Since their engagement in July 2019, Homewood residents Ashley Martin and Andy Echols had been planning and looking forward to a large wedding celebration at St. Paul’s Cathedral in downtown Birmingham.
“We had over 400 people send in their RSVP to the wedding,” Martin said. “We had people coming from near and far.”
The couple made the decision amid the coronavirus pandemic that, no matter what, they would still get married on their original April 18 wedding date but with just 10 people in attendance, including themselves.
At the ceremony, their guests were their parents, Martin’s brother and Echols’ two brothers as well as the priest. The videographer and photographer were able to socially distance themselves in the choir loft.
Martin said the ceremony – conducted by Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church’s associate pastor, the Rev. Frankline Fomukong – could not have been more special.
“It was so joyful,” Martin said. “His homily was incredible. He had us laughing, he had us crying.”
When the couple exited the church, they were surprised by a small group of their family and friends who couldn’t be at the ceremony ringing bells and driving by with congratulatory signs.
“It ended up being the perfect day,” Martin said. “It was what I had originally envisioned, because there were some tears before when I heard that everything was canceled. I was so disappointed. But I feel like God really came through and just blessed us so much on that day.”
Though the April 18 ceremony was smaller than expected, the couple hopes to host a reception in the fall to celebrate with the many intended guests who could not attend.