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An Impromptu Wedding, Social Distancing Included


NEW YORK SHUTTERED

“Love in the time of Corona,” the invite said. “Bring your own cups if you want to toast.”

A phone played Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” — somewhat drowned out by traffic — as Molly Rosner and Paul Anderson marched down a grassy slope in Riverside Park. A path of rose petals led the way to what was a brief, tender ceremony.

The couple met in 2016 on a softball field and were originally set to be married on May 10 at a restaurant in Brooklyn, with 120 guests, dinner and dancing to a D.J.

But as New York City quickly became the center of the coronavirus outbreak in the past week, they realized the wedding would likely be postponed until the city returned to normal, an unknowable question.

New restrictions on travel, gatherings and businesses were like a vault door slamming shut on normal life. So they decided to dive under it like Indiana Jones, joked Mr. Anderson, 39, a freelance filmmaker who at this critical time had no health insurance.

An immediate wedding would allow him to join the health insurance plan Ms. Rosner, 34, has with her job as an educator at LaGuardia Community College.

They abruptly emailed invitations out on Wednesday, under the subject line “Love in the time of Corona,” with a new date. “Change of plans!” it read, “We are getting married TODAY!”

Their haste also meant they were married before Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday that the city’s marriage bureau was closed until further notice.

The email invite stipulated that guests would follow safe guidelines against possible transmission of the virus.

“Strictly 6-foot distancing and bring your own cups if you want to toast,” read the email, which signed off with, “Virtual hugs, the only kind allowed.”

Fourteen guests showed up, some with flowers and bottles of Champagne, and chatted about how the wedding was a bright spot in a dark week. Blocks away on Broadway, shoppers were loading up on masks, rubber gloves and antiseptic wipes for protection against the spreading virus.

A friend, Greg Hill-Ries, 33, a Brooklyn schoolteacher with an online ordination through the Universal Life Church, officiated. He thanked the assembled guests for coming “in this time of uncertainty and fear” and told them to “maintain a safe distance.”

Instead of a honeymoon, Ms. Rosner said she and her new husband were “going to go home and quarantine” and have Chinese food delivered.

It was simple, Ms. Rosner told guests, they wanted to get married. “Not even a global pandemic could stop us.”

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