San Francisco couple gets married in empty church with more guests than expected amid COVID-19 pandemic

ByLiz Kreutz and Lauren Gee KGO logo
Monday, April 27, 2020
San Francisco couple gets married in empty church
A wedding photo capturing a San Francisco woman walking down the aisle of an empty church filled with pictures of people in the pews went viral

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The novel coronavirus pandemic has canceled many events and social gatherings, but it didn't stop a local bay area couple from getting married.

A viral photo posted on Facebook by photographer Vicens Forn shows a father walking his daughter down the aisle of an empty church, capturing the surreal experience of tying the knot during these unprecedented times.

Parris Khachi and Emily Manashi from San Francisco were excited for their special day after being engaged for almost a year until COVID-19 happened.

"Once the shelter in place took effect, we spent some time figuring what we should do next," Khachi said "Neither of us wanted to postpone indefinitely, since it's hard to figure out when things will feel right again. Meanwhile we did not want to put our loved ones at risk."

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The couple decided to continue on with the wedding at San Francisco's St. Ignatius Church on Saturday in accordance with social distancing rules and some slight adjustments with the guest list!

"We had a wedding with just our immediate family and the church was kind enough to live stream so that our friends and family could watch in real time," Khachi told ABC7.

Not only were the happy couple joined by their family and friends, they were joined with the church's members.

"When we arrived at the church, we saw the pictures in the pews. The church regularly streams their services, and to keep the priest and audience connected they had put pictures of the church members in the pews, and we appreciated the audience," Khachi said.

Khachi said he believes people may have thought the photos in the pews are of his family and friends who couldn't make the wedding.

"We are worried that people have misinterpreted that picture and don't want internet hate on our first day as a married couple," he joked. "It was a really beautiful thing the church did for the priest and church members to be connected during their now regular live streams."

Khachi said between the photos in the pew, and their friends and family watching on a livestream, it made them feel very loved.

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As for the photo to capture their special day, Khachi said, "we loved the pictures the photographer took. He perfectly exudes the intersection of fine art and wedding photography."

"We think it's resonating because we still found a way to celebrate a happy occasion even amongst the current climate. In a way it allowed a wedding to be brought back to basics, in sickness and in health and in pandemic".

What's next for the couple? They're looking forward to furnishing their apartment that they plan to have a 'staycation-honeymoon' in.

"What's important is you found someone to spend your life with. It was a hard call to make but we just wanted to start our lives together," Parris Khachi and Emily Khachi née Manashi shared.

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