My Pandemic Story: A Philly Bride Who Traded Her Big Wedding for a Small Backyard Ceremony

Erin Markle, whose mom is battling breast cancer, went through with the ceremony to ensure her mother could be there.

backyard wedding

Bride Erin Markle tells the story of her backyard wedding during the coronavirus pandemic.

Published as a part of the “This Is My Pandemic Story” article in the May issue of Philadelphia Magazine. Here, Erin Markle, a CHOP research coordinator who married travel sales agent Adam Haun on March 21st, shares her experience. 

We got engaged in mid-August. My mom is battling metastatic breast cancer, so we did a shorter engagement. I’ve said from day one that she has to be there.

I had a pretty good grasp on the coronavirus because my patients are from all over the world. I was in close contact with three from Italy in the beginning of March. I was optimistic and a little naive. I think I specifically said, “As long as it doesn’t get to New York, I think we’ll be okay.” And then it hit New York. And then a cardiologist at the King of Prussia CHOP location was a confirmed case. That was March 9th.

Adam and I really had to discuss whether or not to go through with the wedding, because a majority of guests were from out of town. My venue said not to worry, but the next day, there were recommendations to cancel gatherings of more than 50 people. We had 120 still willing to come, and a lot were family. It became, like, who are we going to say can’t come? That wasn’t fair.

That Sunday night, I got an email from our venue, Front & Palmer, officially giving us the option to postpone. That Monday, the restrictions tightened to 10 people.

We had to scramble. It was like, okay, you have two hours to call your vendors, to find a new date that works for every single person, and to have the venue available.

But somebody had given us a cutting board with “March 21, 2020” on it. And because I work in a hospital, I got a ring inscribed with the date in Roman numerals for when I didn’t want to wear my diamonds. We had our marriage license. Adam and I looked at each other and said, You know what? March 21st was our intended date. We should still do this.

Adam’s aunt and uncle in Richboro were gracious enough to have a small backyard ceremony at their home. I didn’t want to wear my wedding dress, so I wore my rehearsal-dinner dress. Our bakery was very accommodating, so we still had a cake. We were able to get an Italian restaurant nearby to provide a tiny, tiny dinner. We went to Costco for the flowers, and Adam’s dad got a trellis from Home Depot.

The day of the wedding, there was just relief. I watched YouTube videos on how to put on makeup, and my mom and I tried to make me presentable. We couldn’t figure out how to use the curling iron, and we were just crying-laughing. It was a disaster, but so perfect. I didn’t want anything more than to just be in that moment. Because, truly, we had no idea how long we would have her for. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Published as part of the “This Is My Pandemic Story” feature in the May 2020 issue of Philadelphia magazine.