Relationships

A (Socially Distanced) Wedding in Brooklyn

A (Socially Distanced) Wedding in Brooklyn

When their big wedding had to be cancelled, Melissa and Robby decided to get hitched at their neighborhood park, with strangers cheering them on. Here’s how it went down…

A (Socially Distanced) Wedding in Brooklyn

“We were supposed to throw a big wedding in Greenpoint on April 25th but we had to cancel. The few weeks before, we thinking about what we wanted to do to make that day special — we didn’t want it to be a bad or negative day. But after the stay-at-home order came out, we thought, we should just really get married on April 25th.”

A (Socially Distanced) Wedding in Brooklyn

“My brother officiated the wedding through Zoom. Our immediate family was watching on Zoom, too, including his grandfathers who are both over 90. I wore a backless jumpsuit from the bridal salon Sarah Seven. It was supposed to be my rehearsal dinner dress, but it turned out to be a showstopper!”

A (Socially Distanced) Wedding in Brooklyn

“We did rock paper scissors to see who would do the vows first. We wanted to insert joy in all these different ways.”

A (Socially Distanced) Wedding in Brooklyn

“Everyone was being respectful and social distancing. People who didn’t know us were watching our ceremony. Making a commitment in front of this community felt really special, like we were bringing joy into the neighborhood. People were saying, ‘Thank you for letting us bring our baby to his first wedding!’ and ‘This made our whole day!’ Strangers connecting is such a part of living in New York.”

A (Socially Distanced) Wedding in Brooklyn

“After the ceremony, we played ‘There Will Be Everlasting Love.’ People started dancing with us at a distance. We popped a bottle of Champagne.

A (Socially Distanced) Wedding in Brooklyn

A (Socially Distanced) Wedding in Brooklyn

“The day was so much more special than I ever thought it would be. I feel like I’m going to cry again! Starting in late February, I was worrying so much about canceling our wedding, but being able to stand in front of this person I love so much and commit to him and have him commit to me was one of the most beautiful things.”

A (Socially Distanced) Wedding in Brooklyn

“Even after everything we wanted was thrown out the window, to have this beautifully simple wedding felt perfect. It was even more powerful than what we had originally planned.”

Thank you so much, Melissa and Robby! Here’s another quarantine wedding, if you’d like to see.

P.S. Brides share their favorite wedding moments, and four amazing wedding looks.

(Photos by Nato Tuke.)

  1. Renata says...

    This is beautiful! Congrats!! We got married in a park in 2018. It was all sorted, we even paid a hire fee and could decorate the trees with origami strands. But as I pulled up to meet my groom, I saw there was a kid’s party happening in the park and house music pumping from the house across the road. I was a little sad. But it was PERFECT. The partygoers all turned their chairs to watch, the music was turned off and I saw people watching us with binoculars from the surrounding apartments. They all cheered at the end!! It was such a personal and tender moment and the whole community shared it! We heard our wedding spoken about across the neighborhood!

  2. A.J. says...

    This is so lovely! We had our “pandemic wedding” at a secluded mountain farm this summer with just our parents, but this certainly makes me see the joy in sharing your day with strangers. (Will also echo what so many others have said: it makes me miss NYC too.)
    Even though it feels like we missed out on so much, I’ve also been thinking about how couples who got married this year will certainly have a unique story to tell years from now…

  3. Elizabeth B says...

    So beautiful! Cheers to you both! ✨

  4. Kalli says...

    Their happiness is beautiful. I wish more weddings were this simple and joyful.

  5. Emily says...

    Gosh I love everything about this story, including the NYC community! Early this year I moved from a large city to a rural town, and while I am so glad I did, and had been planning it for awhile, every time I went to NYC I always reconsidered just moving there instead! Love that city and can’t wait to go back.

  6. ally says...

    Awww! CONGRATS Melissa and Robby!!

  7. Anna says...

    My husband and I and our newborn baby were some of the passerby’s at this wedding! Can see us sitting here at the picnic table :) Was not expecting to see myself on COJ tonight haha.

    This was such a spark of joy in the middle of such a crazy time and we felt so lucky to share in this amazing moment. They had signs to say if you took pictures of the wedding to send their way, which I thought was very special.

    • Geraldine Conway says...

      That’s amazing!

