In a time of such uncertainty thanks to COVID-19, some couples are deciding that they are certain of one thing—and that's that they want to get married, right away!
From South Africa to southern California, we spoke to 28 newlywed couples who decided to make it official ASAP, albeit with extra precaution and not exactly as they had originally planned. And while their weddings—like many couples forced to postpone or cancel amid the coronavirus pandemic—may not have looked as they had envisioned, their stories are heartwarming and inspiring nonetheless.
Shiran & Mike
On May 4, 2020, Shiran Teitelbaum and Mike Donaghey headed to none other than Las Vegas to elope, just the two of them. Naturally, they asked "Elvis" to marry them at the Fabulous Las Vegas sign—and, afterward, he even serenaded them with "Can’t Help Falling In Love." "We’ve learned that you can’t plan everything," admits the bride. "We put together our ensembles last minute from things we happened to have in the garage. From fake flowers that I yanked out of a vase to a $2 Halloween veil and kaftan I bought to lounge in from Etsy, it felt like the ultimate #quarantineweddingchallenge. We took the planning out of wedding planning, and it all worked out. Ultimately, we’re looking at this as our marriage, but we still have our wedding to look forward to next year."
Jasmine & Avneet
Jasmine and Avneet Singh stuck with their original wedding date, April 25, 2020—but their wedding was not the big Punjabi celebration in Huntington Beach, California, that they had planned. "The actual day was far from what we had ever imagined. Our 300-plus guest list shrunk down to just three. There was no procession led by my now-husband on a horse," she says. "But, just like that, in the midst of a pandemic, we managed to have a beautiful wedding."
After making the decision to postpone in early March, Jasmine admits that she didn't even think about a civil ceremony in New Jersey as all the courts were closed at that time. But, as their original date approached, her feelings—and, as a result, their plans—changed. "My fiancé and I just knew we couldn’t wait any longer, so wee found an officiant, took a stroll near the waterfront, and really 'saved the date,'" she explains. "After going through a rollercoaster of emotions, the final and most lasting one is contentment. We feel incredibly fortunate to have solidified our union even during the most uncertain of times. We know we can really tackle anything life may throw at us!"
Raziel & Jack
"We just flipped the numbers!" says bride Raziel Fuertez, who married Jack Lettenmair in an intimate ceremony at home on March 21, 2020, and postponed their wedding celebration to March 20, 2021. "Our venue allowed us to push the date within one year, so we wanted to move forward with the safest option—a full year out," she explains. "Going through all of this together has further affirmed and multiplied the unconditional love we have for each other. At the end of the day, it’s about the two of us—and that’s worth celebrating every single day."
Bri & Lindsey
On April 28, 2020, Bri and Lindsey Leaverton asked their friends to join them at Doc’s drive-in theatre in Buda, Texas for special screening—of their wedding! There, the couple exchanged vows on stage, as guests looked on both from the safety of their cars and computer screens. “When life gives you a pandemic, you get married at a drive-in!" Bri says with a laugh. "Nothing could keep me from marrying the love of my life, not even a global pandemic."
When asked what she learned from the experience, Bri had this advice to share: “Hold your plans loosely. We spent months planning our original wedding, and, once we finally got to a place of acceptance after we realized our wedding was not going to happen on 4/10/2020, we were able to plan something memorable, profound, and historic! I was once told by someone, 'Sometimes you can’t tell the difference between a tragedy and a miracle.' Canceling our original wedding felt tragic at the time but what we were able to plan and bring to life in 17 days of planning our pandemic wedding was truly a miracle. I would do it all over again the exact same way.”
Gina & Harry
"We decided to still get married on our date and have an intimate ceremony with our family in the backyard where I grew up," says bride Gina, who married her fiancé Harry on May 2, 2020. "Ironically, it has always been my mom’s dream to have a backyard wedding just like ‘Father of the Bride’.
The couple planned their backyard ceremony in just three days, ordering supplies online and reaching out to their vendors, such as The Potted Geranium (for flowers), Party Pleasing Rentals (for rentals), and Rafal Ostrowski (for photos). "While we missed every person that was supposed to be there, we are so happy we decided to still make our day special," Gina says. "I even put my slippers on halfway through the day... it doesn't get better than that!"
Julie & Benjamin
On April 18, 2020, Julie Samuels & Benjamin Schlang said "I do" over Zoom at Julie's parents' home in Westport, Connecticut. "It wasn't how either of us had imagined we would get married, but it was so full of love and pure joy," she says. "We still hope to celebrate sometime soon with family and friends in person, but for now, we are so glad to be officially husband and wife."
