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Richmond nurse, bride hold 'virtual wedding' ceremony

Posted at 6:17 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 19:14:33-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- A Richmond couple proved that a pandemic couldn’t stop their special day.

Will and Elisabeth Hayes had planned a big wedding ceremony scheduled for this May.

They invited about 300 people, but then the COVID-19 pandemic happened.

“We were just having to make a lot of big decisions about our lifestyle and there are decisions that we wanted to make as a married couple,” Elisabeth said.

Will works on the frontlines as a cardiac nurse in the ICU at VCU Medical Center.

“If for some reason I actually got the coronavirus and had to quarantine and self-isolate myself — we just figured it would be easier to do that as a married couple,” he explained.

Last week, they picked an open field near the James River and invited their friends and family to watch the ceremony virtually via Zoom.

“Everybody was dressed up, which is really fun. I think they was just like looking for a reason to get out of their pajamas,” Elisabeth joked.

The couple exchanged vows at a safe distance from their pastor, Will’s brother, and Elisabeth’s best friend. A photographer and videographer running the livestream were also there to capture the moment.

“There was a lot of sadness in it for sure since our parents were not. We were sad that our close family and close friends couldn't be there with us. But, there is also a lot of freedom that came with it to make it something that was like special for us,” Elisabeth stated.

Their pastor spoke about making a commitment during a world of uncertainty.

“You are saying to the other person, ‘Regardless of what happens, regardless of what changes or how circumstances may change, I’m giving you something with my promises something that’s predictable,’” he said.

The couple’s family then arranged a “drive-by reception” outside their home where guests honked and waved inside passing cars.

The couple still hopes to hold a wedding ceremony in October.

“My dad wants to walk me down the aisle and Will's nephews were going to be our ring bearers,” Elisabeth explained. “We want our friends who are going to be bridesmaids and groomsmen to be there. So, that's kind of what we're planning for now is to just sort of a redo.”