by Kevin Burton
What do white lace and promises look like in a global pandemic? Sarah Studley is happy to tell you.
She was one of many brides to have her wedding reception cancelled by virus protocols in 2020. But the Baltimore woman wore her wedding dress to another special occasion last month, her Covid 19 vaccination.
Have no doubt, she was the belle of the ball.
“For me, it was a celebration,” Studley said. “There were so many low moments during the pandemic, so many things that got canceled. This dress, if nothing else, represents hope.”
You’ll notice perhaps that Studley spoke of the pandemic in the past tense there. That’s something I am not ready to do, even with the progress made possible by vaccines.
But hope has been in such short supply since the world learned the scope of the threat from the virus in March of last year. We should all be thankful to her for providing a little.
There has been no better symbol of hope than Studley, beaming behind her mask I am sure, in her white polka dot dress.
The University of Maryland Medical System shared photos of her receiving her shot in her white gown, which gained widespread attention online.
Studley’s 15 minutes of fame continued courtesy of CBS This Morning, where co-host Gayle King showed pictures and called the wedding gown “a very pretty dress.”
Over time last year Studley came to terms with the difficult decision first to postpone, then to cancel the big ceremony, planned for Nov. 14, 2020 with husband Brian Horlor.
“It just didn’t feel like it was going to be possible to have a wedding that was both safe and fun,” Studley told WJZ-TV in Baltimore.
Plans were shifted. “We basically still got married but we had to move it to the county administration building and they are only open Monday through Friday, so we got married Friday, Nov. 13,” Studley said.
So, her wedding dress went into the closet, where it stayed until she decided to pull it out for this other momentous occasion.
“I knew this was the dress I would wear,” she said. “No pretty dress should sit in your closet forever unworn.”
So for Studley it was “here comes the bride” and “left arm please” in one big hopeful day in lace.
“White lace and promises” is of course a line from “We’ve Only Just Begun” a Carpenters song played at hundreds of weddings in another generation, in a space and time seemingly far, far away, far removed from Covid 19 and mass vaccination sites.
Studley, 39, was born and raised in Napoleon Township, Michigan. She said several people from her home area got in touch with her after the national notoriety.
“My high school principal, my high school drama teacher both reached out,” Studley said. “Friends from high school have reached out, lots of people have reached out.”
What’s even better, Studley hopes that hearing her story will inspire local Southeast Michigan residents to go get vaccinated as COVID-19 cases have surged again there.
“I feel like I’m this country mouse from Napoleon all dressed up,” Studley told Michigan Live. “If I can get one person in Jackson to go get vaccinated, then that will make me feel totally happy with my decision.”
For now, Studley and her husband have no plans to have a big wedding ceremony. Every bride wants that special day, but Studley has things in perspective.
“The wedding is a party and it doesn’t make the marriage,” Studley said, “and so the marriage is the thing that’s really important and keeping your friends and family safe is also important.”