Rime & Greg
On April 15, 2020, photographer Greg Finck and bridal designer Rime Arodaky exchanged vows at Les Domaines De Patras in Solérieux, France. The couple shared the happy news on Instagram, adding the hashtag #loveisnotcancelled. "Yesterday was supposed to be the first leg of our wedding celebrations, where love & laughs with friends & family should have been carelessly the only things to share," their post read. "As every bride & groom around the globe, we heartbreakingly had to postpone. However, we ended up having a surprise ceremony by the lake...They say nothing lasts forever, but this moment will for sure. As a story to tell to our children." Sarah Fournier captured what the couple calls "the most magical evening."
Sakile & Kamau
Sakile Lyles and Kamau Mitchell made it official in the backyard of the bride's parents' home on April 3, 2020—though, they had originally planned to marry on the beach in Tulum, Mexico. "Our decision to have our wedding like this was not something that came easily or something we took lightly," Sakile explains. "It took many discussions and disagreements before we decided when and how we were going to make it happen. We had to compromise like a real married couple, and I’m honestly glad that we did because we were able to both enjoy the day!" In fact, Sakile has a few words of wisdom for other couples navigating wedding planning at this time: "I just want couples to know that this crazy time will teach us to really grow and learn about ourselves and our partners," she says. "I honestly don’t think I’d trade our wedding day in for anything—it happened the way it was supposed to!"
Roxy & Alex
Though they had planned to marry on March 26, 2020, Roxy and Alec Porter said "I do" in the groom’s parent’s backyard in Mesa, Arizona on March 21, 2020, as Lyric Photography documented the day. "We put our wedding together within two days since COVID-19 hit us a week before the wedding," Roxy explains. "Our wedding was nothing we expected but truly turned out to be the most beautiful intimate wedding! COVID-19 made us realize that we don’t need a whole lot to have a special day."
Mattie Claire & Carl
On March 21, 2020, Mattie Claire Meese and Carl Meese made it official in Stinson Beach, California. "A week ago from today, Carl and I got married on the beach where our relationship first began," Mattie wrote on Instagram alongside a photo by Anna Elizabeth Photography. "After a surf and flowers being put in my hair, we gathered here to bind our lives together. Carl is my husband and how this came to be is far from what we ever expected." And while Mattie admits the pandemic "has shifted their world at large," she says that she ultimately feels filled with gratitude. "Honestly, we are still reeling on how sacred and beautiful this day was," she continues. "It was truly painful not to have the people we love from all over the country there. Our celebration, later on, will be all the more special to us. We can't wait to embrace our loved ones."
Amanda & Reilly
Amanda Wheeler and Reilly Jennings married at the intersection of Bennett Street and 190th in New York City on March 20, 2020. "We decided to up our wedding for super unromantic insurance purposes after layoffs," Amanda admits. "We got our license on Thursday the 19th and were headed to the county clerk's office on Friday afternoon when we heard the news that it had closed. Reilly sent a message out to our friends that we couldn’t get married that day and our friend, Matt Wilson, who lives about eight blocks from us, offered to marry us that evening. He wanted to self-quarantine so we told him it was okay if he yelled out the window and we’d just do a 'drive-by.' It turned into so much bigger than we could have ever imagined."
Jordan & Tyler
Jordan Landsiedel and Tyler Epping married at St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis, Minnesota on March 21, 2020. “Above all else we got these two married on March 21st, 2020," recalls their photographer and videographer Kaylee LaMoine. "It was different then what they originally planned but apparently that was the plan all along. They had the best attitudes, the biggest smiles, but best of all, they had their wedding and made a memory. The kind of memory that comes from love, vulnerability, and remembering that there is beauty in everything."
Miguel & Johana
On March 21, 2020, Miguel Delgado and Johana Patricia exchanged vows they'd written themselves in Palos Verdes Estates, California. “Against all odds, on March 21, 2020, I married my best friend after having to postpone all of our original wedding plans, including our honeymoon to Greece,” Johana says. “Despite everything going wrong in the world, we knew we still wanted to somehow still get married.”
Instead of their original plans, Johana and Miguel got married in what she calls "a flash ceremony on a random, public access cliffside." They were surrounded by their siblings, Miguel's best man, their officiant (a friend who got officiated for the occasion!), and their dog, Rocket. Biancca Wallace was also present to document the couple's vows. "It was heartbreakingly too risky to have our senior parents present," Johana admits. "So on this day, I was very thankful for technology because they were able to watch a live stream from their homes. It was a perfect day amidst the scary world we’re currently in. This day, love won."
Dayspring & Shane
Dayspring Cabaniss and Shane Walsh wed in Long Beach, California, on March 17, 2020, though their original date was three days later! "We had a small intimate ceremony in our apartment on Tuesday at only a few hours' notice," she explains. "We couldn’t bear the idea of not being man and wife in these uncertain times and wanted to allow my in-laws time to head home before full 'shelter at home' orders came down." And while it wasn't what Dayspring and Shane had planned, she admits that they had a fun day getting everything together, cleaning the apartment, picking up an instant camera and a cake, and even pulling some string lights out of the garage to "make it extra special." "We were even able to serve one of the beers we had brewed for the big day and our original florist dropped off a bouquet from what she had on hand," she adds.
