Sara Naomi Lewkowicz for NPR
Hundreds of couples came together for a massive wedding celebration this weekend — the wedding many of them couldn’t have because COVID disrupted their plans.
There were older couples and younger ones, gay, straight and non-binary couples, couples of different races and from different places, all coming together to pay tribute to love.
“Celebrate Love: A (Re)Wedding was launched by the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York.
“We thought about what NYC really needed right now? We realized we really needed to bring back our rituals, all the things that we couldn’t do together, and so a wedding was at the top of the list,” said Shanta Thake, artistic director of Lincoln Center.
Five hundred couples were invited to register for free.
And many have.
“We planned this beautiful wedding with friends and family in Lisbon in April 2020. And March happened and we were a month away from the wedding, and the world closed in and we knew it wasn’t going to happen “said Lauren Gibbs.
Instead, she and Rob Jenkins held a small ceremony on their front porch, with her father officiating and friends watching both on zoom and from chalked hearts on the sidewalk, neatly placed six feet away. one another.
But this celebration allowed the couple to relax and have fun, finally. “It’s been a really strange and difficult two years and it’s nice to find those times to reflect and bring joy to ourselves, to each other and to those around us,” Gibbs said.
The trees in the outer plaza were shrouded in twinkling lights, with lanterns hanging from the branches. Some couples wore bridal dresses and costumes, others had special his and hers masks. Staff members distributed bouquets and wreaths. There were henna stations, a 360 degree photo booth and champagne.
But most importantly, there were the loved ones who celebrated with the couples; parents, friends, children.
Not all couples get married. Fabiola and Carlos Escobar came to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. He wore a purple tie; she wore a flowing white dress and a sequined veil that she bought at Nordstrom Rack. Accompanying them as best man and bridesmaid was their young granddaughter Brianna, 7, who was asked what she learned about love from watching her grandparents.
“To be nice,” she said. “Be helpful. Be respectful. Be proud of yourself.”
The couples walked down an aisle, two by two, where they were greeted by Mayor Eric Adams and serenaded by Broadway stars. An imam, a rabbi and a minister blessed their unions.
And then they all gathered under a 10-foot-tall disco ball set atop the iconic fountain, under the stars – and danced.