When the world shuttered unexpectedly last March, we were all told to hunker down in our homes and wait. While perhaps a little shocking at rst, I think there was also an element of excitement. We were to be home, snug, with the ones we love for a few weeks. We would cook, watch movies together, enjoy each other.

Well, that occurred to a greater or lesser degree for many. But what about those who didn’t have a family, a mate, a signi cant other to hunker down with? The prospect was lonely. Perhaps the need for love and companionship was never so stark as those weeks last spring when the world was on the precipice of something we had never seen before. The need to hold on tight to someone was real.

As the weeks wore on, however, even those locked down with a loved one had to reevaluate. Afterall, spending a lifetime with someone in the fullness of our normal routines is one thing. Spending 24/7 with them while we watch the world implode is another. Am I really that messy? Does he really talk that loud on the phone? Who laughs like that, anyways? Surviving COVID was also a little about surviving love, or the lack of it.

In this issue, we are celebrating love, and those who battled hard for it last year. We are featuring four lovely weddings, including our own Ashley Duval, who managed to salvage most of her dream wedding despite a lot of uncertainty. Others were not so fortunate; some went from lavish to simple with only a handful of loved ones present for their most special day. But all of these brides focused on the occasion’s abundance rather than its lack, and their stories are a good reminder that love can conquer all.

We are also sharing with you the stories of those who were, and are still, searching for love. For them, COVID changed the way they approached the search for a companion, and perhaps underscored the importance of connection, rather than distraction, that dating can provide. We hope they are successful in their search.

In the meantime, for those of you worried you will reemerge from the pandemic a little more caveman and a little less sophisticated, take heart. Never before have friends so longed to see each other, family been so important and meeting new people seemed more exciting. We have longed for each other— and an unshaven face and messy hair, spandex and a little less couth won’t matter when we once again have the full freedom to spend time together. Connection is what so many of us long for, whether it is with the companion of our heart or the world at large.

So, smile a little bigger and brighter as you go about your business. We are emerging, albeit slowly, from the weight of the past year. Let’s celebrate each other the best we can.

See you next month,

Angie Grenz