Couple Gets Married in Socially Distant Backyard Wedding Amid Coronavirus

April 1, 2020

Not even coronavirus could ruin this couple’s nuptials.

Lauren Rovinsky, a nurse, and Donnie Thomas, a first responder, got engaged in August 2018 and, like most couples, began planning their “dream” wedding.

They invited nearly 200 guests to a restored farm in Pennsylvania, booked a DJ, a live band, a photo booth, and more.

Lauren said they went “the whole nine yards” for their once-in-a-lifetime celebration, but the coronavirus pandemic currently sweeping the globe had different plans.

Within days, out-of-state guests began cancelling and the couple was forced to postpone their wedding.

”We could not bear to put our loved ones at risk by attending our wedding,” the couple told Yahoo Lifestyle, adding that since they both work in healthcare and are “essential personnel,” they didn’t want to expose their family.

Rather than cancelling their March 27 wedding, the couple decided to make the most of it and got married on their back deck, which already holds a special place in their heart because it’s where they got engaged after meeting on Tinder in 2013.

Though family members were “devastated” they couldn’t be there, they dressed up in their wedding attire and watched online as Lauren and Donnie said “I do” in front of their dogs and some neighbors who gathered in their yards while maintaining the proper distance. Lauren's brother officiated the wedding.

“When we were thinking about what to do on that day to make it special, we realized, we have an officiant, we have our marriage license and our rings, what else do we need? We can totally still do this,” the bride said.

“Although nothing like we had planned, our wedding day was still so special. Our neighbors’ children made us signs and posters saying ‘Happy Wedding Day,’ which they hung outside for us to see,” she said.

Lauren also enforced the rule of not seeing each other before the wedding: “Donnie and I spent the day together before separating to get ready. I made him wait outside before coming out so that we could still have that ‘moment,’ as if I was walking up the aisle. We used our champagne flutes my mother bought us for the wedding ... One of our neighbors recorded our wedding on his phone from across our deck. It was a beautiful sight to see everyone come together in any way that they could to help us make our day special.”

Despite the last-minute change of plans, Lauren recalled her favorite moment from the big day was when she saw Donnie for the first time.

“That moment was everything I could have ever dreamed it would be and more. The look in his eyes as I walked toward him with one of our favorite songs playing ... I just knew that we were doing the right thing still getting married. In that moment, I had no regrets.”

The couple was able to postpone the official ceremony until May 17, which Lauren said “at the time seemed far enough away, but is now looking more and more unlikely.”

Their planned honeymoon to Greece in June also seems uncertain, but the couple isn’t giving up hope just yet.

“We all deserve this celebration,” Lauren said. "All in all, the important message is that you shouldn’t wait. Always say ‘I love you,’ say you’re sorry, hug your loved ones tight (well, air-hug). We aren’t promised tomorrow.”

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