In the span of a few short weeks, the coronavirus outbreak went from a distant thought to a very real threat – one that is affecting nearly all aspects of day-to-day life. For those who were planning to tie the knot, this is an especially heartbreaking development. Because of social distancing guidelines, many people have been forced to cancel or postpone their weddings indefinitely. Those who decided not to cancel? To proceed safely, they had to get innovative. 

Couple celebrates social distancing wedding in NYC
Getting wed from a distance. (credit: Instagram @iknowmattwilson)

Creative Solutions

One New York couple and their officiant took the shutdowns in stride and, thinking outside the box, came up with a solution for how to proceed with a  ceremony. Their social distancing wedding took place on an NYC sidewalk, with Universal Life Church minister Matthew Wilson officiating from the fourth story window and the witnesses and guests looking on from a safe distance. 

The ceremony, dubbed the "Window Wedding in Washington Heights" soon went viral. We shared the video on our Instagram page (watch the whole thing – the finish is spectacular): 

Plans Thwarted

A little backstory: Amanda and Reilly were originally planning to be wed in October of this year when they realized they may not get the chance, and bumped the schedule up. Here's the kicker: they were actually dressed for the wedding and on the way to the clerk to be married in a civil ceremony the very day that the marriage bureau announced it would be shutting its doors due to the virus.

Universal Life Church to the Rescue!

Luckily, one of their close friends mentioned that her husband was ordained with the Universal Life Church and had already performed five weddings in the last five years! The couple walked ten blocks to the officiant’s apartment building and his booming entertainer’s voice carried from his 4th floor window down to the couple on the sidewalk.  The neighbors, also in quarantine, opened their windows to clap, blow bubbles, and cheer for the couple who held hands as they said their “I do’s”.  They passed the legal paperwork through the vestibule to maintain social distance while adding their signatures to the marriage license.

We wish them both health and happiness, and are so proud of this officiant’s ability to be creative and responsibly adapt to the changing situation to provide services in this time of need.  Universal Life Church ministers are known for being flexible and unique in their approach. They're also a favorite option for those couples who prefer not to get married in a traditional church setting. Apparently, they're also a valuable resource in pandemics! This scenario checked all those boxes, and provides a compelling reminder of the power of online ordination.


  1. Howard Pippin's Avatar Howard Pippin

    Hooray!! If God's in favor who can Deny?

  1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

    I bet nobody tried to catch the bouquet, unless they were wearing rubber gloves. And I bet the rice thrown at them from those windows must have hurt.

  1. Rev. Dennis's Avatar Rev. Dennis


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