#RealWeddings: This Couple Got Married Before Things Got Crazy In New York City!
"We wanted to minimize the risk of any potential issues in New York if the coronavirus pandemic started to escalate further, and we get separated because legally we aren’t considered family."
A few weeks ago, my fiancé and I spontaneously decided to get married. We wanted to minimize the risk of any potential issues in New York if the coronavirus pandemic started to escalate further, and we get separated because legally we aren’t considered family.
To give some background, Joschua is on a working visa in the airline industry which was severely impacted by the pandemic. So we said goodbye to our original fall plans, the romantic West Village brunch, and a celebration with our family and friends.
We were able to attain our marriage license on the 19th of March, but state law requires couples to wait 24 hours before they can make it official. Little did we know that as we were headed back the next day, couples were already being told to leave because of a recent government announcement regarding a lockdown.
We found ourselves outside an empty City Hall reading that the office was closed until further notice. Our hearts sank thinking it was over, but then someone came rushing towards us asking if we also wanted to get married. Although confused, we said yes. This person went on to explain that she had found an officiant to meet us all in Brooklyn Bridge in half an hour.
The ceremony was less than 5 minutes—just papers to sign on the running path with Maria, the officiant, and Matt, our friend who volunteered to be our witness and photographer, no wedding rings yet and just a borrowed bouquet from that generous couple, Valentina and Trevor. “We’re married!” We both shouted.
From there, we walked the empty streets to take a few more photos and ate lobster rolls from the only place still open in that area. At home, we continued our celebration with a grocery-bought cake, white wine to toast our vows, and a first dance to our song in our tiny studio apartment as the day turned to night.
We recounted the events that took place like a New York minute—how we felt hopeful that humanity and that sense of community still exist, despite all the fear and anger around us. That there are people like Matt, Valentina, Trevor, and Maria who are reminders that we’re all in this together and we’re all going to get through this together, because love will prevail even in the time of Corona.
Our wedding was not the way we pictured it—it was better. It was as unpredictable and as simple as just the two of us and we’re grateful we get to call this our story. Because in this time of uncertainty, there’s one thing we are certain of and it’s this. That whatever happens today or tomorrow—in the US, in Germany, or in the Philippines—we’d be together. —Mandi Garcia
Mandi and Joschua
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- Church/Ceremony venue: Brooklyn Bridge Park
- Reception venue: At home in Queens, New York City
- Date of wedding: March 20, 2020
- Photographer: @mattscorte
- Designer bridal gown: Cinq a Sept