What a twisted, stressful, and winding road my fiance and I have been on since the novel coronavirus exploded on the scene. We went from months of planning a beautiful, fun, meaningful wedding in a spectacular outdoor setting, to planning something very different.
After canceling our in-person wedding plans a few weeks back, and being two guys with a lot of technical skills and way too much technology at home, we began to explore the idea of having a virtual wedding. We could do this, we reasoned. We have a marriage license, officiant, wedding cake, and lots of computers and two HD webcams at home. What else would we need? Our original vision was for our officiant and a few close friends to gather in our home for the wedding while our guests watched from their homes as we live-streamed the ceremony.
Our officiant, who had spent the winter working in Puerto Rico, decided not to return to Washington, D.C. She was fearful of flying and traveling through airports with the coronavirus spreading rapidly. As we researched Maryland’s marriage laws, a vague line in the law made us uncertain if a wedding performed via Zoom, with us in our home and our officiant in Puerto Rico, would be legal. Marland law states that a marriage license, which we luckily got weeks ago, “is valid only….in the county in which it is issued.” Did our presence in the county comply with the law or did our officiant also have to be physically present? We did not know and could not find any clear answers online. So, we came up with a new plan. With the help of our officiant, we found another local officiant who agreed to marry us in our driveway, keeping the recommended six feet apart, a few hours before our virtual wedding. Good plan, right? Clever boys!!
But then the rules changed again. On Monday our governor issued a stay-at-home order for the entire State of Maryland. Our wedding date was almost a month away. We began to worry about what other restrictions could occur in the next twenty-five days?
Monday night, after hearing about the stay-at-home order, I spent a sleepless night. Would the local officiant really be able to come to our home and marry us in our driveway twenty-five days from now? Is a more extreme lockdown possible? Tuesday morning it became very clear that we were both stressed over the new reality and the uncertainty about our ability to marry a few weeks later as planned.
We agreed that we could not wait another twenty-five days more to be married. So we formed a new plan: find an officiant that’s really close that could marry us ASAP. We soon located a local officiant who is very close to us, called her and arranged to be married in her office the following morning, A.K.A. today.
In a few hours, my partner of five years and three months and I will be married. Not in the beautiful grove of trees surrounded by family and friends that we planned. We will be married by an officiant that we found online yesterday.
Somehow this new wedding plan seems right to me. What I really wanted in our original wedding was a public witnessing of our love and commitment to each other. I came out so late in life and fought so hard to come out that I wanted friends and family to stand witness to our marriage. I did not really care as much about the party but felt if we were going to throw a wedding party, I wanted to do it right. Hence the beautiful setting we chose; the incredible food we selected: the wedding cake we still can’t wait to taste; and the magnificent flowers we planned. While there is a part of me that misses what could have been, I am excited to have a virtual wedding, broadcast to family and friends, on the same day as our original wedding.
Today will just be one more interesting detour that will make a good story in the years to come.
Do I hear wedding bells later this morning?