  8. Rebecca O'Hare says...

    Gosh I just love Brooklyn and the NYC community. My husband and I are Irish living in the UK. In October 2016, 12 of us flew to NYC where we got married next to Jane’s Carousel. The whole day was magical but it was made even better by the locals of Brooklyn who would stop us in the street to wish us all the luck and happiness in the world. People literally stopped their cars to shout out the window to us, children came running up, strangers took photos with us and bought, and one person, whose name I never got, insisted on helping me into a taxi, carefully carrying my dress. It was the best day ever. I yearn for COVID to be over so we can fly back over!

  9. Cathy King says...

    Oh, I cried reading this. I feel so lucky to have gotten to read this and experience your day through this post. Congratulations and thank you Melissa and Robbie. And thank you Joanna. XO

  10. Sarah Dean says...

    This is very sweet. The officiate was on Zoom. Does anyone know how that works in legal terms? Do they need to go to city hall at a later date to make it official? Or is that it, they are married? Here in the Uk, you would have to do that. Mind you in England you can’t get legally married outside – the couple have to be under a permanent roof of some kind, in a registered location.

    • Rebecca O Hare says...

      I’m Irish living the UK and got married in the US. Once the officiant signs your paperwork you then have to go to three different offices to get it all authorised. It sounds like more work than it is, but we sorted it all out the day after our wedding. The best thing about getting married in NYC is that you can get married practically anywhere!

  11. These are probably my favorite wedding outfits ever. This looks like a movie. Congratulations!!

  12. Stephanie says...

    Gorgeous. They both looked beautiful as well! Really like the groom’s green coat.
    It must’ve been such a memorable, special day for all the onlookers as well — what a heartwarming moment of community.

  13. Lea says...

    This is so lovely! Congratulations!

  14. Maggie says...

    This is lovely! She is gorgeous, he looks dapper, and they look like they’re matching the beautiful flowers and city backdrop on purpose. Gorgeous pictures, and it seems like it was such a fun, sweet, perfect wedding!

  15. A says...

    Congratulations! This makes me miss New York a lot! My best friend married her wife a couple of weeks ago on Rockaway Beach in a tiny little “replacement” ceremony. A random onlooker who was practicing with a drone stopped and offered to take some videos for them, AND a NY State legislator stopped to congratulate them because he had fought for legalizing same-sex marriage in the state!!! New York is so awesome.

  16. Amanda says...

    This warms my heart. As a pandemic bride myself, this year has been really hard (and complicated since there’s already guilt around weddings being frivolous to begin with…), so I love seeing how others made it work. We canceled our May 2020 wedding, but when we realized we couldn’t reschedule our original large wedding for the foreseeable future, we chose to have a small ceremony in our tiny Washington, DC “backyard” with 15 of our friends and family on our three-year anniversary. I never thought I’d walk down the aisle in our gravel driveway, surrounded by loved ones wearing masks, but it wound up being so special and meaningful.

    But I still have an expensive wedding dress in my closet, tailored and ready-to-wear, so you better believe we will still have a giant party eventually – I don’t care how long I have to wait!

  17. Katie says...

    So lovely, Melissa and Robby. Congratulations, and thank you for sharing your joyful memories and beautiful pictures with us!

  18. Stephanie says...

    So beautiful and lovely. Those tulips! The photography editing was stunning. Best wishes. An uplifting pandemic story.

  19. I’m not crying you’re crying!!

  20. Leslie-Anne says...

    I really enjoyed reading this. They got it exactly right, a wedding is about making a commitment to the person you love. Small simple weddings can be magical and memorable and I congratulate Melissa and Robby.

    • Mandy says...

      My sentiments exactly! Lovely post! Congrats to the couple!

  21. Christina says...

    This is so wonderful. And boy, does it make me miss New York City. I can’t wait to be down there again when the border opens back up. Moments like these, people being creative and resilient out loud, are what I love the very most about the city. Congrats to the happy couple.

  22. Stephanie says...

    Such a unique and very NY memory!! Congrats!! <3 We got married (years ago) at the Boathouse in Prospect Park, and one of my favorite memories was looking over to see all of the random people who stopped on the bridge to watch our ceremony. It's so "NY" sharing your important life moments with all the random people who happen to be around! <3

  23. Ilona says...

    This made me tear up. What a lovely wedding, and how wonderful that they didn’t delay and went ahead with it. They (and the strangers who shared it with them) will treasure these memories of a burst of happiness in an otherwise pretty awful year.

  24. Rachel says...

    Your story made me unexpectedly teary in the best of ways! Thanks for sharing the love — and congratulations!

  25. Iris F says...

    Absolutely felt happy weepy reading this. Thank you for sharing this story with the community – it is ONLY joy and happiness and there will never be too much of that. Cheers from San Diego!

