It was supposed to be a magical destination wedding. Jenny Cooper and Sean Steuer, who live in Chicago, had invited 120 people to join them at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta in Chicago—an all-inclusive resort with five infinity pools, a swim-up bar, and entertainment that includes folkloric dancing and acrobatic performances.Must check Event Lighting near me

Cooper’s mother had bought 100 glow sticks for a neon “our love shines bright” welcome party. Guests were being told the wedding was at the hotel, but on the morning of, they would be instructed to gather in the lobby. A chartered catamaran would whisk them away to a private island where they’d watch the couple exchange “I do’s” in a “tropical, bohemian paradise” with lanterns and torches illuminating the beach. Then they’d all hit the dance floor, accompanied by fire dancers and drummers.

Pre-pandemic, the plan was to do a “legal wedding” in town on March 28, with their upstairs neighbors and best friends, Christi and Jack Scott, as witnesses and Christi’s father, Pastor Phil Aijian, as the officiant. Puerto Vallarta would be the big show where they exchanged vows in front of a large group of family and friends. But then the novel coronavirus started creeping across the globe.

First, older family members began canceling their plans to attend. Then Australia closed its borders, which meant Cooper’s brother, Harry, would be unable to join. By the mid-March deadline for the final hotel payment, more than half of the guests had dropped out. The clothiers making Steuer’s tux and Cooper’s dress suspended production, and the jewelry shop that had their rings shut down. Steuer and Cooper made a mad dash to their county courthouse to obtain a marriage license the day before it closed.

At that time, says Cooper, they felt like “virus be damned, we are still going!” By March 18, though, the May wedding was obviously off. No one was going to Mexico. The glow sticks could maybe be used for something else.

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