How This Chicago Couple Took Control of Their Wedding Plans in the Midst of a Pandemic

emmy and david wedding

Chicago couple Emmy and David had been planning (and still are, for the time being) a 300-person wedding at the end of May. But as Emmy and David followed the news, things became increasingly clear that coronavirus was not just a serious threat to their wedding plans, but to the health of their family and friends. So, Emmy and David decided to take things into their own hands:  “Rather than live in the limbo of the uncertainty of how this would affect us,” Emmy told me, “we decided on Friday evening that we would take control and make our love official.” Here’s how they made it happen.

How they planned the nuptials so quickly: “Once we made the decision, we had to mobilize as soon as possible. We set it for 36 hours later! Fortunately, David had the foresight to get our marriage license in early March, so that was out of the way. My dad had officiated my sister’s wedding, so he had the ability to do this on short notice. David's parents hosted us at their home in the suburbs. And our families were already social distancing, so nobody had any plans to rearrange!” 

What the ceremony was like: “It was sort of surreal. We were working out the logistics in the living room—who takes photos, where everyone would stand, how to position the iPad to FaceTime my sister, etc.). And then, all of a sudden, the ceremony was happening! We stood in the middle of the room with my dad, and the rest of our family surrounded us (with appropriate social distancing). There was no pomp and circumstance. My dad put together a beautiful ten-minute ceremony, including a traditional exchange of vows and rings, and David's dad had a reading as well.”

And the very short ‘reception’: “We had a light meal, cake, some photos and then everyone went their own way. We didn’t want our decision to get married to put our families at risk, so we wanted to keep it short.”  

And, yeah, the emotions ran high: “I cried the whole time looking into David's eyes. Afterwards, we restrained ourselves from hugging our parents and siblings (harder than you would think to do!).”

How they included loved ones who couldn’t be there: “It was really sad for me to get married without my big sister and brother-in-law there with us. But we set up the iPad to FaceTime them in for the ceremony. Since we couldn't hug anyone anyway, them not being physically present wasn't a huge deal. In a weird way, it felt like they were with us in the room!”

And how they told future wedding guests that they decided to get married: “We sent out the invitations on Thursday before we had our surprise wedding, so some of our guests had already received the invitation when we did this! So, after our wedding on Sunday, we sent an email out to all our guests sharing our news and that, as of now, we were still planning and hoping to have our wedding as originally scheduled as well. Most importantly, though, is that we don’t want to put anyone at risk for getting sick by attending our wedding. Obviously, everything is changing by the minute.” 

Emmy and David’s advice for couples in similar situations: “Do what you can to take control and assert your love! Getting married has taken so much of the pressure off of making the hard decisions, like cancelling our other events (showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties). The outpouring of love and support from our friends and family has been so wonderful. We keep hearing that this is the brightness they need in this scary time. And if you’re not able to make it official at this time, focus on your relationship rather than the timing of the wedding, because the party isn’t what defines your future. And if you can make it through a pandemic together, we are sure that’s a good predictor of a successful marriage.”


Executive Editor, Frazzled Mom, Bravo-Holic

Dara Katz is PureWow's Executive Editor, focusing on relationships, sex, horoscopes, travel and pets. Dara joined PureWow in 2016 and now dresses so much better. A lifestyle...