Will Our “Real” Wedding in 2021 Feel Like We’re Just Playacting?

We'll have already been married for a year

Q: I’ve never written in before, but, after postponing our September 2020 wedding to 2021, my fiancx and I are seeking some perspective on how to frame having an intimate family ceremony this year along with the postponed wedding in 2021. Some people in my family have voiced my deepest secret fears about it not feeling like a “real” wedding next year—more of just a big party—if we end up holding a ceremony this year. Leading to questions like… does it still make sense to wear my white dress, walk down the aisle, exchange vows if we’ve already been married for a year?

I’m having a hard time because, on a certain level, that seems true and unavoidable! We want to get married this year because we’re so excited to start that stage of our lives… so it may feel next year like we’re already there. I’m nervous going through with a full ceremony in 2021 will feel like playacting!

But on the other hand, my fiancx and I can’t imagine not exchanging vows in front of our whole family/friends, nor giving up the pageantry and fun of the big wedding ceremony we’ve been looking forward to!

Do you have any advice for us on this issue—which I’m sure couples everywhere are encountering right now? Maybe even sample wording for this year’s ceremony and next year’s ceremony to frame them as each solemn and important?


We want ideas and feedback from all of you. Before we do, Alyssa (freshly engaged and planning herself) wanted to pop in with some thoughts.

This question is so real for me. My fiancx and I have been having this exact conversation. She basically refuses to even play with the idea of an elopement and then a second party wedding for us, and I think… why not? We’ve gone back and forth, and at the moment we still don’t have an answer. At the end of the day, I believe firmly that your friends and family will understand, and be so excited to party with you when your ‘real’ wedding comes.

Let me say this… no matter what you choose… lean in. If you’re going to have a small wedding/elopement/ceremony this year… COMMIT. FULLY. The future is so uncertain right now, and there is just no way to know what will happen in the next months and year(s), so be in that ceremony, let your heart feel all the wedding feels, and enjoy every tiny moment of it. And trust that it will be different, beautiful, and magical for different reasons if and when you have that bigger party… you’ll get to have all your people surrounding you and celebrating you. And at the root of it all, isn’t a wedding just a big celebration of your love? Who cares when you said your first round of ‘I do’s?’

This wedding? REAL. The next wedding/celebration/party? REAL.

Oh, and if you need help with the ceremony part, here are some ideas, though we’re opening the floor to that and more in the comments.

Okay, APW. We pass it to you. What do you think? How would you share the news with family and friends? Please help with wording, ideas, and all the input you’ve got. 

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