Even though bans on gatherings and social distancing have become the norm during the coronavirus pandemic, a New York City couple still found a way to celebrate their love with a surprise wedding.
Reilly Jennings, 28, and Amanda Wheeler, 38, got married Friday as their friend Matt Wilson officiated from his fourth-floor apartment window in the Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights.
The couple had originally planned to get married in October, but fearing their venue would be closed and with travel restrictions becoming more severe, they decided to move up their nuptials. Jennings said that the couple were worried about the cost of a wedding, as the gym where Wheeler works had to close because of the pandemic.
Jennings and Wheeler rushed to the Marriage Bureau Thursday to get a copy of their marriage license, which they received without issue. But as they were about to leave their apartment to return for Friday’s ceremony, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the Marriage Bureau would be closing indefinitely.
“I definitely panicked,” Jennings said. “I was freaking out a little bit. I just wanted to get it done.”
Hoping they would still be able to get married, Jennings and Wheeler messaged their friends, trying desperately to find someone who was certified to officiate a wedding in New York City. Luckily, they discovered that Wilson was certified by the city clerk to perform such a ceremony. He enthusiastically agreed.
After finishing up a work call, Jennings and Wheeler put on their wedding attire and headed out to the street to get married.
In a video that has since gone viral, Wilson officiated the ceremony, reading an excerpt from the novel “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel García Márquez. The couple then exchanged “I do’s” with neighbors and friends, all from safe distances, cheering happily.
“It was perfect, classic New York,” Jennings said. “Everything I love about this city was encompassed in that moment.”
As for their honeymoon? In true self-quarantine style, the couple pulled their mattress into their living room and watched Netflix together.