COVID has changed many events we once knew and loved, both big and small: trips to the movie theater, vacations, parties with friends, and even one of the most substantial milestone celebrations – weddings.
Though the pandemic ruined the wedding plans of many couples around the world, some still got married, either by eloping, having virtual ceremonies, or hosting small, COVID-friendly events, like Corvallisites Jake and Vesper Souza did last weekend.
The Souzas tied the knot on Saturday, Oct. 3 on the Oregon State University campus, where the couple met five years ago. The ceremony took place under the Trysting Tree, a large Gray Poplar famous for being rumored to have romantic magical effects on OSU students.
Only seven were in attendance at the ceremony, including officiant Pansy Kemp. Kemp, who works full time as a broker for RE/MAX Integrity and has a side business called Corvallis Ceremonies, said she loves helping people’s dreams come true through wedding ceremonies.
“The pandemic has presented some obvious challenges, but overall, my main priority is still to provide a beautiful and memorable ceremony for the couple,” she said. “Regardless of the number of people in attendance, it is the significance of the day that we focus on.”
With COVID, the Souzas didn’t feel comfortable holding a big ceremony, but they made the best of their situation, and after the disappointment of having to postpone a larger wedding, Vesper said that she and Jake really just wanted to have fun with it.
And they did – the Souzas wore bright-colored hazmat suits, and their guests sported scrubs as a nod to the medical heroes risking their lives during the pandemic. Everyone wore masks as well.
“We were trying to think of a theme when we realized we already had the perfect one: pandemic!” said Vesper. “It brought a lot of levity to the situation.”
Kemp said, “It was a happy time filled with lots of laughter.”
The Souzas are planning to have a bigger celebration sometime next year, if COVID permits it. For now, though, they are happy with how their unusual, unprecedented pandemic wedding turned out.
Jake said, “Overall, it was an amazing experience that made light of our situation with postponing our full wedding, and allowed us to get legally married and have fun while doing so!”
By Cara Nixon