A wedding in quarantine

Getting a Zoom invite to your friends’ wedding to be held on April 1 sounds like an April Fools’ Day joke.
Zoom Wedding
Photo courtesy of Kasia Janus
Kasia Janus and Jason Iverson

Getting a Zoom invite to your friends’ wedding to be held on April 1 sounds like an April Fools’ Day joke.

But for Kasia Janus and Jason Iverson, the wedding invite was real. On their back porch in Madison during a sunset in the middle of quarantine, the couple of six years exchanged heartfelt vows in front of Janus’ 14-year-old, Hunter, and a Zoom audience of family, friends and an officiant.

“We just looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s get married.’ Just like in the movies,” Janus says.
The details were simple: a red dress from Janus’ closet, one makeshift key-ring wedding band, an evergreen needle bouquet and a string of pictures behind the couple featuring the faces of their loved ones. All in all, it took about a week to plan.

Zoom Wedding

Photo courtesy of Kasia Janus

“It just really kind of suited our personalities,” Iverson says. “We just like to be different. Most of our friends commented, ‘This is exactly you guys.’”

There were still some of the wedding hallmarks you might expect. There was a best man and maid of honor — the two people who had introduced the couple to each other. Hunter and Iverson’s son, Jacob, both read prepared speeches accepting their new family members. Janus and Iverson kissed. The Zoom guests cheered. The newlyweds popped champagne.

“Together we are a family,” Hunter said in his speech.

Many engaged couples have postponed the big day or held more intimate ceremonies due to COVID-19, but Iverson and Janus had no previous wedding plans. They had been thinking about marriage for a while, but Janus was hesitant. She had gone through a difficult divorce, so she was a bit scared about the commitment. That is, until a near-death experience in February changed things.

Zoom Wedding2

Photo courtesy of Kasia Janus

On vacation in Punta Cana, Janus collapsed after a three-hour massage therapy session. “She started turning gray, she was curled up into a ball,” Iverson says. “She was responsive, but not totally coherent. Shaking uncontrollably. Sweating one minute, cold the next. She could have died if we didn’t get her to the hospital.”

After an overnight stay at a hospital in Punta Cana, doctors determined Janus had become severely dehydrated on top of some digestive issues. Janus says Iverson was there for her every step of the way — a kindness she had never experienced outside of immediate family. “After that experience I just looked at him and I said, ‘Yeah, I can marry you.’”

Two months later, when everyone was in need of something to smile about, they made it official after no formal engagement. “It was just like, let’s do this,” Iverson says. “Let’s make it happen and bring a little sunshine to everybody’s lives right now,” he says. “It certainly did that.”

While the wedding was special, Janus says they didn’t need to make it legal to feel like family.
“It didn’t really make a difference if we were married or not, but it just feels more complete now,” Janus says. “My life is complete.”

Click here to read more stories about how we coped with stress during coronavirus.