  26. Haley says...

    I 100% teared up at this. A beautiful wedding day, a gorgeous couple, and a FABULOUS bridal jumpsuit. Cheers to you both!

  27. B says...

    this made my dad! congratulations to both of you!

    • B says...

      day* :)

  28. Agnès says...

    That is such a good start, I would say; you did it, in the name of love, and that’s it! you could have gotten married inside and you chose the public space, now that’s quite amazing and so generous! These people in the park must have been so thrilled! Congrats!
    Thank you for that sweet story. I came here to get some love after a tough day and I knew I would find something nice. I would sat CupofJo is really like our most loyal friend.

    • Agnès says...

      Sorry, typo: I would say CupofJo is really like our most loyal friend.

  29. Lori says...

    Beautiful! Seems pretty special to me.

  30. Rachel says...

    Love this SO much! Congrats!!

  31. Samantha says...

    I love this!!! So lovely and simple, and focused on the most important part of the day- two people who love each other. It’s not about flowers and cake and place settings.

    I am curious how an officiant via Zoom worked– don’t they need to sign your marriage licence?
    (My fiance and i are considering this- but we don’t know how the signatures would work!)

    • Robby Snitkof says...

      Hi, Samantha! Robby (the groom) here.

      Back in April, NYC created “Project Cupid” specifically to work around the issues of remote ceremonies and remote officiants. They’ve made it possible for the officiant to be remote so long as they are properly ordained per New York City and State. Yes, they do need to sign the marriage license (along with a witness), and here’s how that worked for us. Keep in mind this was in April and it may have changed since, though I doubt it has changed drastically if so.

      Melissa’s brother officiated remotely. After the ceremony we sent him our PDF copy of the marriage license (obtained from the NYC marriage clerk remotely). He and a witness (who also participated remotely) signed it, sent us back a scanned copy, and we provided that to the Clerk’s office. They verified he was properly ordained and then sent us the completed and official marriage certificate in the mail.

      It took a while (about two months) to get the official license because of the backlog they’ve had, but we got it and are thrilled with how everything turned out. We’re extremely grateful to all the state and city officials for working so incredibly hard during this time to make this possible. Best to you and your fiance!

  32. Heidi says...

    Happy tears! This is beautiful… thank you, Cup of Jo, for showing rays of light like this is such weird times. And yes, that jumpsuit is a showstopper for sure!
    Best wishes, Melissa and Robby.

  33. Sequoya says...

    How wonderful. I think that it is the power of simple love. No frills, just what matters most. I love it!!!!

  34. Karen T. says...

    So sweet and the bride is stunning!!!

  35. m says...

    This is pure JOY.

  36. Ramona says...

    I love this! Roll with changes! Their wedding attire is perfect! Truly wonderfully unique memories! I wish you a blessed marriage. ❤️❤️???

  37. giulia lombardo says...

    Loving it, this is my ideal situation of wedding also without Covid- However this couple is really cute!!!

  38. Neile says...

    Congratulations! Thank you for sharing your beautiful wedding story. It reminds me of why NYC will always be my favorite city.

  39. isavoyage says...

    Beautiful! You, him, the ceremony, your words…
    Congratulations & happinesse to you two, you sure know how to spread happiness around!

  40. Taylor Jacob says...

    The pantsuit is stunning! These pictures show the happiest and most loving faces. Congrats on a wonderful day.

  41. brenna says...

    i LOVE when you can see love in a photo. and these ooze with love.

  42. SJ says...

    There was so much uncertainty, pain, and anxiety that came with Covid but there has also been a lot of good. This season is teaching us what really matters, and that joy can be found in any situation. I always felt weddings were too over the top, always focused on reaching Pinterest-perfection, inviting everyone you know just because it looks good in photos/film or out of obligation, etc. Quarantine weddings display the essence of a wedding: Two people in love, committing to do life together forever with the people they love. If one thing stays from this crazy, uncertain time I hope it is a message of “Do what is meaningful”.

    • Denise says...

      I understand there is a whole industry attached to weddings, and certainly don’t want people driven out of business, but there has got to be a happy medium between big weddings and these perfect little moments. I’m loving the creativity, the simpleness, the essence of what getting married is about.

    • Nikki says...

      SJ- I agree but I challenge you to see it from other’s points of view. I am a COVID bride and did an outdoor wedding with less than 50 people. When I hear/see comments like “inviting everyone you know” it breaks my heart.
      We had to uninvited so many wonderful friends and family members including our 90 year old grandmothers who begged to come. So yes, it can be over the top, but it can also be the only time in your life where everyone you love is in the same room. It’s really hard to give that up.

