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Dispatches from home Students in Reporting 30204 are writing about COVID-19 and its impact on TCU and students' home communities

With social distancing in place and travel restriction both local and state-to-state, many couples are having small ceremonies, rather than the celebrations they planned. Some are hopeful that their first anniversary can become their wedding day.

Andrea and Daniel Smith had planned on being married in front of 150 friends and family members on May 9 in Wilmington, North Carolina. The demands of his job with the U.S. Coast Guard and COVID-19 restrictions left them saying their vows at the County Courthouse in Wilmington as five friends - standing six feet apart - watched.

Andrea and Daniel Smith at their wedding ceremony at the courthouse. Photo courtesy: Alexandra Preusser

They still hope to have a celebration of their marriage sometime in the future with family and friends, Andrea said.

The Smith's friends celebrated them with a car parade. Photo courtesy: Alexandra Preusser

In Fort Worth, TCU’s Robert Carr Chapel is one of the area’s most popular wedding venues. Officials there say they are juggling dates as couples cancel and postpone nuptials.

Refunds are being done on a case-by-case basis, said Mallory Nason, assistant director of the chapel. She said most ceremonies are being rescheduled, but the chapel is refunding “any difference in the rental rate there may have been due to a new time frame.”

The exterior of the Robert Carr Chapel. Photo courtesy: https://chapel.tcu.edu/

“We are so excited to celebrate with our couples, even if it is happening a little later than we all originally thought,” Nason said. “A few of our couples are choosing to recreate the ceremony they had originally planned for on their one-year anniversary, which we think is really fun and are really excited to be a part of.”

The chapel’s on-site staff makes sure there’s social distancing and that guest limits are maintained if couples want to keep their original dates, Nason said.

“These circumstances are enough to stress someone out on a normal day, much less in the midst of planning one of the most important days of their life,” Nason said. “We have been met with grace, understanding, and flexibility from our couples and staff as we all learn what the new normal looks like.”