COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Talk about some tough questions with no easy answers. What do you do when your wedding day is hijacked by a pandemic? Do you cancel or post your big day?
The cancellation was not an option for a Columbus bride who elected to stick with her original date and let technology iron out the wrinkles. Barclay Hendrix of Columbus met Will Vallotton of Charleston, S.C., on a dating app four years ago.
Last fall they got engaged and set April 25, 2020 as the big day. They were all set to get married at First Baptist Church in downtown Columbus when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Barclay says their plans changed so many times in the weeks leading up to the wedding as the state moved toward a shelter-in-place order by Gov. Brian Kemp.
“What we were able to do kept shrinking from 50 people to 10, to shelter in place, and maybe don’t leave your home,” Barclay told News 3. Will adds, “Ironically the state (of Georgia) opened up the day before our wedding day.”
Will and Barclay were determined the pandemic was not going to prevent them from becoming husband and wife on April 25th.
Barclay took the practical approach. “The wedding part, the ceremony part, actually getting married was the one thing that did not have to be canceled,” she said. “We had a marriage license and we had a willing minister.”
And they had Zoom technology which allowed family members near and far to view the ceremony which was held at the couple’s apartment in Atlanta.
However, First Baptist Pastor Jimmy Elder balked at not being there in person. “I told Barclay it just will not do for you not to have at least the minister in the room with you,” Elder said.
So the wedding proceeded on schedule. Family members joined the ceremony via Zoom. The wedding music was piped in from Columbus courtesy of pianist and close friend Rick McKnight.
The ceremony went off without a hitch.
Afterward, there was a congratulatory Zoom party for the newlyweds including a toast. Will and Barclay actually indulged in two wedding cakes. The couple put a bow on their wedding day with a ceremonial first dance witnessed by their Zoom audience.
Barclay and Will hope to host a reception once the pandemic subsides so they can thank everyone for their well wishes. Barclay adds it will also finally give her the chance to wear her wedding dress.
The month of June, the traditional wedding month is just around the corner. The Vallottons believe their Zoom wedding was a good experience and could serve other couples well also. But they offer this piece of advice — be flexible.