April Karr and Dack Thompson got married on Saturday, March 21, on the backyard deck of her parent’s home in Sebastopol with a host of friends and family in attendance via the magic of the meeting technology known as Zoom. It was Sebastopol’s first Zoom wedding, though probably, in the time of coronavirus, not its last.
The couple got engaged four weeks ago and originally planned a wedding in May, but the wedding got moved up because Karr’s mother is in hospice.
“During this crazy time, I also have a mom whose ALS has accelerated quickly,” Karr said. “Our April 11 wedding date was moved up from May 15 because she wasn’t sure she could make it. Then on Tuesday, March 17, we decided we couldn’t even wait until April 11, as mom was now on hospice. We had to get married that next weekend.”
“My matron of honor, Leah Tibbens, helped coordinate getting my dress from Starlet Bridal in Santa Rosa and even coordinated the seamstress to do my alterations in one and a half days. It all came together on Saturday, March 21. We opened the French doors to my mom’s room so she could watch from her hospital bed.”
“The chaplin who married us was the hospice chaplin and gave us the most beautiful words to unite our marriage,” she said.
Thirty families from around the country, clustered around computers or cellphones, joined in the wedding through Zoom.
“We could see those who had cameras on,” Karr said. “There was even a moment when the chaplin asked everyone to unmute to answer ‘Do you promise to love and support April and Dack...’ so they could answer ‘We do.’”
Though the ceremony itself lasted 10 to 15 minutes, “We had the Zoom meeting open and running for about an hour. (I have the video.),” Karr said. “Kind of silly, but our neighbor behind the house decided to blast Banda music exactly when we were having the ceremony.”
“We decided to broadcast via Zoom the Friday before the ceremony. We sent out as many invites as we could. Of course we sadly missed some key people in our rush. In the end, it all worked out great, and we got married,” Karr said.
Karr’s husband, Dack, is a police officer in San Francisco working for the Homeland Security Unit. He’s now working to support the Emergency Operations Center in San Francisco, which is coordinating the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“My husband was able to take the day off, thanks to his co-workers, as he is in high demand,” Karr said. “This was his only day off in over a week. He woke up at
3 a.m. the next day and headed into work while I stay with my parents to support my mom in her last days.”
Karr was happy to share her story with the readers of Sonoma West.
“I hope it brings optimism to the readers to understand that love, family and working towards supporting the greater community is what we should focus on right now,” she said. “We have to work together and find unique solutions to keep our lives moving forward with caution, optimism and gratitude.”