ASTORIA, QUEENS — Robyn Macy and Andrew Berkovits planned to get married Saturday in front of 190 guests in Tarrytown, New York, to the soundtrack of a renowned 17-piece wedding band that has played for the likes of the Rockefellers and the Clintons.
Instead, the couple headed to their Astoria rooftop, exchanged their vows on a Post-it note and popped champagne before an audience of a lemon-hued sunset that grazed the tops of the Manhattan skyscrapers in the distance.
Bans on large gatherings, widespread closures and social distancing measures enacted to slow the spread of the new coronavirus are prompting New York couples to cancel or reschedule weddings — or, in the case of Mr. and Mrs. Berkovits, find creative ways to still say “I do.”
“It’s just like a little bit of an escape, a distraction, a little bit of love in this time of anxiety,” Macy said in a phone interview. “You shouldn’t feel like you have to put your happiness on hold just because the world’s on hold.”
Among the 250,000-plus city employees sent home last week are the workers who issue marriage licenses and hold civil marriage ceremonies at the city clerk’s office in downtown Manhattan.
The Marriage Bureau closure, which Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Friday, means nuptials won’t be recognized in the eyes of the law. But the Berkovits newlyweds say a marriage certificate is only a formality.
“It’s not pretend,” Macy said. “We really do feel this love and feel like we’re married.”
The couple isn’t the only one celebrating love in the time of the new coronavirus.
Reilly Jennings and Amanda Wheeler took to the streets of Washington Heights on Friday to get married, with a friend officiating the ceremony from his fourth-floor window.
“It was the most New York moment ever and was even more special to share with the entire neighborhood in such a scary and uncertain time,” Jennings told CNN.
The most perfectly New York moment amidst a crazy time. The magic of this city, our down AF friends, and most importantly @wheelsfit will never be lost on me. Also. Hire @iknowmattwilson for EVERY WEDDING EVER!
A post shared by Reilly Jennings (@reillyjennings) on Mar 21, 2020 at 7:47am PDT
On Staten Island on Sunday, one couple incurred the wrath of the Archdiocese of New York by getting married in front of nearly two dozen people at a local Catholic church, according to the New York Post.
“The wedding was not in keeping with archdiocesan guidelines and should not have been held,” Archdiocese of New York spokesperson Joseph Zwilling told the news outlet.
Astoria’s newly married Berkovits couple still plan to hold the wedding ceremony they envisioned, but they’ve postponed the party until August and their honeymoon until January.
They may not be spending Monday morning on a plane to Thailand, as was their original plan, but the couple are keeping things positive: “It’s been so beautiful to have the outpouring of love and support from people,” Macy said.
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