Newnan, Ga. (WBRC) - By the time their original wedding date rolls around in April, Amy and Robert Thetford will have been newlyweds for nearly a month.
Rather than postpone their wedding, the couple moved up their wedding date from April 18 to March 21 after getting concerned about how the coronavirus could impact travel and all of their wedding plans.
Amy and Robert, both Alabama natives now living in Newnan, Georgia, had been planning their wedding ever since he popped the question back in November 2019 at an Auburn game.
The couple met at a friend’s birthday party in 2015 and hit it off when the choice was either to have cake and ice cream, or watch the Auburn game. For the avid Auburn fans, the choice was easy.
“We were gonna watch the game,” Amy said, laughing.
Their immediate connection over Auburn football turned into a slow-moving dating relationship that Amy described as “old-fashioned.”
“I always say, if you want what your grandparents had, you gotta do it like they did,” she said.
After nearly four years of dating, Robert proposed as he and Amy were setting up to tailgate for the Auburn-Georgia game this past fall.
“I had my hands full of bag chairs, and he’s down on one knee and says, ‘Hey, wanna marry me?’” Amy recalled, laughing.
Although Amy, a massage therapist for a chiropractor’s office and Robert, an electrician for a lighting company, have lived in Georgia for a few years, they both wanted to get married in Auburn, Alabama.
They originally planned to invite around 50 people, mostly family members and a few close friends, and have a nice rehearsal dinner and reception at a country club.
But as the coronavirus pandemic made its way into the United States and the CDC began urging people to stop traveling and avoid large gatherings, the couple had some decisions to make.
“An idea popped into my head, you know, we’ve already got everything, the dress and suit. What is stopping us from getting married early?” Amy said.
On Tuesday, March 17 they were talking about their options and decided that night to get married on Saturday, giving them just three full days to pull everything off.
They sent a mass email to their wedding guests, explaining that even though the wedding date would be moved up and limited to only a few people, they still plan to have a reception in the future. The church still allowed them to hold the ceremony, but said they couldn’t use the fellowship hall or kitchen since people weren’t supposed to be congregating.
Thanks to technology, they live streamed the video on Facebook and recorded it to later share with the wedding guests who couldn’t come in person. Amy even urged her own grandmother to stay at home rather than risk her health by attending the wedding.
“I just called my grandmother and told her, I love you, I mean it, but it would make me feel better to have you watch it online because if you caught this thing because you came to my wedding I would not forgive myself,” Amy said.
Thankfully when it came to her wedding vendors, most of them were either family or friends, so everyone was understanding about the last-minute changes. Amy said she was even able to find all of the flowers she wanted for her wedding bouquet because another larger wedding canceled for that weekend, leaving the florist with an abundance of beautiful blooms.
In front of 12 people (including the pianist and cameraman) and a Facebook Live audience, Amy and Robert became Mr. and Mrs. Thetford at Covenant Presbyterian Church a few weeks earlier than they had expected to say “I do.”
After the wedding, Amy, Robert and a few of her family members ordered pizza and drank Toomer’s Corner lemonade at the otherwise empty bed and breakfast where they were staying.
Now, they are both happily settling into married life back in Newnan, Georgia. Robert can do part of his electrical engineering job from home, while Amy is still seeing clients at the chiropractor’s office but taking extra precautions during each visit. Despite the pandemic changing her plans, the new bride is looking on the bright side.
“If anything, this has given us time together because he would still be at work right now but he’s here. There’s always a positive in every situation, you just gotta look harder for it sometimes,” she said.
The couple hopes to have a belated honeymoon and a reception sometime in the future when it’s safe to travel and celebrate in large groups again.