TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLF) - Thousands of brides and grooms dreaming of a spring wedding in 2020 have had to change their plans. Coronavirus restrictions are just now starting to ease up on the size of gatherings.
"It was very stressful," said Amber Hockenbary.
Amber and her husband Zechariah met while working at Pappy's Sweet Shop at Purdue. After a year together they got engaged on the pedestrian bridge over the Wabash River. They decided to get married in Veedersburg, which is close to Amber's family.
"I always wanted an outdoor wedding," she said. "So we were going to have it outdoors, in the spring, it was set up to be so perfect."
Then the worldwide pandemic struck home.
"I was already stressed before with the wedding planning and when all this started happening it didn't really help much," she said.
So they canceled their dream wedding, and decided to have a courthouse wedding instead.
"The hardest part of it was they gave us a list of judges and said call all these judges and see who is willing to do this because of the virus," said Zechariah
They went through the list of Tippecanoe County Judges. Zechariah said some didn't have the time, others said no completely. However, Magistrate Dan Moore agreed. They were married by the fountain at the Tippecanoe County Courthouse on April 24th. Amber joked that she still got her outdoor wedding, it just wasn't at all what she had dreamed of.
For Adrienne Jeffers and her husband, the plan was always to have a courthouse wedding with a big reception. She and her husband got married in a judge's office in Montgomery County while keeping socially distant.
"The planning part was already done," she said. "We had gotten engaged in September and by that point, I already knew how I wanted everything to be."
For her the hardest part was watching all her hard work planning go down the drain.
"I made all of our decorations," she said.
She decided to sell them to other brides over Facebook. She said she wanted to help relieve the stress of other brides-to-be with her already made decorations. She said she was most excited about the donut wall she made in place of having a traditional wedding cake.
"It said 'Holy Matrimony' on it and everything," she said. "Oh, I loved it, it was so pretty. I was so sad to see it go."
Both couples said they were lucky that they were able to get most of their deposits back. Both couples have also had to cancel their honeymoon plans, which they said was a big disappointment.
"We've both been without jobs right now since Pappy's closed for the virus so we've had to get whatever refunds we could back," said Amber.
Jeffers said she has heard horror stories from other brides that weren't so lucky.
"For them not to be able to get their deposits back, my heart goes out to them because this needs to be their special day," she said.
Jeffers said she and her husband are going to try to plan something for their one year anniversary. Zechariah is heading to training to become a Marine, so the Hockenbary's said their future plans are uncertain right now, but that they still want to do something special one day.
The Tippecanoe County Clerk's office is now open and accepting applications for marriage licenses. Click here to learn more.