Photos by LeeKay Photography.

Love and marriage: Local couples won’t let COVID-19 keep them from tying the knot

Somewhere between TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress and Kim Kardashian’s televised wedding special, the phrase “the wedding doesn’t make the marriage” has fallen to the background. Over the years, ceremonies and receptions have become decidedly more elaborate, with towering cakes, lush floral arrangements and newly popular Champagne walls popping up across social media platforms. However, much like in many other aspects of life, COVID-19 has brought about a swift reality check, reminding people of what’s truly important.

For Anna Claire Welch and her fiancé Rex Jugueta (pictured here), that was getting married on their original May 29 wedding date, regardless of fanfare. At the beginning of the pandemic, the pair made the decision to cancel their upcoming nuptials. But as their intended wedding date grew closer, they couldn’t imagine themselves waiting any longer to make it official.

“We originally planned to wait until the fall so that our entire family and bridal party could be there in person,” says Anna Claire, noting the obstacle that came with Rex’s family residing in Hawaii. “But we decided that we would have a small vow exchange in my parents’ neighborhood now and have a small, intimate celebration with our people later.”

With only a few days to prepare, Anna Claire and her family took to working out the details, which included a beaded gown for Anna Claire and Hawaiian leis for the couple in a nod to Rex’s heritage and the place the pair met and fell in love.

“Having worked in the wedding industry for many years, I knew the party wasn’t what was most important,” says Anna Claire, who is the designer and artist behind Anna Claire Calligraphy. “We just wanted to be married and start our life together.”

Click here for the intimate wedding days of other local couples who found perspective in the face of a global pandemic.