GREENTOWN, Ind. -- With their vows read and rings exchanged, Henry and Emily Riffles sealed their first moments of married life with a kiss Saturday, the wedding party and family looking on from proper social distance.
And while the ceremony seemed like a normal occasion, the path to get there was not due to the coronavirus crisis.
Just two weeks ago, their plans were set in stone.
A wedding ceremony at the Legacy Barn with over 100 family and friends in attendance. An Italian and Parisian honeymoon with a tour of the Louvre and other exciting adventures.
Then came the virus pandemic.
“The first thing that went was going to Italy for our honeymoon,” said Emily. “They went on lockdown, so that was out.”
Upset yet not too worried, the Riffles decided to just vacation in Paris instead.
“Then the president said we couldn’t go to Europe,” Henry added.
So the couple settled on Napa Valley in California, a trip that would still provide the couple with a bit of Tuscan charm.
But then the San Francisco area went on lockdown, and the Napa trip was indefinitely put on hold.
Three honeymoons, three cancellations.
As for their actual wedding ceremony, Emily said that was still looking pretty promising until news broke that all public gatherings had to have less than 50 people in attendance. Then, a few days later, that number reduced to 10.
So much change in such a short time might make some couples reconsider their wedding date.
But the Riffles continued on, choosing instead to wed in the same barn the couple got engaged in last August. They invited only their immediate families plus the maid of honor, the best man, a bridesmaid and a groomsman.
“I think not doing it was never an option,” Henry said. “It was always, we were going to continue on. We were going to take this adversity and make the best out of it and continue on with our lives.”
Asked how the two have remained positive amid the ever-changing circumstances, Henry said it was simply through faith and love.
“I have constantly reminded myself that there are times where we need to focus on what matters in life, and marrying Emily matters more to me than anything else in the world,” he said. “I wanted to start our lives together as soon as possible.”
The Riffles plan on holding a reception later this year at the Legacy Barn for family and friends who couldn’t attend Saturday’s ceremony.
As for future honeymoon plans, the couple said they are taking a wait-and-see approach.
“I don’t know what we want to do yet, but I can tell you this,” Henry said laughing, “I know we’re not going to blow that money on toilet paper.”
Kim Dunlap is a reporter for the Kokomo, Indiana, Tribune. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.