A Quarantine Wedding
By Jennifer Ersalesi
Photo credit: Dana B Photography
During these times of uncertainty and social distancing, there are still celebrations being planned and attended in new and creative ways. Victoria (Toria) Seetaram and Patrick Drury organized a special wedding at Toria's mother’s home in Rutherford which included virtual guests, actual guests, and a very unique receiving line. This is Rutherford spoke with Victoria and Patrick about their beautiful wedding in quarantine.
TIR: You are both Rutherford High School Graduates (Patrick, 2004 and Toria, 2005). Did you know each other in high school?
Toria Seetaram: Although Pat was on the football team and I was the drum major of the marching band and we were at every football game together, we never officially met each other in high school. I did know his older brother, John, we were both lifeguards at the RHS pool together.
Patrick Drury: I guess you could say we “knew of” each other. I had several friends in her year so we shared acquaintances. As she said, she remembered my brother more than me, but I looked a lot different back then.
TIR: You officially “met” in Rutherford. When and where was that?
TS: My mom’s friend’s kids throw a big pig roast every year, and she had been inviting me for years. Honestly, I never wanted to go because I knew there would be people there from high school that I didn’t know well, so why go? But this year, I finally said yes to going to the pig roast and I’m so glad I did! So, this past Labor Day Weekend, on August 31st, 2019, Pat and I met for the first time.
PD: It is a party we have thrown every summer for about 12 years now. All of my friends, many of whom are from Rutherford, show up. I have lived in Nashville for about 10 years so I would come up just to help throw the party. It was a western-themed pig roast as well, so there I was dressed up as a Sheriff, complete with badge, hat, and a fake revolver. She arrived later in the afternoon, and her mom had mentioned to her that I live in Nashville, and Toria had also lived in Nashville at one point. We began talking about that and a bunch of other things. We spoke for hours, and by the end, we were two of only a handful of people left. I began cleaning up and she offered to stay and help. After that, I walked her to her car and told her I would call her the next day when I got back to Nashville, and we haven’t missed a beat since! You can read the full story here.
TIR: Due to the pandemic crisis, you both ended up planning a Quarantine Wedding. How did you come up with this plan?
TS: The COVID-19 Pandemic has really put things into perspective. It has affected the people I love in devastating ways and I have watched loved ones lose loved ones. It’s really sobering and reminds you that life is short and tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. So unlike some other engaged couples, we actually moved our wedding up by 7 months because we were ready to start our lives together. We were supposed to get married in December 2020, but while going for a hike and spending some quiet alone time together in the middle of May, we realized that we were waiting for a wedding that may or may not ever happen. So, after some time to pray, reflect, and have a tender and honest conversation together, I called my mom, and said, “Can we get married in your backyard on Memorial Day Weekend?” She said, “that gives us 2 weeks, sure, we can do that!” The next calls were to the officiant and local Rutherford officials, including the Health Department and Police Station.
We are both grateful that we have so many loved ones in our family and community and couldn’t imagine getting married without having them in “attendance”, so after several tech runs with Pat’s dad in Nashville, we decided to invite our family, bridal party, extended family, and friends to the zoom wedding. It wasn’t the wedding we had originally planned, but certainly surpassed our wildest dreams!
PD: We had 10 states and 3 countries represented on our zoom call! NJ, NY, PA, TN, KY, CA, TX, VA, NH, FL - US, England, Canada
TIR: What did you do to make this unique wedding special?
TS: What was super fun was that we got to customize the day to whatever we liked. Because it rained the whole day before, all the set up was done by us and our family and a few close friends on the morning of the wedding. All hands were on deck and it was so heartwarming and special to watch how beautifully it all came together.
PD: We did a “first look” in front of the home. Since we weren’t traveling anywhere, we asked our sweet neighbor who owns Angelo’s Express Limousine service if we could rent a limo for an hour to take some pictures. We were so happy to be able to do so. Photos were taken by a friend that Victoria grew up at camp with, Dana Baker of Dana B Photography.
