WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - A local Army chaplain stationed at Fort Story and his fiancée are preparing to tie the knot this Saturday in a wedding that was supposed to take place in Boston, but COVID-19 changed everything.
They tell News 3 anchor Kurt Williams that while their wedding plans have now shrunk to 10 people, they do include an elaborate drive-thru reception in Williamsburg with about 50 cars.
Max Groene says the drive-thru reception was his mother's idea.
"But really when my mom said it, it was like this bizarre idea where she was like, 'What if we have people drive through a reception in their car?' I was like, 'You're crazy!'"
His fiancée, Cara Evans, just completed her Masters of Social Work at Boston College and admits initially she didn't know what to think about the drive-thru suggestion.
"I was hesitant as well, too. I think just because it's so hard to switch your mindset and I was holding out. Maybe things can change and we'll still get to have this beautiful venue, but we just had to make the call," she said.
Max explains how it will all work.
"So, the layout of the whole thing is we're getting married at a 10-person wedding in the backyard of a friend on the James River in Charles City, and we're so grateful for that. And then we'll hurry over to Williamsburg and it's a little roundabout in Kingsmill, and Kingsmill has been so gracious to let us use that and provide kinda the things we needed for that. And cars will come, and we've got a couple different stations set up. There's a station right at the beginning to grab a wand to wave from their car, and we've asked people to decorate their cars. And it's like a little processional line, where our parents will be there and my sisters and brother-in-law will be there, and we'll be here in the middle and just get to say 'hi' to everyone. There's to-go boxes of wedding cakes, which are actually cupcakes provided by Extraordinary Cupcakes and then champagne splits - not to be consumed in the car!" he explained.
Cara believes it's very important to have the right perspective about this.
"Yeah. and just friends coming around us - it really makes you grateful for what you have. And as a social worker and him as a chaplain, we're not new to crisis, so both of us are kinda like, 'You know what? This isn't the first crisis that we'll be dealing with.' And the reality of it is that as a bride, you know you hope and dream of a certain kind of wedding and we hoped for that, but as this pandemic has hit, I think both of us have grown closer so much together and it's really allowed us to get to know each other in a new way. We hope our story can bring a little joy in that you can still celebrate in the midst of some hard circumstances."