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They could have done what so many other engaged couples did và postpone their weddings until next year. But these River Hawk lovebirds didn’t want khổng lồ let the coronavirus pandemic dictate the terms of their happily-ever-afters.So in spite of the pandemic, several UMass Lowell alumni và students got married this summer — in safe và responsible, socially distanced ceremonies where veils và open bars were replaced by face masks & h& sanitizer.Most of the ceremonies were outdoors, & all of them had fewer than 10 guests. Some were livestreamed on Zoom so family & friends could watch from afar. But for all four of these couples, the scaled-down ceremonies will be followed, hopefully someday soon, by the big, traditional celebrations they’ve always dreamed of.Here are their wedding stories:‘The only good thing of the summer’The invitations were sent. The venue was booked: a rustic barn on a working hay farm in Strafford, N.H., where 90 guests would enjoy wood-fired pizza, and ice cream và beer trucks would serve inlớn the night. The custom decorations with the wedding date — June 6, 20đôi mươi — were ordered, as was a wood-engraved guest book. 

After getting engaged in May 2019, Devonne Sutton ’09 and Justin Lawler ’09 had almost everything phối for their wedding this summer. “We didn’t want a plated dinner; it was going lớn be very casual,” says Sutton, a Lowell native sầu who earned a degree in English from the College of Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences và now works as an associate director for U.S. external communications at Bioren.When the pandemic struck in March, the ức chế began. Keeping the date was important khổng lồ them; Lawler had told his father that’s when the wedding would be shortly before he passed away last year. But as the pandemic grew, reality started to lớn sink in.“We kept trying lớn be hopeful, checking the news & the numbers, but it became more & more evident that this was not going to lớn happen any time soon,” says Lawler, associate director of Campus Recreation who earned a master’s of business administration from the Manning School of Business.“It was such a stressful time,” says Sutton, who made the final call three weeks before the wedding: postpone the celebration in Strafford for a year but keep their original wedding date và instead have a small ceremony with a few family members và cthua trận friends.“We knew that with everything so crazy in the world, the faster we made the decision, the faster we could get excited about what we were actually going lớn plan for this year, and then look ahead khổng lồ whatever celebration we’re going to vày next year,” Sutton says.So on June 6, Lawler và Sutton tied the knot at the Doyle Conservation Park in Lawler’s hometown of Leominster, Mass. Sutton’s younger sister, alum Joanna Sutton ’13, officiated the ceremony. (“The good news is I can vị it all again next year if I mess it up this year,” she quipped.)Not even a sudden downpour that sent everyone scurrying for cover could put a damper on the newlyweds’ special day.“There’s so much uncertainty và ức chế right now, so it was really fun khổng lồ get together for an afternoon with our family and just laugh,” says Sutton, whose mom kept telling the couple, “Thank goodness you got married. It was the only good thing of the summer.”And now they’re looking ahead khổng lồ next June, when they plan to celebrate their one-year anniversary with many more friends and family in Strafford — and also take their postponed honeymoon to lớn Italy, Croatia & Montenegro.“We’re lucky that most of our vendors were gracious & allowed us to rebook everything,” says Lawler, who looks forward to lớn giving his groomsmen the special baseball bat mugs he had made for them.“Everyone will be so excited to be together again after so long. It will be nice lớn have a wedding where we can hug people,” adds Sutton, who saved the wedding dress she bought for next year’s ceremony.

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‘More than we could have hoped for’June 5 was a picture-perfect day for a wedding on the North Shore of As boats bobbed in the blue of Marblehead Harbor, Manning School alumni Mike Pindrus ’18 và Michelle Anggara ’19 said their vows in front of a small group of family và friends at Chandler Hovey Park. 

“We couldn’t have sầu a big ceremony lượt thích we wanted, but at the same time, I think the limitation of people made it more personal & special,” Pindrus says. “And we got really lucky with the day; it was a gorgeous day right on the water. It ended up being more than we could have sầu hoped for.”The couple, who met at UML in 2015, had planned on having a wedding this year that would include Anggara’s family from Indonesia. But when the pandemic restricted international travel, they had to make a decision.  “Our life plan was to lớn get married, và we didn’t want the pandemic to put that on hold,” Pindrus says. “We were able khổng lồ plan it in a way that worked for us, so we decided khổng lồ just go for it.” Anggara’s family was able to lớn watch the wedding back home page on Zoom, as one of the guests livestreamed the ceremony from their phone.The newlyweds are currently both working from trang chính in Nashua, N.H. Pindrus is a financial analyst for Raytheon & Anggara is a business analyst for software company Quiông chồng Base.Pindrus, who was born in Russia and moved lớn Swampscott, Mass., with his family when he was 7, says he và Anggara look forward to lớn celebrating in person with her family.“As soon as everything goes bachồng to normal, our first trip will be khổng lồ Indonesia lớn have a ceremony there,” he says.‘We didn’t want lớn wait’Among muốn the guests at the Pindrus-Anggara wedding were two friends from UML: alumni Raissa Yona ’15 and Christiankhổng lồ Putra ’16.Yomãng cầu and Putra had been engaged for more than two years, so when Anggara gave Yona her bridal bouquet, Putra knew the pressure was on.“When that happened, Raissa was lượt thích, ‘Hmmilimet … when’s my ceremony?’” recalls a chuckling Putra, who earned his master’s degree in clinical laboratory science & is currently a Ph.D. student in pharmaceutical sciences in the Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences.Yona và Putra, who are both from Indonesia, met in năm trước at an Indonesian festival in Boston’s Copley Square — where they discovered they both went khổng lồ UMass Lowell.“What are the chances, right?” says Putra, who proposed to Yomãng cầu three years later in — where else? — a CVS.He can explain.“I planned to lớn bring her to a winery in New Hampshire, and on the way there she said she wanted khổng lồ stop at CVS lớn buy some water,” Putra says. “She needed my phone for some reason, so she reached inkhổng lồ my pocket & felt the red box with the ring. She said, ‘What’s this?’

