This is what it’s like to get married in lockdown
My partner, Alyssa, and I had been planning our wedding for close to a year.
We decided to have a casual springtime jamboree where the decor would be rustic with gold and purple colours. We were lucky enough to book a historic home as a venue and rented a whimsical refurbished trailer photo-booth.
Over 120 of our friends and family would be joining us in celebration and we were looking forward to remembering the day for the rest of our lives.
By mid-March this year, however, we had become nervous about how coronavirus would impact the wedding after public health officials in the US, where we live, recommended cancelling events consisting of over 50 people.
We knew we couldn’t put our family and friends in harm’s way and made the difficult decision to cancel the celebration.
Instead of our jamboree, we married in the living room of my parents’ house on 1 April. They witnessed from the second floor with my brother, while a family friend officiated the vows from six feet away.
We chose this date because it marked our five year anniversary. In 2015, I was still living as a man and Alyssa and I had been friends for about five months. We met when she took a job at a credit union where I was working at the time.
We were strangers who occasionally worked together, until one day I was in her office and noticed a poster on the wall that said, ‘It’s dangerous to go alone, take one of these’ – with photos of a Star Trek character you could rip off.
I had never seen an episode of Star Trek, but I knew enough to recognise that I was talking to a fellow nerd, and we ended striking up a friendship.
After hanging out a few times, I asked Alyssa out on a date and we got Chinese food, went back to mine, watched Doctor Who and played a board game.
Unfortunately, the next day she said that she didn’t want to date me because I wasn’t her type physically, but we continued to enjoy each other’s company and be friends.
Your wedding day isn’t nearly as important as all the days and years that follow
Our friendship grew over several months as we spent more and more time together. Eventually we decided to give dating another try, agreeing to a month-long trial that started on 1 April.
That way, if either of us wanted to break up, we could claim that it had all been a poor taste April Fools’ Day joke.
That month extended to two months, then three, and turned into a year. During our second year of dating our relationship changed drastically when I shared a secret with Alyssa that I had hid my entire life: I was transgender.
I feared a breakup was inevitable but, after spending a few days soul searching, Alyssa decided she still wanted us to try to build a life together.
Alyssa was with me from the first time I scheduled an appointment with my therapist to the day I started taking hormones. She helped teach me lessons that women need to know and was by my side the day I legally became Autumn. Our love continued to grow until we truly became partners.
But three years later, on the day of our wedding, instead of being happy, I was crying in our bed.
I lamented the cancelled celebrations and how our plans had derailed. I held it together on the drive to my parents’ house, feeling sad but determined not to cry.
This changed, however, when we stood up to give our vows and I held Alyssa’s hands in mine. I looked into her eyes, and my sadness ebbed.
I realised the only thing that mattered was that this amazing woman standing in front of me had agreed to share her life with me. We would be together for the rest of our lives and I became joyful.
The day hadn’t gone how we had planned, but sometimes things change and that’s OK.
This world is chaotic and scary, but when you’re lucky enough to find someone that you want to spend the rest of your life with, the day you celebrate that union isn’t nearly as important as all the days and years that follow.