I got laid off from my day job in early July. The layoff news certainly blindsided me, and it didn't help that we were only offered 2-3 weeks of severance. Naturally, I was concerned for my family's finances, but the first thought I had was “Thank god I don't have any upcoming major life events.”
But what if you're a bride or groom or soonlywed that gets laid off right before the wedding? And what if there's not just one unemployed spouse, but two?
That's exactly what happened to one of my best friends and her husband. They want to be anonymous, so let's just call them Lily and Joe. They were both let go from the same company before their upcoming nuptials and were forced to figure out a new game plan in the midst of wedding planning.
I reached out to Lily, a software engineer, who generously offered to share the story of how she and Joe navigated job losses right before their wedding.
For anyone who's currently navigating a layoff, I'll give you a little spoiler: Lily and Joe are now both happily married and gainfully employed. (Oh and no big deal or anything, but Lily is now working at a huge tech company, most popular with their stake in search engine technology. You know the one!).
I've written on our sister site, Offbeat Home about how to navigate a layoff. But I hope Lily's story can help anyone dealing with the emotions of getting laid off before their wedding.
Here's Lily's story on how she was laid off before the wedding:
At first, we were shattered and scared, just feeling very panicked. We thought we were going to be completely broke, that we had no options, and generally felt like everything was falling apart.
But when we took a deep breath and a step back from the situation, it gave us an opportunity to develop a better understanding of what we really wanted out of our jobs — and more importantly, out of our new lives together.
Joe and I realized we needed a break from software engineering after a series of bad experiences in the industry. We were both really burnt out from our jobs. It was the kind of tech startup that expected you to dedicate your whole life, and we probably worked 10-13 hours every day.
Instead of jumping back into the job search, we took advantage of our new circumstances and took a break from software engineering. I definitely understand that a break isn't an option for everyone. But taking the time to reset ourselves by working in healthier environments (even if they were only paying minimum wage) was feasible for us.
Luckily we had some savings — not too much, but enough that we had time to figure things out. We had already paid most of our wedding expenses prior to the layoff, like the wedding dress, venue, reception, and invitations. So now it was pretty much normal bills that needed covering, plus other smaller wedding day essentials like gifts (for the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and the rest of the wedding party), and our honeymoon.
I worked as a waitress for the months leading up to the wedding, and Joe did quick gigs from Craigslist. We even took the occasional odd jobs just to make money, like driving for Uber and delivering flowers on Valentine's Day, just to name a few. Probably the most random job was when Joe was a demo rider for a virtual reality bike!
We also learned how to operate on a bare-bones budget. Even though we weren't married yet, in a way it was a great newlywed bonding experience.
To be honest, I think most of the lessons we learned were in retrospect. I was in a state of depression in my last job. Getting laid off gave us time to realize that where you work has such a huge impact on your mental health and how valuable an important work-life balance was.
Joe and I had to go through this to realize we'd rather have a healthy, happy work environment than be super wealthy. And when we were happier with our jobs, we saw significant improvement in our relationship at home, too!
My BIGGEST takeaway if you are coming out of a layoff: know that you have options. Something will work out and you'll look back at the hard times a bit fondly because it's during those times you figure out who you are and what you want.
Did you get laid off right before your wedding? Tell us in the comments how you navigated it!