Local Couple Weds Amidst Lockdown

by Adam Grobman

Trips to the grocery store and working from home are your typical state-in-lockdown behavior. But a wedding?

For Nate Longenecker and Stefanie Miller, that seemed like the natural thing to do.

On March 23, while most of the country was at home or stocking up on essentials, this couple were joined together in matrimony in a somewhat spur-of-the-moment ceremony officiated by Rabbi Peter Kessler of Temple Ohev Sholom.

“We had been talking seriously about getting married since the New Year,” says Stefanie. “Rabbi Kessler had performed our daughter’s baby naming, and we knew we wanted a Jewish wedding with him, as well.”

The couple, who are parents of a 5-month-old and a 6-year-old son from Stefanie’s previous marriage, had been taking it slow in regard to wedding plans, but decided to speed things up with the COVID-19 situation escalating. They were married at Temple Ohev Sholom in a gathering of a very close circle of family and friends.

“We hadn’t gotten that far in our planning before getting married,” Stefanie says, noting that they had not purchased wedding rings prior to their wedding day. “My parents graciously lent us theirs to use during the ceremony.”

Rabbi Kessler said that it was one of the more unusual situations in which he’s conducted a wedding. “It was a unique challenge to perform a wedding under these circumstances,” he said, noting that physical distancing altered the intimate dynamic that is typical of weddings. “Fortunately, the bride and groom were able to kiss at the end of their wedding and we were all thrilled about that.”

Stefanie, who works as a pathologists’ assistant at Hershey Medical Center, says that she and Nate plan to have a larger celebration with family and friends once the world returns to normal. “There’s a good chance that will happen as spur-of-the-moment as the wedding did!”

While travel restrictions are putting a hold on any honeymoon excursions, Stefanie says that someone in their family already has some ideas. “A certain six-year-old in our lives has requested a trip to the beach to celebrate, and we cannot wait to start planning it.”