The Creative Ways Folks Are Celebrating Special Events In Quarantine

by Elaine Roth
Originally Published: 
Birthday in isolation

We’re on pause. While we figure out how to co-exist with COVID-19 until that time that a vaccine can be found (quick and forever huge thank you to all the scientists around the globe racing to find a vaccine), we’re reshaping and redefining our lives to keep ourselves and our families safe.

But even in this great pause, we’re living. We’re celebrating. We’re finding joy, even though some mornings we wake up and it seems as if there couldn’t possibly be any joy to be found.

Because life is still happening, even in the pause. Birthdays, obviously, but also engagements and baby showers, weddings, bridal showers, big anniversaries, and almost everything in between. These big events don’t look the way we’d imagined them—it’s hard to even think about being in a room with a few dozen other people, let alone a few hundred—but they are happening: pandemic style.

Scary Mommy spoke to Lauren Pasternack of Lauren Perry Events to find out how some people have figured out how to celebrate their big moments, even when all the guests are virtual.

Andre Rambana, 23, C, introduces his future mother-in-law, Yanique Dunn, pictured live on phone, to the wedding officiate who will oversee his wedding to Jameila (Roache) Rambana, 22, L, at Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park in Washington, DC, on Friday, May 8, 2020.

Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post/Getty

She noted that the events industry has been hard hit, like so many other industries, and many of her clients are largely concerned with the decision to reschedule or not, and with the worry that their vendors may no longer be in business when it’s time to host events again. But also…they are celebrating.

She told the story of one client whose daughter’s Sweet 16 was affected due to the pandemic. Rather than canceling the vendors and not paying them, the hosting family decided to ask the DJ and magician to perform over Zoom. They also messengered favors to each guest.

One of Pasternack’s brides found a creative and hands-on way to keep her bridal shower happening. With the help of her florist, she had flower boxes delivered to each of her bridesmaids. The florist Zoomed with the group and taught them how to arrange the flowers.

Balloon vendors are finding creative ways to help moms-to-be celebrate. Some of these pregnant mamas are hosting Zoom baby showers surrounded by a halo of brightly colored balloons. Others are sitting on makeshift thrones surrounded by a gorgeous arrangement of brightly colored balloons for drive-by celebrations. It’s the not same as oohing over every adorable onesie—or sipping champagne while everyone else oohs over that adorable onesie, if that’s more your thing—but babies won’t wait until quarantine is over to make their appearance, and so the celebration can’t either.

And then there are the engagements. Moments that had been planned for months suddenly needed to be altered and re-fitted to fit a world harshly changed by a pandemic. Newly engaged Brooke in New York told the New York Times that her new fiancé sweated through an Instagram Live workout she was streaming for her clients—and a suspiciously large number of her family members—only to get down on his knee and propose at the end. Lia in Minnesota told the New York Times the story of her soon-to-be husband’s revamped plans after his initial idea to propose in Sanibel, Florida was canceled due to pandemic wrought travel restrictions. Pandemic or no, he made his own Sanibel complete with towels, folding chairs, a (virtual) view of the beach, and Hawaiian shirts, and he proposed in “Sanibel” as planned.

I never like to speak in absolutes, but I can pretty confidently say that no bride or groom dreamed to host their wedding over Zoom — however, that doesn’t mean weddings have been completely canceled. From figuring out what platform to use to host their wedding, to determining the legality of marriage over Zoom, quarantine weddings come with a different set of issues—namely more tech support and less worrying about whether there will be enough cake for everyone, but they can nevertheless be beautiful celebrations of love between a couple. Vows, speeches, and dance parties are not canceled. In an interview with Vogue, event planner Mindy Weiss reminded brides (and maybe all of us) that regardless of what happens, “don’t lose your sense of humor—if you are making the effort to make your dreams come true, have fun with it!”

We all want to celebrate our big milestone, special occasions with our families. We all want to feel safe to hug our friends and smush together to pose for a photo that may or may not get plastered all over social media. But for now, we can’t.

But sometimes special occasions can’t be canceled. And sometimes, we just don’t want to because we’re living, even while we’re quarantining.

We don’t know when we can celebrate our big events live and in person. We don’t know a lot, actually. But we do know the day will come. And when that day comes—I’m getting a magician.

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