Virtual Wedding Bells Ring for Wendy, ETM-LA Teacher
Congratulations to ETM-LA Music Teacher Wendy Walsh and her new husband Eric, who Zoomed to say “I Do!” at their home in Los Angeles on April 4.
We spoke with Wendy about how their wedding plans quickly and dramatically changed, how they managed it all, and what advice she has for couples facing a similar situation:
How did you and your husband meet?
About 5 years ago, August 2014, in a music classroom at Cal State Northridge, about 15 music educators gathered together to start the credential program. Eric, being a CSUN Alumni, knew most of the educators from his undergrad experience. Myself, embarking on my 2nd semester at CSUN, only knew a few people from the prior semester. We met and became comrades in the quest to obtain teaching credentials! Both of us are now music educators in Los Angeles, with Eric teaching high school band and orchestra at Cortines High School (Visual and Performing Arts) and I am happily with Education Through Music-Los Angeles at two schools.
How did you manage to balance work and wedding planning?
The best way to balance both work and wedding planning is to designate specific days and a length of time to do so. You can get stuck in a never-ending loop of constant planning, so by giving yourself explicit tasks to accomplish, you are able to feel productive and can stop for the evening.
What made you decide to keep your wedding date rather than postponing?
Through much discussion, my husband and I decided that keeping our wedding date was the best scenario for us. By looking at the flu epidemic in the 20th century, [we realized] it could be three years before we had our wedding. We thought “how awful would it be to postpone to next year, and this happens again?” We are hoping to have a giant party in celebration of our wedding later on, but want to make sure our invited guests are safe and healthy before we can party together.
How did your wedding preparations change as the pandemic was unfolding? What were the challenges?
Two of Eric’s friends from college live outside of Beijing and created a video blog about their journey and change in their daily life. We both saw the drastic change and knew that the United States would follow those guidelines, so in early March (before the social distancing order) we decided to postpone the party. The development of the Zoom wedding was created in the weeks after, as we waited to see the severity of the virus.
Did guests attend virtually, and how many were there?
When we decided to have a Zoom wedding, we had to think about several possible issues: 1) internet connection for all guests, 2) recording the whole ceremony with little interruption, and 3) our pastor and speakers being seen and heard. Our total attending guest list was about 250, and we knew that was not an option for the online ceremony, so we limited it to our immediate family members, our bride tribe and their significant others, and our groomsmen. We then recorded the whole ceremony, put it up on YouTube, and sent the link out to our invited guests to watch from home.
What were the most memorable moments of your wedding day?
My favorite part of the day was setting up the “cliché” wedding pictures with our music stand and phone. We wanted to capture the wedding, but also wanted to play around with the fact that it was just the two of us at home.
Are you planning to do an in-person celebration with family and friends at a later time?
We hope to have an in-person celebration with hugs, laughter, and community in the future. With the uncertainty of the pandemic’s length and social distancing policies, planning anything is next to impossible at this very moment.
What would your advice be to other engaged couples facing a similar situation?
I think the most important thing to remember is that your wedding does not determine how much you love each other. Marriage is the unity of two people who are willing to make a bond “until death do us part,” and represents much more than a party with friends and family. The wedding is the celebration of your love, but ultimately is not needed to show others what your marriage means to you both.