Couple ties the knot after canceling wedding party amid coronavirus outbreak: 'There is still room for love'

Kimberly Pirtle-Gabriel & Malte Gabriel had to cancel the wedding of their dreams after the coronavirus outbreak, but that did not stop them from tying the knot without the ceremony. (Photo: Nicole Adrianna Photography)

A New York couple did not let the coronavirus pandemic stop them from pledging their love to one another.

Kimberly Pirtle-Gabriel gave many people hope after she took to Instagram on Thursday to post precious photos of herself and her new husband, Malte Gabriel, to announce they were married. In her post, she revealed that they had had to cancel their previous wedding plans amid the coronavirus outbreak, but it did not stop the pair from becoming husband and wife.

“March 18, 2020 we said ‘I do.’ The coronavirus outbreak may have forced us to cancel our wedding this coming weekend but it did not stop us from uniting as one and starting our journey of marriage together,” Kimberly wrote.

The new bride also thanked family and friends for their continued support.

As of Tuesday, Kimberly’s post has been liked nearly 800 times and well-wishers could not get enough of their love story.

“I can’t imagine how hard that must have been but you look BEAUTIFUL and hope you have a happy marriage and a happy celebration next year,” one commenter wrote.

“Such a beautiful couple. Congratulations,” another added.

“Congrats Kim!!! This is so heartwarming and you look stunning! Wishing you the happiest high right now,” one person said. 

Kimberly tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she and her husband “feel so blessed that people have been so open to sharing support for our union.”

The positivity is a breath of fresh air for the couple as the coronavirus brings the world to a near-standstill. Kimberly, who is a senior manager in client development at Prada & Miu Miu North America, says when she had to make the tough decision with her husband to forgo their previous wedding plans, they were devastated.

“We had dreamt of our wedding for a year and were so excited to celebrate with our loved ones,” she says. “At the same time, I personally felt a sense of relief because I couldn't handle the possibility of someone getting sick at our wedding.”

The couple met virtually through the dating app Tinder in 2015 while Kimberly was spending time in Berlin, Germany. They did not meet in person, however, until they both were in New York City, where Malte, who is German and a director of product at 7Park Data, had already been preparing to move.

Kimberly says that she and Malte envisioned their wedding could join their cultures.

“Since Malte is German and I am African American, we saw our wedding as the only opportunity we will have to bring our two worlds, cultures, friends and families together,” she explains. “We decided to have the wedding in Merida, Mexico as we couldn't decide whose home country to have the wedding in. Mexico was neutral territory. We fell in love with a hacienda there and were excited to host 130 or our family and friends there for a weekend filled with love and mezcal.”

But with the coronavirus outbreak, their fantasy wedding was starting to become harder to bring to fruition, especially as President Trump began to enact restrictions on foreign travel, which would prove to be a roadblock for many guests who were traveling from overseas.

“It was a slow downfall to be honest. Small numbers of people had been dropping due to general fear over the COVID-19 outbreak two weeks prior to the wedding,” she says. “As half of our guests were traveling from Europe and a number of them had layovers in the U.S., this sent general shock waves through our guest list and we knew we had to cancel. We did not want anyone taking chances.”

After getting over the initial shock of having to change their plans, Kimberly and Malte were able to come to the conclusion that they were not going to let the unfortunate circumstances prevent them from tying the knot. So the pair were married in the New York City Clerk’s Office and their union was witnessed by two friends from their now-disbanded bridesmaid and groomsmen parties. And though it was not what they had imagined, it was still such an unforgettable moment.

“It was actually pretty magical,” she says. “I felt like we were two lovers on the run trying to seal our union before the world ended. I am happy that we decided to dress up and actually make it feel like a wedding. Hiring a professional photographer was a must as it enabled us to share our special day with all of our friends and family.”

Following their nuptials, the pair continued the celebration with dinner and a long nap. But what Kimberly and Malte hope people take away from their story is that true love cannot be stopped.

“Even though our wedding celebration was canceled, our love and marriage was not,” Kimberly says. “Even in these difficult times, we want people to know that there is still room for love and COVID-19 can't cancel that!”

For the latest news on the evolving coronavirus outbreak, follow along here. According to experts, people over 60 and those who are immunocompromised continue to be the most at risk. If you have questions, please reference the CDC and WHO’s resource guides. 

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