Coronavirus Wedding Diaries: I’m a Respiratory Therapist, and I’m Getting Married This Fall

This bride-to-be works at Lankenau Medical Center and is on the front lines of COVID-19.

Bride and groom

Lauren Thompson is a Philadelphia-area respiratory therapist impacted by the coronavirus crisis. She is also planning for her fall wedding. Photography by Melanie Weitzenkorn for George Street Photo & Video

Garnet Valley resident and bride-to-be Lauren Thompson is a respiratory therapist at Lankenau Medical Center, and, over the last few months, she has seen firsthand the impact of the coronavirus crisis. Thompson, who you may have seen recently on Van Cleve Bridal’s Instagram—part of its efforts to highlight clients on the front line—is marrying fiancé Matt Locher on October 16th. And she’s had to weigh prepping for her upcoming wedding against her rigorous work schedule. Here, her story.

This story is part of Philadelphia Wedding’s on-going Real Talk series, where real Philly couples share their unique approaches to wedding planning and marriage. If you have a unique story or experience worth sharing, we’d love to hear about it.

Over the last five years, I’ve worked at Lankenau. I work in the ICU, ER, NICU, trauma and cardiac ICU, so each day can be a little different. Overall, the RT’s role is to monitor and treat patients with pulmonary issues. If a patient has difficulty breathing and requires a ventilator, we assist in intubation, monitor and modify the vent until the breathing tube can be removed successfully. 

COVID-19 has changed the atmosphere at work. People are scared. We are stressed, busy and exhausted. We take precaution to keep ourselves safe and not spread the virus. Some days I feel proud; some days I feel defeated. It is a very crazy time, and I will never forget this. 

I’m also planning for a wedding. We’re getting married at French Creek Golf Club with 150 of our closest friends and family. We haven’t booked our honeymoon yet because we want to wait until [the pandemic] is finally over.

It’s probably for the best because we cannot agree. Matt wants to go to Alaska, and I want to go to Greece. (Happy wife, happy life, so we’ll probably go to Greece.) 

Since I’ve had two years to plan my wedding, you would think most of it is done by now. But I like to think of myself as a very relaxed and low-maintenance bride, and I actually haven’t done too much. However, now I’m at the six-month mark and need to pick up the pace. But I can’t yet because I’m busy picking up extra shifts at work.

RELATED: A Guide to Philadelphia Weddings During the Coronavirus Outbreak

We need bridesmaid dresses but cannot go dress shopping. My bridesmaids try to keep wedding planning on schedule, but I’m distracted and busy at work. Also, I cannot help but feel guilty asking my bridesmaids to buy a dress right now, when half of them are out of work due to COVID-19.

It’s a mix of emotions. Sometimes I get a little bummed out thinking there is a chance my bachelorette party or bridal shower could be canceled. But then I’ll see something upsetting at work, and it really puts everything into perspective. 

Engagement photo

I’m glad my family is taking social distancing so seriously. My dad is immunocompromised, and I have been worried about him. The most important part of our wedding is our family being there, so we just want everyone to stay safe!

This will be over with sooner or later. [My advice to others is to] try to take advantage of your life not being so crazy. Enjoy getting to spend extra time together. 

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