Coronavirus may have canceled lots of things this spring, but love must go on. Traditional weddings, though? Not so much. However, that didn't stop this Brooklyn couple from safely saying "I do" in their Canarsie, Brooklyn home with their loved ones on FaceTime. Sometimes a Plan B can truly be magical.
Abena and Ade Adegbola were planning their Southern California wine country wedding for two years when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and dashed their plans. They were due to be wed on April 4, 2020, the day after their 12-year anniversary of being a couple.
Not long after the U.S. went on lockdown, someone from the wedding venue contacted the couple with tough news: their big day would be pushed back until later this year, or, worst-case scenario, rescheduled for next year.
The couple wasn’t happy with either option. They felt it was selfish to ask their family and friends to rebook their flights at a time when so many people are losing jobs. Abena, a nurse practitioner, and Ade, a special needs educator, were determined not to let a global pandemic stop them from getting married on the wedding date they’d originally set their hearts on.
So, with the help of Abena’s bridesmaids, they forged ahead with their plans and had the most beautiful wedding at their home on April 4, 2020. Her sister, Nana, an ordained minister, performed the traditional exchanging of vows during a 40-minute marriage ceremony that was followed by a virtual dance reception attended by friends and family.
“I'm still speechless,” Ade said of the beautifully decorated home he and his beloved took their vows in. “I was in tears because I just didn't believe it. I was like, there's no way they did this.”
Abena and her sisters, Nana and Afua carefully set the mood. They strung up shimmering white lights, created a vibrant balloon arch, and burned tealight candles, all sourced from Amazon.
Unfortunately, the bride wasn’t able to wear her original wedding gown for the ceremony. Due to mandatory non-essential store closures, she was unable to attend her final fitting. But, thanks to the fast-fashion retailer, Pretty Little Thing, Abena did find a new gown for her special day, and just in time.
“I ordered it online and went to work on it,” Abena said. “I hiked up the split, altered it myself and added a belt from Asos.” She also did her own hair and makeup, pulling her gorgeous look together with her original wedding shoes and accessories.
“Our song is ‘The Matrimony’ by Wale and Usher,” the groom said. The couple chose the song because of the Jerry Seinfeld monologue it opens with. The song begins with Jerry Seinfield reciting the heartfelt words “Getting engaged is the first hill of the roller coaster,” he explains. “That resonates with us the most.”
Abena and Ade felt that the song was perfect for them because, in the midst of a pandemic, their enduring love for one another is what matters most.
“Everything that’s going on in the world shines the light on how precious life is at this moment,” Abena continued. “This was an opportunity for all of us to get grounded in who we are. As far as the relationship between me and Ade goes, we’re grounded in our love and that’s all we needed. It felt right.” The couple tied the knot at 5:55 pm, which is an important number to Abena who is very into numerology.
Following the memorable ceremony, the couple partied with 50 of their family members and closest friends via Zoom. The virtual reception, which they said was a blast, was made possible by one of Abena’s bridesmaids named Sandy.
“I worked with one of Ade’s groomsmen,” Sandy said. I reached out to him and I was like, ‘Hey, can you get the guys on board’ and send it to his side of the family’ So I worked with him on that, just getting a list of people together and we sent out a text to everyone saying get dressed like you're going to a wedding. And they really showed up, some in red lipstick, and in elegant dresses, heels and all.”
Their original DJ was even in the Zoom video chat and played tunes for the couple to dance to. “He (the DJ) had some of the special songs that we wanted to play at the wedding, and he played a bunch of songs for the crowd,” Abena recalled. The couple partied with their friends via Zoom for 4 hours straight.
Abena and Ade even enjoyed a wedding cake and champagne toast.
"Nana miraculously found Mia’s Bakery in Brooklyn and was able to get a cake," the bride said.
Nana ordered a cake with plain white icing and decorated it herself using fresh white roses and hydrangeas from a local floral shop. "I think we knew we did well when we saw the groom’s face as he entered the room because he knew he was getting married that day but he didn’t know what that would look like," Afua said.
The couple truly enjoyed their special day and say that they wouldn’t have done it any other way.
“The best thing you can do is find solace in each other because there's absolutely no guarantee anything is going to be the way we expect it to be at this point,” Abena said. “You really have to have an open heart and mind to be able to go through something this tough. But, at the end of it, if all you want is to be married, then where, how, or when you do it isn’t going to make a difference.”
Ade added that marriage is about love — "Real, deep, passionate love, and no matter what is thrown at you, a pandemic included, that's what will still be there in the end. Love."
This article has been edited and condensed for clarity.