One couple's self-uniting marriage in Pittsburgh, another's virtual wedding in Harlem, and yet another's willingness to spend time at a county jail in Raleigh, N.C. These were just some of the ways determined couples around the country found to be legally married, despite the fact that the coronavirus had forced them to cancel, postpone and reschedule much larger and elegant affairs.
In the face of impending state shutdowns and social-distancing requirements, some couples plowed ahead. Like the couple who were married in a Roman Catholic church in Madison, Wis., and whose first dance took place in the parking lot outside of the church, the music blaring from a car radio, as their wedding guests all cheered from their own cars.
And there were those, like a police officer and a nurse on Long Island who decided to quickly marry in her driveway, rather than continue planning a more elaborate wedding. The next morning, they both went to work, feeling their time was better served trying to save lives along the front lines of the battle against Covid-19.
What follows are a few of the stories of these weddings and the couples' dreams for life ahead. VINCENT M. MALLOZZI
Reaching for Something Tangible
Nikita Raman and James Kennedy walked out of their Pittsburgh home for what appeared to be, as Ms. Raman put it, "our government-allowed-five-minute exercise time."
With stay-at-home rules in place until further notice because of the effects of the coronavirus, Ms. Raman, 25, a second-year medical student at the University of Pittsburgh, and Mr. Kennedy, 27, an energy-storage engineer at Mitsubishi, used their sparse outdoor time to put forth a different kind of exercise.
Standing alongside two witnesses, their friends, Amanda Kusztos and Aviva Hakanoglu, Ms. Raman and Mr. Kennedy, who had been dating for more than six years after meeting at Dartmouth, exercised their right to marry each other in a self-uniting ceremony that took place at the intersection of Elmer Street and Urn Way.
"We love each other, and we have plans for a big wedding celebration in September," Ms. Raman said. "But we've been at home reading and watching the news a lot lately, and it has become clear that no one really knows what's going to happen with the virus. So just in case, for some reason, that our September event doesn't happen, we have already been married."
Mr. Kennedy put it a bit more succinctly. "Under oppressed circumstances," he said, "you just have to reach out and grab something that's tangible."
They decided to marry on April 3, a 60-degree evening beneath a fading sun that allowed Ms. Raman, who grew up in Marlboro, N.J., enough daylight to exchange vows with Mr. Kennedy, who was raised on Manhattan's Upper West Side.
After the ceremony, the first phone calls Ms. Raman and Mr. Kennedy made were to their parents, Meghan and Marc Raman of Plainsboro, N.J., and Patricia Taylor and Allen Kennedy of Manhattan.
"I will share my life with yours, and build our dreams together," the groom said to his new bride, as neighbors began appearing on their front porches to watch the impromptu ceremony.
"I promise to give you respect, love and loyalty," said the bride, who then joined the groom in reading one of their favorite poems, "The Master Speed," by Robert Frost.
They said, together: "From one another once we are agreed, that life is only life forevermore, together wing to wing and oar to oar."
Vincent M. Mallozzi
Everyone Stayed Home for This One
Less than a month ago, Anne-Karine Dabo, 40, who lives in Harlem with her boyfriend, Scott Webster, 43, was in no hurry to get married.
Ms. Dabo, a Canadian, and Mr. Webster, an Australian, had lived together for four years. (Their 7-month-old daughter, Chloe Margaret Dabo Webster, was born in the United States, and is an American citizen.)
"The subject of marriage never really came up," she said. "There were never any concrete plans in the works."
But then came the coronavirus, which triggered in Ms. Dabo "a deeper appreciation for family and togetherness," as she put it, and a sudden desire to be married. So, while most couples postponed or rescheduled their weddings, Ms. Dabo found herself in the rarest of categories, wanting to get married because of the virus, not in spite of it.
Mr. Webster, whose first marriage, in Perth, Australia, ended in divorce but produced a daughter, said he had no problem obliging Ms. Dabo's marriage request. "I've always been a bit of a contrarian," he said, "so getting married at a time when others were calling off their weddings was kind of fitting in a way."
Ms. Dabo, who is from Montreal, said she had been "bottling up" her emotions for most of March, but could no longer after the Canadian border was closed to nonessential personnel. "That's where I'm from, where my parents live," she said.
