UNION, NJ – Months before a young Union couple’s June 13 wedding date approached, they nervously watched as restrictions were put into place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  After much thought, the couple made the difficult decision to postpone their celebration.

After eight years of dating, Gene Martinez proposed to Judy Los Banos and the couple spent the next two years planning their dream wedding.  With the June 13 date quickly approaching, they had everything in place, from a 256-person guest list to a booked reception hall, bridesmaids’ dresses to a honeymoon in Aruba.  Banos was living in the new apartment at CENTURION UNION since May.  But, they never thought they’d get married there, too.

“We put so much time and effort into the planning over the past two years, and we were so excited to be just a couple of months away,” said Martinez.  “Then came the pandemic and everything changed.  We had no choice but to cancel.  The bridal shower, the bachelor party, the ceremony, reception and honeymoon; everything was off.”

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“We just couldn’t wait to be married,” said Banos, so, the couple decided to move forward with their June 13 date.  “We obtained a marriage license and arranged to have our pastor come to our home to marry us. We then asked management if it were possible to have the ceremony in one of the building’s amenity spaces so we could invite a few family members and friends to celebrate with us.”

After hearing about their ordeal, American Landmark Development, the developer of CENTURION UNION, offered up the 5th-floor Resident Lounge for the ceremony, complete with decorations and a bottle of celebratory champagne.   On a sunny Saturday afternoon, ten guests, including Martinez’s parents and cousin who served as Best Man and Banos’ brother, sister-in-law, and Matron of Honor, watched as the couple tearfully exchanged wedding vows.  The ceremony was also streamed via Facebook Live to their 256 guests, including Banos’ mother in the Philippines who was unable to secure a flight back to the United States and got up at 2:30 a.m. with other family members to watch, as well as other family and friends in Asia, Europe, Canada, California, Arizona, Texas, Delaware, New York and New Jersey.

Following the ceremony, the newlyweds went back to their new apartment where Emily’s Portuguese Bakery, a neighborhood staple, provided complimentary pastries for the couple and their guests to enjoy.

“It may not have been our dream wedding, and I never thought walking down the aisle would mean walking from my apartment to the elevator, but it was perfect and we’re so grateful that our family and friends around the world were still able to share it with us,” said Banos. 

The bride and groom were then greeted with their first wedding present, a reservation at WAVE Resort, a new oceanfront resort in Long Branch, courtesy of CENTURION UNION’S developer, American Landmark Development.

“This is just such a wonderful place to start our lives together,” said Banos.  “We feel very blessed.”