You might recognize filmmaker Joshua Ortiz for commissioning the Detroit Symphony to propose to his then-girlfriend Valeri Santa Cruz in 2019. Now, their March 2020 wedding was just as memorable as their proposal story—only a little bit unexpected thanks to coronavirus.
On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, just three days before they were set to walk down the aisle, Ortiz found himself bringing his fiancée to the hospital. Luckily, the emergency visit turned out to be the result of asthma, not coronavirus as they had feared, so doctors gave them the OK to carry out their wedding plans the upcoming Saturday. "Family and friends let us stay with them before the wedding, helped us pick things up, make our cake, drive people around, buy decorations, set things up, and we are just so grateful for everyone," Ortiz says.
Everything was in place on Saturday, March 14, 2020—though the couple made sure to take extra precautions in light of coronavirus. "Everyone was safe and smart at the wedding," says the groom. "We discouraged hugs and kisses but when they did, they washed hands and used hand sanitizer. It was a fun day of elbow bumps, air hugs, and kisses!"
There were laughs, too—and the biggest laugh of all came from their first kiss, which the couple "jokingly" replaced with an "elbow five" before actually locking lips.
"People elbow touching and air hugging was an ongoing greeting before the ceremony so they loved it," Ortiz tells Brides. "We thought about it the night before during our rehearsal. We were joking around with each other to lighten the mood, and our officiant, another good friend of ours, told us that it would be an awesome way to put a smile on our guests’ faces amidst the chaos, so we were happy to do it."
While there were plenty of happy moments on their big day, Ortiz and Santa Crux admit that the final weeks of wedding planning were not without challenges. "Our main videographer had to back out, and then two days before the wedding, our photographer said he couldn’t make it," he says. Their flower girls also got sick and guests slowly changed their RSVPs as the date approached.
This situation really helped remind us how strong our love is for each other and how blessed we are to have the most amazing friends and family members.
But also, like other couples during this time, Ortiz and Santa Cruz were resilient, taking the setbacks in stride and making the most of the present situation. "We had to scramble to figure things out so that we would have some memories to look back on," he says. "Luckily, I had friends who jumped in last minute to help capture our special day." (Two friends decided to film the ceremony and another acquaintance volunteered to capture some photos.)
When all was said and done Ortiz says, "Valeri and I have grown to realize that everything that happened is what makes our wedding extremely memorable for us. This situation really helped remind us how strong our love is for each other and how blessed we are to have the most amazing friends and family members."
Every wedding has its delays, mistakes, and mishaps, but at the end of the day, your focus on making those memories with your significant other will make the day feel perfect.
The newlyweds also have valuable advice for those planning a wedding in the midst of COVID-19: "Every wedding has its delays, mistakes, and mishaps, but at the end of the day, your focus on making those memories with your significant other will make the day feel perfect. You can’t get hung up on details or last-minute changes or your wedding will end up passing you by in a blur. It’s a day about you and your spouse, none of the other details matter. Keep your eyes locked on each other, and keep your hearts fluttering!"
The current outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a pandemic by The World Health Organization. As the situation remains fluid, we’ll be sharing tips and stories from industry experts and couples who are experiencing cancellations to give you the most up-to-date advice on how this can impact your wedding.