We were looking forward to a spring of celebrations as we started the new year: the arrival of our first grandson in February, our daughter Rebecca's graduation from Jefferson University's Sydney Kimmel College of Medicine and her June wedding to Kyle McGinnis and all the festivities leading up to it ie bridal showers, bachelorette & bachelor parties, golf outings and family reunion at the rehearsal dinner party.
As we were learning about Covid-19 late in January, we never imagined the impact it would have on our family. Our lives changed significantly with the shelter at home order. Rebecca and Kyle relocated from the city to quarantine with us in Wayne late March and soon every special event was canceled. It felt as if all happiness was being drained from our lives.
While Rebecca & Kyle were evaluating the options for their wedding plans, Rebecca's beloved grandparents passed away within 5 weeks of each other adding to the surreal situation. Covid was robbing us of celebrating and recognizing three significant lifetime milestones, a Medical School Graduation, a Wedding and now a Memorial Service. It was a very emotional and stressful time for all our families.
R & K decided in early May to move the big celebration we were planning to next year and to get married at our home as it was the only option available with a smaller group of family and friends in attendance. We planned to have the memorial service for Rebecca's grandparents the Monday after the wedding as there were many family members traveling in from out of state to attend both events.
We wanted to create a joyous and intimate wedding for Rebecca and Kyle and 30 Guests as a send off before their move back to NYC where Rebecca will begin a grueling Medical Residency Program in late June. We were overwhelmed with the out pouring of love & support we received from so many people as we moved forward with our plan.
In the weeks before the wedding, our spirits were lifted by some sweet surprises. The wedding party organized a surprise zoom party for R&K. Rebecca’s MOH also created a surprise zoom bachelorette party complete with cupcakes, champagne, and flowers (the home set-up of which was arranged largely by her fiancé and mom!). R&K received a surprise gift from her brother and sister-in-law, a customized corn hole set! They knew it would help create a fun atmosphere in our backyard. They also helped us to order coordinated masks to keep our guests safe and serve as a fun (and timely) party favor. We had called our string quartet to regrettably cancel our arrangement as the Church would not be open, but to our enjoyment they were determined and delighted to come to our home and play.
When it came to re-planning for the big day, we had a team of saints who made the day beyond anything we could have imagined. Rebecca's Aunt Susan pulled together a group of her talented friends to create a beautiful outdoor chapel. The charming antique church pews were lent to us by Rory O'Brien, the Arbor was assembled from a kit purchased by Rebecca's uncle Tom, and the outdoor chapel's stunning floral swags were created by Carolyn Brady a neighbor of Susan's sister Ellen.
Our original venue, St. Davids golf club brought as much of St. Davids to our home as possible. ie the delicious food, tables, linens, chafing dishes, serving pieces etc. were all personally delivered to us by Erin Williamson, the event planner and Bill Phillips the club Manager. Tish Long, our florist, created a gorgeous bouquet for the bride and lovely centerpieces for 9 tables scattered throughout our home and backyard. Susan's sister Ellen and her friend Michelle volunteered to be our party helpers to serve the food and help with the clean-up.
On top of everything else, severe thunderstorms known as Derichos, devastated our area a few days before the wedding resulting in area wide power outages lasting up to 72 hours in certain locations and many road closures due to downed trees. We lost our power for 26 hours and had a large tree come down in our backyard. Our neighbors came to the rescue helping to clear the tree. The hotel where our guests were planning to stay also lost power, and Kyle's friend Matt was able to quickly locate another hotel that would take them. Sweet Jasmines never regained their power and still found a way to bake the delicious cake and deliver it to us 10 minutes before the ceremony began.
Fortunately, the day of the wedding was a beautiful, warm June day. The ceremony began with Rebecca, escorted by her parents, walking down the grass aisle while the Blue Light String Quartet played Cannon in D. Rebecca’s MOH carried her train to protect it from the mud. Ceremony readings were given by their siblings. Guests helped to facetime loved ones not able to be present, like Kyle’s father, and capture the ceremony on Zoom. The bride and groom were glowing with happiness and spoke their vowels with confidence and love. Photos were taken along the trail next to our home, “Beech Tree Lane”. The newly married couple never stopped smiling throughout the evening's first dance, wedding toasts, dinner, cake cutting and corn hole tournament.
Kyle and Rebecca experienced a truly magical wedding day. We are so grateful for all of the love, kindness, and talents of so many remarkable people who helped to make this day possible. We could not have done it without them. As we look forward to our large celebration next year, we hope our only worry will be the weather.