The groom, Aron Croft, a 38-year-old senior manager at Motorola Solutions, and the bride, Rachel Jacobs, a 38-year-old child psychologist, greeted their wedding guests over webcam as the ceremony began.
“I know you all had to travel very far from your couch all the way to your computer screen to be here with us, and we want you to know that effort hasn’t gone unnoticed,” Croft joked to more than 100 friends and family who watched the ceremony on YouTube and the video conferencing platform Zoom.
Jacobs carried a bouquet of yellow flowers that she held tightly against her wedding dress, while Aron, who wore wore a blue suit accented with a yellow tie, smiled at her adoringly.
The Lincoln Park couple had originally planned to marry Saturday in front of a small group of friends and family at the University Club of Chicago, with a reception following at Revolution Brewing in Logan Square.
A statewide shelter-in-place order and a mounting tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases ended those plans, but the couple decided to tie the knot anyway in a virtual wedding that allowed for the observation of proper social-distancing protocols.
“We have some pretty high-risk relatives, like my 92-year-old grandfather who is in self-quarantine to reduce his exposure risk,” Croft said. “So we postponed our ceremony until August but decided just six days ago we should go ahead and do it as planned, but online. We have the technology.”
At least the date was saved.
Croft’s uncle, who they affectionately called “Uncle Danny,” officiated the wedding from his home and appeared in a split-screen frame with the couple.
Croft and Jacobs first met three-and-a-half years ago on an online dating app, and he proposed to her last November, the couple said in an interview before they were hitched.
Screenshots of their old dating profiles appeared on their guests’ computers before the ceremony began.
The couple remained in good spirits despite the occasional technical difficulty, chuckling whenever the stream’s audio would cut out or dogs could be heard barking in the background.
“Just consider these things as evidence of this being one of mankind’s most ancient ceremonies, but we’re doing it in an incredibly modern way,” their officiant said.
Jacobs said they rushed to City Hall to get their marriage license and invited friends and family to their virtual wedding ceremony instead.
“Everyone is thrilled. Our wedding has more participation and enthusiasm than we would otherwise because everybody is feeling so trapped and shut in right now,” Jacobs said.
After the couple was pronounced husband and wife, the video chat expanded, allowing dozens of the couple’s loved ones to join them on-screen.
An array of friends, family — even pets — who were streaming the ceremony were suddenly broadcast from across the U.S., England, Mexico and Australia as they congratulated the couple.
Thanking their guests, Croft said the wedding was proof that love really can conquer all.
“We want to show that people can still stand in love during challenging times,” the beaming husband said.