When Carrie and Paulo met during nursing school at Rutgers, they quickly became friends. Not long after while taking a group vacation to Jamaica, they realized they could be a lot more. “It was kind of ‘when you know you know,’” says Carrie, emphasizing that since deciding to become a couple, they’ve never looked back.
Together since 2016, Paulo and Carrie got engaged in 2019 surrounded by their families at the Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial in Jersey City, New Jersey. Although they originally planned to get married in October of this year, the pandemic caused them to reconsider. As a result, the couple decided to postpone their wedding until next year and focus instead on their work and their families.
A Challenging Year Has Brought Them Closer Together
As essential workers in New York City, Carrie and Paulo have had an exceptionally difficult year. Working opposite nursing shifts during the spring and summer meant that they weren’t able to spend much time together as they navigated the stresses of being healthcare workers in busy hospitals.
To stay connected, they often left notes for each other at home to share updates and let the other person know that they were thinking about them. “Leaning on each other when we physically couldn’t be together was something that we learned we could still do even though it was really hard,” says Carrie. The experience actually brought them closer together and, as the months passed, they began to realize that they both cherished their families even more than they realized.
Since quarantine measures made it difficult for them to see family members in person, they found creative ways to stay connected via nightly Zoom chats. Originally a way to check-in and offer each other support, the virtual hangouts also served as a way to share quarantine projects such as cooking and baking, and to see what everyone in the family was up to.
While Paulo and Carrie were incredibly grateful for these moments, they decided that it would be better to postpone their wedding until everyone they love can be together in one place. “We didn’t want to remember 2020 as the year that we got married,” says Paulo. Instead, they’ve opted to look ahead to a fresh start in 2021 and bring their wedding to life during better times.
To announce their new wedding date to their friends and family, the two opted for an Instagram post that eventually went viral. Showing the couple dressed in scrubs with the New York City skyline in the background, the photo reflects the challenges they’ve experienced this year. The sign they’re holding reads: “We planned to get married. Instead, we fought a pandemic.” Although they both say they were surprised by the fact that it went viral, they were happy to turn a difficult moment into something positive that they could share with others.
A Dream Wedding and Honeymoon in 2021
With their wedding currently planned for June 2021, the couple is excited about the prospect of bringing their loved ones together for their special day. They were also able to recently celebrate their love in another special way. As part of the “Honeymoon for Heroes” program launched by the Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Credit Card, Carrie and Paulo were surprised with a pop-up backyard honeymoon experience that echoed their honeymoon plans of a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
To help them plan their dream honeymoon in the future, the couple also received 200,000 Southwest Rapid Rewards points that won’t expire and they qualified for Companion Pass®. Companion Pass is one of the most coveted benefits in travel as it allows one person to fly with you for free (not including taxes & fees from $5.60) every time you purchase or redeem for a flight on Southwest Airlines. Companion Pass is good for travel for the remainder of the year that it’s earned, plus the entire next calendar year. That can be a big cost savings when you take multiple trips.
As they begin to think ahead to their wedding next year, they’re hoping to use the points to move forward with their honeymoon plans and to have the relaxing experience they both deserve. For now, they’re happy to enjoy their time together and to look forward to everything 2021 has in store for them.
* If you’re thinking of traveling soon, you may want to consider a new Southwest Rapid Rewards Credit Card to help you earn the 125,000 points in a calendar year needed to qualify for the Companion Pass benefit. All Rapid Rewards rules and regulations apply, please visit Southwest.com/rrterms.