Shared Experience: Going to a wedding during a pandemic

Here+is+a+picture+of+where+the+ceremony+was.+The+Hamilton+Manor+is+located+in+Hamilton+Township%2C+NJ

Photo Credit: Photovia: Here Comes The Guide

Here is a picture of where the ceremony was. The Hamilton Manor is located in Hamilton Township, NJ

By: Haley O'Neill, Reporter

Parties, get-togethers, private events; all paused for a period of time. The pandemic hit the entire world. As cases begin to decrease, and normality starts coming back, so do the events and traditions. However, maintaining social distance is a must. How does one attend a wedding while socially distant?

Weddings

Weddings; the celebration of two people coming together and officially becoming family. A huge event that allows both families to come together and celebrate. My father, being one of nine, has many brothers and sisters. With that, comes many family events such as birthdays, baby showers, and even weddings. However, what makes this a special wedding, was that this was during a pandemic. A celebration during a time in which social distance is key.

Ceremony

My cousin, Noel married her fiancé, Shawn. This became very confusing as there are now two people with the name Shawn in the family. While they are spelt differently, my father and the new member of the family have the same name. The wedding took place at The Hamilton Manor in Hamilton Township, New Jersey. The setting was very country like, which sums up my entire family. With a barn on one side, a horse on the other; it was a very country aesthetic as some might say. After arriving, and placing my mask on, my family and I began walking towards the venue. It is not a true O’Neill event or family gathering unless there are bagpipes being played. Sure enough, as my family and I turn the ben to find our seats, there are two men playing the bagpipes.

Once finding our seats, I carefully observed the layout and the decorations of the venue. With silk drapes hanging, and a very rustic look, I was in awe. While the chairs were around three feet apart from each other when I first arrived, by the end of the ceremony, they had shifted closer to one another. During the ceremony itself, the groomsmen and the bridesmaids were very socially distant from each other. With the bridesmaids on left, and the groomsmen on the right, everyone was distant. Even the priest was practicing social distance, which made it very hard to hear. I knew that the ceremony was over once the bride and the groom kissed and everyone cheered; then I began cheering.

Reception

After the ceremony, we made our way out of the barn, where the ceremony had taken place. We then entered a tall building and walked into a room with lights and tables set out everywhere. While maintaining social distance, the tables and chairs were scattered. Everyone had a fancy mask to match their dress clothes. Compliments were heard throughout the room about the special masks people had. Once the bride and the groom came into the room, after being introduced by the DJ by their new names, the music began playing and the fun began. People were taking pictures in the photo booth, and others were on the dance floor with their family and friends. The waiters and waitresses were wearing masks and placed the food far from us to maintain the social distance.

During the pandemic, drive by birthday parties and baby showers became prominent. Weddings, like this one took place in a backyard with limited in-person guests but tons of virtual guests on Zoom. (Photo Credit: Mrs. Allen)

Conclusion

Overall, the wedding I attended was definitely different. Not being able to hug some of my family members or sit close to them was very difficult. Between the loud music and the masks covering everyone’s mouths, it was hard to have a conversation. My cousin and her husband had a wonderful night, and I was very grateful to be a part of their celebration. My cousin looked beautiful in her long-fitted wedding dress, and seeing her with a smile on her face the whole night made me happy. I enjoyed every second of that night. While the circumstances were difficult, my friends and family were able to make the most of it.

Some people opted to delay plans and events during the pandemic, whereas others were determined to find a way to make it work. Some people opted for smaller outdoor events with backyard weddings becoming more common. Some kept it to very few people in-person, but maxed out the number of people on a Zoom call. It may not have been exactly the way they invisioned it, but this pandemic made people think about what is really important in life. It isn’t the number of people at an event, such as a wedding. It isn’t about the dress, cake, flowers or decorum. It is really about love and celebrating that love whether in-person, socially distanced six feet apart or from afar.

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