In search of a functioning city clerk's office at a time where most businesses, churches and other places where people gather, had-been long-shuttered, Ms. Dabo finally hit pay dirt when Thomas Quiñones, a city court judge in Yonkers, N.Y., just north of the Bronx, answered their call, and scheduled a March 31 appointment for the couple to obtain a marriage license.
But they were not yet legally married, and by rule, the earliest they could return there to marry was April 2, though Judge Quiñones, took into account the couple's young child and a stay-at-home rule that was now being practiced by many states across the country. He allowed them to stay home on April 2, choosing instead, for the first time in his career, to marry a couple on FaceTime, using computers that allowed him to officiate, and the couple to exchange vows from their respective homes.
"On top of everything else, they were a lovely, lovely couple," Judge Quiñones said. "I have noticed that during these difficult times, folks have different reasons than the typical ones for getting married — as the future is uncertain to all of us."
Vincent M. Mallozzi
A Surprise Ceremony in the Driveway
The parade of cars arrived around noon on April 5, about 50 slow-moving vehicles heading toward the driveway outside the home of Kelly Donohue, a nurse at NYU Winthrop Hospital, and Andrew Scheurlein, a Nassau County police officer.
Most of the guests thought they had arrived at Ms. Donohue's drive-by bridal shower in North Merrick, N.Y.
"Some of us were already dancing through the sunroofs of our cars," said Kiera Egan, a cousin of the bride. But at the sight of Ms. Donohue, 27, standing on her front lawn wearing a makeshift veil and white wedding dress, and Mr. Scheurlein, 29, standing beside her in a blue suit, they soon realized that they were actually at the couple's drive-by wedding ceremony.
"The way the climate was going in terms of the coronavirus, it seemed more and more likely that our venue was going to cancel on us," Mr. Scheurlein said of their original ceremony scheduled for June 5 at the Milleridge Inn in Jericho, N.Y, where nearly 300 guests were to be in attendance. "Kelly and I have both been working 12-hour shifts, if not longer, during this coronavirus battle, so we thought that before we went back to work and got so deep into helping those affected by the virus, that we wanted to be able to experience marriage for us and with our families. We also thought it might help to cheer things up."
His father, Richard Scheurlein, became ordained online and officiated in front of the couple's garage door, as their guests, including the bride's grandparents, Lois McDonald, 86, and John McDonald, 87, who live next door, all watched from a safe distance.
The very next day, the newlyweds were both back at their jobs, continuing to aid others in the battle against Covid-19.
"What we both do for a living is emotionally draining," Ms. Donohue said. "When we get around to it, we will have a much larger celebration with family and friends. But right now, we each have a job to do."
Vincent M. Mallozzi
A Wedding Hastily Rescheduled
Paul Schiller called it an "Oh-my-God moment."
It was the moment that prompted Mr. Schiller, 64, to marry Kathleen Hensel, 59, on March 22, instead of March 28, as originally planned, at St. Pius X Church in Loudonville, N.Y.
The moment was created not by divine entity, nor by the Rev. James Walsh, a Roman Catholic priest who stayed in the couple's presence, even in the absence of a best man, a reception hall, or 35 of the original 45 invited guests. (There was, however, a photographer there. "I'm going to need some proof that the kind of wedding day I had really happened," Ms. Hensel said.)
That Oh-my-God moment, Mr. Schiller said, was when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the "New York State on PAUSE" executive order . Among a 10-point policy to assure uniform safety for everyone was an order that nonessential gatherings of any size and for any reason should be canceled or postponed. It was effective March 22 at 8 p.m.
Just days before the edict, the governor had limited the number of people who could attend social gatherings to 10.
"We had to tell 35 of our friends and family members that they could no longer come to our wedding," Mr. Schiller said, "and we also had to scramble to push our wedding date ahead of the governor's deadline."
"In the meantime, the restaurant we were supposed to have our reception in, canceled, as did the restaurant at the hotel in Park City, Utah, where we were going for our honeymoon," he added.
When asked what he did for a living, Mr. Schiller's answer suggested that he would be much more help to New York State, its governor and the Covid-19-fighting world beyond: "I'm an entrepreneur working on a virus-killing, ultraviolet, disinfecting kind of thing that caters to the medical industry," he said. "Let's just leave it at that."
