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My wonderfully strange wedding

It was nothing as we had planned and hoped for—and it was beautiful

My wonderfully strange wedding

Last week, on Good Friday, I married my best friend in his tiny backyard. It was just David, me, and our church pastor all standing about 6 feet away from each other, with about 150 people from all across the nation and the world watching us exchange our vows through a livestreaming platform. When the pastor asked our online witnesses if they would promise to help uphold our marriage, people typed out an enthusiastic “We will!!” in a chat box. 

This is how we got married in the midst of a historic pandemic: I had no bouquet, so instead I carried a pair of wooden mandarin ducks wrapped in a yellow silk cloth, which in Korean culture symbolizes fidelity, love, and harmony, because these ducks are known to be monogamous creatures that mate for life. We had no wedding aisle, so we lined a concrete walkway in the backyard with lit lanterns and houseplants. We had no podium, so we stacked a bunch of wooden crates together and draped a white bed sheet over it. We had no photographers, so friends took screenshots of the livestream video.

Nothing happened according to our original plans. My father couldn’t walk me down the “aisle,” but he dressed up in suit and tie and watched me enter the scene through his laptop. Before the ceremony, he sent us a letter filled with a father’s blessings, so David and I met behind a door so David could read the letter out loud and pray for us. We couldn’t have Young Oceans, a worship band, play live as we had planned, but the lead singer Eric Marshall prerecorded two songs into a video that we played during the livestream. We couldn’t have my niece and my cousin’s son be the flower girl and ringbearer, so we tried to walk down my cat Shalom, but the naughty creature meowed her displeasure and wiggled away—which is probably for the best, since for some reason, she’s been hissing at poor David every time she sees him. 

In fact, the week of the wedding, Los Angeles was experiencing an unordinary torrent of rainstorms, and even on the day of the wedding, the sky was drizzling intermittently. But that morning, as we looked at the dark clouds looming over us, we just rolled our eyes and laughed. At that point, we had given up all struggles of control as to what we thought our wedding should look like. We just wanted to get married in the eyes of God—and nothing, not even a pandemic, was going to stop us from becoming husband and wife on Good Friday. 

God is so kind and good. Despite all our plans continuously falling apart, our little unconventional ceremony turned out extra-special, extra-meaningful, extra-beautiful, all the more so because it happened in the face of adversities. And because people who love us knew what it took to make it happen, many went out of their way to help. A friend express-shipped us all the equipment we needed—a webcam, an LED ring light, tripod, cables—and went on multiple FaceTime calls to help us set it up and do dry runs. Another friend helped organize separate Zoom “reception” meetings with family and plan out the itinerary. My family sent flowers and champagne and a snack basket. My close friends hopped on a Zoom call while I was getting ready and did their hair and makeup with me so I wouldn’t be alone. Most of our friends and family dressed up for the occasion, and some even put on a tuxedo (though who knows what they were wearing from the waist down). Even through a screen, we felt our hearts grow full with these people’s love for us.

It was a wonderfully strange wedding ceremony. I couldn’t see the faces of my loved ones, which meant the only face I looked at was my future husband’s. We were liberated from all the usual stresses of a wedding: Our decorations were minimal and handmade, our dinner was delivered to our door from a local sushi restaurant, and we didn’t have to rush from one event to another or do much cleaning up. 

God, in all his sweet wisdom, stripped our wedding of all the Pinterest-envy, the chiffon and the flowers, and unnecessary expenses (an average wedding in Los Angeles costs more than $44,000), and taught us to focus on what our marriage is really about: a man and a woman making a lifelong covenant to commit to one another no matter what, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, even when the entire nation is under quarantine.

Of course, like our wedding ceremony, our marriage will not be perfect. For one, we still have to work on our communication skills. When our pastor pronounced us husband and wife and told David, “You may now kiss the bride,” I suddenly got it into my head that I should fling myself at my newlywed husband. Why settle for a modest peck when you can go full-on Casablanca

Unfortunately, David did not catch the twinkle in my eye that clearly communicated to him my amorous intentions. Instead, his eyes widened with surprise when I leapt into his arms, and instead of landing a passionate kiss, he almost dropped me and we earned The Sloppiest, Most Awkward First Kiss Award. 

