Coronavirus Wedding Diaries: We Had an Impromptu Wedding on the Steps of the Rodin

“We thought: Now seems like the time to do it.”

Rodin Museum wedding

Jack Barry and John Luff had an impromptu wedding amid coronavirus on the steps of the Rodin Museum. Photography by John William Luff

Logan Circle residents Jack Barry, 57, and John Luff, 58, had been together for a little more than 19 years when they decided to get married March 24th – amid the coronavirus pandemic, no less. “We thought a little joy was in order,” says Jack, who works in real estate. He met John, a hair stylist, at a Rittenhouse church comedy night. They’re one of a number of couples who have made the most of the moment and found a way to spread their love despite the current climate. Here, Jack shares their story.

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.

We were thinking of getting married for awhile. But when coronavirus [happened,] we thought: Now seems like the time to do it. We obtained our marriage license March 6th with thoughts of eloping within 60 days, which is how long the license is valid. We figured if we didn’t do it, then we would renew it. Then the virus hit. [Ed note: March 16th was the last day the Register of Wills issued licenses in non-emergency cases.]

Rodin Museum wedding

Rodin Museum wedding

We decided on Sunday and got married Tuesday, on the steps of the Rodin Museum. We moved to the neighborhood in January 2019, and we walk by the museum with our dog, Patch, daily.

Our bestest friend Bentley Alberts married us. The only other attendees were our nephew, John William Luff, as our photographer, and Patch. It lasted about three minutes. Not one person saw us: We thought we would have someone stop or say something. 

RELATED: A Guide to Philadelphia Weddings During the Coronavirus Outbreak

It was pretty solemn at first. Not at all how we expected to be married: We have a pretty big life with family and friends. But it turned out to be the most amazing day of my life. Just us there and the almost empty streets made it seem like the entire world had stopped for a minute for us to get married.

Rodin Museum wedding

Afterward, we ordered Reubens and chocolate shakes from Little Pete’s. It’s our favorite diner, where we have spent many date nights. Otherwise, we’re quarantined.

We plan to honeymoon in Portugal at the end of the year. We’ll probably also have a reception on the southern coast of Maine.

We watched so many of our friends go insane over their wedding. We decided on Sunday and got married Tuesday. No stress or planning worries. We will be able to enjoy the celebration when it happens. Our advice is to just get married [when you can] and have a great time. 

This interview has been edited for clarity and length. 

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