Ms. Hensel, a landscaper who lives with Mr. Schiller in an apartment in Voorheesville, N.Y., said that her most difficult and emotional wedding-related loss was that her big brother, Bill Hensel, a nurse who lives in Myrtle Beach, S.C., who was supposed to walk her down the aisle, couldn't attend.
"Our parents are deceased, so I don't have a father who could do that job," said Ms. Hensel, her voice starting to crack. "Bill has three sons, so he will probably never get that kind of opportunity again. It's really upsetting."
"But above everything else, Paul and I love each other," she said, "and somehow, we managed to get married."
Vincent M. Mallozzi
The Generosity of Strangers
Jerrod Pass, an Army recruiter, learned early on March 14 that there would soon be a ban on domestic travel for all military service members and civilian employees. Soon after he was in a group chat with his groomsmen — all while his fiancée, Victoria Covington, was asleep upstairs in their Chicopee, Mass., home.
"I didn't want to tell her until I was sure," said Mr. Pass, 25. "I didn't want to see her upset and tell her we probably couldn't get married."
The couple met on the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel in May 2018 when both lived in Virginia and had their first date the following month. They saw each other every night until August, when Mr. Pass moved to Massachusetts for work. A trip to Las Vegas that Christmas Eve led to an impromptu proposal.
"We were visiting her parents and we went to see the Bobby Rose show, its half performance, half open mic. They asked if I was going to propose. I'd said yes," Mr. Pass said. "They thought I meant that night. When the open mic part started they kept telling me to go up onstage. I sang 'Cruising', which I'd sung to her on our first date, then I got down on one knee."
They planned to marry April 4 at Sunset Gardens, an events space with a chapel in Las Vegas. All of the final arrangements had been made by February.
Besides him not being able to travel, there were talks of lockdowns and restrictions on group gatherings.
"We'd spent a year planning a wedding that wasn't happening and had lost a lot of money and didn't have funds for another," said Ms. Covington, 25, an outpatient clinician at Clinical & Support Options, a nonprofit mental health agency. "I only wanted two things: to be married and to hire a photographer. I value pictures."
So, on March 15, Ms. Covington called Dani Klein-Williams , a photographer in Northampton, Mass., to see if she could photograph them at the nearby Chicopee City Hall, where they thought they would be getting a license and marrying.
Ms. Klein-Williams, wanting to give the couple more than a city hall elopement, called Tara Consolati , a wedding planner. Additional vendors were contacted. Flowers were donated, so was use of Blantyre , an events space in Lenox, Mass. A videographer would film and live stream the ceremony to family and friends.
The couple still needed a license. They drove 15 minutes north and obtained one of the last licenses issued by the Springfield City Hall, the day before it closed.
On March 20, at 5:15 p.m., the couple arrived at Blantyre. When they entered the room, neither could believe the generosity offered by a group of strangers. Ms. Consolati, ordained by the Universal Life Church, officiated, and was joined by the photographer, videographer and two others from the venue.
"What they created was beautiful and genuine," Ms. Covington said. "People forget the marriage is what's important. As long as I have the essentials, all the other stuff is a privilege."
Mr. Pass added one more thing: "I got to marry this beautiful woman. Nothing was going to stop this moment."
A Dance in the Church Parking Lot
Joshua Bruecken and Sarah Christianson married March 21 in an almost empty Madison, Wis., church. But they were far from alone. Minutes after the ceremony, they had their first dance as husband and wife in a parking lot as friends watched from their cars.
Mr. Bruecken, a 31-year-old facilities director at St. Maria Goretti Parish in Madison, and Ms. Christianson, a 29-year-old underwriter at West Bend Mutual Insurance, met in a local bar and had been dating for the last four years. Before the coronavirus pandemic, they had planned to be married May 2 and host a reception for 350 friends and family members.
They also planned a honeymoon in Italy, but then reconsidered as the virus spread and travel restrictions increased. Ireland was their next choice, and then that, too, was out. They considered moving their wedding date to accommodate for a honeymoon, but as Ms. Christianson noted, "neither of us was excited about waiting an undetermined amount of time."
