On Sunday, May 24, 2020, Manhattan-based couple Callie Bearman and Steven Elias were supposed to be celebrating their marriage in St. Louis, Missouri with 200 guests. Instead, they roamed the streets of their New York neighborhood, photographer in tow, bridal gown on and beer in hand!
Unsurprisingly, it was COVID-19 that brought the couple to cancel their original wedding plans. But as May 24, 2020, quickly approached, "we went back and forth on how to make what would have been our wedding day still special to us," they say. To start, Callie and Steven asked guests to perform acts of kindness like donating to a cause, participating in a virtual volunteer project, and practicing self-care. "We were overwhelmed by the response and number of people who participated."
Then, the couple made a "last-minute decision" to put on an impromptu wedding photoshoot (wearing their wedding attire!) followed by a Zoom celebration with relatives and close friends. Wedding photographer Alyssa Greenberg was on-hand to document the day, following Callie and Steven from the steps of the New York Public Library, through Bryant Park and down Fifth Avenue. "She offered some great locations near our apartment that would be beautiful while safe," the pair explains.
To see more of Callie and Steven's wedding day adventure through midtown Manhattan (along with a surprise brass band parade!), keep scrolling for photos by Alyssa Greenberg.
After Callie and Steven postponed their wedding, the bride paused alterations on her floral organza wedding gown by Truvelle. So when it came time to wear it on the day, she was forced to getting creative, revealing, "I had to use binder clips to finish tailoring the dress!"
As soon as the couple left their apartment to meet their photographer, they were immediately greeted by Brooklyn-based brass band Hot Hand Band, who was fittingly playing "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra. But the musical accompaniment was a surprise to both Callie and Steven and was actually arranged by their parents! "We both looked at each other and asked, 'Did you do this?!'" the couple recalls.
Steven wore a casual gray suit straight from his closet and accessorized with a necklace his maternal grandfather brought home from World War II.
Of course, the couple had to "cheers" to their love and poured celebratory drinks on the steps of the New York Public Library.
We both woke up that morning a little sad we wouldn't be hugging, laughing, dancing, and celebrating with loved ones, but we were excited about our news plans to make for a revised special day.
"We both woke up that morning a little sad we wouldn't be hugging, laughing, dancing, and celebrating with loved ones, but we were excited about our new plans to make for a revised special day," the couple says.
To start the day, Steven surprised his bride with a virtual yoga session with six of her closest friends. Callie remembers, "I was overwhelmed with emotion and immediately started crying seeing people I love so dearly."
The bride's simple bouquet of orange roses was taken from a vase in their apartment, which a friend sent a few days before the wedding.
"The brass band accompanied us as we walked down Fifth Avenue and Bryant Park to take pictures," the couple reveals. "Not only did this bring us so much joy, but we were also amazed by how happy it made strangers who passed by."
Perfect for roaming the Manhattan streets, Callie wore custom pink Converse embroidered with the couple's original wedding date.
With no cars in sight, the couple posed for photos in the middle of the street.
After two hours of galavanting through their neighborhood, the couple hosted a "memorable" Zoom celebration with 25 family members and friends. They were even able to pose for some virtual photos with their parents, too!
Callie and Steve's wedding day may not have turned out to be the day they intended it to be, but it was definitely a day the newlyweds will never forget. They recall: "We ended the day with the biggest smiles on our face and felt so much love from afar."