(By Christabel van Jaarsveld)

The pandemic may have put paid to a whole lot of plans, but it wasn’t able to stand in the way of love and romance…

“Our Zoom wedding was the best decision we made. Every moment was warm, connected, and shared. ”

How it all began:

I was at a meeting at my church when I went up to Marius and started chatting with him. We had this amazing conversation. Everyone else just disappeared.

I don’t even remember what we talked about, just that he was interested in me. Dates usually talk about themselves, but he wanted to know about my family, my job – me.

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I hate it when people say, “Oh, I just knew he was the one”. But after meeting Marius, I got it. I understood.

We had our first coffee date on June 14 last year, and got engaged on December 21. I knew he was the one.

But with the ongoing pandemic and everyone in lockdown, we didn’t know how our wedding would happen. We wanted 130 guests at a stunning wine farm.

Many people told us to wait and get married in 2021, but Marius was already living in the place we had found for our future. If we waited, he’d live there alone while I stayed in Stellenbosch. This wasn’t an option.

We had to think about what a wedding really meant to us

Was it about the friends and the feasting? Or was it something else?

In the end, we asked God and he shifted our mindset to see that our wedding was more about the covenant of marriage than the party. It came down to committing ourselves to one another.

We decided to have a Zoom wedding. As a result, we had even more people at our wedding than we would have if we’d stuck to our original plans.

My brother and sister overseas could attend. Marius’ family in Stellenbosch could attend. People who would not have been able to come were now part of the proceedings.

While our numbers swelled, so did our excitement for this completely different approach to marriage.

We had a lot of planning to do

We worked with a professional company that helped us with the videos, the planning, the streaming and the setup. We put in a lot of effort to make everyone feel part of it.

There was a lot of pressure with recording and videos, but the company managed the flow, the editing, the order of videos and live streaming on the day.

We put in a lot of effort to make everyone feel part of it.

The day was beautiful

We were married in a livestream, with guests from Namibia, Scotland, Bloemfontein and Cape Town.

After the ceremony, the pre-recorded messages from the bridesmaids and groomsmen were played while we signed the registry.

Then we went live and the pastor pronounced us husband and wife. We threw confetti and cut the cake and watched the pre-recorded speeches along with all the guests.

The entire experience was hosted at our original wine farm location

We had amazing food, great connections with our guests, and a fulfilling and extraordinary experience.

There was hardly any cost. Anyone could join us from anywhere in the world. Everyone who attended had their own champagne.

Every person we’ve spoken to since the day has said it felt as if they were right there with us, sharing in something remarkable.

Our Zoom wedding was the best decision we made. Every moment was warm, connected, and shared. There was none of the stress that usually accompanies a wedding.

That was handled the week before, so we just got to sit, laugh, and connect on our special day.

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This article first appeared on the Change Exchange, an online platform by BrightRock, provider of the first-ever life insurance that changes as your life changes.