Chiedza Mushayamunda and Matthew Hooker went through “a range of emotions,” as Mr. Hooker put it, when they realized their long-planned May 30 wedding would have to be severely downsized because of the coronavirus.
The wedding was to have taken place at the Millennium Center in Winston-Salem, N.C, with more than 200 guests, including family and friends from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Australia, Canada and Britain.
The couple, concerned mainly with the health and safety of their guests, were still married May 30. But the ceremony, and the reception, took place mostly with immediate family on the grounds of Summit School — a scenic outdoor space in Winston-Salem, and the school the bride attended from junior kindergarten through ninth grade.
Among those in attendance were Ms. Mushayamunda’s parents, Yvonne and Dereck Mushayamunda (originally from Zimbabwe and now residing in Winston-Salem), as well as her grandparents, and Mr. Hooker’s parents, Kay A. Hooker and Phillip Hooker of Gaithersburg, Md.
The Rev. Jon Hauser, an associate minister of Pinedale Christian Church in Winston-Salem, led the ceremony, with the Rev. Colin Seager, the senior pastor at Derwood Bible Church in Derwood, Md., taking part.
The couple were able to more than double their guest list as North Carolina moved to Phase 2 of its reopening on May 22, raising the number of people who could gather in an outdoor group to 25 from 10.
“We were watching for that decision like a hawk,” Mr. Hooker said. “It was some good news for sure.”
The couple, who first met in September 2018 through a community group at Two Cities Church in Winston-Salem, desperately needed to hear some good news.
“Our invitations were sent out, our guest list confirmed, and then we had to do a one-eighty and pull the brakes,” said Mr. Hooker, 24, who graduated from Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, N.J., and received a law degree summa cum laude this month from Wake Forest.
“This has certainly been a very frustrating and, at times, a very confusing experience for us,” said Mr. Hooker, who will begin a judicial clerkship in August with Adam M. Conrad, a special superior court judge for complex business cases at the North Carolina business court in Charlotte.
“We got engaged in August 2019, and since that day we have put so many hours into planning this wedding celebration, and then to lose control and see it all fall apart, well, that was really kind of rough.”
Ms. Mushayamunda, also 24, said that she too “was incredibly disappointed the minute I found out that we were not going to get the wedding of our dreams.”
“At first, I freaked out,” said Ms. Mushayamunda, a marketing specialist at Javara, a clinical research company based in Winston-Salem. She graduated from Wofford College, and recently accepted an offer of admission to pursue an M.B.A. at Wake Forest in the fall of 2021.
“But I soon became less angry, because it was about remembering the reason I was marrying Matthew in the first place, she said. “It wasn’t because we were getting married at a fancy venue, it was simply because I loved him.”
Looking ahead optimistically, the couple have set a new date, Aug. 15, for a celebration ceremony that would bring back most of their 200-plus original guests to the Millennium Center, “assuming it would be safe by then for such a gathering to take place,” Mr. Hooker said.