A Coronavirus Wedding

April 8, 2020

March 27, 2020

Is the date we got married. It was the date we picked back in July 2019, the day after we got engaged. We had spent the last 8 months planning a destination wedding in the Bahamas, with 200 of our friends and families.

Two weeks before we were supposed to fly down to the Bahamas, Coronavirus was declared a global pandemic and the world started shutting down. Like many others, we were forced to indefinitely postpone our wedding in the wake of coronavirus.

I was initially quite devastated. Our dream wedding was getting postponed indefinitely, and I didn’t know what would happen. So we came up with a Plan B. However after a few days of even more shutdowns, it was clear Plan B wasn’t going to work either. So then we came up with Plan C, which was to have a very small civil ceremony at Z’s family’s home in Toronto.

The Logistics

A civil ceremony during a global pandemic is no small feat, and we only had a week to plan it if we wanted to stick to our originally planned wedding date, which I did. The first thing we needed to do was get a marriage certificate. Because of the pandemic, the Toronto City Hall was only issuing marriage certificates for special circumstances. Luckily, after explaining to them my German visa situation, we qualified and had one issued to us the morning of our wedding. The other major step was finding someone to legally perform the ceremony and marry us, which was really hard. After one judge canceled on us hours after confirming, we managed to find a retired Justice of the Peace, who agreed to come to the house to perform the ceremony.

The Dress

The next big thing for me, aside from the real logistics like the marriage certificate and an officiant, was the dress. I didn’t want to wear the dress I had for our Bahamas wedding, because that is still going to be happening in the future and I wanted to save it for that special moment. But stores were closed and so my options were limited, not to mention I only had a few days to find one. With the help of a dear friend and stylist Lyane, owner of Scarlet Boutique, we were able to find the perfect wedding dress for the occasion. I told Lyane what I envisioned, which was something really fun and unique. Lyane worked with me to find a dress and narrow down all the choices we were both looking at online, and we ended up ordering two – one from Net-A-Porter, and another from Matches Fashion. Well thank goodness we did because the next day Net-A-Porter closed its warehouses and would no longer be shipping, so I was keeping my fingers crossed the one from Matches Fashion would arrive in time. Luck was on my side, and my beautiful, white, Emilia Wickstead dress arrived the night before. Not only that, but it fit me perfectly. This stunning dress was perfect for a civil ceremony and was still very fun and unique, exactly what I wanted. Lyane, as always, you nailed it! Our wedding was at home, but the dress would be perfect for any sort of civil ceremony or modern bride. It’s structured, feminine, very fun and makes a statement.

The Hair

I never do my hair. I hardly ever blow dry it and usually just let it air dry and hang down, so for my wedding I knew I wanted an up-do. Kozeta, an extremely talented Toronto hairstylist who I now consider a friend, and who was originally supposed to come to the Bahamas to do my wedding-day hair and makeup, still showed up for me on my wedding day. She mad a special house call and created a perfect up-do for me. Kozeta really went above and beyond, and even took the wedding photographs! The finishing touch was a beautiful butterfly broach that Kozeta fastened in my hair, an heirloom borrowed from my mother-in-laws grandmother. Not only was it the perfect nod to my original wedding dress, but butterflies have become sort of a symbol for me this year, so I really felt like it was the perfect finishing touch to tie everything together.

The Ceremony

In just a matter of days, we filled the house with flowers, picked the music and the dinner menu, and were ready to get married (huge thanks to the best in-laws for pulling all of that together for us on such short notice!). The ceremony was intimate and beautiful. Only our immediate family was in attendance, and even then some important family members were missing. My grandparents and Z’s brother and sister-in-law weren’t able to be there, so we sent them a link to zoom in and watch. Bao stood in as best man for this one and safely delivered the rings! We decided to save our vows for our larger Jewish ceremony in the Bahamas at a later date, when we can share them in front of all of our family and friends. But I am so happy Z and I continued to celebrate our love and commitment to each other despite this crazy time. I think this excerpt from our ceremony sums it up perfectly.

“This current time is a situation none of us could have seen coming, but we’re here today to celebrate that life goes on in the midst of challenging times. Even more so, now is a time to celebrate whenever you can. And what better reason to celebrate than uniting two people who love each other”

Our wedding day wasn’t what we had imagined, but it was still perfect and I think a true reflection of our relationship. As I stood there looking at Z and holding his hands, I was filled with so much love and happiness. I thought about our journey to this moment starting from the very beginning. There have been many ups and downs and some real challenges. Many couples wouldn’t survive or even enter into a long distance relationship between Toronto and Korea. Many people wouldn’t move across the world, with no job prospects and leaving behind friends and family, for a relationship with someone they’ve never even lived in the same city with. But Z and I have always, since day one, chosen each other and put our relationship first. And I think that us choosing to get married on our original wedding date, despite being in the midst of a global pandemic, is really just how we have always approached our relationship. When faced with obstacles, we continue forward together, with so much faith in and love for each other. And because of that, I actually think getting married during the Coronavirus has made our story even more perfect.

My wedding dress is by London designer Emilia Wickstead. The butterfly clip in my hair is something we added last minute, and is a nod to my original wedding dress, which I wanted to save for our Jewish ceremony in the Bahamas. It belonged to my mother-in-law’s grandmother. It was therefore sentimental in many different ways and I love that I got to wear such a special piece on our wedding day.

Bao was such a good ring bearer and so cute! We tied the rings around is neck with a ribbon, and when it was time to exchange the rings we just called him over.

Z and I wrote some of the ceremony text together and I wanted to share some snippets of it below.

“On behalf of Katherine and Z welcome and thank you for being here. They are delighted that you are here today to share in their joy during this wonderful moment in their lives.

Today is a celebration. A celebration of love, of commitment, of friendship, and of two people who are in it forever.

This current time is a situation none of us could have seen coming, but we’re here today to celebrate that life goes on in the midst of challenging times. Even more so, now is a time to celebrate whenever you can. And what better reason to celebrate than uniting two people who love each other. 

You fell in love by chance, but you’re here today because you’re making a choice. You both are choosing each other. You’ve chosen to be with someone who enhances you, who makes you think, makes you smile, and makes every day brighter.

You’re about to make promises to each other that you intend to keep. You’re going to vow to take care of each other, to stand up for one another, and find happiness in the other. There’s a simple premise to each of these promises: you’re vowing to be there. You’re teaming up and saying to the other, “Every experience I am going to have, I want you to be a part of.”

Today, we celebrate the union of Katherine and Z. With your presence, you celebrate the love that they share and you support their decision to share their lives forever.

Will you, Z and Katherine, keep each other as your favourite person — to laugh with, go on adventures with, support through life’s tough moments, be proud of, grow old with, and find new reasons to love every day?

Will you, Katherine and Z, be each other’s partners from this day forward?

Will you bring out the best in one another, share your happiest moments together, and love each other absolutely — for the rest of this lifetime and for whatever may come next?”