A Couple Got Married at Home Because of Coronavirus, and Their Entire Neighborhood Surprised Them by Celebrating From Their Cars
This article was originally published on Insider.com.
Anastasija and Josh Davis of British Columbia, Canada, were supposed to get married on April 3 in front of 135 guests.
"We got our decor, we got our party favors, we got our music, we got our DJ, photographer, everything," Anastasija told Insider. "Everything was planned until about three weeks before our wedding."
"And then, COVID," Josh said.
As the coronavirus pandemic escalated, it became clear that they would have to rethink their wedding plans. Anastasija's brother and sister-in-law, who were supposed to provide the decorations, got stuck in Europe. More guests began to cancel as other borders closed. Then, gatherings of over 50 people were banned in an effort to slow the spread of the disease.
Anastasija and Josh decided to push the wedding up a few weeks and restrict attendance to a family only, plus Josh's friend serving as his best man.
"We can't even express how hard it was to message all of our friends that we've been so excited to have at our wedding to be like, 'We're not only moving the date, but you guys can't come,'" Anastasija said. "It was heartbreaking. But we came to the conclusion that we could either postpone or we could just get married."
The couple exchanged vows in Josh's parents' living room, decorated with drapings of white fabric.
"It felt very personal and very intimate," Josh said. "What do you really need when you get married? You don't need all the trappings, all the decorations, all these things. You just really need family, and maybe a few close friends, and that's what we had."
The newlywed couple then rode in a limousine ("We couldn't cancel the limo," Josh said) through the neighborhood to another location to take photos. That's when the best man told them to roll down the window.
"I start seeing a friend of mine, and another friend of mine, and another friend," Josh said. "All of these familiar faces from church are lining the street, all in their cars. We just broke down."
"They were honking, cheering, yelling congratulations," Anastasija said. "Josh and I were shocked. We were crying, we couldn't believe this was happening. Seeing them on the street, celebrating our day with us, made it so magical."
Friends and members of their church had coordinated the night before to line the streets with signs, pom-poms, and garlands from their cars to congratulate them while social distancing.
"We walked down the street to say hi to people at a distance," she said. "We couldn't hug, we couldn't do anything. But they turned on the music, and we had our first dance in the street with a bunch of friends and random neighbors surrounding us."
A family friend posted photos of the festivities on Facebook, where they've been shared over 18,000 times.
"We've been reading the comments, and people have been so graceful, saying they're tearing up and this is bringing them so much joy," Anastasija said. "Seeing how much people appreciate that has made us feel really good."
Even though they didn't have the wedding celebration they'd hoped for, it still turned out to be a day they'll never forget.
"It was so above and beyond what we could have imagined," Josh said.
His wife agrees.
"It was much better than what we had planned," she said.