The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives in countless ways, and the canceling of events is one of the most acutely felt effects of it. Large group gatherings, like weddings, that had been in the works for nearly a year (or longer) are now indefinitely postponed.
Austin-based couple Bri and Lindsey Leaverton experienced this as they were in the countdown to their April 10, 2020 wedding. As the city instituted a shelter in place, they saw their guest list shrink from 50 people to just 10 and knew their nuptials wouldn’t go on as planned. But the two, who started dating in 2018, knew that they didn’t want to wait to get married. That’s when their wedding planner had the brilliant idea to have their event at a drive-in movie theater.
The local drive-in theater was closed, but the couple found Doc’s Drive-In Theatre in Buda, Texas—just a little south of Austin. This place, deemed an essential business because it allowed food for pickup, gave them the OK to host their wedding there.
With the planning and venue change, the new date for the couple’s wedding was set: April 28, 2020. Despite the logistics and setbacks, their friends and families were supportive and “immediately on board” with Bri and Lindsey’s plan B. The big changes to the wedding led to smaller ones, too. The women got ready by themselves and did their own hair, makeup, and nails and wore cowboy boots with their dresses instead of heels.
The theater had a 90-car limit and the couple nearly maxed it out with their supportive friends and family. They asked their guests to decorate their cars for the occasion and still had special people walk them down the aisle during the ceremony; Lindsey’s twin daughters, Annabelle and Olivia, accompanied her while Bri was with her sister. Throughout the event, everyone maintained proper social distancing and sanitation recommendations.
When Lindsey and Bri were officially married, they were congratulated with car honks, flashing lights, and even a cowbell. The amount of love for them was evident, and it made the entire event a bittersweet one. “On the one hand, we loved seeing 85 decorated cars filled with our friends and family who were so excited to show up and support us,” Lindsey recalls to My Modern Met. “But on the other hand, it was heartbreaking to not be able to connect with them in a pre-Rona way.”
“For example,” Lindsey explains, “there was this moment where I saw my parents in their car on the front row. I immediately started bawling. I was so excited to see them and it meant the world they were there. But it broke my heart that I couldn’t hug them! When we’ve all somehow someday moved through this pandemic safely, I am going to give my parents the biggest hug of their lives!”
The whole wedding was pulled off in just 17 days—to the amazement of the women. “Walking through this process together made us fall deeper in love with each other,” Bri explains. “The saying is so true that Lindsey even included it in her vows: ‘If you want to go fast go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’”
As for another in-person celebration, it will depend on the pandemic. Lindsey and Bri are firm believers that we need to continue practicing social distancing until there is a dramatic decrease in the spread of COVID-19. “Until then, it’s going to be really difficult to plan the type of party we so desperately want to have,” Bri says. “But when it is safe, you best believe we’ll have a HUGE celebration with tons of dancing, lots of laughter, and ALL THE HUGS!”
See more from the drive-in theater wedding in the heartwarming live stream:
Bri and Lindsey Leaverton: Instagram