TS: The ceremony was performed by Gerard DeMatteo from Rutherford Bible Chapel. We wrote our own vows to share and exchange. A reading from the Bible was done by Anthony Cavallaro (RHS Class of 2003). My brother, Bobby (RHS Class of 2011) gave the message during the ceremony. Pat’s mom, Susan Scott Drury (RHS graduate of 1981) drove up from North Carolina to be part of the ceremony. My mom, Adriana, participated in a Celtic handfasting ceremony while Pat’s father in Tennessee read a beautiful Blessing of the Hands via Zoom. After we were pronounced husband and wife, we shared our first dance to "For the Last Time" by Trisha Yearwood for everyone in person and on zoom. Right after the dance, a speech was given by my mom and then by Pat’s dad via Zoom.
We cut our “cake” which was a giant cannoli filled with cannoli from Lyndhurst Pastry Shop. After we cut the cake, we spent a little time on zoom speaking to their guests virtually. After saying goodbye to the Zoom guests, those who attended in person enjoyed a lovely lunch buffet from Matera’s on Park while the couple took some pictures.
Next, over 75 cars attended our receiving line that took almost 90 minutes. It was a beautifully warm day, but thankfully my brother Bobby kept the couple hydrated while the couple greeted each of their guests. My brother-in-law, Chevy Thompson, who is a police officer in Virginia, took the lead in helping to direct traffic so that everyone involved or passing by was safe.
TIR: Tell us more about the Drive-By Receiving Line. People came in cars and on bicycles. How did you greet your guests?
TS: Through our wedding website we gave our guests meticulous directions of how to line up and drive by our home, and I’m so glad we did because we had over 75 cars in attendance! We had cars, trucks, bikes, and so many sweet signs, cards, bottles of bubbly, and smiles. It was so lovely to get to see each person that we hadn’t seen in quite a while and to spend a minute or so with each. This was probably better than a traditional wedding reception where you don’t always get time to talk to each person. In this drive-by receiving line, we got to speak to each person individually. Some we took socially distant pictures with, some we just waved to, some tossed gifts out the window, and one put their gift on a pitchfork and reached it out to us.
PD: As the guests came up our street, they were greeted with smiling faces of some of our bridal party. The governor had expanded outdoor gatherings from 10 to 25 people just 2 days before so we were able to have a couple of close friends and family with us, and they were a huge help. Balloons and fun signs with our cartoon pictures (Bitmoji) lined the street where the cars pulled up. The signs were done by our friend Amir at Minuteman Press in North Arlington. The fence of our backyard had pictures of us and decorations, so those driving by knew that it was a celebration from a block away! Toria's sisters took the names of each attendee and greeted them. We had a boombox with some fun reception music playing on the street as the cars arrived as well. After greeting Toria and me, each attendee received a little goodie bag of Hershey’s kisses handed to them with a gloved hand.
TIR: What did you and your family do to make your wedding special?
TS: Knowing that it was a bittersweet day not being able to have every loved one there in person, my siblings made some video montages of extended family and friends singing to us and presented it to them the morning of the wedding. In addition, although Patrick’s father and stepmother were not able to make the wedding in person, they were a very integral part of the ceremony reciting the Blessing of the Hands and giving a speech and toast.
TIR: What are some parts of this day that you will think you will always remember?
TS: Our hearts will forever be filled with gratitude to our family and friends who worked hard to make this day so perfect in such a short amount of time. Whether it was those who helped my mom cut her grass the week before or donated wooden planks for us to walk on so my shoes didn’t sink in the grass, our friends and family who took care of the cleanup, each person who drove from near or over an hour away just to drive by and wave to see us. The love we felt that day is unparalleled and not something we take for granted. It was truly a blessing.
PD: I honestly did not expect the turnout we had, in both the Zoom call or the receiving line. It was overwhelming in the best possible way. The ceremony was so special, we had written our own vows (which I couldn’t get through without crying), and the words spoken by our friends and family will be with me forever. The receiving line was such an interesting way of getting people out and not something I would have ever thought to do if not for Toria's mom Adriana. Seeing all of the cars lined up and the signs people made, and the decorations on their vehicles made the day all that more special and truly a wedding to remember.
TIR: As far as you know, were you the first “Quarantine Wedding” outdoor ceremony in Rutherford?
VS: We are the first we know of, but we do hear some rumors of our engaged friends who may be following suit sometime soon, but that’s not our news to tell. If anyone in Rutherford needs help planning one, we’re more than happy to help!