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When You Have to Cancel Your Dream Wedding Because of Coronavirus
By Elyse Notarianni

Chris DeVaul and Courtney Wall have been planning their dream wedding for the past year.

Photo: Matt Crowne Productions

On the morning of her wedding day, Courtney Wall woke up early with a weird feeling in her stomach. March 20 was a beautiful day – unseasonably warm, with clear skies and sunshine.

When the 27-year-old Somers Point native should have been getting her hair and makeup done, she was at the grocery store. When she was supposed to be taking photos with her bridesmaids, she and her fiancé, Chris DeVaul, were buying lumber to build garage doors for their new home. When she was supposed to be saying “I do,” she sat on the back deck with her dog.

She was supposed to be getting married, but Coronavirus had postponed her special day.

“When we first made the decision, we felt so alone,” she says. “We thought, ‘How could this be happening to us?’ We both cried when we called the vendors to reschedule.”

“We had one eye on the outbreak for a while, but things didn’t get serious until a week before the wedding,” Wall says.

They considered the fact that Wall’s father’s immediate family would have to fly in from Florida and that the staff and vendors – who were still working large events leading up to their big day – would be in close contact with people from all over. They didn’t know what to do.

“We put so much thought into this wedding,” she says. “Down to those tiny details that no one would notice but us, and I didn’t know if I could handle putting it all on hold.”

Chris DeVaul proposed to Courtney Wall last year on the Ocean City Bridge.

Her mind was made up when her grandma, who is in her 70s, called in hysterics: She didn’t feel safe coming to the wedding. “At that point, we’d have to sacrifice having some of the most important people in our lives there with us.”

It was bittersweet, she says, because she knew it was the right thing to do, even if it hurt – a lot. But there was still one big concern. “We were terrified that we’d lose all the money we put into it. There was no clause in our contracts about what would happen if a pandemic forced us to reschedule.”

“I cried on the phone,” she continues, “I was so worried they weren’t going to allow us to move it or that we’d be on the hook for all the money. But not one of our vendors took any kind of fee.”

So once the new arrangements were finalized, they called their 115 wedding guests to invite them to the new wedding date: July 17.

When March 20th rolled around, they opted for a celebration for just the two of them: a nice dinner, complete with a champagne toast and cake. At the end of the night, they slow danced in their kitchen to their first dance song, James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go.”

“It meant a lot,” Walls says. “It was so sweet and intimate, but at the same time it was so sad.”

April 2, 2020
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