Only the groom's parents, a dear friend, and the best man and his wife were in attendance, but other friends were present in a different way. "While I was putting together flowers for the ceremony, we received three flower deliveries from friends expressing their condolences for our postponed celebration, which really made me tear up," Dayspring admits. "It was so touching to be thought of when there is so much going on in the world and everyone is upending their daily lives.”
Kayce & Chico
At home in Longmont, Colorado, Kayce and Chico Grine said "I do" on March 20, 2020. “These two went through losing their original wedding venue due to being closed down just six weeks before the wedding and then through the difficult decision to postpone the wedding due to COVID-19, they truly had been given a tough hand through the wedding planning process but have been nothing but tough and stuck together the whole time," recalls their photographer Sincerely Jules Studio. "They deserve to have the best day ever and plan to do so later this year!”
Aimée & Seth
On March 21, 2020, six days before their planned wedding date, Aimée Sommerville and Seth Assam married in the bride’s parents' living room in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The bride's father facilitated the private ceremony as her mother and Seth's parents looked on. Steena Anne Photography was on hand to capture the special moment. "We got flowers from a small florist down the road and I wore the dress I had originally planned to wear for our rehearsal dinner," Aimée says.
To celebrate, they ordered curbside pickup from a favorite local restaurant and doughnuts for dessert—but, according to the bride, none of that mattered. "While not our original plan, or even plan Z, the day was still special and filled with love," she wrote on Instagram. "The only thing that would have made it better is if our guests could have shared it with us. We can't wait to celebrate in person in the future at our wedding reception 'take-two.' We are wishing everyone health and safety as we start our life together."
Shannon & Zachary
Shannon Probasco and Zachary Probasco married at their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on March 22, 2020, as Kimberly Orrison of Kind Honey Photography captured the special moment. "People say all the time that the most important thing about a wedding is having each other. The COVID-19 Crisis proved that to be true," explains the bride. "Having each other and the people who matter most gathered around us that day was special in a whole different way. We'll cherish those moments forever."
Sean & Laura
Sean McCabe and Laura Zhou married at the Orange County Magistrate on March 20, 2020, months prior to their planned ceremony on May 24, 2020. "Throughout the past month, we have been monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely, and given the trends and news, we felt that the safest option would be to postpone our wedding to the fall," explains the bride. "On March 20, we woke up and realized that a shelter-in-place order could come any day and potentially prevent us from being married this spring, so we decided to get married!"
With that decision, the couple's asked Pamela Jahnke Photography and Thomas Blake Films if they'd be able to capture the ceremony and asked their families, scattered across the country, to join the ceremony at a socially safe distance or through, what the bride calls, "the magic of video call!" "We did not plan for it to be this way, nor did we know that when we woke up on March 20, we would be married by the end of the day," she admits with a laugh. "There were no rings, no planned outfits, or any of the details we have been meticulously planning this past year; however, our courthouse wedding was simple and perfect! We are now more excited than ever to exchange our vows, have the wedding we’ve been dreaming of, and celebrate with all our loved ones and friends at The Carolina Inn in the fall!"
Robert & Annika
Instead of the church ceremony they had planned, Robert and Annika Klätte wed in the office of their local church in Berlin, Germany on March 20, 2020. "We had a live stream set up so friends and family from around the world could join us," Robert says. "It was important to us to have all our friends and family around us when we shared our vows and received God's blessing on our marriage, as a sign of them being on this journey with us. It looked like that wouldn’t be possible anymore. Through the live stream, however, even more friends and family got to join than we originally were able to invite. It was all we asked for and more."
Melissa & Martin
On March 21, 2020, Melissa Geustyn and Martin Schermers eloped at the groom’s grandfather’s farm in Pretoira, South Africa. "After over a year of planning our special day, we were informed that we would have to postpone, with only two days left on our countdown," explains the bride. "While in a spiral of emotions and tears and one serious conversation, Martin and I decided that there was no way we weren't getting married as planned." Their solution? "We decided to stay strong and still have a small, intimate ceremony, surrounded by only our closest friends and family in Martin's grandparents' garden, which is his childhood dream to get married in where he grew up," she says. In the end, Melissa says the ceremony turned out to be "the most exquisite garden wedding, that I had ever seen," and Alexis Muntz Photography was there to capture everything. "Seeing our family, closest friends and wedding vendors come together to support and celebrate us, in the midst of all the chaos, overwhelmed me completely," she says. "It was the perfect ceremony, decorated and captured in the most beautiful way. It gave us our story, that is unlike anyone else's and for that, we are forever grateful."
