Peter Doocy took on the task after the priest who was supposed to perform his sister's nuptials suddenly died

By Robyn Merrett
August 04, 2020 02:16 PM
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Peter and Sally Doocy

Fox News correspondent Peter Doocy didn't let a hurricane or the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic stop his sister from getting married.

Peter, who is the son of author and Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy, stepped up to the plate over the weekend and ordained his sister Sally's wedding in Palm Beach, Florida, amid the category 1 storm — dubbed Isaias —  and emergency evacuation orders.

Like most couples, Peter's sister Sally Doocy and her now-husband Ali Sadri were forced to postpone their wedding due to the global health crisis. The couple had originally planned to tie the knot on May 2 but decided to change the date to Aug 1. When August finally arrived and cases continued to rise in Florida, Sally and Ali had to again rethink their plans.

"Their dream wedding was planned a year in advance, but then with the global pandemic, just about everything that could go wrong, did," Steve, 63, tells PEOPLE. "During the last 100 days Sally Doocy and Ali Sadri's wedding was shut down first by the CDC, then the state of Florida with their COVID-19 restrictions."

Making matters even worse, Steve says the priest that was supposed to perform his daughter's wedding "unfortunately and unexpectedly passed away."

Sally and Steve Doocy
Danny Coya and his team from Starfish Studios

"Suddenly, we needed a new venue and new officiant," Steve explains.

Steve shares that his wife Kathy Gerrity "heard that the Brazilian Court Hotel and Cafe Boulud in Palm Beach were hosting weddings."

Mary Doocy, Steve Doocy, Sally Doocy, Ali Sadri, Kathy Doocy and Peter Doocy
Danny Coya and his team from Starfish Studios

"We called and they were available for that day, so she immediately booked it. But who would perform the service?" Steve says.

That's when Peter stepped in.

"Last year, Peter was asked by a Fox News Channel producer to officiate at his wedding," Steve says. "Peter applied online and for $40 became a legit minister, who could marry people."

"When the priest passed away, Peter checked and his license was still active and valid in Florida. He offered his services and Sally said yes. She also started calling her brother Father Peter," Steve says.

Peter tells PEOPLE that he took the job very seriously.

"I've been carrying a card that certificates my 'Credentials of Ministry' around in wallet ever since I got ordained online last year, when I officiate the ceremony of my friends Pat and Kristen," Peter says.

"I never thought I'd have another chance to use it. But when Sally and Ali asked if I could fill in, I quickly started mapping out the ceremony. I interviewed Sally and Ali separately, the same way I would interview someone at my day job, and wove their answers into a love story that also connected some dots to our family history — like the coincidence that Sally and Ali each ordered lasagna on their first date in Dallas — the same food my mom made for my dad on their first date. "I prepared my delivery very thoroughly (especially a few light hearted punch lines)," Peter says.

It appeared as though everything was coming together for Sally's big day — until another wrench was thrown in their plans.

From left: Sally Doocy, Peter Doocy and Ali Sadri
Danny Coya and his team from Starfish Studios

"It was finally going to happen on schedule, until a hurricane warning was issued for our area during the wedding ceremony," Steve says. "One of our neighbors sent me a note, 'Good luck with the blessed event during COVID-cane 2020.'"

"Our photographer Danny Coya and his team from Starfish Studio were trying to beat the clock and get as many photos as he could before the hurricane's outer bands started pummeling Palm Beach, and he did," Steve says.

"For my father of the bride toast, I wanted to say something that explained why they want to get married on their rescheduled date of Aug. 1, 2020 and not wait until next year when so many others have rescheduled their weddings due to the coronavirus. Sally and Al's wedding hashtag was #WhenAliMetSally, and I quoted a line from When Harry Met Sally: 'When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible,'" Steve shares.

"Even during COVID-19, a lockdown and hurricane. Life has to go on. I can't imagine the original 200-person wedding being anywhere near as perfect as the wedding that happened during the hurricane. It could not have been better," Steve says, joking, "I'm going to encourage my other kids to get married during hurricane season."

Peter echoed similar sentiments, sharing he got emotional on the big day.

"One thing I didn't prepare for was how moved I would be by seeing how happy my sister and her now-husband were, with the front-row seat to her wedding. I got choked up a little bit, but regained my composure — slowly but surely — and got to introduce her as a 'Mrs.' for the first time," he says.

He also joked about the many setbacks during the ceremony: "A global pandemic; the unfortunate passing of a priest; a countrywide ban on dancing, it sounds like a scary sequel to Footloose. But these are the things that Sally and Ali gracefully overcame to be here today, after a short 91 delay, their wedding day. Luckily, the hurricane off the coast is helping."

"After consulting many bridal blogs, if there's rain on your wedding day it's good luck. It also makes wedding day rainbows and reduces airborne pollen," he concluded.

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