both as a business owner and as a bride affected whose wedding is impacted by COVID-19.  I hope to be a sounding board for all of you and to help my ITES brides navigate this situation.  I look forward to continuing to shed some light on my own experiences, both favorable and unfavorable.
 
Above all, I'm writing to tell you that I, too, am in the same uncertain boat that so many of you, our customers, unfortunately are in.  Since the start of the pandemic in early March, I have watched hundreds of emails roll in each week from our ITES brides requesting to have their wedding bags remade with new dates inside.  Truth be told, six weeks ago I thought my biggest challenge was going to be sticking to the wedding diet through quarantine. I didn't think I'd eventually be in your shoes, but here I am!  I guess on a brighter note, I don't have to be so worried about the wine I am drinking daily and the explosion of cooking and baking that is happening over here.  
 
I think that last statement best describes my outlook. We have to find the bright side, the silver lining, to all of this.  It's a hell of a lot to process and I just want to say, I hear you and I'm here to remind you that it's going to be ok.  I have already connected with several of you on this topic over Instagram and invite you to continue to reach out to me as your COVID-19 wedding saga continues.  I can promise you I will share an update on mine. Until then, as you keep changing your wedding dates on your calendars, we will keep changing them on your bags. 
 
With so much uncertainty, I'll leave you with this. I have absolutely no idea when we will get married, all I know for sure is that when I do, my bridesmaids are going to have some gorgeous bags. 
 
Stay safe, stay sane. 
xoxo 
Christina 
 
Comment below if you would like me to get more into detail about any wedding related planning, topics, or postponement tips. 

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