Couple downsize wedding after shutdown furloughs groom

Published 1:47 am Thursday, January 17, 2019

Andalusia locals Traneshia Stoudemire and Chantz Birch have begun to downgrade their wedding plans after Birch was furloughed during the government shutdown.

The couple met in Andalusia at USA Gym and dated for four and a half years before Birch proposed to Stoudemire on Nov. 20, 2018.

Birch is a government worker at a local company and Stoudemire is a teacher at Andalusia Elementary School. The two planned to marry at The Barn at Water Oaks Farm, but had to downsize the wedding.

“The Barn is very expensive,” Stoudemire said. “But it is a really nice venue. Now we decided to downgrade and go with a cheaper venue. We decided on going with the Opp Train Depot because it is much cheaper. The only problem is that The Barn will not give us back our deposit that we put down.”

Right now, Stoudemire is the only one working.

“We only have one source of income right now,” Stoudemire said. “My fiancé is not working because of the shutdown, so all of our saved money for the wedding is being put towards bills and things like that.”

All of the things that go into a wedding that she has looked into require a deposit, so they can’t book them.

“We can’t really book our photographer, because you have to pay a deposit,” Stoudemire said. “We can’t book a caterer yet, so we are just holding off to see when the shutdown is going to end. Right now the family might have to do the catering, I don’t want that because I want them to be able to enjoy the wedding as well, but we can’t afford $4,500 for a caterer.”

Even though Birch is furloughed, Stoudemire said that he did not want to file for unemployment.

“He said that he might find a side job that he could work at temporarily,” Stoudemire said. “But he said that he didn’t want to file for unemployment because then you have to deal with all of the paperwork and paying them back whenever the government does open again. I have been tutoring on the side just to make as much as I can.”

Stoudemire said that the one income is adding stress to the relationship.

“One income is definitely hurting us,” Stoudemire said. “The other night for the first time he said, ‘This is really stressing me out.’ I mean we still have to order invitations, so that will be another thing, then catering, having a D.J. and all of the other wedding stuff.”

The shutdown hasn’t put a toll on their relationship, but now finances are the only things that the couple has been talking about.

“The majority of our conversations now are about the wedding,” Stoudemire said. “Which it shouldn’t be; we should still have time to sit on the couch, watch T.V. and not stress about it all the time.” 

The couple still plans to have their wedding June 8.

Yesterday, the president signed into law a bill approved by both houses of Congress last week that calls for employees to receive back pay when the government reopens.