Coronavirus prompts wedding changes for local couple


WASHINGTON, Mo. – Months of wedding plans have gone up in smoke for prospective brides and grooms because of the coronavirus.

Some couples are still saying “I do” during these uneasy times.

“I would be devastated if I ever thought I put someone at risk because I was getting married,” said Anastasia Ratcliff, who is newly married.

Ratcliff, a public health professional, was married in her hometown of Washington, Missouri.

“In my lifetime, we’ve never had a lockdown and places closing,” she said.

Days before the wedding, the order to keep gatherings to less than 10 people was issued.

“It is disappointing. It is heartbreaking. It’s a hard time,” she said. “I can sit around and be really upset and pout and cry about it or I can control what I can control.”

She and her husband, Stanton Skerjanec, had to make changes quickly. Guests traveling a long way were advised not to come. Some people canceled outright.

Inside our Lady of Lourdes in Washington, the bride, groom, priest, and seven other family members gathered instead of the hundreds who were originally invited. Still, there was a lot of happiness.

“At the end of the day, I get a really marvelous husband,” Ratcliff said.

The St. Louis Archdiocese said as long as there are only 10 people present and the parish pastor gives his okay, the wedding can take place in the church.

At the reception, Anastasia said people came in shifts and tried to gather in small groups on her parent’s farm.

“The day of was pretty joyful…we also need weddings at this time, we also need the joy,” she said.

She advised other couples with upcoming weddings to possibly consider postponing the reception until later in the year.

Decide what’s important to you and what’s not. They wanted special church music, so they had it pre-recorded.

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