RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Public life has essentially been cancelled in the U.S. in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But it's not just big public events that have stopped. Now even small personal gatherings are off-limits, which means weddings. Texas Public Radio's Paul Flahive tells us how couples and the industry are coping.
PAUL FLAHIVE, BYLINE: Thu Nguyen and Alan Gross stopped at the county courthouse in San Antonio Monday to pick up their marriage license. Caught up with them right after and, given the current pandemic, stood about as far away as my microphone would allow. They did get the license, but the moment isn't as happy as they'd hoped.
THU NGUYEN: I admittedly almost cried when we got our marriage license because I don't know whether or not it's going to happen.
FLAHIVE: Her mother lives in Houston, where the two are scheduled to marry in two weeks in a Catholic ceremony. At each mass, her mother's monitoring how the church will handle the situation.
NGUYEN: I talked to my mom last night, and she texted me this morning.
FLAHIVE: Most of their family would need to fly. And many are elderly. Alan says they've already had 20 cancellations.
ALAN GROSS: To be safe. We know we have a lot of people traveling that would have to get on a plane. And, you know, our elderly relatives, too, so - it's really about safety.
FLAHIVE: They had been planning for a year. But in the end, the decision was made for them. A few hours after the interview, the county barred gatherings larger than 10 people.
JORDAN MANEY: Hello.
T J SKRODZKI: Hello.
JESSICA ELIZARRARAS: Hi.
MANEY: How are y'all?
ELIZARRARAS: I'm so tired.
FLAHIVE: Jessica Elizarraras and T.J. Skrodzki video conference with their wedding planner, Jordan Maney, about next steps after they postponed their wedding.
MANEY: Do you still want to keep that within 2020?
ELIZARRARAS: I mean, it's hard because we don't know how long this is going to last.
ELIZARRARAS: So we can say May, and if by April, it doesn't look any better, we're still in the same [expletive] boat.
FLAHIVE: The couple may still lose deposits because of the reschedule. But Maney says vendors are being flexible. There's insurance venue, florists, caterers and many other details to iron out. And to keep it in 2020 they may need to book on an off day, like a Thursday or Friday. They aren't crazy about this idea. But in the end, they just want to be married. They agree to reconnect with the wedding planner in a few days.
ELIZARRARAS: That was a lot.
SKRODZKI: Yeah. I'm glad we have a planner, though.
ELIZARRARAS: Can you imagine trying to call all the vendors by ourselves?
SKRODZKI: Oh, my God, yeah.
ELIZARRARAS: In tears? No.
CHRISTINA TRANGONE: (Playing cello).
FLAHIVE: Cellist Christina Trangone is warming up for practice at her home in San Antonio. She's one of many depending in part on weddings for their livelihoods. She books musicians and performs at around 200 weddings a year. If this persists, it will hurt.
TRANGONE: Well, that can definitely be several hundreds of dollars lost. It's definitely troublesome because, you know, that's money that we use for paying bills.
FLAHIVE: The groom-to-be T.J. Skrodzki struggles to keep perspective.
SKRODZKI: You know, obviously, we have to take care of everybody. And we have to think of ourselves as a society and, you know - but it's hard to not be a little selfish about this event being cancelled.
FLAHIVE: Weddings are not just about couples, of course. It's going to be a while before anyone - the planners, the musicians or the families - can get together to celebrate. For NPR News, I'm Paul Flahive in San Antonio.
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