Michigan Couple Hold Wedding with Cardboard Cutout Guests amid Coronavirus

Amy Simonson and Dan Stuglik had an interesting mix of guests at their April 4 wedding

Dan Stuglik and Amy Simonson
Photo: Don Campbell/The Herald-Palladium via AP

With the coronavirus outbreak forcing the cancelation of weddings around the country, Michigan couple Amy Simonson and Dan Stuglik decided to go through with their ceremony with a wildly different group of guests.

The couple originally planned for 150 of their family and friends to attend their April 4 wedding, but with coronavirus safety regulations barring large gatherings, they had to slash that list down to just 12 people.

“If my uncle that I haven’t seen in six years isn’t there, that’s fine, but my grandma isn’t coming, and part of my bridesmaids,” Simonson told The Herald-Palladium. “My best friends won’t be there.”

Stuglik, a police officer in Coloma Township, said he couldn’t imagine his bride walking down the aisle with no one around, so he began brainstorming ways to make it seem like the place was crowded with guests.

“I was seeing creative ways to fill churches,” he explained, “like pastors that were preaching to pictures of their parishioners. I wanted to do something so she wouldn’t walk down the aisle to an empty church.”

Then Stuglik had a unique idea — he could pack the church with “guests” using cardboard cutouts.

Dan Stuglik and Amy Simonson
Dan Stuglik and Amy Simonson. Don Campbell/The Herald-Palladium via AP

Intent on making this plan a reality, Stuglik visited Menasha Packaging Co. to ask about purchasing any spare cardboard they had on hand.

“When I explained why, it was neat to see their response,” Stuglik said. “They got a little emotional about what we were doing. They immediately got excited about going above and beyond what we expected.”

Using their machinery, the company was able to cut 100 pieces of cardboard in the shape of all kinds of people — including children and adults.

“It’s been a long time since I got married, but cutting corrugated cardboard the weekend before my wedding wasn’t high on my list,” Luke Arendash, Menasha’s director of sales and operations, told the Herald-Palladium.

Menasha even donated the cutouts to the couple free of charge.

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“It’s funny to think about a factory producing our wedding guests,” Stuglik said. “This is such a kind thing for them to do.”

Though their wedding was not how they envisioned it, Stuglik said the cutouts helped to make the ceremony more unique than they ever could have imagined.

“That was a painful part, that [Simonson’s] wedding was being stripped away from her, but Menasha helped bring a little back,” Stuglik said of his bride.

“But I think we both have peace now,” he told the newspaper, “because it’s stripped down to what it should be, which is us and God, getting married.”

As of Wednesday afternoon, the United States as seen a total of 418,185 cases and 14,257 deaths attributed to coronavirus, according to a New York Times database. Michigan has 18,852 cases and 845 deaths, the Times reported.

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. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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