Something old, something new, something borrowed, something six feet away from you—the coronavirus public health emergency has forced countless couples who planned on getting married this spring to make the difficult decision to cancel or postpone their wedding ceremonies. Sure, rescheduling a ceremony isn’t a tragedy compared with the health and safety crisis currently facing the United States, but for couples who dreamed of their weddings for years, spent their savings, or even hoped to honor aging parents and grandparents while they could, shelving a wedding is a wrenching decision.
For some couples, canceling or postponing was clearly the right choice. But for other couples, seizing the moment and getting married now—even if friends and family can’t be present, even if there’s no time for a dress or a corsage, even if the threat of death looms over everything—just feels right. Getting married during coronavirus is nobody’s dream, but it’s been some couples’ lovely, fragile reality.
On balconies, through windows, in the produce aisles of halogen-lit supermarkets—couples have consecrated their love and bound themselves to each other in the face of the especially dark unknown. Here are a few of our favorite stories of couples getting married during coronavirus:
The couple who got married on the street
Reilly Jennings and Amanda Wheeler were married on the street, out a window, in under five minutes, by a friend who also happened to be an ordained Universal Life Minister. After four years together, the Manhattan couple had planned to marry in the fall, they told The Cut, but realizing that one of them might lose her job and insurance, they decided to marry quickly. Wheeler, a fitness instructor at a boutique gym, finished teaching a virtual class from her apartment and showered, and they were ready to go. One bride wore a borrowed jumpsuit; the other wore a jacket. Their officiant read a passage from Love in the Time of Cholera out a fourth story window. The neighbors cheered.
The couple who kept their wedding kosher—by having it in a supermarket
On March 14, the Israeli government banned gatherings of more than 10 people at a time to limit the spread of the virus. The exception was grocery stores, where up to 100 people were allowed to gather. In keeping with that rule, at least one couple got married in a local supermarket, inviting guests and a full band to celebrate on the brightly lit linoleum. Meanwhile, in a city in southern Israel, guests maintained appropriate social-distancing standards at an outdoor wedding by dancing from covered balconies.
The couple who had a virtual father of the bride
It’s a stiff competition, but Joel Young may have had one of the weirdest months of any of us. Young spent a month quarantined with 1,000 other people on the infamous Grand Princess cruise ship. He was released from his tiny cabin just in time to make it to his daughter’s wedding in Arizona—only to be quarantined on a military base in California. “When I called her and talked to her, and told her that I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to be able to make it, there were a lot of tears there,” he told Voice of America. The couple was not deterred. They located a remote-controlled robot, popped a tie on it, and dubbed it “Popabot.” Young attended the wedding from miles away through the robot, whose movement and vision he controlled. “You meet a challenge, you find the best solution you can. And you accept what it is, and you move on,” he said.
The couple whose neighbors rallied in support
Anastasija and Josh Davis canceled the DJ. They canceled the venue. They canceled on all the guests who hadn’t yet canceled on them. In deference to social-distancing rules, the Canadian couple got married in Josh’s parents’ living room in front of family and one friend, surrounded by white roses, Insider reports. Then, taking what they thought would be a short ride in their prepaid limo (to be fair, limos literally create a lot of social distance), they saw it—separated by their cars, their neighbors had formed a parade to celebrate the new couple. Friends and well-wishers waved pompoms and held signs with messages like “Nothing stops love.”
The couples who gave their weddings away
A couple in Yorkshire, England, fed their 400-person wedding feast of “hog-roasted sandwiches” and puddings to the hardworking staff of a local hospital. A couple in Miami donated their wedding meal, which they had planned to feed to 170 guests, to a local food bank. A couple in Austin donated their flowers to the senior living center nearby, where the bride’s grandmother and all other residents are in lockdown. A couple in Mississippi did the same. And one in Alabama. And one in South Carolina. And in Arizona.
No one dreams of getting married in a pandemic, but it is nice to know that there are still creative solutions, and generosity, and lots and lots of flowers.
Jenny Singer is a staff writer for Glamour. You can follow her on Twitter.