Lauren "Lolo" Pritchard and her fiancé Colton Cobb decided to stream their wedding on YouTube so they didn't put any of their guests' health in jeopardy

By Joelle Goldstein
March 21, 2020 01:55 AM

A Broadway star who planned to tie the knot over the weekend is not letting coronavirus (COVID-19) ruin her big day — even if she’s had to alter her plans slightly.

Lauren “Lolo” Pritchard and her fiancé Colton Cobb have been planning their wedding for months, but never would have expected that it would take a dramatic turn in the days leading up to their big day.

“It’s been an interesting two weeks,” Pritchard, 32, tells PEOPLE. “It is strange when you have been planning something for a while and you have to completely change it… Like everyone else, we’ve been trying to keep track of what’s going on and gauge what level of severity things really are.”

Just this week, the couple decided to limit their wedding guests to only their immediate family and livestream the ceremony on YouTube Saturday so the rest of their loved ones — approximately 200 of them — could follow along virtually without jeopardizing their health.

“We were like, ‘Okay listen, we love everyone so much and we’re going to live stream, we want you all to watch,'” she says. “‘We want you all to dress up and fancy yourselves up on Saturday because we’ll be still fancy. And then when we get on the other side of this, we are going to have a big party.'”

“We’re really excited actually,” adds Pritchard, who is currently 19-weeks pregnant. “It’s certainly not the wedding that we planned… [but] no one could have ever expected anything like this.”

Lolo Pritchard and Colton Cobb
lolo pritchard

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Pritchard and Cobb, who got engaged in January, initially planned to tie the knot at Lambuth Memorial United Methodist Church in Jackson, Tennessee, before celebrating at a nearby venue.

But last Friday, their plans shifted when the COVID-19 outbreak escalated, prompting the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to advise against gatherings of more than 250 people.

Because multiple family members were currently living with pre-existing health conditions and many others lived out of state and were planning to travel, their guest list began to dwindle down.

Still, Pritchard and Cobb planned to carry on with their plans as normal — at that point, they had a guest list of about 230 people — but opted to stream the event online for those who could not make it.

However, another challenge was placed in front of the couple when the CDC announced on Monday that gatherings of 10 people or more would not be recommended amid the pandemic.

“All of a sudden we’re like, ‘Okay, this is an entirely different situation,'” Pritchard recalls. “So we just made an executive decision to live stream at 2 p.m. for everyone except for our parents, our siblings, our grandparents and a couple of people in our wedding party.”

Lolo Pritchard and Colton Cobb at their rehearsal
lolo pritchard

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After the ceremony, Pritchard says the intimate group will celebrate — within the recommended six-foot distance from each other — at a banquet hall in the church.

Making that decision also meant Pritchard had to cancel the planned venue and alter many of her previous orders, including ones for cake and food. Yet, even with the last-minute changes, the bride-to-be says everyone has been very understanding.

“We didn’t want to postpone it because we’re expecting a little one,” the former Spring Awakening star explains. “If we try to do this in a few months, it’s going to be so much crazier… so we wanted to just go ahead and have our day.”

“This whole thing has been incredibly scary for everybody to try to navigate because it’s really hard to know what is really going on,” she says. “Because everybody is being so affected by everything that’s happening, we’re not the only people having to deal with these kinds of decisions… so everybody was really understanding.”

While many brides would be panicking in this situation, Pritchard says she’s found comfort in knowing she made the right decision and that she’ll get an even more meaningful celebration sometime down the line.

“It’s completely out of our control,” she explains. “Especially after everything the CDC said on Monday, we were like, ‘We can’t in good faith go forward with the wedding that we were planning.'”

“I’m not assuming that anything will happen, but God forbid, what if something does? It’s not worth the risk. I don’t think it’s worth anyone’s health or safety,” she adds. “We fully intend to have a really, really, big party… and at that time, we will be celebrating so much more than just our marriage celebration.”

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As for their hopes this weekend?

“All we want to do is just bring everyone a happy moment tomorrow,” Pritchard says. “Everybody is in this very strange, uncertain state and still trying to figure out what to do. We’re excited to have a reason to dress up and we are encouraging everyone to do that too.”

“Put on a fancy dress, put some lipstick on, put a suit on, sit in your kitchen and pour champagne while we’re saying ‘I do’ and cheers us from the internet,” she adds. “We just want everyone to have a wonderful afternoon and bring a smile to people’s faces.”

As of Friday evening, there have been at least 17,610 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 237 deaths in the U.S., according to the New York Times. In Tennessee alone, there are at least 175 reported cases but no confirmed deaths, according to the Times.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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