- Austin, Texas couple Jose Patiño and Emily Yaung were supposed to get married on March 20, 2020, at a local wedding venue but the event was postponed by coronavirus.
- Set on marrying on their wedding day, which was selected by Emily's mother, they decided to elope even though their older family members couldn't attend due to fears of catching the virus.
- The couple have postponed their original wedding plans until September, when they hope things will have "blown over."
- Below, Emily tells us her and Jose's love story, the logistics of postponing their wedding, and why they decided to elope.
- Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.
Emily Yaung of Austin, Texas, and her husband Jose Patiño are among the many couples across the US who have had their weddings canceled or postponed by the coronavirus outbreak. While they've postponed their wedding to September, they decided to elope last week, with the encouragement of Emily's mother.
Here's their story, as told by Emily to Insider's Ashley Collman:
Me and my husband Jose met at work. I work at an architectural design firm, and he was our IT consultant at the time. We've been together now six years in May. He proposed in December of 2019, so I think we'd already been together for five years almost by that point.
The engagement is kind of a funny story. I remember it was a Monday, and I was driving home from work and I think he had gotten out around the same time. I remember he called me and we were kind of chitchatting on the way home. We didn't carpool that day for some reason.
I remember pulling up into our driveway, and he said, "Wait for me before you hang up." I didn't think much of it — I had a banging headache.
Shortly after I had gotten into our driveway, he opened the back door, which takes us through the laundry room and into the house.
I remember we were in the laundry room and he all of a sudden started fumbling around in his shirt pocket, and I was like: "Oh my goodness, is this happening right now?"
He was kneeling at that point and he popped the question. It was really low-key and I was completely surprised by it.
Setting the day
We didn't jump into the wedding planning mindset. We waited until after the holidays, then looked at dates.
I'm Chinese, and my mom is very traditional in the sense that she referenced some sort of lunar calendar and looked at my birthday, his birthday, and our Chinese zodiacs, and found a good date that was suitable for both of us given those criteria.
That was March 20. That worked for both of us too, so we started planning around that.
We had both looked at different venues separately online, and Brodie Homestead was the one that was on both of our lists.
We went to visit it and fell in love. I have an interior design background and the bones of the venue were beautiful — exposed trusses juxtaposed with these large chandeliers. It just really attracted both of us. We booked right away. That was at the end of January or February.
'Everyone was aware' of the coronavirus, 'but it hadn't quite hit home'
The coronavirus didn't feel like a real issue until days before the wedding. Of course we had been following what was happening in China, and then California and New York.
Everyone was aware of it, but it hadn't quite hit home yet. It wasn't in Austin yet. We were just kind of monitoring it even two weeks before.
Two weeks before, Dallas started getting more cases, and my family lives in Dallas. So I started to worry about them.
Then I had two back-to-back appointments, one to get my dress and one to get my marriage license.
When everything 'exploded'
And I remember it was during those two days that things exploded.
My maid of honor lives in New York and called me up, asking: "Do you really want me to come? I don't want to get anyone sick, and we're in a state of emergency right now."
At the time it hadn't hit home yet. It hadn't become real yet because nothing was going on in Austin. At the time, my response was: "Just come on down if you're comfortable. If you don't want to fly, though, I understand."
I think her concern was more that she didn't want to get other people sick. Two more of my bridesmaids were in Dallas when it declared some sort of emergency soon after. I think that's when it became real because it was affecting more than just one of my bridal party.
Every morning we would wake up and something would change. I remember it being Thursday the 12th, so basically a week and a day before the wedding. Austin had started to see its first presumably positive case, and then the city decided to ban gatherings of more than 2,500 people.
So that's when we started thinking about our moms, my grandmother, more high-risk guests, and I just didn't want to stress about that.
When they decided to postpone the wedding
Planning a wedding is already stressful enough and then having to worry about other people's wellbeing… it was just another layer. So the week before, on Friday the 13th (which is kind of ironic), we decided to postpone our wedding to September.
I think the period where we were debating whether to postpone the wedding or not was the most stressful and most saddening part of it all.
When we made the final decision, it was like a sigh of relief. I think at that point, everyone's wellbeing was more important.
The wedding stress became such a small part of it. At that point I was just worried about my mom, his mom, my grandmother and things like that. If they were there, the only thing I would be able to think about is: "Don't shake my mom's hand, don't give my grandmother a hug."
Those would be the thoughts and emotions, and I don't think we could have focused on ourselves.
The logistics of postponing a wedding
I started reaching out to all of my vendors. Nobody in the wedding industry has experienced anything like this. They didn't really know what to do or what to say.
Most of my vendors have been very accommodating, no questions asked. There were one or two that were less knowledgeable of the situation, so I did lose two of my vendors, my photo-booth and officiant. They just never responded, and I followed up a few times. But in the grand scheme of things, I think we're good.
After sending out the emails on Friday delaying the wedding, I talked to my mom. This was a week before the wedding was supposed to take place. My mom was like: "It's still a good date, if you can just go to the county clerk's office and get married, it's a good date."
After talking to her, I talked about it with Jose and we decided this is our date. We're going to make it happen, even though it's not how we imagined it to happen. That's the light in all of this, that at least we still got married on our date.
March 20 is still going to be our anniversary forever, and I think that helped the situation.
The wedding — featuring less than 10 people and a lot of FaceTime
When Jose first proposed, my mom said we should just get married now and have a party later. I was like, "Wow, Mom, you really want us to get married, huh?"
We just didn't want to get married at the clerk's office. We asked a family friend to see if they would be willing to get ordained, so they did that and we had a little ceremony on Friday by a pond near our house. It was in the fresh open air, which we thought would help the situation.
By that time, things were getting more intense here in Austin, and gatherings of more than 10 people had been banned, so that's all we had there with us. Two of Jose's groomsmen, and some local friends were present. It was lovely.
We FaceTimed our families: my mom, Jose's mom. Our friends were holding the phones as we got married, they were there digitally.
We didn't feel comfortable having any of our higher-risk family members there, which was also a really difficult choice.
I kept going back and forth about whether I should drive up to Dallas and pick up my mom to have her here. But finally, I was like: "No." I think it's for the best.
'I can't imagine rescheduling for a second time'
As for the wedding in September, I think we're going to keep it how we planned it because it just feels different that our parents weren't there. I didn't walk down the aisle with my mom.
My dad passed away four years ago, so my mom was going to do it. I didn't wear my wedding dress, Jose didn't wear his tux. We wanted to still feel as raw and real as it can be in September. Hopefully this all blows over by then because I can't imagine rescheduling for a second time.
There was no hesitation in our decision that we were going to get married on the 20th. I think we've been so ready for that, and he [Jose] was very supportive. He was also very worried about me when we were toying with the idea of postponing it or not. He was just very comforting. I could see that he was genuinely worried about me.
After we got married, we were both like: "Wow, we can't believe we're both married to each other." It doesn't feel like we skipped a beat at all. It was right and meant to happen.
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