Lindsay & Jim
Lindsay Westlake and Jim Trucks wed on the steps of their closed church in Birmingham, Alabama on March 21, 2020. "We were surprised after our 10- person ceremony with a 50-car parade of friends, family, and my first-grade students!" Lindsay recalls. "We also were surprised with around 20 cars parked across the street of closest friends to watch our makeshift ceremony! It was immeasurably better than anything we could’ve planned and we got to have our two labs with us which made it simply perfect!
Paula & Ken
Paula Fastuca and Ken Caccavale said "I do" on a private roof in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on March 21, 2020. "Ken and I planned our wedding with every little detail perfected by the beginning of March so we could just relax a few weeks before.The only thing that was on our minds was the weather, hoping for a warm enough day to open the roof at the Box House Hotel, where we were originally getting married," Paula admits. A week before their wedding, they made the decision to postpone it—and while the decision was, indeed, heartbreaking, Paula says it was the right call for everyone. "March 21st was our day, we were determined to keep it that way in a manner respectful to everything going on," she says. "Our guest list went from 185 to five, but the two of us getting married on the roof of our first apartment together eased the pain of postponement and brought some joy to these darker days." Photographer Yumi Matsuo was there to document every detail for the couple.
Blake & Courtney
After planning a destination wedding, Blake and Courtney Stewart wed in their hometown of Woodstock, Georgia on March 22, 2020. "Our wedding was originally planned as a destination wedding at Keystone Resort in Colorado, but was canceled when Vail Resorts shut down all of their ski resorts," explains the bride.
Audrey & David
On March 21, 2020, Audrey Westerman and David DeJoseph married in Philadelphia. "We sent a Zoom link to our guests so they could live stream the ceremony," Audrey says. "My message to other #covidbrides is to focus on what’s important and not let the chaos come between you and your partner. You’ll marry your best friend one way or another, so try to focus on the positive and lean into the support from loved ones."
Hayley & Kyle
On March 21, 2020, Hayley Lollar and Kyle Pacheco married in an intimate ceremony in Kansas, nearly ten years after they first met. “We held on to the hopes of having our wedding as long as we could. We felt defeated when the news came five days before the wedding day that we could not legally (or safely) have the wedding we’ve been planning for a year-and-a-half," Hayley admits. "After several tears and many phone calls, we rescheduled our wedding in about an hour—and through all of that, there was no discussion of if we’d be getting married that weekend but of where and how. We were getting married no matter what, and I’m so glad it happened the way it did. From the very first day we met, we’ve had a unique story, so it’s fitting that this chapter starts off unique too."
For their elopement, the couple relied on their original vendors, including Brittyn Elizabeth Photography, and their families to pull the celebration together. "Our photographer graciously helped us pick a location, offered her husband to perform the ceremony, and obviously took some bomb ass photos," Hayley recalls. "Among all the uncertainty in the world today, I’m damn thankful for our people.”
Lizzy & Phil
Lizzy Rogers and Phil Riehl planned to go to city hall on April 24, 2020, but when Lizzy got unexpected health news, they decided to move their date up a month...and marry in their apartment in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "Our plan was to go to city hall and then have a rooftop soirée at Attico rooftop to celebrate with family and friends—and it's still happening we just don’t know when," Lizzy says. "Crazy story but I wouldn’t have it any other way! Party soon to come!"
Michelle & William
“Will and I love the outdoors, and ultimately decided on Big Bend National Park for our wedding. We planned a small, intimate wedding and were so excited to celebrate with our family and friends," says Michelle Green of her planned wedding to William Green on April 3, 2020. However, after the area shut down due to COVID-19, the couple decided to elope before their local county courthouse shut down to the public. "Several days later we contacted our photographer, Jess of We The Romantics, and decided to plan a photoshoot to celebrate our elopement. In less than 48 hours she put together a ceremony, cake cutting, and first dinner to capture these special moments we did not get to enjoy together," Michelle says. "In the midst of all the uncertainty, I am so thankful for the opportunity we were given to capture this special time in our lives.”
Stonly & Tamar
Stonly Baptiste Blue and Tamar Lucien Blue got married in the comfort of their home (and their cozy sweatpants!) on April 4, 2020, in San Francisco. “We weren’t going to let a small thing like a global pandemic get in the way of our union,” Stonly wrote on Instagram, proving that love is anything but canceled. "We decided to start our union with persistence and a willingness to make things work no matter what life may throw our way…together.”
Editor's Note: Please note that since shelter in place guidelines vary state by state and have changed over the past few weeks, it's important to remember that these couples decided to do what they felt was best for them based on the individual guidelines of their state and the information available at the time of their wedding. For more up-to-date guidelines, check the CDC and your state's website.