Ah well. We have a lifetime to learn how to communicate better.


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  • Johnny T's picture
    Johnny T
    Posted: Thu, 04/16/2020 08:06 pm

    Oh, Sophia, thank you for sharing your wedding; I remember your post about weddings and the coronavirus, so it was special to read about your wedding on Good Friday; so appropriate.  God's richest blessings on you both.

    Posted: Thu, 04/16/2020 08:43 pm

    What a beautiful, beautiful story, Sophia. God's blessings on you and David, for a long and happy life of serving our Savior!

    Tom & Lucy in Phoenix

  • Hawkdriver
    Posted: Thu, 04/16/2020 11:12 pm

    God Bless your marriage as I'm sure He will.  My bride and I of 24 years had our 1st kiss on our wedding day was awesome.

  •  CLT's picture
    Posted: Fri, 04/17/2020 06:58 am

    Echoing others - thank you for sharing your wedding and may God richly bless your marriage.

    I loved your phrase "we had given up all struggles of control" as it brilliantly describes what I am trying to do while truly trusting in God's love and care during this "historic pandemic."

  • cgtracy
    Posted: Fri, 04/17/2020 08:58 am

    Beautiful story! Thank you! I know it may sound corny but I loved it all and teared up when you described jumping into your new husband's arms! Elizabeth T

  • sonjakpcooper
    Posted: Fri, 04/17/2020 09:44 am

    What a wonderful article and wedding! 

    Posted: Fri, 04/17/2020 09:49 am

    Sophia, You have a beautiful outlook on those times in our life when our plans and expectations don't necessarily turn out as God has planned. Thankyou for sharing your beautiful day with us.

  • OrthodoxJ
    Posted: Fri, 04/17/2020 10:46 am

    Praying for blessings on you two and your marriage!


    Posted: Fri, 04/17/2020 11:14 am

    Congratulations, Sophia! This was such an uplifting account of your wedding day. I have followed & enjoyed your writing for World over the years. Thank you for sharing your wonderfully strange wedding with us! 

  • RC
    Posted: Fri, 04/17/2020 12:19 pm

    Sophia, I congratulate you and David on your marriage!  I also applaud you all for showing ingenuity, creativity and courage in making your wedding happen in spite of the damage the virus has brought on us all. It is encouraging to see that no matter what, you all did not crawl into a hole and stop living.  Thanks for and sharing with us. I wish you and David the all best. Bob C.

  • Ceelynn
    Posted: Fri, 04/17/2020 01:07 pm

    Sophia, you looked beautiful on your wedding day!  What an interesting wedding story you have to tell!  May God bless you and David as you follow Him in you marriage!  I enjoy your reporting, keep up the good work!  Carol

  •  RodC's picture
    Posted: Fri, 04/17/2020 01:32 pm

    Wonderful!  And a lesson for all marriages "to focus on what our marriage is really about: a man and a woman making a lifelong covenant to commit to one another no matter what, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health..."

  • HeatherB
    Posted: Fri, 04/17/2020 01:38 pm

    Congratulationa!  This story made me cry in a good way!  God's many blessings to you both!

  • SamIamHis
    Posted: Fri, 04/17/2020 02:30 pm

    Just as I did when you wrote of your wedding plans being cancelled, I wept as you shared the fulfillment of your wedding covenant.  Thank you for doing this, Sophia.  I have prayed for you and David and longed to hear of your vows being completed in whatever way the Lord provided.  Richest of blessings on your marriage!  What you have encountered and endured to be joined together is truly an example of God's sweetest plan unfolding.  Thank you again for sharing this.

  • VolunteerBB
    Posted: Fri, 04/17/2020 02:48 pm

    I am always amazed how many people tell me they can't get married until they have saved up X amount of money.  My response is that it doesn't cost anything (or much) to get married.  It is the reception that they want to spend gobs of money on.  It's probably just an excuse anyway, as most are cohabitating at that point.

    Many blessings on you and your husband as you get to know one another.  Too bad about the cat not liking David, she'll get used to him being around all the time eventually, I hope!


  • Graced
    Posted: Fri, 04/17/2020 03:51 pm

    Sophia, I read this with tears and laughter. I am four months into the grieving process after losing my husband of 25 years. I remember our wedding with laughter and the very simplicity of it made it special. I pray this is the beginning of many joyous years with your David.

