April 12, 2021

The incredible wedding that almost didn’t happen

The coronavirus has resulted in a lot of changed plans for many people. Of course, that doesn’t matter. As the virus threatens countless lives plans for the weekend fade into obscurity. While concerts, holidays, dates, and more have all been put on hold for a while it is clearly for the best. We can’t help but feel sorry for the people who had weddings planned during the coronavirus though. They had likely invested large amounts of money in a party for hundreds of people. They were about to start married life with the person they loved and now it was being put on indefinite hold. It is a tough thing to have to go through but in some of these sad stories, there are happy moments.

Hailey Drinkward and her partner Rich were highschool sweethearts. They had been dating since the 11th grade. Sadly they chose to go to different universities and broke up. Years later they were reunited and quickly realized they were still made for each other. That was in 2018 and they weren’t dating long before they decided to get married. The wedding was set for April 18th 2020. A lovely spring wedding was likely to take place. The coronavirus had other ideas.

Of course, the wedding was canceled. Rich and Hayley lived in California and were under notice that they had to stay in their homes. The idea of throwing a party for 200 people was out of the question. Even more important, both Hayley and Rich were frontline workers. Haley is an emergency room nurse and Rich an intensive care unit technician. Clearly, during the pandemic, their hours would increase a lot. The wedding was no longer important. The knew the task that faced them and put the wedding on hold until the pandemic was over.

One of their friends saw the incredible work they were doing during the pandemic and was saddened they couldn’t have their special day. She decided to act. She sent out notices online to all the famous people who are known to have a heart at times like this. She tagged Ellen, Kristen Bell, Dax Shepherd, and an author named Bob Goff. 

For those of you who don’t know Bob, he is a pretty amazing guy. He was a lawyer for 25 years before focusing on his writing and philanthropy work. He is the honorary consul of Uganda and started an organization called Love Does. Love Does aims to promote human rights and education in conflict zones and currently operates in Uganda, Iraq, Nepal, Somalia, Afghanistan, and India. Bob was the one who replied.

He told Haley’s friend that he wanted to help. So one night as Haley returned from a long shift her friend and roomate asked to talk to her. She told Haley what she had done and how it had worked. Bob Goff wanted to make their wedding happen. They called Bob the next day and he already had a plan worked out that would allow the couple to get married and not break any quarantine rules. He would offer them the use of his boat.

The couple got married on the boat with both of their families on nearby but seperate piers that had been decorated for the occasion. Haley and Rich had their first dance in their driveway and a neighbor let off some fireworks to celebrate. 

This was not the wedding Haley and Rich had planned. 200 people did not attend. They did not run away to their honeymoon right after. However, it was a celebration of their love at a time when good things need to be highlighted. It was recognition of a kind stranger and a kind stranger’s recognition of their tireless work for others. It was a moment that they will never forget.