This time last year, I joined a Facebook group for newly engaged brides-to-be after a friend suggested it to me. The group is a local one, small and only with a few thousand women.
When I first became a member, I was filled with dizzy excitement. I posted about my proposal and how surprised I was, and was met with a chorus of congratulations and well wishes. After talking the ears of my friends off, I felt like I had found my people.
As the months went on and my fiancé and I started planning our wedding, I frequently consulted the group for advice. Where is the best place to find bridesmaid dresses? What is a reasonable price for flowers? How did you decide on your guest list?
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These women were helpful, full of answers and it was a nice place to not only ask for help but share in the joy as we all simultaneously ticked off our to-do-lists for our special days.
That was until March this year when the coronavirus pandemic hit, taking away all of the fun and excitement we were all feeling along with it and instead replacing it with fear, worry and angst.
The group went silent for a few days as we all came to terms with postponements and even cancellations, but not long after, the posts started to return. Only now, the mood had completely changed.
One panicked bride after another was trying to console another panicked bride as restrictions and updates were changing week to week and sometimes day by day. After the constant negative slew of messages from brides facing a barrage of problems, from issues with vendors, to chasing refunds and fluctuating capacities, a group admin stepped in.
"Here is a thread dedicated to COVID-19 for any brides wanting to chat about their current situation. Let’s try to keep the rest of the group as positive as we can," it read.
It was flatly ignored and upset message after upset message continued. The group quickly turned into a pit of negativity and at this point, I really should have left. But instead I stayed and continued to get more and more concerned for the fate of my own wedding with every single message I read.