Whew chile, this blog is going to be a hard one for me to write, and it’s my first.. I’m in trouble.
First things first, who am I?
My name is Haley Pecikonis, I’m a wife, and a mother of two beautiful little girls ages three and one. I’m a realtor, a volleyball coach, and a shampoo dealer for the best hair and skincare company, Monat. Needless to say just like most moms I’m TIRED.
Let’s get into this wedding I had planned for over a year that Miss COVID-19 decided wasn’t happening. My husband and I, yes husband, we are legally married which is a whole other story, but we can get into that a little later. From the day we got engaged, we wanted a destination wedding. Just like many other couples, we went back and forth on it because we weren’t sure how our families were going to react. Once we started looking into destination weddings and how everything works we fell in love with how simple the process was. It’s a pretty cool set up, you really just choose how you want your wedding to be straight out of a catalog, show up 3 days before go over details, and have a wedding! For a simple bride like me, this “no stress” option seemed perfect. We also liked that we had no limit on the amount of invitations we could send, the more the merrier with this destination wedding. Whereas with traditional weddings creating your guest list is a whole mess, especially if you’re a budget bride. If your budget only allows 75 attendees, It’s hard to decide who’s distant family or friends aren’t deserving of an invitation to the biggest day of your life.
Ok, done with that rant…
In January of 2019 we decided to book our wedding at the beautiful Moon Palace Resort in Ochos Rios, Jamaica! Neither of us have ever been to Jamaica, so we were super excited. We also planned to go to Sandals in Negril the week after for our honeymoon. Fast forward to the beginning of March a year after we began planning and three months before our big day. Rumors of this new-”ish” virus going on in China came about, soon after the virus was in the U.S. At this point my husband and I couldn’t tell what was real in the media and what wasn’t. Much like everyone else, we didn’t take the virus as seriously as we should have in the beginning. We thought it was similar to swine flu, but pretty quickly we realized we were very wrong. It wasn’t until professional sports canceled their seasons that we decided we needed to talk about the wedding. I was hopeful and optimistic for as long as I could be!
Our first thought was, well the wedding is in June.. there’s no way this thing could still be around by then right? All the while, people are stockpiling toilet paper and paper towels, public places are starting to close, and the government starts limiting the size of groups allowed to gather. Soon after that we decided this wedding wasn’t going to be a possibility. Maybe COVID-19 will cool off before June, but in the meantime we are supposed to be planning a wedding in a foreign country. After a few days went by, and the virus situation continued to escalate, we made the tough decision to cancel.
I know it’s for the best, but all our guests who already purchased flights, put down deposits, or even paid in full, were the first to pop into my head. As mommies, we tend to put everyone before ourselves, and easily forget that we matter too, this situation reminded me of that. I know it’s our wedding, and our decision, but I couldn’t help but think we were the reason they booked this trip, so it’s our responsibility to get them what they deserve back. I was on the phone with the resort, our travel agent, and multiple airlines for hours all week after we canceled. I got the same answer from all of them, “we are extremely sorry that this is happening to you, but we will not be able to refund any money. What we can do for you is allow you to use it as a credit for future travel.” It was not the answer I wanted, but it was the answer I had to deal with. I tried to fight it, I tried to tell them that no one could ever expect a pandemic to happen, but they were persistent that fear of travel not being an acceptable reason to cancel. Luckily we have the best friends and family, and everyone understood our decision to cancel.
Now, I know that seemed like a lot of bad, but there is a silver lining to this story. Even though we will not be able to have our Jamaican wedding, we are still hopefully going to be able to celebrate here in the states. My amazing parents offered to help us throw a wedding here in Austin, TX at the end of June. After canceling we had about two days to find a venue, put down the deposit, and send out new invites, thanks to them we were able to do it all. I couldn’t be more thankful than I am for them right now. I try to always remember that we are not in control of things outside of ourselves, we can only control how we react to those things. So I am choosing to look at this as a blessing, the wedding in Jamaica was going to be very small, Jamaica isn’t a cheap place to travel to. Now we can celebrate with so many more of our friends and family members. I also get to be way more involved in everything about the day. It’s definitely more stressful, especially with the short nature of this event, but I am excited nonetheless. My mom is super excited to DIY, myself on the other hand, not so much, but I’m happy she’s excited to take on this challenge with me. Another positive is that we are legally married, which means we don’t need someone ordained to marry us. We got married legally about a year ago because it shaved money off of our Jamaican wedding. Now we are going to have one of my favorite uncles marry us, which makes everything even more special, but also FREE.
Don’t worry, through this situation we learned A LOT about contacts. Unfortunately, because my younger sister and my dad are involved in college athletics I cannot have a wedding between the months of July, and January. That’s why we are still trying to have the wedding in June, and hope restrictions have been lifted, and it’s deemed safe to gather at that point. If that’s not the case we made sure there was a Force Majeure clause in our wedding contract stating that if there was a disaster such as; COVID-19 and more than 25% of our guest list could not attend we will be able to postpone the entire event for up to an entire year out. We are aware that our wedding cancellation is amongst the smallest of upsets COVID-19 has given out this year, but I hope hearing our story makes anyone going through the same situation know they’re not alone and you can get through this too!
Hope you all are staying safe and healthy and if there is another Mommi reading this that is going through a similar situation remember that everything happens for a reason and the most important thing is that you’re marrying your sweetheart!!!
Wishing you all the best
Until next time