Billy Spannagel and Amanda Richey

Billy Spannagel, left, and Amanda Richey aren't letting the pandemic keep them down as they couple plans their nuptials in spite of the constant unknowns. 

Planning a wedding can be stressful enough under normal circumstance. There are bridesmaids’ dresses to choose, venues to book, catering to find and a thousand other things that have to be done to pull together the perfect modern nuptials.

But planning a wedding in 2020, when circumstances have been anything but normal, has created an unimaginable amount of stress for couples trying to get everything in line for their big day.

One local couple has been dealing with this added stress by reminding each other why they fell in love in the first place, and holding on to that feeling as tight as they can.

Before Amanda Richey met Billy Spannagel, she was a self-professed “bundle of nerves.” A mutual friend had set them up on a double date and, while they knew of one another because of their performance backgrounds, they had never met. That was January 2019, and by August Billy had proposed.

It didn’t take long at all for the couple to form a deep bond. According to Richey, they knew early on in their relationship that they would one day tie the knot. And, on Aug. 18, in the spot where they shared their first kiss, Billy took to one knee and popped the question. And that was it. Almost the next day Richey began making plans for the wedding and, before anyone had ever even heard the words COVID-19, a date was set for June 6, 2020.

But then, everything changed.

“I just had so many questions during these unknown and unpredictable times, as we all did,” Richey said. “’Do I go ahead and reschedule now? Do I wait patiently and hope for the best? What restrictions will there be? Will all of the vendors still be able to provide the supplies and services and be able to get them in time for our day?’ It was overwhelming.”

An uncertain future, one that was changing every day, upended the couple’s planning. The pandemic touched nearly every aspect of their plans. Social distancing measures could mean that they would need to reduce their guest list. Courthouse closures meant that they might not be able to secure a marriage certificate. Business closures would impact catering services and their venue. It was overwhelming.

“I have had my moments where the overwhelming feeling has become too much to process and handle, leading me to spiral into a bit of a meltdown. Billy has been there every step of the way to just hold me and let me get it out of my system. He reminds me to just take it day by day and that no matter what, at the end of the day, we have each other,” Richey said.

Through it all Spannagel has been focused on keeping his bride-to-be from being crushed under the weight of the stress. Doing what he can to remind her that, in the end, all that matters is that they have each other.

“My main concern was Amanda, and trying to make sure that I could remain calm for her and comfort her during this time. She is a planner and has been working so hard for months to plan the perfect day to celebrate our love and it was difficult to watch her worry and stress about what to do and how to proceed with wedding plans,” Spannagel said.

Reminding each other daily that they still have each other, regardless of the unknowns, has been a tremendous help for both of them. And it hasn’t been all bad, according to Richey, because there has been one unforeseen side effect of the pandemic that has been a boon.

“We have had more time to spend together as a result of the pandemic,” Richey said.

Richey and Spannagel are elementary teachers by day and teach private lessons by night, so before the stay-at-home orders their time together was limited. But now they are getting to spend more quality time together.

“I also feel that going through this time will only make us stronger as a couple and will help prepare us to face challenging times ahead that are to come throughout our lives together. Life always has a way of throwing obstacles your way and hopefully this will just better prepare us to be able to take those hurdles together in stride,” Richey said.

The couple’s wedding is still scheduled for June 6 in Duncan. There will likely be modifications that have to be made regardless, and it is still possible that they will have to cancel their plans and reschedule.

“We haven’t changed anything yet because it seems counterproductive at this point to change something and then possibly have to change it again once we receive more information on the state’s restrictions and guidelines,” Richey said. “At this point we still don’t know how many of our guests will be able to or allowed to attend. And that makes it difficult to coordinate with all the other aspects of the planning process.”

While it seems like a dire situation, Richey and Spannagel recognize that, in the grand scheme of things, they have been lucky. Both recognize that other couples have already had to cancel their big days, and for them they send words of encouragement and love.

“Our hearts go out to them and we wish them love, happiness and the very best in the rescheduling of their weddings,” Richey said. “We are and will continue to be thinking of them and would like to let them know that even though plans may have changed, that their love for one another hasn’t changed. Love isn’t canceled.”

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