      My husband is in the USMC and two weeks after our wedding we left for a 3 year tour in Japan. Committing to a live time of love with my husband includes a lot of support from family and friends so I would have loved to allow them to witness our vows.

      But then again as Jo says “great for her, not for me.”

  43. Danielle says...

    This is so beautiful. The strangers dancing with them brought tears to my eyes. I’ve been feeling pretty down on humanity lately and this post is such a bright light. Thank you for sharing.

  44. Kim Dhillon says...

    That’s just lovely. Congratulations to you both.

  45. Jennie says...

    Moved me to tears…what a beautiful wedding story! Wishing you all the best!

  46. Frédérique Poirier-Patenaude says...

    This is just so beautiful, thank you so much for sharing with us this moment of love in the best way possible: simple and joyful. Wishing you the best. Xx

  47. Sarah says...

    Congratulations! You both look great!

  48. KRISTEN D MCCANN says...

    Now, THAT was what I needed to read about today. Many blessings upon you two! What a beautiful story.

  49. Julie says...

    Congratulations! Thanks so much for sharing this. You both looked radiant and joyful!

  50. CC says...

    The simplicity of this allowed the real union of a marriage ceremony to be at the center of it all. What a gorgeous event and that jumpsuit!!!

  51. Lindsey Yeung says...

    Thanks for bringing the joy today – huge congrats!

  52. Julie says...

    Congratulations!!! This reminds me of the sweet, small (and secret!) wedding my grandparents had in Germany during the aftermath of WWII (he was an American stationed with the military police in her small Bavarian village). Their marriage lasted 64 years! Just goes to show you that good things can happen in the worst of times and love is a powerful force. Best of luck with your journey through life together.

    • Kathryn says...

      Love your response so much!

    • Agnès says...

      so beautiful! (64 years!)

  53. michaela says...

    I LOVE THIS I’m tearing up! Congratulations! New York seems like it just has such a lovely community ethos, I love that it’s such a large city where you can experience these little moments of intense connection!

  54. Johanna Cronin says...

    This is why Cup of Jo is so wonderful. This is the sweetest story, and exactly what we all need.

    • RM says...

      Ditto. This story was the nicest thing about my week. Congratulations to the creative couple! And thank you for sharing this.

  55. Kiana says...

    Gorgeous couple! Best wishes to the both of you!

  56. Veronica says...

    Love this. It’s wonderful to see how people are adjusting to weddings during this time. We’re getting married in two weeks. A few friends at my favorite outdoor vineyard. Wood-fired pizzas, wine and a Whole Foods wedding cake to follow. It’s all I ever wanted. I wish this couple the very best!

  57. Peg says...

    As an aside, my husband & I have been using rock, paper, scissors to make all major life decisions for decades. So far, so great.

  58. Lisa says...

    How funny – my friend was in the park during this wedding, she took pictures and sent them to our group chat because my twin sister was working on her own plan B at the time, and we all commented how special this seemed (and how amazing her jump suit was!) Small world to see this here on CoJ! Love getting the inside scoop!!!

    • SJ says...

      Wow!

    • Agnès says...

      Love that!

    • Rachel says...

      The best!!!

  59. Kat says...

    Love this so freaking much! Exactly what I needed today. <3

  60. allison says...

    this is the reassurance i needed! my fiancé and i are about to get married at city hall next week (?! that’s the first time i’ve typed that out …). i know it will be special because it’s us but it has been hard to let go of my idea of what my wedding day would be like. i’m trying to allow all the feelings to coexist; excitement for city hall + sadness that our families won’t be there + relief that we won’t have to entertain our families + gratitude that we have each other, the list goes on.

    we have postoned our large wedding to next year so luckily we will still get to have that experience, which i’m sure will be another exercise in emotions coexisting :)

    sending lots of love to all the couples who are embracing plan B!

    • Laura says...

      Congratulations! So neat that you can have a simpler wedding now, and your large wedding next year!

  61. Lourdes says...

    I love, love, love this!! Congratulations!

  62. kiki says...

    Both of the posts have made me ball today! This was so lovely…off to restock the kleenex!

  63. Jacqueline says...

    I have really been loving the quarantine weddings. I live in Oregon. I have been stuck inside for over a week because of the smoke. It’s a whole new level of quarantine. And I am so fortunate: smoke is my biggest problem. Reading about this wedding feels like watching some kind of cosmic baseball. The universe threw these two a curve ball and they went “Wedding in the park!” I want to do the wave or something. Yeah! Go Team! Humans find creative solutions for their problems once again! Rah rah! It’s such a good reminder that eventually, we find goodness again. I cheer you on from my (obviously closed) window.

