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Vows during a virus: Due to COVID-19, local couple scales down wedding plans

By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier

Emma Sullivan and William Heidtmann were engaged over a year ago. Like many betrothed couples, they were excited to plan their big milestone by inviting lots of family, friends, and other guests that had gotten them to that point in their lives. “Our original guest list included over 100 people,” reflects Heidtmann. The couple had chosen Montreat for their wedding venue and plans began. However, as their wedding date approached, they realized they would need to either reschedule their big day or pivot and find an alternative.

“Emma and I knew we wanted to be married. We could reschedule the reception once COVID-19 was no longer on the horizon,” notes Heidtmann. William and Emma approached the Heidtmann family about holding the wedding in their backyard in Lewisville. “Julie and I were so excited when the kids asked us to have the wedding in our backyard. We wanted to create a magical evening. We installed lights from the trees. Julie created a colorful background for the ceremony,” explains the groom’s father, Henry Heidtmann. “Luckily Emma had gotten her dress early. She had completed all of her alterations and fittings. I had decided to wear a suit and was able to get the tie and pocket squares completed before things shut down,” describes William. “We scaled back tremendously who we could have there. Initially we were thinking about having the wedding party and family. But then, we felt that it was safer to keep it to just immediate family. Everyone was seated six feet apart. All of our guests were given masks.”

Emma and William included all the other guests that they had hoped to share in their magical day by streaming the ceremony live on YouTube. “We gave the link to all the members of our guest list,” says Heidtmann. “People wanted to be there, but they appreciated us taking COVID-19 so seriously. We plan to share all of the photographs and video taken by a family friend with everyone we originally invited.”

For the small guest list of immediate family that were there, Emma and William served a wedding cake that they had pre-ordered. “We changed the design to make it easier and reflect the smaller number of people that were attending,” says Heidtmann. “Because the wedding took place at 7 p.m. light refreshments of cake, wine, and champagne were served. It was such a lovely ceremony with my mom’s beautiful garden in the background, the lights in the trees, and all of our family. My brother, who is a band teacher, took care of the music too.” William’s father agrees, “Everyone felt that the backyard wedding event while practicing social distancing was just beautiful and created a lifetime of memories.”

After the ceremony and small reception, William and Emma were sent off by their supportive neighbors who lined the streets with signs and birdseed. “Our thoughtful neighbors were so wonderful. They even cheered and shot off some fireworks to celebrate and wish the couple well as they drove away,” says Henry.

Emma and William have started their journey of marriage with learning what all married couples have discovered, if you work together, anything can be accomplished.