Morgan Clark walked into the bedroom of his fiancé, Elizabeth Reilly, on March 18 and found her sobbing.
The devastating effects of the coronavirus forced the couple to move their originally scheduled wedding date up to March 22, from May 8.
And they had to change the location of the church, from the Incarnation Anglican Church in Tallahassee, Fla., where the couple met in June 2017, to the Christchurch Anglican in Montgomery, Ala., where Mr. Clark is an associate priest.
They also reduced the number of already invited guests, to 10 from 250.
“The saddest thing is that it suddenly dawns on you that you can’t be with all the people you love the most,” Ms. Reilly said. “I saw visions of my flower girls peeking over pews, and of my mom’s steady arm extended to walk me down the aisle, vanish before my eyes.
“I grieved, and then chastised myself for grieving over such simple pleasures amid a world full of loss,” she added. “But once I got past that, it was like, well, lets just see if we can make some lemonade out of these corona lemons.”
Ms. Reilly and Mr. Clark, both only children raised by their mothers, Mary Reilly and Robin Clark, reached out to explain their situation and asked for their blessings to move forward with their new wedding plans. (Both of their fathers died when they were young children.)
Each mother approved, and slowly and creatively, church officials and parishioners from Christchurch Anglican in Montgomery, most of whom had never met Ms. Reilly or Mr. Clark, came together as one family, all working to give the bride and groom a most magical wedding day.
Though the pews were empty as the couple stood before the Rev. Andrew Rowell, an Anglican priest who performed the ceremony, the church’s youth minister livestreamed the event, which had 660 viewers on YouTube.
Through a series of fortunate events, the groom’s best man lived in Montgomery and the bride’s maid of honor was able to be in town from Tallahassee.
The church provided an organist and a singer, and some of the women in the community designed beautiful bouquets and set flowers at the front of the church.
Inside, vases overflowed with blush and blue blooms, the couple’s original wedding colors, courtesy of a local florist.
They were gifted a wedding cake, and friends decorated their car with balloons from Publix and strung cans off the bumper.
“It seemed like the whole world, or at least our small corner of it, was just aching for something to celebrate,” Ms. Reilly said, “and we were happy to oblige.”