AUSTIN, Texas — With the continuing spread of coronavirus, couples across the country are being forced to either cancel or postpone their weddings scheduled for the spring. 

  • Couple cancels dream wedding
  • Both are choosing to focus on positive aspects of life

While the decision to do so is hard, one bride is choosing to see the bright side of a difficult time.

Brand Newland and Katie Russell Newland of Austin are what you'd call a dating app success story. The two met online on Bumble, and quickly realized they found something special. 

“I joined Bumble, and 24 hours later saw his photo and was like ‘that one.’ He had a Cubs hat on and I’m a huge Cubs fan," said Katie Russell Newland. 

About two years later, Katie and Brand started planning their dream wedding, a destination celebration at a beautiful resort in Todos Santos, Mexico. Little did they know, their plans would soon change. 

“Two weekends ago we were really closely watching what was happening, and it was becoming clear that it just wasn’t a good idea,” Brand Newland said. 

Of course, neither of them could’ve predicted a global pandemic would derail nine months of wedding planning. They ultimately decided it wasn’t in the cards for them to tie the knot the way they envisioned. 

“We spent time sort of grieving the loss, there were certainly some tears, and then we made the decision that “Okay, let’s just turn this decision into a positive thing,” Katie Russell Newland said. 

Katie and Brand decided to draw on the luck of the Irish and become husband and wife on St. Patrick’s Day. The two walked to a nearby park, and were married by a retired judge. 

“We had an opportunity to go through our vows that we had written, just a private ceremony—as private as you could possibly get, and just spent some time together," said Brand.  

While the cancelation of their fairytale wedding is painful, Katie’s previous hardships in her life help put things into perspective. In 2005, Katie and her family lost everything when Hurricane Katrina hit.

“Having lost that childhood home and a place that brought so many great memories and all of our photographs, things of that nature, I think really put life in perspective and the loss of material things. So for example, the loss of money for the wedding and things we had purchased," Katie Russell Newland said. 

Life’s curveballs wouldn’t stop there. In 2012, Katie was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma and melanoma, and spent the next year in treatment. She did so without her mother, who lost her own battle to colon cancer just a few years prior.

“Going through cancer treatment without my mom there was certainly challenging in many ways, and also, I think her model on how to navigate that experience also helped me," said Katie.

After everything she’s endured, Katie certainly deserved the wedding she’d always dreamed of, but she and her now-husband have a greater appreciation for what they do have—each other.

"In life you can lose things and that’s not what’s most important," Katie Russell Newland said. "What’s most important is you’ve found your person, and know that no matter what else is going on in the world, you’re okay, you’re together and life will move on.” 

Which is exactly the same mindset Katie hopes to instill in other brides who are faced with the same reality of seeing their dream wedding slip away. 

“We feel your sadness, we understand your disappointment, hold on, something bigger is coming," said Katie Russell Newland. "We don’t have answers today, we don’t understand why this is happening, but one day, it will all make sense.”