Love in the Time of COVID-19

Alyssa and Eric Nagoshi ’08 on their wedding day. The couple was supposed to be married at Hilton Hawaiian Village, but relocated their ceremony and reception to a relative’s home in Hawai’i Kai because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Eric Nagoshi ’08 and Alyssa Anzai were married March 21, 2020, in the midst of a worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Government rules and health precautions forced the couple to find alternate venues for their wedding ceremony and reception. Their story, told by Eric.

How did the government’s COVID-19 orders affect your wedding plans?

It was a chain reaction. On March 11, we started getting nervous because that’s when the University of Hawai’i decided to move classes online and the NBA suspended its season. I had a bad feeling at this point. Sure enough, the following few days and through the weekend, the news announced more and more closures and cancellations which made us worry that our wedding would not be able to happen.

On top of this, we found out that we were not going to be allowed to do food stations due to new club policies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we had to switch to a sit-down dinner. We finalized the new reception plans on the 16th. Then on the 18th, three days before our wedding, the Mayor announced all restaurants, bars and clubs needed to cease indoor service. We knew at that point we had to cancel our reception altogether.

The following afternoon, the company that owns the Akala Chapel informed us that due to the CDC’s recommendations, they would not be able to continue with our wedding. At this point, we were only a few hours away from checking in at the hotel with our wedding party. Essentially the only option we had at this point was to either have it at one of our relative’s houses or cancel all together. To be honest, I am not sure what was more stressful, the weeklong anxiety of not knowing if/when our wedding was going to be cancelled, or the last three days when we had to cancel and change everything.

After much tears, Alyssa and I decided we still wanted to get married and we would do a small ceremony in a relative’s backyard.

What adjustments did you need to make?

We made calls to our families and friends informing them we were cancelling the reception. We also had to inform all our vendors. Then the following afternoon, we had to once again inform our families and friends that the ceremony was going to be cancelled. After much tears, Alyssa and I decided we still wanted to get married and we would do a small ceremony in a relative’s backyard. This gave us roughly 34 hours to call all our vendors that were still going to help us out to let them know of the new plan. 

What were your initial feelings about having to make the adjustments?

We were stressed and had anxiety that we would not be able to pull it off with such short notice. There was also a part of me that was still very excited that we were possibly going to get married. However, I had to try not to get too excited as every hour things were changing in the world around us and who knew what new rules would come out the next day.

When you look back years from now at your wedding, what do you think you and your bride will say about it?

I think she will look back and be happy that we were still able to get married on the day we wanted, and it actually turned out to be a great small intimate ceremony which we will never forget.

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