RACHEL BELLE

Love in the time of coronavirus: an edited wedding and a virtual first date

Mar 18, 2020, 5:29 PM
wedding, love, coronavirus...
Megan Griffiths and Ben Camp were able to fit nearly all of their wedding guests into a post-wedding selfie. (Photo courtesy of Megan Griffiths)
(Photo courtesy of Megan Griffiths)

Last fall, Seattle rap journalist Ben Camp proposed to his partner of five years, Seattle filmmaker Megan Griffiths.

“We decided to get married in March on Pi Day, which was last Saturday,” Griffiths said.

They booked the venue, the caterer, the DJ, and a florist. But at the beginning of March, coronavirus became more serious in the Seattle area. Camp and Griffiths went to pick up their marriage license, standing six feet apart from the other couples in line.

“There was blue tape already installed on the floor so we didn’t have to measure,” Camp said. “The city had already gotten to that before we got to the office.”

A week before their wedding day, not sure if they should cancel or postpone, Griffiths called an old friend.

“Who I’ve known since high school, who had been really excited about coming out to the wedding. We were chatting and I started throwing the idea out that we may postpone the dates. I thought maybe she would be disappointed or worried about the cost of changing travel plans. But she just said, ‘Can I tell you how relieved I would be if you did that?'”

Five days before their wedding day, the couple decided they still wanted to get married. But instead of having 128 guests, they’d have 20. They swapped their indoor venue for a Burien beach.

“Our friends rallied together to try and create the most sanitized good time anyone has ever put together,” Griffiths laughed. “It was this really careful planning around food and interactions.”

Friends bought cleanser and rubber gloves. Camp’s mom brought flowers and his sister made a Pi Day wedding pie.

“We don’t want to risk any of our relatives’ or friends’ health or safety, and so they came of their own volition. We warned them hundreds of times and said, ‘If you don’t want to come, please don’t come.’ Basically we couldn’t keep them away,” Camp said. “The people that were there would have been there, life or death.”

Megan said they were fine with postponing their reception, vendors agreed to push everything up five months, but it was very important for them to get married.

“Essentially because we didn’t know what was coming in the next few months and how things might continue to evolve,” Griffiths said. “It just felt really unpredictable and we had decided that we wanted to be together. We didn’t want to put that off, the actual vows and the beginning of our life together.”

This is love in the time of coronavirus.

“I feel really happy that we made the decision we made,” Griffiths said. “We tried to do a version of our wedding that was small enough that we could feel OK about the impact we were having in keeping our friends’ health and safety, and the community’s health and safety, in our minds the whole time. I think we were able to achieve that. I feel like there can be a takeaway where people say, ‘See, they got married anyway! We should just go forward and live our lives.’ That wasn’t what we were trying to do.”

“But on the flip side of that, as I stood waiting to see my bride for the first time in her dress, that moment took my breath away,” Camp said. “I couldn’t think about what was happening in the current world. I didn’t even know what state I was in or what city I was in. I couldn’t think about anything else except looking at her in her dress and getting ready for the moment. For me, it turned into a really powerful story of the power of marriage and the power of love and how these things transcend any details that we go through in our daily life. There is nothing that compares to that kind of power of two people getting married and two people in love with each other.”

If you haven’t found your forever somebody yet, this might be just the right time to try. Seattle’s Tina Nole has been chatting with a guy on a dating app.

“I feel that it’s really important not to be in contact with a lot of people and follow the rules right now,” Nole said. “But I really wanted to meet him! There’s a way with technology. So I asked him, I said, ‘I don’t really want to meet you in person yet. So why don’t we try a FaceTime virtual date?'”

Last night, on their respective couches, they had their first date.

Musicians find creative ways to make money as venues close, festivals cancel

“We planned it, he called right on the dot,” Nole said. “I fully got ready like a regular date. I put makeup on, I did my hair, I changed my shirt eight times. I was looking at the angle of how my shirt might look in the frame. I lit a candle in my house, dimmed the lights a little bit and made it cute. I had a glass of wine. He had a glass of wine, too.”

She said it went really well.

“It was a great date! I’m totally going to see him again … virtually. Or meet him at a park, with six feet of distance.”

Read more from Rachel Belle.

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Love in the time of coronavirus: an edited wedding and a virtual first date