Now that it’s crystal clear that hosting a big 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, cancellation, and civil and commemorative wedding processes in an attempt to help others make informed decisions and to spread our support to all during this time.
Shanaz and Sean Krygier first met as college athletes before eventually falling in love while working for Microsoft and living together in New York City. Soon after Sean proposed with a custom engagement ring from Karen Rosengart, the couple began planning their August wedding at Lighthouse Point in New Haven, Connecticut.
In the midst of this, it started to become clear that COVID-19 was a global pandemic. Thinking of their family and friends’ health, the couple made the difficult decision to cancel their New Haven plans. “A good chunk of our immediate family is immuno-compromised,” Shanaz explains. “And with all the unknowns when it comes to COVID, it seemed like a silly risk to have the wedding.”
When they officially canceled their wedding in June, it seemed like there was no end in sight to the pandemic. With no viable vaccines on the horizon at that time, it felt as though it might be an indescribable amount of time before they could gather with all of their friends and family. Did they really want to wait that long to be married?
Quickly, they decided to pivot their wedding plans and organize a micro-wedding. “It was a whirlwind!” Shanaz recalls. Luckily, they were able to continue on with all of their original vendors. The couple wanted to recreate their original wedding as much as possible—even if they could only invite ten guests.
The bride, like so many others before her, utilized Pinterest and Instagram for her dress hunt. “I had an aesthetic I was going for,” Shanaz says, “but I really wanted to look like myself. I didn’t want to look back on pictures and see myself stick thin or unrecognizably done up. I’ve always wanted to look back at pictures that looked like me.”
Eventually, she found a crepe gown from Park & Fiftfh Co. and paired it with scalloped pink suede sandals from Ted Baker. By combining the dress with a floor-length veil and vintage Japanese beaded clutch, she was able to mix contemporary and classic accents throughout her bridal look. The bride’s singular regret from the day was wearing her hair in loose curls. “I wish I’d worn it up!” she reveals.
For her jewelry, Shanaz planned on accessorizing with her mother’s gold tennis bracelet. But shortly before the wedding, her mother fell ill and couldn’t come. Shanaz was devastated her mom couldn’t be there with her.
Luckily, Shanaz was able to swap in a pair of white-gold aquamarine studs Sean gave her while they dated, which severed as her perfect “something blue.” Shanaz was nearly out the door when she remembered the large wrapped gift Sean had left for her. Sean’s gifting habits tend to revolve around gag gifts, and Shanaz really needed to get to the ceremony, but she unwrapped the present anyway. Inside was a wine glass with “MRS” written in gold letters on it and a thin black box. When she opened the box, Shanaz discovered a beautiful diamond white-gold tennis bracelet that matched her earrings perfectly. She slid the bracelet onto her wrist, now wearing her “something new.” Shanaz later learned that Sean purchased this bracelet months earlier from Karen Rosengart, the same jeweler who designed her engagement ring and the couple’s wedding bands. Shanaz grins, “Talk about a sign from the universe!”
The groom wore a custom summer-blue European-cut suit from Suitsupply. “The color really pulled out the depth and texture of his eyes!” Shanaz gushes.
On August 20th, 2020, Sean’s lifelong best friend and college lacrosse teammate Fred drove Shanaz to the ceremony in his family’s black Thunderbird. As she stepped out the car, she was met with the sweet musical accompaniment of their guitarist and cello player from Alexandra & Ensembles. “I was at peace,” Shanaz remembers. “I’ve never been more sure about anything in my life.”
Holding a bouquet from Flowers by Cynthia, Shanaz descended the aisle at the Chamard Vineyards. The musicians began playing the tender serenade “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Shanaz savored the moments of walking down the “very long” aisle, looking from Sean’s sister, their officiant, and Sean’s brother, his best man. Adhering to tradition, Sean and Shanaz hadn’t seen each other all day. Sean purposefully waited until Shanaz was within earshot to turn around and lay eyes on her for the first time that day. At last together, they exchanged vows. “In true form,” Shanaz says, Sean’s vows were comedic and momentous. His vows made Shanaz cry and laugh, and laugh and cry again, while Shanaz’s vows “admittedly, weren’t as funny, but [were] from my heart.”
The newlyweds kissed—thrilled to finally be married. They then took a moment alone together before joining guests.
The reception was a blur of heartfelt speeches, a spontaneous first dance to “Stand By Me,” and an original song by Sean’s brother. Shanaz’s sister even ended her speech with a quotation from one of Shanaz’s favorite shows, The Office: “When you’re a kid, you assume your parents are soulmates. My kids are going to be right about that.”
Later in the evening, the newlyweds cut into their cake from J. Cakes before spending the rest of the evening dancing the night away.
Months later, Sean and Shanaz often find themselves reliving the day as they rewatch their wedding video by Mike Zhu. “I honestly thought I’d share my video with a lot of people, but it feels as intimate as the day did,” Shanaz admits.
The couple always intended to host a larger celebration after the micro-wedding, but they’ve since realized that they now no longer feel the need for one. “Our ceremony ended up being intimate and spiritual in a way we didn’t expect,” Shanaz admits. “It was a truly special day.”