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A Wedding Day to Remember

Couple Scales Down Plans Amid Pandemic

Hannah and Freddy Raupp

This spring, brides-to-be worried less about finding “something borrowed and something blue” for their big day and more about whether or not wedding ceremonies could even happen. In the wake of COVID-19, couples faced an unprecedented set of social distancing guidelines that hindered the traditional wedding experience.

But even as they faced a global pandemic, Hannah Raupp, born Hannah Meredith, and Freddy Raupp managed to have a wedding day to be remembered.

The couple originally planned a large ceremony and reception for the last weekend of May, expecting about 200 guests to celebrate with them. However, the guest list had shrunk to 20 close family and friends by the time they tied the knot on May 23 in Wheeling.

Hannah said that the drastic changes she had to make to her wedding plans were frustrating initially.

“There were a lot of tears at first,” she confessed.

Hannah had planned most of the wedding herself, and she and her family had to be creative in forming a new plan that would meet West Virginia state guidelines and keep guests safe. When they realized they could not have a caterer, friends and family stepped up to cook for the small reception instead. They also changed the location of the ceremony and chose to hold it in the neighborhood where Hannah and her siblings grew up.

Because many of their original guests could no longer be there in person, the couple broadcast the ceremony via livestream so family and friends could still share the moment with them.

However, Hannah said much of her original vision for their wedding was left intact, just scaled down. Her wedding photographer was still able to capture the ceremony and reception, and the couple used most of the decorations from the original wedding plan.

“There were still plenty of personal touches to make the day feel special,” she explained.

Most importantly, Hannah said the small and intimate setting allowed her and Freddy to focus more on their excitement for their new marriage and less on the “spectacle” of a big ceremony and reception.

The couple had originally planned to vacation in Jamaica for their honeymoon, but chose a quieter getaway in Columbus, Ohio after COVID-19 prevented safe travel abroad. Hannah said she and Freddy stayed in for most of the trip, trying new recipes, watching television and enjoying a bit of relaxation after the stress of the wedding.

Hannah grew up in Wheeling, while Freddy originates from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The newlyweds first met at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania. Hannah remembered one of the first times she ever saw Freddy at the student center.

“He was giving a pottery demonstration,” she recalled. “I remember thinking he was the most handsome man ever.”

The two became acquainted through mutual friends and eventually began dating as juniors. About a year after their relationship began, Freddy popped the question during a spring break trip in Acadia National Park in Maine.

“It was actually where his dad proposed to his mom,” Hannah said, explaining the significance of the location.

Their engagement lasted about a year, during which Hannah spent a lot of time planning their wedding. The couple also made plans to move to New Hampshire after their marriage, where Freddy expected to begin work as a mechanical engineer post-graduation.

This plan also fell through. Like many recent college graduates, Freddy lost the job opportunity when COVID-19 closures forced many industries into hard financial times. However, he recently accepted a new job in Baltimore, Maryland, so the couple plans to relocate there in the near future.

For now, Hannah and Freddy are living in the same neighborhood where they held their ceremony, enjoying time together as newlyweds.

The couple hopes to celebrate their marriage with a larger group of friends and family when state guidelines allow it. Hannah suggested they might have a party for their one year anniversary.

Hannah said that with the stress of changing wedding and honeymoon plans, “It was hard to feel like we had any time together.”

Now, they enjoy lots of nights in, cooking together and settling into married life.

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