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They Need Your Love On YouTube To Share Their Love With Family Far Away

Courtesy Celine Peccatte and Lizzy Hoke
Celine Peccatte, left, and Lizzy Hoke are planning to get married in Key West later this month.

By putting an end to travel and gatherings of people, the coronavirus has stopped not only businesses and conferences but also important personal events. Like weddings.

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Lizzy Hoke and Celine Peccate are going ahead with their plans to get married in Key West later this month.

Their challenge is finding a way so their farflung friends and family can attend — even those who are not especially tech-savvy.

The Key West couple have been together for six years and got engaged last fall during a camping trip in North Carolina.

"We had a ceremony, kind of a ritual, under some really tall trees and kind of proposed to each other," said Hoke, 41.

Peccatte, 48, adds: "After a few nights around the campground. Drinking a bit of whisky by the fire and we talked about and we decided it was time."

Lizzy Celine
Credit Courtesy Celine Peccatte and Lizzy Hoke
Celine Peccatte and Lizzy Hoke planned a weekend of activities around their wedding, including a sail for the out-of-towners.

Their plan was to get married in Key West April 12. Peccatte's family was coming from France. Hoke's was coming from Ohio. So were friends from around the country and the world.

"We prepared a weekend of activities," Peccate said. A sail and lunch on the water for the out-of-towners. A cocktail rehearsal reception for family and close friends the night before. And on Sunday, April 12, the wedding at the Key West Tropical Forest and Botanical Garden, with all the flourishes like a florist, a caterer, a local band.

Coronavirus canceled that plan. So they started working on how to include those farflung friends and family with technology.

Accidental YouTubers

"I looked At Zoom and Facebook Live. And then there's Twitch, as well," Hoke said. In the end, they decided their best option was YouTube Live.

"We just wanted to make it so easy for people who maybe don't really use computers at all much to be able to just click on a link and it would take them to a screen that was the video in real time," Hoke said. "And that's what YouTube was made for."

Peccatte said this is especially important for her family who are in confinement in France, separated from one another — and the younger members who can handle the technology.

"The kids are OK, they might be OK with Zoom, but one of my sisters, Zoom is not going to work for her," she said. "Since they cannot even gather and be together and watch it, we're trying to really make it simple. Even to the point where my nephew could drop the iPad at my mom's door and my mom just picks it up and just presses the button and she can be there." 

They really want an option that is live, not just a video to be posted and viewed later.

"To be able to actually include them in real time and to feel witnessed in real time — it's the best possible option at this point," Hoke said.

Peccatte's mother plans to wear the dress she was going to bring to Key West and wear at the ceremony in person.

"To watch it at home," Hoke said. "Alone."

The only problem with their plan is that Hoke and Peccatte need a YouTube channel with at least 1,000 subscribers to be able to go live on mobile. They are not YouTubers. Peccatte is a yoga instructor who works part-time at an organic cafe. Hoke is about to start a job as a meditation producer for a meditation app.

But they needed to be on YouTube so Hoke started a channel and they posted a video.

After five days, they had just over half of the subscribers they need. The wedding is still on, in less than two weeks.

Lizzy and Celine said they know they are blessed to be safe and healthy, to have jobs when so many are suffering in the pandemic. But it still hurts to give up on their plan for their celebration.

"There are moments of sadness, to have to let go of the community coming together, our friends and, you know our family meeting and all of that," Peccate said. Their families have never met in person.

And all the other people who were planning to come together to celebrate with them.

"It was so beautiful — to see that people would actually have a heart movement to do that, and follow that. And not being with them," Peccatte said. "That makes me sad, when I think about it that way. And then we have to go with it."

Their families won't meet in person at their wedding. But they haven't entirely given up on that part of their dream.

"Lizzy always had the dream of getting married in a camp up in Vermont. And for me, it was always Key West. So we were trying to bring these two together," Peccatte said.

"So we'll get married here because we want to get married now. And next year, hopefully, next summer, we'll go to camp and re-invite everybody. And hopefully they can come."

"That's the dream," Hoke said. "August 2021."