Last Thursday I was on my way to meet a friend for a “trunk dinner” when I received an inquiry from a sister of a Bride. While sitting in my Chick Fil A parking lot waiting for my mobile order I read the very sweet plea from an older sister trying her best to salvage what was left of a wedding that had almost all completely been cancelled due to COVID-19. She explained that almost the entire wedding had been rescheduled with the exception of the ceremony and they were in need of a photographer to capture the very special occasion under the circumstances.
After talking with Annie over the phone it was clear that there was no way I was not going to do this for Beth & Josh. They were taking all the precautions and followings all of the prescribed guidelines from the authorities in this current situation. They deserved to have this day documented.
I arrived at the Cavalier Hotel on Saturday afternoon and made my way to the room where only Beth and Annie were getting ready. Annie was helping Beth with hair & makeup, it was incredibly sweet to see. In this time we were able to talk while the ladies were getting ready and I was documenting the details, from a safe distance. A fun coincidence we discovered while chatting was that we all grew up in the same neighborhood! I always enjoy getting to know my Bride & Groom and usually I would have several opportunities to do so before their wedding day but despite the unusual circumstances, the required small setting allowed for me to do the same.
Even though the guest list was at the minimum to meet the current guidelines there were still ways for friends and family to be a part of Beth & Josh’s day. Some friends sent a cake from a local coffee shop, 17 Hands Coffee, to the hotel for the couple to share. Beth included a gorgeous gold cross pendant that belonged to her grandmother on her bouquet as well as an heirloom blue stoned ring that she wore on her right hand.
When I met everyone at the Church we had just about 5 minutes before the ceremony was supposed to begin and Beth requested to have a First Look with Josh. No problem! With a quick set up we were able to make that happen for them and then move right inside for their ceremony. There was no bridal party and because she wanted to take every precaution, Beth asked Josh to walk her down the aisle while her parents kept a 6 foot distance. Beth’s dad had arranged a Zoom call that allowed for many of their family and friends to watch the entire ceremony right from the center of the aisle.
The ceremony was a traditional Catholic marriage sacrament, Beth’s mom read from the pulpit, Beth’s sister and Josh’s dad were the witnesses that stood (6 feet away) while they were given the blessing of marriage. One thing different that I really appreciated was the priest starting the ceremony by thanking Beth & Josh for going forward with their ceremony despite the current obstacles. He stated that it was a true example of their commitment to their relationship and a beautiful example of love and hope during this unprecedented time.
After the ceremony the couple was surprised outside by several local friends & family that had arranged a small parking lot party for them as they exited the church. Guests had decorated their cars, made signs and were cheering Beth & Josh on as they made their way to the car to head back to the hotel.
The words we continue to hear about this Pandemic and environment that we’re all living in are trying, unprecedented, surreal and challenging. What’s unique is that we are all experiencing this at the same time. There isn’t a single person who isn’t being impacted in one way or another. What I’m continuing to learn, like with any challenge I’m met with in life, is that things may not be going how I planned them or even how I want them to but life is still happening. Everyone is still waking up each morning with purpose and not just purpose for themselves but for those around them. They are moms, dads, siblings, spouses, friends, grandparents and no pandemic can change that. In fact, I would go as far to say that this worldwide event is just highlighting why these roles and relationships are so incredibly valuable. We’re all learning how to adapt to this giant curve ball and as my mom would say, finding our stainless steel undercarriage.
I’m so glad that Beth & Josh were able to have their wedding day, even though it wasn’t what they had planned and even though they will have another celebration later on with their family and friends. They get to wake up each morning right now, during this quarantine, and have a partner by their side to face the day with as husband and wife. For those of you who are married you know that this is truly what marriage is all about.
Congratulations Beth & Josh
Rings: Burkes Fine Jewelers
Dress: Ava Clara
Hotel: This Historic Cavalier Hotel
Cake: 17 Hands Coffee
Church: Star of Sea Catholic Church
Flowers: The Wandering Petal