“So I just proposed to her in a CVS.”It was the moment, not the location, that mattered to Yona.“I knew we were going lớn get engaged, but I kind of ruined his plan,” says Yona, who earned a master’s degree in plastics engineering from the Francis College of Engineering & now works as a retìm kiếm engineer at Lockheed Martin in Andover.They planned lớn have their wedding sometime this year in Indonesia. But then the pandemic hit ... & then Anggara gave sầu Yomãng cầu her bouquet.“We don’t know when this pandemic will be over, and we didn’t want lớn wait until next year, so we just decided, OK, let’s do it,” Yona says. So on July 10, at a park near the water in Salem, Mass., Yona và Putra tied the knot with eight of their closest friends in attendance.

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Cthảm bại to lớn 50 friends & family back trang chủ in Indonesia woke up at 3 a.m. khổng lồ watch the ceremony online, as a guest streamed it on Zoom from their iPad tablet.“It was kind of a blessing in disguise, because I’ve sầu always wanted to lớn have an outdoor wedding,” says Yomãng cầu, who notes that outdoor weddings are uncomtháng in Jakarta because of the unpredictable tropical weather. The newlyweds, who recently bought a convì chưng in downtown Lowell, hosted a small wedding reception in their building’s community room, with takeout from one of their favorite restaurants: Priya Indian Cuisine in Chelmsford, Mass.“It was a really nice day with our cthất bại friends,” says Yona, who still looks forward lớn a big, traditional wedding with their families in a khách sạn ballroom in Jakarta. ‘Traditional rules are out the window’It was a scene straight out of the movies.Nazeli Acosta, a physics major in the Kennedy College of Sciences, arrived at Stanford University’s PULSE Center in June 2019 khổng lồ check in for her U.S. Department of Energy summer laboratory internship.

Coming from the opposite direction was Jorge Morales, a Ph.D. student in physics from Indiana University Bloomington. They both looked lost as their paths met in the middle of the would-be camera frame.“Do you know where the sign-in sheet is?” they asked one another. They decided to lớn look for the program coordinator together.“It’s so funny how it happened. We just hit it off,” says Acosta, who spent the next eight weeks getting to know Morales — when she wasn’t learning how khổng lồ use X-ray crystallography lớn decode the structure of an enzyme.When the internship ended, their long-distance relationship began. Acosta moved baông chồng khổng lồ UML & Morales went bachồng lớn Bloomington. A few weeks later, he came lớn visit Acosta and meet her parents at their home in Methuen, Mass. Every month or two, he would visit Acosta on campus, where she was a resident advisor at University Suites.By the spring, they were talking about marriage. Morales was visiting Acosta in Methuen in late May when he suggested they go for a walk at nearby Greycourt State Park. Acosta thought a proposal might be coming, but Morales threw her for a loop and started talking about how he didn’t understand the importance of buying a ring and getting engaged. Acosta’s anticipation started turning khổng lồ anger.When they reached the top of a hill in the middle of the park, Morales dropped khổng lồ bended knee và proposed.“It was a good prank. He caught me off guard,” says Acosta, who said “yes” through tears of joy.They planned to lớn get married this December. But when Acosta learned she would be able to lớn complete her final semester of undergraduate studies remotely this fall because of the pandemic, that opened an opportunity for them to lớn be together sooner than expected. So they decided khổng lồ wed on July 30 at the First Spanish Free Methodist Church, Acosta’s church in Lawrence, Mass. Acosta’s parents and Morales’ mom attended the intimate 25-minute ceremony.“It was all very quiông chồng và simple,” Acosta says. “I didn’t worry about the dress or decorations. This allowed us lớn focus more on the special act of becoming one.”

They still plan lớn have sầu a more traditional ceremony this December, where they can renew their vows.“At first, I was worried. Oh my goodness, two weddings? I didn’t know if I was doing something that wasn’t socially acceptable,” Acosta says. “But it turns out because of the pandemic, all the traditional rules are out the window. Everyone is having khổng lồ grhãng apple with how they’re going to celebrate their weddings during this time. It’s not easy.”