Then after learning Wisconsin's state-mandated shutdown was coming and not wanting to postpone their long-planned wedding for an unknown date in the future, they decided to wed before the shutdown happened.
The were married in Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church in Madison, at a full Mass performed by the Rev. Samuel Hakeem, with only their parents, two of their siblings and a lone musician in attendance. The bride wore green, as her wedding dress was not yet ready.
Many of their 350 guests watched a live stream on Zoom, which was shot by the bride's brother. As friends and family watched, some dressed as if they were actually at the wedding and reception.
Sheila Wenger, 45, a first-grade teacher's aid who lives in Fitchburg, Wis., and has worked with the groom for the last year, said the idea of dressing up to watch the live feed was sparked by a joke she made with a few of her work colleagues. "A few hours before the wedding we were texting and someone wrote, 'The wedding is at 2.' I said, 'OK, I'll try to find an old bridesmaid's dress and get dressed up and watch it.'" And she did, as did several other teachers and their husbands. "My husband thought I was a total dork," Ms. Wenger said, "but it was a lot of fun."
Several guests drove to the church to give the couple an 18-car "reception parade," driving in a circle around the parking lot as the couple exited the big double doors. One driver blasted the couple's first-dance song, Jason Mraz's " I Won't Give Up ." The newlyweds danced in the middle of the lot, giving them some semblance of normalcy, and a great story for their children one day.
The Most Important Thing? Getting Married
When Tess Weiner and Zachary Crane met at the house of a mutual friend in Quogue, N.Y., in the summer of 2016, both were soon to begin their final year of graduate school. She was finishing a degree in social work at N.Y.U. and he was at Vanderbilt, from which he received both a law degree and a master's degree in finance.
The two spent Friday night and all day Saturday together. Both knew there was something special. "We were very open with each other, very honest with each other," said Ms. Weiner, a social worker in the Head Start program at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House. "I thought, 'There's something different about this one,' within weeks of meeting him, and then that turned out to be true."
The couple, now both 27, dated until Mr. Crane had to return to school in Nashville. When he came home for Thanksgiving, she suggested that they hang out Friday evening. "I said, 'I want a full day,'" said Mr. Crane, a managing director and the senior legal counsel at Dwight Capital, a real estate lender in New York. Both view that date as a turning point in their relationship.
After both graduated and he had returned to his parents' house in Kings Point, N.Y., to spend the summer studying for the bar, they developed a regular date night. She'd take the train to Great Neck, and they'd go for sushi pizza, maybe a little wine, at a place his family has been patronizing for 30 years. "We always sat at the same table," he said.
The couple had originally planned to marry on April 4 at Heritage Club at Bethpage in Farmingdale, N.Y., with 250 guests. They were reluctant to simply postpone to a later date. "The most important thing for us was getting married and we didn't want to wait," Mr. Crane said. "We always felt that 'fiancé,' 'boyfriend-girlfriend,' these titles weren't strong enough to represent our commitment to each other, and how we feel about each other."
So the couple, their parents, their siblings and the officiant, Rabbi Robert S. Widom, convened at Temple Emanuel of Great Neck on March 21, and with everyone maintaining suggested distances they were married. They streamed the ceremony live to about 100 friends and family. The bride wore a white dress, though not her wedding dress, and the groom wore a suit, not his wedding tuxedo. Afterward, the wedding party shared a glass of champagne in the synagogue's parking lot. Again, at a careful distance.
And then the newlyweds headed to East Quogue, N.Y., not far from the place where they had met, to a house they had rented the day before their marriage. They plan an entire month of honeymooning in place.
They haven't yet been able to reschedule the ceremony before friends and family, with so many other couples also working to do the same thing. "It's really all up in the air," Ms. Weiner said.
Mexico Will Have to Wait
Kimberly Pirtle had flown to Berlin for a few days in 2015 to participate in a 10-kilometer running race, and, as was her habit, logged into Tinder to get tips from locals on what she ought to see there, "as a tour-guide service," she said. "I rarely met up with the people I matched with."
Malte Gabriel responded, telling her that in the next couple of months he would be relocating for his job to New York, where she had lived. He suggested a favorite bar that she might visit. He also asked if she would like to go for a jog with him at 10 o'clock at night.
