Coronavirus Wedding Diaries: We’re Getting Married in My Parents’ Living Room

"It was either cancel everything and feel really sad for myself, or find a way to still marry my best friend amidst all that is happening." 

After coronavirus canceled their wedding, Samantha Butler and Jeremy Patterson opted for an at-home ceremony in her parents’ living room. Photo by Aaron and Becca Photography

The coronavirus crisis has upended life in Philly (and across the country) in more ways than we can count. With the strictest guidelines focused on large group gatherings, weddings as the grand celebrations we know and love them as are effectively halted. While there’s no perfect roadmap for how to proceed, there is something to learn from every couple’s story as they navigate postponing, canceling, and changing their wedding plans in the wake of COVID-19.

Here, Wilmington couple Samantha Butler and Jeremy Patterson share their decision to switch to an at-home marriage ceremony, despite not knowing when they’ll be able to hold their reception. For more information on Philadelphia weddings during the coronavirus outbreak, including resources, news updates, and more real stories from couples trying to get married during COVID-19, head here.

This story is part of Philadelphia Wedding’s on-going Real Talk series, where real Philly couples share their unique approaches to wedding planning and marriage. If you have a unique story or experience worth sharing, we’d love to hear about it.

The couple: Samantha Butler, 23, and Jeremy Patterson, 25, of Wilmington, Delaware

Our wedding was originally scheduled for
… Saturday, March 21st at Springfield Country Club

Once we got the news that everything was closing, we called our pastor. We said, “Hey, look, we still want to get married. We don’t want to postpone anything anymore. When is the earliest you can marry us?” He was like,I can do Thursday [March 19th].”

So our pastor is coming over, and we’re getting married in my parent’s living room with Jeremy’s parents and my parents. My sister lives in Colorado, and there’s a chance she may not be able to fly in. My grandma lives with us, and my brother will be home from Penn State. They’ll be there. Jeremy’s brother who lives here might come up as well, but his other brother is in New York. His wife is six or seven months pregnant and not traveling.

I’m not wearing my wedding dress. I was supposed to pick it up Friday, but I don’t even think it would be ready. And to put it on and not have my photographers there to document it the way I would have wanted … [sigh]. I was like, “Everyone wear jeans.” I’ll wear a white shirt.

RELATED:  A Guide to Philadelphia Weddings During the Coronavirus Outbreak 

I [had already] DIY’d boxwood ceremony backdrops. My mom is going to set those up in the living room.

Afterwards, we’re going to do a brunch. Make it as special and memorable as we can while still doing what’s best for everyone and staying safe.

Our original reception site … said they have availability in two months. Our wedding planner there has been amazing. She said, “Get married, and we’ll figure it out. I don’t want to add to the stress of trying to plan another [reception] date before you get the situation figured out.” My florist cried on the phone with me. She said, “When you do have [your wedding], I’ll make sure your flowers are beautiful.” Everyone has been really, really supportive. My DM’s are full of people saying, “Thinking of you. You and Jeremy are so in love and that’s all that matters.”

Our honeymoon in Boston … is postponed. The airline canceled the flight. Once they canceled the flight, we thought about driving up. But I want to be able to go and relax and enjoy it. In the midst of all this, I don’t think that can happen.

I don’t really know what else to do besides roll with the punches. It was either cancel everything, not get married, and feel really sad for myself, or find a way to still marry my best friend and find love and happiness amidst all this terror that is happening.

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