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They Had Planned For A Wedding With 200 Guests And The Coronavirus Pandemic Happened. Their Photo Captures Just How Different Their Big Day Was.

“In a way it allowed a wedding to be brought back to basics, in sickness and in health and in pandemic.”

When Emily Manashi and Parris Khachi got engaged in May of last year, the couple from San Francisco never anticipated that their big day would potentially be derailed by a global health crisis, and that the wedding they would spend months planning would look dramatically different in the end.


In messages to BuzzFeed News, Parris said: “We always planned on getting married at St. Ignatius church, Emily went to school at USF (University of San Francisco) which is affiliated with that church.”

On their decision to not postpone the occasion, Emily said: “It was a hard call to make. On one hand we wanted to have everyone with us, but we wanted to get married and start our lives together.

“Once the shelter-in-place took effect, we spent some time trying to figure out what we should do next. Neither of us wanted to postpone indefinitely, since it's hard to figure out when things will feel right again, meanwhile we did not want to put our loved ones at risk.”

The county has to date 1,468 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and has been on lockdown since March 17.

The couple decided that “show must go on” and exchanged vows on Saturday, April 25, in a church with only immediate family and some friends present.

Vicens Forns Photography / Via

This moment, captured by photographer Vicens Forns, showed just how dramatically different life looks now during a pandemic, with empty pews where guests would have sat. Instead, attendees were represented by portrait photos creating a striking entrance photo.

The couple said: “We loved the pictures the photographer took. He perfectly exudes the intersection of fine art and wedding photography. We think it's resonating because we still found a way to celebrate a happy occasion even amongst the current climate. In a way it allowed a wedding to be brought back to basics, in sickness and in health and in pandemic.”

The couple clarified that the individuals photographed aren't their friends and family, but the church's regular congregation, who have been unable to gather since the lockdown.

Vicens Forns Photography

They said: “When we arrived at the church we saw the pictures in the pews. The church regularly streams their services, and to keep the priest and audience connected they had put pictures of the church members in the pews, and we appreciated the audience.”

Their photographer Forns shared Emily’s entrance photo on Facebook with the caption: “The bride's entrance holding her father's hand, yesterday I was very lucky to be the photographer of this wedding in San Francisco, a different but especially emotional wedding, let's not forget that life goes on.”

With the help of technology, their loved ones were able to witness the moment via livestream.

Vicens Forns Photography

Emily said: “We were so happy the church was able to livestream it for us so that our family and friends could watch. It really meant a lot to us to know they were still tuned in. We also had a discord server set up so everyone could chat with one another and chat with the other guests.”

The newlyweds, who met in April 2017, had initially planned a wedding which included a guest list of 200 friends and family, a reception at the Westin St Francis hotel, and an evening of dinner and dancing.


Instead, they had their first dance on the pavement outside the church and retreated to their apartment for dinner.

Vicens Forns Photography

“We had a nice intimate dinner at our apartment. We hope to have a bigger one later on. We still did our speeches and cake cutting. Our friends had actually surprised us outside of the church and we had our first dance there outside the church,” shared Emily.

While the pandemic didn’t stop the two from getting married, it has forced them to cancel their original honeymoon plans.

Emily said: “We are doing a staycation honeymoon instead of our original Italy and Greece trip. Yesterday was actually supposed to be the day we departed for Italy.”

Ade Onibada is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Ade Onibada at

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