During their first semester at Instituto de Empresa (IE Business School) while working on graduate degrees in Madrid, Spain, soon-to-be-newlyweds Rory and Gigi met when they were placed in a workgroup together — and the rest was history. Now, four years after their relationship began, the couple's fall plans to get married in Perú, where Gigi is originally from, have since been postponed by COVID-19.
Though things haven't always been easy for the pair because of immigration, starting a skincare business together, and now, canceling their dream wedding because of the pandemic, they have always worked together as a team (maybe we should all be in a workgroup with our future spouses).
But through it all, they realized a lifetime of love is worth the ups, downs, and yes, even the wait to get married.With such a romantic story of two people falling in love abroad, I had to chat with Rory and Gigi to hear how having previously faced adversity helped keep their wedding in perspective as well as their best advice for those going through it themselves.
Q. You were supposed to get married in Perú in November, what were those plans supposed to look like?
"We were supposed to get married at the end of November, so the start of summertime in Perú. We were planning to get married at a stable called Hacienda Mamacona with about 200 guests. It was to be an outdoor wedding with a tented portion for dinner and dancing."
Q. At what point did you realize these plans weren't going to work? What were those emotions like for you both?
"We had to make the decision fairly early as we knew the implication of changing people's travel plans with short notice. So we made the decision at the end of May to postpone. It may have felt a bit preemptive at the time but certainly, the timeline of COVID has proven that it was a wise decision in hindsight."
Q. Do you have plans to have a smaller wedding or did you postpone until restrictions are lifted?
"We will just postpone until we feel it is safe for us and our guests to come to Perú and celebrate our wedding. We are in no rush as there is no urgent need to get married, and we'd prefer to wait and have the wedding that both of us have always thought of."
Q. What has been the hardest part about your pandemic wedding journey?
"Probably calling everyone to tell them that the wedding has been put off. In some cases, that was quite disappointing for people as they had organized trips around the wedding or had been really looking forward to it."
Q. What's one thing that kept you grounded and/or positive through everything?
"We had our business to focus on so we didn't have much time to sit and mope about what would've been. Neither of us has a 'woulda shoulda coulda' attitude when it comes to decisions we take jointly, as that can only negatively impact the relationship."
Q. How has this experience changed your relationship (if at all)?
"To be honest, because it was relatively easy to anticipate the global nature of COVID (remember, we saw it a month or two earlier than the U.S. did because of living in Madrid) we knew that this might happen. It hasn't impacted our relationship in a negative sense and I think has only made us more sure of the plans we have for next May. It has helped us focus on the growth of our business and allowed us to really focus on what is important to us day-to-day."
Q. You spoke of having faced difficult challenges together before the pandemic (i.e. immigration and starting a business together). How do you think these challenges helped you work through the stress of having to postpone your wedding? Do you think getting through those previous experiences together made it any easier?
"I definitely think challenges build resilience, it's like playing a sport, your body gets used to the resistance and becomes accustomed to overcoming it."
Q. What would you want to tell other couples who have fall weddings that are currently up in the air?
"Cancel them, reschedule. Your vendors will be willing to work with you and the sooner you are willing to make that call the easier it will be to secure allocation at the venue or with critical vendors for a new 2021 date."
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