Advice & Planning

D Magazine President Gillea Allison Reflects on Love in The Time of Covid

Gillea Allison and James Ray
October 9, 2020

“So, how’s wedding planning going with, you know, everything going on?” is the question my fiancé, James, and I got asked most last year. (In case it needed clarification, everything was a euphemism for the global pandemic.)

A little context: My coworkers, friends, and loved ones would probably all agree that I’m a true Type-A personality. I coordinate the friend gatherings and family road trips; I live and die by my calendar. Admittedly, I hired our wedding planner before we were even engaged. I had my dress picked out the day after our engagement. You get the point.

After quickly deciding on a date, venue, and all-star vendor team, we were preparing to send out save-the-dates when everything came crashing down. Seemingly overnight, plans were upended and timelines thrown out the window. The vision I had of our wedding day took on multiple scenarios, looks, and potential settings. External events had forced me to become a Type B bride, and all I could do was go with the flow.


Plan A: A 200-person wedding at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Plan B: A six-person ceremony in her mother’s backyard, with a postponed celebration scheduled for September


I’ll be honest, it wasn’t all kumbaya. There is a real loss that many couples suffered as arrangements changed, numbers were cut, or friends and family joined them from behind a screen instead of beside them on the dance floor. But if you’ve gone through, or are going through, the same situation, I’ve found there’s also a lot that I gained.

First, an appreciation for my significant other. Our relationship is stronger for having endured the last year, and we learned (the hard way) what’s possible together.

Second, an appreciation for my vendors. I truly felt like they were going through this journey with me, holding my hand until we arrived at a plan that was right for us (in our case, postponing the big party until later this year). I always knew that Dallas brides and grooms were the luckiest to have this talent in our midst, but this experience only confirmed that.

Lastly, an appreciation for friends and family. Every time they asked the question, I gave them a different answer depending on the hour or the day. We ended up eloping in my mother’s backyard on October 9, and I think I gave the ringbearer’s mom all of one week to find him a suit. Our village is the true hero of this story—having gone with the flow right alongside us, and continually supporting us when I know they felt there wasn’t much left to give.

In our Spring/Summer 2021 issue, we profiled six couples, each of whom found their own ways of weathering the storm and honoring their love in a manner that was right for them. We’ll share their stories in this space over the coming weeks. If you’re reading this, uncertain of how your own plans will unfold, those couples—and my now-husband(!) and I—are proof that love prevails. Here’s to the start of your future, together.—Gillea Allison

Special thanks to our vendors, both those who “pivoted” with us—Branching Out Events, Fancy Cakes by Lauren, Jess Wegner Events, and Warren Barrón Bridal—and those with whom we’re looking forward to celebrating in September: Absolute Entertainment, Emerald City Band, Gil’s Catering, Paper Affair, and Perez Photography.

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