As lockdown restrictions ease nationwide, couples are scrambling to reschedule weddings that had previously been postponed by COVID-19. To ensure they land a venue amid the nuptial rush, desperate lovebirds have planned to tie the knot on a questionable day: the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.
“Everyone is making the best of a situation,” Houston’s Brian Zager, 37, whose wedding is slated for 9/11, told the New York Times.
When his soon-to-be-spouse Suzie Cohen, 39, first approached him with the date, the podcaster was reluctant as he was interviewing the kids of the victims of the infamous terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001.
However, the pair has since come around as no other dates were available at their desired venue. This is perhaps unsurprising, given that 2021 saw twice as many people get married in the United States as during the year preceding the pandemic, in 2019, according to a study by The Knot.
By a similar token, New York’s Angeline Disante, 29, and her fiancé finally agreed on a September 11th wedding after COVID forced them to delay their big day twice in 2020, the Times reported. Similarly to Zager and Cohen’s situation, it was the only open day at their go-to event space in New Rochelle.
Naturally, it might seem insensitive to get hitched on the anniversary of the worst attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor — akin to holding a frat party at a funeral. There’s even an article on The Knot explicitly telling people to avoid getting married on September 11, 2021.
However, many wedding planners are willing to give a pass in light of recent events.
“I think most people are like, ‘Come on. There are a lot of horrible things happening in the world, and we’re so exuberant that we got through the pandemic,’” said Marcy Blum, a New York City-based wedding planner. “This year, people feel like they have a pass and whatever you need to do is fine.”
“Everyone wants to celebrate something,” said Björn VW, another NYC wedding planner, who immediately saved the September 11th date at a Brooklyn venue for a client who was originally scheduled to say “I do” in 2020, fearing that all the other fall dates would be gobbled up if they held off any longer.
Like eating an endangered species to keep from starving, many betrothed consider it a matter of survival.
Still, many couples have received backlash over their decision. “It’s uncomfortable every single time,” California bride-to-be Jazmin Castro told the Times about when someone asks when she is marrying her partner, Juan.
“Some people won’t say anything directly to me about the date, but I can see it in their reaction when I tell them,” the 22-year-old woman lamented.
In order to mitigate the negative association, other brides online advised Castro to say she’s “getting married on the 11th of September instead of saying September 11.”
The betrothed also said she’s “thinking of doing a moment of silence” during her wedding and is even speaking with the pastor about saying a prayer for the 9/11 victims.
Thankfully, most people seem to be hunky-dory with a September 11 wedding bash.
One COVID-19 bride posted a query in WeddingWire last April, asking if it was disrespectful to move her wedding to that date due to the lockdown. She received an overwhelmingly supportive response.
“I don’t think it’s disrespectful at all,” wrote one ride-or-die gal. “Life doesn’t stop just because something bad happened on that date years ago. If that were the case, nearly every day would be off-limits, because if you look back in history, bad things have happened on most days.”
Another chimed in: “I think people are always looking for good memories to have on days that stand out as being anniversaries of more somber events, so I would not hesitate to have a wedding on this date unless you are aware of guests having lost a loved one during the 9/11 attacks. If you don’t live near NYC or the Pentagon you are probably in the clear.”
VW, for one, says no one should fear getting married on September 11th, even if they can see the Tribute in Light — the annual 9/11 memorial display — in the background of their wedding ceremony.
Speaking about his September 11 wedding clients, he said, “I’m just happy now that my couple will be able to turn a negative experience into something positive for them that looks to the future.”
Wedding planners no doubt hope that the wedding-scheduling tsunami will help revive their flatlining profession. In 2020, the wedding industry saw a $30 billion drop from the previous year as couples canceled their big days and spent their wedding stipend on a variety of other ventures.