'A perfect day': The wedding that coronavirus couldn't stop
Editor's note: Tallahassee couple Jason Khan-Hohensee and Yasmin Khan-Hohensee canceled their original wedding date after the coronavirus arrived. They decided to move forward with a modified ceremony after instructing the four guests in attendance to adhere to social distancing protocols. Jason tells the story of their suddenly back on wedding in a Facebook post he shared with the Tallahassee Democrat.
体育在线365Our original wedding date was April 18. Then the COVID-19 outbreak struck. A month before our wedding, we officially postponed it, and rescheduled for the fall.
体育在线365We had discussed how badly we wanted to keep our original wedding date, and had kicked around a bunch of ideas, but ultimately, we decided it was best to wait. On April 17 at 7 a.m., a teary-eyed Yasmin asked if we could still get married on April 18. And off we went. With no marriage license, no officiant, no flowers, no cake, no photographer and no real plan.
After calling around to 16 different counties in Florida, we were able — with the help of one amazing individual at the courthouse in Okaloosa — to get a virtual appointment to have a license issued that same day. We found a notary in our neighborhood who agreed to make the marriage legal the next day.
Zoom invites went out to family members. We’re having a wedding! But still — no cake, no flowers, no photographer. That’s OK, right? We knew that we would have to sacrifice some elements of our “perfect” ceremony given the times, but as long as we could express our love and marry each other, we were happy.
As we’re scrambling to secure a license, Yasmin gets a text from one of the most selfless people I know, our friend and neighbor Laura Copeland. She’s got a nice camera, and while it’s usually used to photograph wildlife, tomorrow it’s going to be used to photograph our wedding. Amazing.
OK, flowers? Our neighborhood is incredible, and there are so many nice gardens around. I post on our neighborhood Facebook page and something like 20 neighbors (mostly strangers) offered up their gardens — hibiscus, hydrangeas, roses, a dozen other flowers I can’t even name. More flowers than we could actually use.
体育在线365By 8 p.m. on April 17, we had more than we ever imagined when we made the decision 12ish hours earlier to keep our April 18 wedding date.
体育在线365Then, at 9 p.m., I get a message from Yasmin’s amazing boss Leandra Clovis. It goes something like, “We (Yasmin’s work friends) want to surprise Yasmin with a little something tomorrow. What could we get?” I kind of sheepishly tell her that we don’t have any cake of any kind, so maybe even something like cupcakes would be nice. She replies “ON IT.” That was pretty much the entire conversation.
The next day, a beautiful wedding cake that looked exactly like what we had envisioned for our “perfect ceremony” is delivered from the exact bakery that we were planning on using — all purely coincidental.
After trying our best to fight off the excitement of a wedding and get a good night’s sleep, we awoke on Saturday morning and started writing out the ceremony. We decided to ask each of our best friends — Elsa Mota and Timothy Walton — to help us emcee.
We sent out the final script and spent the rest of the morning getting the venue (aka our porch) decorated as best we could. Before we knew it, our friend and now photographer had shown up, a couple of surprise guests had shown up — surprise guests who ended up being the legal witnesses to our wedding — and our notary had shown up.
Shortly thereafter, we were legally married, but we still wanted to conduct a ceremony. So we set up a Zoom link for our immediate family and for our best friends. We would’ve loved to been able to hug them and celebrate with them in person, but this was the next best thing.
My parents delivered the cake, along with champagne, and we were ready to start our ceremony.
体育在线365After the ceremony, our neighborhood (Indianhead Lehigh), upon finding out about our wedding through my Facebook post seeking flowers, organized a “drive-by reception.”
Strangers and friends we’ve met through our one year of living in the neighborhood showered our front yard with honks, bird seed, bubbles and even the occasional toast. So much joy from so many people that we barely even knew!
The entire day was intimate, authentic, grassroots and truly everything that we wanted from a wedding. I wish that we could have celebrated with hugs from all our loved ones, but in the end, it was way more perfect than we had ever envisioned our “perfect ceremony” being. We are so grateful and forever indebted to everyone that made yesterday such a perfect day!
Yasmin Khan-Hohensee is the development manager for the Central and North Florida chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, and an avid yogi. Jason Khan-Hohensee is the director of sales and marketing for Skandia Window Fashions, a volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters and a semi-competitive cyclist.
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