When the pandemic hit last March, many couples opted to postpone their nuptials until it passed. But not these wedding warriors. They made the magic happen, COVID be damned. The result? Three intimate Adirondack ceremonies that prove that love needs no audience.
With restrictions on large gatherings and social distancing guidelines, the pandemic made some 2020 wedding plans virtually impossible. Francine Pinheiro’s wedding on the other hand? Now that one was made for a pandemic.
Ever since Pinheiro began vacationing with her then-boyfriend, David Stott, at his family’s cabin in the Adirondacks, she knew she wanted to get married there. When Stott proposed to her at the cabin, there wasn’t even a question: That’s where they’d eventually tie the knot. The couple planned a wedding for August 2020 for 80 people, some of whom would be traveling from as far away as India and New Zealand for the occasion. “It was pretty apparent by March that none of my family was going to come from abroad,” Pinheiro says. “The guest list got cut by more than half. People were getting scared, and then we were like, ‘Oh, should we cancel this?’ I think it was in April when I said, ‘You know what? I don’t care if five people come. We’re doing this, because we’ve been planning this for a year.’”
Aside from the reduced guest list, Pinheiro and Stott’s wedding plans barely needed to be altered. “Everything just got simpler and less expensive,” Stott says. A few days before the big day, the couple picked wildflowers on the side of the road for centerpieces, and for food, they cooked a dinner of smoked salmon, roasted potatoes, curried vegetables and blueberry muffins themselves. Dinner was served on the cabin’s wraparound porch, which Pinheiro says felt plenty crowded with their 18 guests.
And, as if their big day wasn’t already COVID-safe enough, the ceremony itself was held in socially distanced style on the property’s floating dock, with Pinheiro making her way to the altar in a canoe that belonged to Stott’s grandmother, as a harpist played Wagner’s “Bridal Chorus” (a.k.a. “Here Comes the Bride”) on the shore. “The timing that day was unbelievable,” Pinheiro says. “When the ceremony was over, David and I did a little canoe ride and as soon as we got back to shore, it started drizzling. Basically, as soon as the harpist put her harp into her car, it started pouring. But it blew over—it was only an hour—and it made the air really special.” Some things are just meant to be.