Now that it’s crystal clear that hosting a wedding at this time is just not possible due to the spread of COVID-19, we’re sharing the experiences of real couples navigating the re-scheduling or cancellation process in an attempt to help others make informed decisions and to spread our support to all during this time.
Kate Salzman, who postponed her two-part wedding celebration in Palm Beach and St. Barths in April, is sharing how she and her husband, Jeremy Rathjen, made the final call and decided to say “I do” on Zoom.
The couple had planned on having two small gatherings to celebrate their wedding—one with family in Palm Beach at the Everglades Club and the other with friends at Le Toiny & Le Barthélemey Hotel & Spa in St Barths. Most of the festivities were being organized by Stefanie Cove & Company.
However, during the second week of March, “the markets were seemingly in free fall, Italy had implemented draconian lockdown measures, and it became clear that the global situation was going to worsen dramatically before it would improve,” Kate says. “To us it felt a bit inappropriate to move forward with a party, while so many around the world were fearing for their health, as well as that of their family and friends.”
They decided to cancel their Palm Beach fête but are still planning on celebrating in St. Barths once it’s deemed both safe and appropriate to travel internationally. With things on hold, the couple decided to shift their ceremony onto Zoom. By mid-March, they were quarantining with Kate’s maid of honor, Anne Corey Ahl, and her husband in Greenwich, Connecticut, and their officiant, Alyssa Puccinelli, and her boyfriend were isolating in the Hamptons.
They agreed it was possible to get together to perform a small ceremony on Zoom, but they also planned to wait 14 days before doing so to make sure everyone was safe. On April 4th, they made it happen!
Alyssa spearheaded the transition to Zoom and gave individual tutorials to each of the couple’s family members prior to the wedding day, just to be sure things ran smoothly. To prepare for the personal ceremony, she also interviewed family and friends to weave their words into the service.
Jeremy was lucky enough to have his custom Loro Piana blue linen wedding suit in their friends’ closet in Greenwich. Kate ordered a white Brock Collection cotton midi dress from Moda Operandi, which arrived swiftly to the house. She completed the look with silver Alaia heels, and her mother’s vintage diamond and sapphire necklace and earring set served as her “something borrowed and something blue.”
As for catering, their first call was to their favorite restaurant in the area, Rebeccas. “Rebecca and her husband, Reza, put together an incredible dinner for us to pick up from the restaurant, which we finished cooking and plating at home.” They also set their table with rented options from La Tavola Fine Linen.
And for florals, Kate took matters (and kitchen shears) into her own hands and clipped a few neighboring branches. Friends and family also sent arrangements, which further improved the decor.
After setting up their camera and being announced as husband and wife, they kicked off the evening with champagne and two types of wedding cake. But before dessert was served, a few key people made toasts. “My prim-and-proper 70-year-old mother recorded one of the most shocking and original toasts I’ve ever seen, which we watched several times after dinner,” Kate says. “I believe we were in bed just after midnight!”
Looking back on everything, the newlyweds feel lucky and humbled by the outpouring of virtual love and generosity during this time. “We also feel very lucky to have found each other,” Kate says. “Jeremy is my person—rain or shine, up or down.”