As a pandemic rang throughout the world, so did local wedding bells for Kevin Clarke and Katie Sharman who had to make fast adjustments.
The couple was notified five days before their March 21 “dream wedding” already set at Paradise Valley United Methodist Church, with a planned reception at An Old Town Wedding and Event Center in Peoria, that their confirmed guest list of 125 friends and family had to be reduced to no more than 20 attendees.
The couple, according to a press release, regrettably cut the list to immediate family for what was described as an “intimate and somber ceremony,” considering the circumstances surrounding the event.
In attendance were the groom’s "influential" grandparents, Darvin and Marge Miller, the parents of Marilee Clarke, who reside in Phoenix.
His grandparents had to be in attendance since he was the first of their five grandsons to be married, said the release.
From cutting down a guest list to moving the reception venue and getting a fill-in officiant, as the COVID-19 pandemic increased in severity, the impact reached the wedding ceremony, noted the release.
The Rev. Brenda Smith, who was the planned officiant for the wedding, had returned from Italy where there was a full onset of COVID-19 outbreaks, self-quarantined for two weeks upon her arrival back to the states as a safety precaution.
The quarantine, however, was during the time of the couple’s wedding date so on short notice, Christopher Wurpts, a pastor at Paradise Valley United Methodist Church, officiated the wedding.
Then, the reception was unable to be held in Peoria as planned, but ended up being at the young couple’s new home in Mesa, the release said.
Describing a cozy backyard barbeque, colorfully decorated by the bride’s brother and his wife as a surprise, the reception that had all the traditional dances and toasts went on late into the night, the release said.
Following the reception, the couple retreated to the Camelback Inn by Marriott in Paradise Valley to relax and reflect on the momentous celebration of their “everlasting love.”
The groom, who is the son of David and Marilee Clarke of Paradise Valley, “went through the 3 C’s.” He holds a bachelor’s in engineering from Purdue University.
The bride has a bachelor’s in biology and physiology from Northern Arizona University plus a doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Southern California.
She is the daughter of Paul Sharman of Carefree and Rose Sharman of Phoenix.