She was horrified and declined. "I thought that he was a serial killer," she said. (It turns out he'd made the proposal with the idea that between her recent arrival to Berlin's time zone and her intention to run a race, the late hour might be an appealing accommodation, instead of the more customary cocktails.)
After she left Germany — her performance at the race was "leisurely," she said — he emailed her every couple of weeks. They learned a few things about each other. He found her courteous if not eager; she found him persistent. And by the time he had moved to New York and jokingly told her that it was a tradition for locals to take new arrivals out for ice cream, she relented.
The two went bar hopping in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where he had lived, and found that they never ran out of things to talk about. He gave her a ride back to his apartment on the handlebars of his bicycle, and then she took an Uber home. It was 3 a.m. on a weeknight.
"Already the first date, I was like, 'Wow, what a woman,'" said Mr. Gabriel, now a product manager at 7Park Data, a data and analytics firm in New York.
Ms. Pirtle, now the senior manager for client development in New York for Prada, also was taken. "We spent the whole date just talking, but the thing that I think we both remember from the date is how we had the same major in undergrad, which was economics, and we discussed what our favorite course was, both practical reasoning and logic," she said. "And when we found that out, we had already begun falling in love."
Their relationship ambled through the usual negotiations of jobs, grad school and relocations. They were engaged in December 2018, on the night before leaving the first apartment that they had shared, in Boston, where she was studying for an M.B.A. at Harvard.
The Coronavirus Pandemic: Key Things to Know
Around the world. Austria is nearing the approval of a vaccine mandate for almost all adults , putting it on the path to be the first European country with such a wide-reaching mandate. In France, where a presidential election looms in April, officials set a timeline to lift restrictions over the next few weeks.
They had planned a March 21 wedding at a vacation rental in Merida, Mexico, where her family originally from Detroit and his from a German village of 450 would meet. Instead, on March 18, the two were married at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau.
"There was something to be said about not allowing this pandemic to cancel our union," she said. "A wedding is great, it's a celebration of a union, but at the end of the day, a marriage is about the coming together of two. We didn't let the pandemic take that away from us."
Hurrying Up in Hobe Sound
Ann Bresnan and Nicholas Young were quick to change their wedding date before the coronavirus took hold of the United States.
"We knew about the virus, we knew it was spreading, and that's all we needed to know," said Ms. Bresnan, 72, who married Mr. Young, 73, on March 9 at St. Christopher's Catholic Church in Hobe Sound, Fla., where they live.
Ms. Bresnan, whose first marriage ended in divorce, was a widow when she married Mr. Young, a widower, with whom she has been friends for more than 40 years.
They had initially decided to marry in Hobe Sound on March 16, which turned out to be the first day that New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, coordinating with New Jersey and Connecticut, limited gatherings to no more than 50 people in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19.
News from New York is always of particular interest to Ms. Bresnan, a retired real estate agent and mother of five. Her youngest daughter, Lindsay Benedict, 40, lives in Brooklyn, but is currently in Lisbon, Portugal, along with her 4-year-old daughter, Simone. Both are in quarantine and Ms. Benedict, a single mother, is pregnant.
"She's due in July," Ms. Bresnan said. "She told me that Simone often gets bored and looks out of a window in their apartment and shouts at anyone she sees, "Do you speak Brooklyn?"
Ms. Benedict, who is a part of the Zaratan artist-in-residence program in Lisbon, and her young family arrived there on Feb. 28 and were supposed to be back in Brooklyn on March 28. The virus "has changed everything, and just devastated people's lives," Ms. Bresnan said, choking back tears.
Mr. Young, a father of three who is retired as a partner in Spencer Stuart, an executive search firm based in New York, also has a daughter, Lacey Young, who is 30 and living in Brooklyn.
"While we are very concerned about the girls, we know where they are and that they're safe," he said. "It won't be long before this virus is gone, and they are here."
Vincent M. Mallozzi
Less Than a Minute in Manolo Blahniks
Emma Cucci had been saving her Manolo Blahniks for something special. And that something special was a 45-second wedding ceremony on March 19 at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau.
That's when she married Andrew Hessler, after the couple had hastily called off their April 4 wedding ceremony in her hometown Kalamazoo, Mich., where 200 invited guests would have watched the couple say their vows.
