Couples have had to get creative after the coronavirus forced them to cancel their original wedding plans

By Rachel DeSantis
June 04, 2020 10:00 AM
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Saying “I do” doesn’t always turn out exactly as planned — especially when a pandemic forces the closure of venues and a seriously limited guest list.

For seven couples across the U.S., however, the countrywide shutdown was the perfect opportunity to prove to themselves that flower arrangements, DJ booths and color patterns aren't what really matters on a wedding day.

The show must go on, whether that means socially distanced guests or a makeshift cake. Read on to see how some couples in this week's issue of PEOPLE restructured their special day to make it work in the age of coronavirus.

Dayspring and Shane Walsh

Dayspring and Shane Walsh

Dayspring, 30, and Shane, 29, initially planned to be married at an art collective in Los Angeles — but when coronavirus nixed those plans, they bumped up their scheduled wedding day by three days and got creative.

The couple pulled everything together from their Long Beach apartment in just eight hours, including tasks like finding a last-minute cake and making sure Shane's dad was ordained online so he'd be able to marry them.

For more inspiring wedding stories amid the pandemic, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

"I'm a big believer that you can't let perfect be the enemy of good," Shane tells PEOPLE. "Our story will be a cultural timestamp."

Bri and Lindsey Leaverton

Bri and Lindsey Leaverton
Greg Fulks

When Lindsey's father was diagnosed with COVID-19 in early April, the couple knew immediately that they didn't want to wait to have their wedding as originally planned at a historic hotel in Austin.

Instead, they tied the knot on April 28 at Doc's Drive-In Theatre in Buda, Texas, where 150 guests — including 37-year-old Lindsey's recovered dad — watched the ceremony on the big screen from the safety of their own cars.

"We were able to pull off the most beautifully perfect wedding," says Bri, 31.

Lindsay and Jim Trucks

Lindsay and Jim Trucks
Beth Hontzas

Lindsay and Jim, both 31, didn't let the virus stop them from keeping their original wedding date of March 21 — their "I dos" went ahead as scheduled, just with a few changes.

The couple swapped out a Birmingham, Alabama country club for the steps of a local church, and downsized their 500-person guest list to just 20 people, who all watched from a safe distance. To make the day even more special, their loved ones arranged for a parade of nearly 50 cars and trucks filled with friends and family to drive by.

"Even in the midst of all this chaos, they showed up to celebrate us," says Lindsay. "What could have been a very heartbreaking day became such a joyful one."

Kingsley and Cameron Ross

(L-R) Cameron and Kingsley Ross
Julia Arceri
Kingsley and Cameron Ross
Julia Arceri

Kingsley, 24, and Cameron Ross, 25, didn't let a little rain dampen their big day.

Though initially slated to tie the knot in New Orleans on March 28, they adjusted their plans when coronavirus hit, and eventually exchanged vows on the beach in the rain in Galveston, Texas, with 13 guests in attendance and adhering to social distancing guidelines.

"I lost sight of what was really important, and that is me and Kingsley spending the rest of our lives together," says Cameron. "This really put the focus on why we were gathering: for us."

  • Reporting by DIANE HERBST, MORGAN SMITH, JULIETTE VARA and SUSAN YOUNG

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