  • Shelly V
    Posted: Fri, 04/17/2020 08:51 pm

    Congratulations to you both! I was so moved by your recent account of trying to make a decision about what to do about your wedding, and it was lovely to read the outcome. So encouraging to see how God has brought about your marriage - no pandemic stops His plans for us!

  • Tabitha
    Posted: Fri, 04/17/2020 09:13 pm

    After following your story,  this wedding filled my heart with joy in it's creativity, deep love of God, friends and World well-wishers!  Your 'Casablanca kiss' was a delightful end :-D  It reminds me of this Godly ceremony with a "waffely wedded wife" that dissolves into laughter.

    Even better, is their follow-up interview revealing the reward of true purity

  • GW
    Posted: Sat, 04/18/2020 12:20 pm

    Congratulations on your marriage, Sophia and David! Thanks for sharing your story. I got tears in my eyes reading it. 

    Sharon in Cleveland OH

  • WKSK
    Posted: Sat, 04/18/2020 04:24 pm

    I can't help it ... Sophia's writing is nothing short of stunning.


  • Phil48
    Posted: Sun, 04/19/2020 12:28 pm

    As we all learn how to reprioritize and refocus our lives in this season of life that may seem forced on us by the Corona virus, I found the last line of this article extremely poignant and something we should all look at seriously.  "We have a lifetime to learn how to communicate better."

    David and Sofia - Thank you for sharing your story.  One of those stories to be shared with the generations to come.  May God bless you in your marriage and may your marriage reflect Christ's relationship with his Church.  And Good Friday - what a great day to enter into your marriage convenant.  As Christ sacrificed himself to redeem us on this day and to usher in the New Covenant, you will have to continue to sacrifice your selves for each other and your family every day for the rest of your lives together.  

    For the rest of us, what is God showing us in this season?

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Posted: Sun, 04/19/2020 09:16 pm

    It was with joy I read about your original wedding broadcast to your family and friends. We have enjoyed watching Sophia grow and mature as a World Magazine reporter through it all with grace and poise. And the kiss was very romantic even if David was not expecting it! We wish you many happy and joyous years! 

  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Mon, 04/20/2020 11:21 pm

    Congratulations Sophia and David! Praying a lifetime of blessings and happiness for you. (Sorry I'm a week behind.) Yay! So happy for you. Christina

  • Tfarr
    Posted: Tue, 04/21/2020 03:02 pm

    Congratulations!  Praise God for your strange and meaningful wedding.

  • Debbie in Florida
    Posted: Wed, 04/22/2020 08:53 am

    Congratulations, David & Sophia!  I have been following your story, and I am thrilled with how you all made the best of the situation.  Our youngest daughter became engaged the day after your wedding, with scrambling and changes of plans as well.  God was so kind, though, and worked out so many details for the perfect ring, a surprise proposal, beautiful setting and (small) family celebration afterward.  We will remember how God provided an even more interesting story to pass along to posterity!

  • JennyBeth
    Posted: Wed, 04/22/2020 06:25 pm

    Giving thanks to God as you face adversity and a total shake-up of hopes and plans is indeed a beautiful start to a marriage, and continuing that attitude will make for an even more beautiful maturing. May He bless you with all the ways He wants to show His glory in your life together.

  • PB
    Posted: Thu, 05/21/2020 08:25 pm

    Congratulations! We still have beauty in this fallen world, and I appreciate your sharing your wedding with us. I'm so glad that your family was able to share in the event in some fashion, and that you see how God was putting your priorities in order through your circumstance. Having celebrated twenty years of marriage last year, I have to confess still miscommunicating at times. (sometimes I don't communicate clearly, other times I miss his clear communication) It is even more complicated when our own sin is a factor, either one can be the sinner here. This is where grace comes into play: Your union as a believer is one with three-part harmony: God takes the melody, you and your husband harmonize with Him. When we are not in harmony, we search for the discord and clear it up. Be quick to admit wrong, quick to forgive minor offenses, and submit to him as to Christ. (The last one can seem like the hardest- it helps me to remember Jesus put us together and is working in both of us, but my husband is called to be the head of the household so (as Stormie Omartian puts it) I can be the heart.