20200401_bl_wedding

Rev. Dan Wills Jr. marries Pam Riffle and Scott Harrell March 16 at Chandler Acres Baptist Church.

On March 21, Pam Riffle had plans to walk down the aisle, in a white dress, to meet her fiance.

The couple’s friends and families were supposed to witness their vows and congratulate them with hugs and kisses at the reception where they’d dance all night and enjoy cocktails and wedding cake.

But because of the coronavirus outbreak, the day did not go as planned.

On March 15, Riffle and her fiance Scott Harrell were notified by their wedding venue, Jules’ Fireside in Papillion, there would be a 25-50 person limit on guests, which was not ideal for their 130-guest list.

The couple decided to still go on with the ceremony at her grandparents’ church, Chandler Acres Baptist Church in Bellevue, and have the reception at a later date.

But the next day, it was announced only 10 people could gather at once, which put a stop to their wedding day — a day they anticipated and planned for eight months.

“As a girl, you kind of dream of how things would go and this wasn’t the vision that we had,” Riffle said.

Disappointed and sad, Riffle and Harrell called friends and family and told them the wedding would be postponed until further notice.

Though they were understanding, Riffle said it was difficult to tell everyone the news so last minute, especially those who live out of state.

“You already have the stress just putting on a normal wedding, but to plan it and have to change plans in the middle of a pandemic is even harder,” Riffle said.

On March 16, after work, Riffle said she called her pastor, Dan Wills Jr. at Chandler Acres and asked him to marry them that night.

Riffle and Herrall made a “spur of the moment decision” at around 5 p.m. that evening to tie the knot in an intimate “two-minute” ceremony with their pastor and two present witnesses. Their families video chatted in for the occasion.

“We knew this wasn’t easy, but the end goal was to be married whether that meant having a huge ceremony and reception or just him and I. It was something we wanted together,” she said. “Even through all the sadness of not having the day we envisioned, there was still so much happiness.”

On Saturday, Rifle said it was disheartening to think she should have been getting her hair and makeup done with her bridesmaids and seeing Scott’s reaction when he saw her wear the dress for the first time.

“I’m happy with the choices we made and I’m excited to celebrate, hopefully one day,” she said. “Now, we can enjoy the next couple months of being married, let that soak in and then celebrate with everybody later.”

The couple plans to hold a ceremony and reception Aug. 1 at the same church and reception venue.

“We are hoping that everything has kind of calmed down by then, but that’s the next tentative date,” she said.

Luckily, Riffle said, the date change came with no extra cost as everyone was understanding of the circumstances.

“I was very thankful that it didn’t cause any extra stress because I know of people who are looking for a whole new venue or new photographer for their wedding,” she said.

As the pandemic runs its course, the couple will count down the days until they can celebrate their marriage with loved ones.

“There is still so much happiness that will be happening on the postponed date,” Riffle said.

Correction: This story's headline incorrectly said the couple delayed their wedding. They changed plans but did not delay.

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