But the effects of the coronavirus pandemic were evident and, on March 11, the couple knew their original plans would need to change.
"Everything happened faster in New York than Michigan,'' said Ms. Cucci, 26, who until recently was the human resources manager and the executive assistant at Choosy, a fashion and technology company in New York.
"We were devastated," said Mr. Hessler, 31, an investments audit manager at Annaly Capital Management, a mortgage real estate investment trust in New York. "We wanted to be together, we wanted to get married before the virus took it away from us.''
On March 18, they raced to the marriage bureau from their East Village apartment to pick up the license to satisfy the required minimum 24-hour wait before the ceremony, and on their way out decided to get married the next day.
"Oh man, this was all unwinding with speeds we did not expect," Ms. Cucci said.
While they waited for their license in the bureau, they created a to-do list. Her first priority was a dress. With Mr. Hessler's input, and using her cellphone to peruse choices on the website of Zimmermann, a SoHo shop, she went with a floral dress. She said that Mr. Hessler "couldn't imagine her in anything else."
She already knew the shoes to pair with it, her never-worn silver-gray Manolo Blahnik flats.
"I was saving them for something special,'' she said. She had a tough time finding a florist to design a bouquet to match the floral print of her dress, but close to home, she said, Blue Meadow Flowers "took mercy on me" and designed a "gorgeous little bouquet of mostly yellow and light orange roses."
"I wanted to remember the day and look back on it as my most beautiful confident self," said Ms. Cucci, who also lined up the BAM Wedding Photography duo and the in-home beauty service Glamsquad to do her makeup at 6:30 a.m.
As she got ready the next morning, Mr. Hessler picked up her favorite iced coffee with almond milk from Tompkins Square Bagels. (He knew the order from their first date on July 4, 2017, at Black Cat Cafe, after meeting online). Before they left their apartment she dug into her jewelry box for anything resembling two wedding bands, and pulled out two silver rings, the kind that turn your finger green.
"We walked into an absolutely empty marriage bureau,'' Ms. Cucci said. But they did see " their two photographers and Mr. Hessler's parents, who live in New Jersey, standing there.
"It was a 45-second ceremony," she said. "But, I didn't care how I was going to marry him, April 4 or March 19. I was thrilled to be his wife."
Rosalie R. Radomsky
A Holiday Wedding After All
Audrey Arya and Samuel Cohen had wanted their nuptials to coincide with Nowruz, the Persian New Year, as the bride's family is Persian. Their wedding did indeed take place on the holiday, which celebrates the equinox and arrival of spring, but the coronavirus pandemic forced a change in plans anyway.
They had intended to marry March 20 in the courthouse in Bethesda, Md., near their residence, but it began requiring appointments. Instead, they obtained a license in a different county, Anne Arundel, which includes Annapolis, and then enlisted a family friend, James R. Degges, who was ordained online through American Marriage Ministries, for the event.
"Because I'm Persian, Nowruz is kind of a big deal," said Ms. Arya, 35, a literacy teacher at Roscoe Nix Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md. The holiday is a celebration of the equinox and spring.
The couple had originally hoped to be married in Istanbul, where the bride's parents, who live in Isfahan, Iran, would be allowed to travel. But after their engagement in December 2019, they found that they didn't have enough time to put together an international wedding.
Ms. Arya, who is a widow, and Mr. Cohen, 34, a candidate for a doctoral degree in physical chemistry whose thesis defense has also been postponed, initially met through the dating app eHarmony in May 2018, when he was on a fellowship in Grenoble, France.
"It was serendipitous that she happened to be living in Bethesda, 20 to 25 minutes from the University of Maryland," to which he would soon be returning for his studies, he said.
The two found a common love of literature, and were soon reading poetry to each other while on FaceTime.
"We could speak for hours without getting bored, without running out of things to say," Mr. Cohen said. "I got to know her and I think that's why I fell in love before I met her."
A Blooming Backdrop of Magnolias
May Overmyer and Will Gauthier, 23-year-old Brooklynites, were sitting in a Mexican restaurant in Washington on March 14 discussing details of their wedding, slated for May 2 at Georgetown Presbyterian Church in Washington. Ms. Overmyer's parents, Melissa and Dale Overmyer, were there as well.