    • Alexandra says...

      Sending love from California! I feel you on the smoke creating a whole new level of quarantine. I hope you get blue skies again soon.

  64. julie says...

    Perfect wedding, perfect park, perfect day. Congrats!!

  65. Jillian says...

    ?❤️?❤️ this is what life’s all about, big congrats to this beautiful couple!

  66. Kato says...

    O my gosh, this really made me smile today. Congratulations on your big small beautiful day, you look so happy and joyful!

  67. Amy says...

    Love this so much! My husband and I also had a quarantine wedding this July with just 8 of our family members in person (and dozens of friends and family via Zoom). It was beautiful, heartbreaking and heartwarming, all at the same time. Couldn’t be happier that we did it :)

  68. Taryn says...

    This is such a sweet story, so this is a bit trite, but OMG your outfits. Just perfect :)

  69. Kate says...

    Cobble Hill Park! I live two blocks away – wish I had witnessed it! And I love the jumpsuit!!

    • janine says...

      I recognized it, too! I used to live right nearby and go there all the time, but I haven’t lived in that neighborhood now for about – gasp – 8 years!!!

  70. Sara says...

    Congratulations! Happy tears letting us take a peek at your joy. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Melissa’s jumpsuit is killer and I love Robby’s jacket. The tulips and blossoming trees in the background are gorgeous too and so Spring-y!

  71. This is so beautiful!!!

    It is really encouraging to hear that you didn’t let the craziness of the world stop you from getting married and having a beautiful, unique wedding. This is a story you can continue sharing forever and it is so amazing!

  72. Clare says...

    Love, love, LOVE!

  73. Saba says...

    Love this SO much! Thank you for sharing with the COJ community!

  74. SJ says...

    This makes me so happy! I want a small, intimate ceremony if I ever get married. I love how they incorporated rock paper scissors.

  75. CS says...

    Thanks for sharing. How beautiful. It really feels like a special experience, in many ways more so than a large, staged and rehearsed big wedding. Authentic, quaint, rather magical.

    I almost wonder if, after the pandemic, there will be a move toward smaller weddings!

  76. Ashley says...

    MAZEL TOV!!!! I love the idea of getting married in public; sharing as much joy with as many as we can!

  77. Alex says...

    This is so lovely and joyful and has completely brought me to tears!!

  78. Jen says...

    It feels incredibly emotional reading this: In a bubble it’s sweet and fun but then thinking about how quickly things had been changing back in April, making the choice to cancel and then have a mini wedding instead must have been so intense. It feels so special that in a time of intense turmoil lives were still lived.

    It’s also strange how much I’ve already forgotten about this year. Or at least the feelings have faded. I found a photo on my phone I took walking in the empty streets in my city (Chicago) in March, right when lockdown started. And I thought “Oh that’s right … I remember feeling so scared.” Grocery shelves were empty here and I’d check our city’s death toll every day, waiting for it to get worse. And it did get worse. But some things also got better. I got used to working remotely. I adjusted to not seeing people or going out regularly. I trained myself to feel empowered: that I could play a part in keeping myself safe. And I feel like I don’t really remember the intensity of ANY of it.

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      I know what you mean, I was reading some diary entries back last night like, woah this time has already faded so much. Interestingly in the diary entries I was writing about how hard I was finding it to remember stuff and keep track because everything was the same and the brain struggles to lay down memories without stand out features. I’m glad I captured the feelings at the time even though I was so scared and negative.
      You’re right a lot did get better

  79. A says...

    This is so wonderful! Hooray for more joy!

    I would love to know where the groom’s jacket is from — it is fantastic. [Will be dreaming of that gorgeous jumpsuit forever <3 ]

    • Robby says...

      Hey there, A! Robby the groom here.

      My blazer is from Enzo Custom, an incredible custom suit maker based in Manhattan. Every person there is an absolute pleasure to work with, and their work is impeccable. From initial consultation to final product, their attention to detail and consideration of not only what would look best what would make me feel best on that day was stellar. I cannot possibly recommend them highly enough. Outside NYC they have locations in Chicago, LA, DC, Philadelphia, and Charlotte. Go to Enzo!

      https://www.enzocustom.com/

  80. Peggy says...

    I love this so, so much. Happy tears over here!