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COVID-19 has disrupted many plans but for some Franklin County residents, like others around the world, drastic changes have been made to their wedding plans.

Limited options forced couples to adjust. Those belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints were hit particularly hard as the closure of all temples on March 25, limited them to a civil ceremony or postponing until temples reopen fully. Temples reopened for the sealing ceremonies of already endowed couples on May 11.

Some, like Lauren and Jonathon Olson of Utah who obtained the last marriage license issued in Salt Lake County before the shutdown, chose to escalate their plans and opt for a small civil ceremony now, and a celebration and temple ceremony when restrictions are lifted.

Others, like Skyler Broadhead and Makayla Lunceford, postponed their event until fall in hopes that things will get back to normal.

Stephanie Chipman and Sean Byington had planned a June wedding but decided this was one aspect of their life that was not going to be put on hold. Their first obstacle was getting a license. The clerk’s office was open for one day, by appointment only, to issue marriage licenses. Then they found the license itself had an expiration date. So, their second obstacle was finding a venue at a time when Idaho businesses were only just beginning to reopen. Though Utah was further along in the process of lifting restrictions, the license was issued in Idaho.

The couple’s May 16 date was memorable but not in all the ways Stephanie and Sean had envisioned. By the time it arrived the bride no longer cared about details. She just wanted it done. She was fortunate to have found her dress a few months before and her sister made her cake. COVID-19 concerns kept one of the groom’s siblings away.

Brittany Starks and Jackson Sharp found similar challenges for their May 23 date. “We couldn’t invite the people that we wanted to,” Brittany said. We couldn’t get married in a public place so that made it hard. Finding wedding decor was also an issue. We had to wait for stores to open up to get things for the wedding. Family couldn’t come because of the restrictions as well.”

Caimbrey Welker and Jordan Turnbow haven’t yet had to make too many changes to their plans for late June. It certainly helped that the venue they have planned on is Welker’s backyard. They hope temples will open for further ordinances to be performed by then so they can be married there.

“Honestly, I don’t know that it changed Caimbrey’s plans much except delaying being married in the temple,” said Nikkol Welker, mother of the bride. “We still have the same date, but we are having the wedding in our backyard instead of just a party. I think the unknown of when things were going to be open or closing back up has been the hardest part.”

Regardless of the path to get there, the unknowns have certainly been the most challenging for everyone. The stress of not knowing what to count on due to the rapidly changing conditions has made every decision that much harder to pin down.

Days before her daughter, Lauren Anderson, married Jonathon Olson, Gwen Randall was upbeat. “Their wedding will not be as planned, but it will be beautiful.”

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