Love in the time of corona: How these Pittsburghers made the most of a pandemic wedding

While some couples are postponing their wedding days, others want to get married now, COVID-19 be damned.

Emma and Jay Kober had one of those unstoppable weddings.

As the bride put it, “I would’ve gotten married in a parking lot if I had to. We just wanted to get married.”

It was far different than the day they imagined, but it was special in its own way.

They traded a packed 200-person wedding for a 10-person wedding with guests spread far apart in the pews. The ceremony moved from Fox Chapel Presbyterian to Parkwood Presbyterian in Hampton Township, closer to the bride’s hometown.

Even though just a fraction of the guests could attend in person (tiny weddings have become a hallmark of the pandemic), more than 100 watched a Facebook Live video of the ceremony. The couple are Pittsburgh-area natives now living in the Boston area, and they didn’t want to ask guests to travel into town.

“I was still able to walk down the aisle and have organ music playing, just no one there to see it,” Emma said. “(The Facebook Live) worked out OK in a weird way. People felt like they were a part of it.”

Plans for a night of dancing at the Renaissance Hotel Downtown were traded for a quiet evening at the bride’s parents’ house with immediate family only.

“My parents cleared out the family room and took out the family dining table. They made a little dance floor instead,” Emma said.

The couple danced to Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am.” The bride danced with her father to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” and the groom danced with his mother to Carole King’s “Child of Mine.”

They cut their cake — vanilla with raspberry filling, ate take-out, and opened gifts.

“We tried to do everything that you do in a real reception just at a much smaller scale,” she said.

They even live-streamed some of the reception.

“My dad was like, ‘This is Jim Crist reporting live, Emma’s upstairs getting her makeup,'” Emma recalled fondly. (Yes, it’s exactly as adorable as you imagine).

They made do with what they had. The cake wasn’t from the bakery they’d planned for because it had shut down. The bouquet was pulled together from flowers a local florist had at home. The one bridesmaid who could come didn’t have her dress because it was stuck at the tailor, so she just grabbed another dress in her closet.

While it wasn’t the day they envisioned — and just about everything was different except for the date, March 28 — it ended up being “intimate and lovely,” Emma said.

“It was honestly a day truly about Jay and I and our love and getting married and that was at its core through and through,” she said. “The only essential element of any wedding is a couple with unconditional love for one another.”

We’re publishing wedding announcements for couples whose weddings have been postponed, changed, or canceled because of COVID-19. These are the first and third in the series. If you or someone you know has a Pittsburgh pandemic wedding story, drop us a line at hello@theincline.com.

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