The future bride noted that she had sent out 200 invitations. The groom was proud that his father, the Rev. Mark Gauthier, a Protestant minister, would be leading the ceremony, followed by a reception at the Overmyer family home.
Love was clearly in the air, but so was the coronavirus. Ms. Overmyer already had to readjust some of her plans. She completed only half of a yearlong internship in Thailand with International Justice Mission before the coronavirus outbreak forced her to return home in January.
"I told May and Will that they needed a new plan, one that involved getting married sooner," Melissa Overmyer said. "As soon as I said it, you could see these sparks of light dancing in May's eyes," she added. "It was clear that she liked what she was hearing."
So did Mr. Gauthier, who works for a software company in Manhattan. He and Ms. Overmyer had met at the King's College, a private Christian liberal arts college in Lower Manhattan.
Mr. Gauthier immediately called his mother, Kristi Gauthier, and his father, who live in Orlando, Fla., to explain the plan, and both said they were on board. The two families talked quick logistics and determined that Wednesday, March 18 would be the couple's new wedding date, and that it would still take place in Washington.
The scramble was on. "All I had packed for that weekend was a pair of jeans," Mr. Gauthier said.
"I jumped into the car and spent nearly an entire day looking for a suit and shoes and tie for the wedding," he said, "while May got her hair and nails done, stuff like that." Ms. Overmyer already had her wedding dress at her parent's house.
By the time their new wedding day arrived, the virus had shut down Georgetown Presbyterian Church, so the couple decided to have their ceremony among the flower in Washington.
Nine people, including the bride and groom and the wedding party, managed to make it to the ceremony.
With many restaurants closed, except for deliveries or takeouts, it seemed as if there would be no reception. But someone knew a friend who knew a friend who was able to steer the wedding party to a local restaurant, where the owner allowed them to dine in the upstairs area of his establishment, behind closed doors.
"I have to admit, I felt kind of uneasy eating in there, but it was a wonderful treat after a long, wonderful day," Ms. Overmyer said. "Hey, at least we can say we were under the 10-person-limit for crowd gathering."
Vincent M. Mallozzi
Last Chance at the Jailhouse
Katy Campbell and Ryan Jernigan will try once more, on Aug. 8, to have a ceremony in Raleigh, N.C., as their originally planned wedding date, March 21, was rescheduled because of restrictions stemming from the coronavirus.
Despite much chaos and lost time, the itineraries created for both wedding days are still very much the same.
For instance, Ms. Campbell, 27, and Mr. Jernigan, 35, are still getting married at the Cannon Room, an events space in Raleigh, and the bride will still wear her white, strapless-laced wedding dress by BHLDN, and the groom's blue Tommy Hilfiger suit is pressed and ready to go.
Ms. Campbell, a marketing strategist with VisionPoint Marketing in Raleigh, also said that the guest list and caterer are still the same, and Mr. Jernigan the manager of the Apple Store in Raleigh, where the couple first met 10 years ago while working there, rebooked their Sri Lanka honeymoon for Aug. 10. (They were engaged in November 2018 in Thailand.)
In fact, the only major difference between both wedding days is the ceremony itself. Though the Aug. 8 affair will include an exchange of vows, the couple were already legally married on March 17 at a county jail in Raleigh.
"I know that sounds crazy, but despite the fact that we rescheduled the wedding, we really wanted to be married," Ms. Campbell said. "But by the time we got to the courthouse, everything was closed because of the virus, and a security guard there told us that the only place left where a judge could legally marry us was two miles away, at the Wake County Detention Center."
So off to jail they went, Ms. Campbell dressed in a black floor-length tulle dress and Mr. Jernigan in his Tommy Hilfiger suit. The judge allowed the couple to FaceTime their brief ceremony to Lana Jernigan, the groom's mother, who lives in Fayetteville, N.C., (his father, Tony Jernigan, is deceased), and the bride's two mothers, Donnetta Campbell and Martha Vogt.
Immediately after the wedding the couple went home and placed themselves under self quarantine. Ms. Campbell, who has multiple sclerosis, said she is at greater risk of contracting the coronavirus.
"What a way to start a married life," Ms. Campbell said, laughing. "But the bottom line is that we wanted to be married, and somehow, we managed to get it done."
Vincent M. Mallozzi
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