“People have been really positive. I feel Westfield famous,” the bride said.
WESTFIELD, NJ — With the hopes of giving friends and family something to focus on other than the coronavirus pandemic, Westfield residents Michelle Tugentman and Dan Salerno married in the Maplewood home of Tugentman’s parents on Saturday.
Guests watched via the video-conferencing platform Zoom.
As March moved on and COVID-19 became more widespread, the couple realized the wedding they had planned for that day would likely need to be postponed. On March 13, they started hearing from relatives who wouldn’t be able to join them for the wedding.
“I wanted everyone we love to be able to be there and feel safe, and I didn’t want them to feel they had to choose between their health and our wedding,” said Tugentman, who plans to legally change her last name to that of her husband once social distancing orders are lifted. “We decided then we had to postpone. But we’d been planning this for a year, we had our marriage license and we were ready to get married.
Salerno’s uncle is a pastor, and was scheduled to marry the couple along with a rabbi at the Park Savoy in Florham Park on March 28. Instead, he joined the couple, along with their parents and siblings, for a brief living room wedding ceremony that was captured by a photographer perched on the stairs, 6 feet away.
The families had been living separately until the wedding, and everyone stayed as far away as possible. They also invited friends and family to join them remotely, and Tugentman wore a white dress she’d purchased for her early March bachelorette weekend in Nashville.
“We live in a time when it’s possible to do these things virtually,” said Tugentman. The couple had approximately 60 devices connected to watch the ceremony.
The wedding reception and Jewish ceremony is tentatively rescheduled for May 23, although the couple knows that continued pandemic conditions could postpone it once more. They plan to spend their honeymoon in Mexico once travel restrictions are lifted, although they did enjoy some food and TV at home after their weekend ceremony.
Tugentman shared the news to the Westfield, NJ Facebook group on Monday.
“With so much panic, I wanted to post some good news,” she said. “People have been really positive. I feel Westfield famous.”
“The state of the world is scary right now,” Tugentman added. “The silver lining is that now I have my husband, and we can go through it together. It’s definitely ‘for better or for worse.’”
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