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WLRN Connects: Celebrating Life's Milestone Moments While Trying To Stay Safe

Lizzy Celine
Courtesy Celine Peccatte and Lizzy Hoke
Celine Peccatte, left, and Lizzy Hoke streamed their April wedding on YouTube Live during the pandemic.

Drive-by birthday parties. Passover Seder on Zoom. Even weddings livestreamed on YouTube.


It’s been a little more than three months now, since we really could be together with friends and family the way we are used to. These are just some of the ways people are coming together in a socially-distant way to mark some of life’s major moments. 

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With WLRN Connects, a new show airing Mondays in June, we invite South Floridians to share with us the big and small ways their lives have changed in the face of COVID-19's new normal.


In this week’s show we listened to people across South Florida who still are making those memories with loved ones for whatever special occasion in their lives: A baptism, baby shower, quiñcenera, or even getting married. These are moments people plan out, and are built around being together. We heard how people are adapting to changed plans and new types of emotional celebrations during the time of COVID-19. 

Lizzy Hoke and Celine Peccatte in the Florida Keys first shared their changing wedding plans with WLRN back in April. Listeners helped them reach 1,000 followers so that they could have the capability to go live on their wedding day, to broadcast their ceremony. 


They shifted to technology when they realized they couldn’t bring family and friends together to be with them in Key West.


“I went through, definitely some stages of grief. I felt really a lot of sadness knowing our families wouldn't be able to meet for the first time...there was a lot of grief in letting go,” Hoke said the tough conversations brought them closer as a couple. “We were just not interested in waiting any longer. We were ready and we were really excited to be married so [postponemnet] wasn't really a question.” 


Despite the initial sense of loss, they cherished some of the moments of the day that surprised them, like being able to include childhood friends and distant relatives who were unable to travel to the original ceremony. After the livestreamed ceremony, the couple turned to Zoom for toasts. Hoke and Peccatte have advice for other couple considering having virtual weddings during the pandemic: 


“Do not forget to record, we forgot to record that part,” Peccatte said.


Hoke said technology still made it possible to celebrate with their families and friends.


“We were so elated at that moment...then to see everybody, even thought they were little squares on a screen it was really actually very precious and special. There was a lot of joy for us in seeing them all,” Hoke said. 


Presuming it will be more safe to travel in August 2021, Peccatte and Hoke plan to bring heir families together to meet for a postponed in-person celebration. 


Read More: WLRN Connects: Handling Anxiety Amid The Pandemic And Racial Justice Protests


Also in this week's program, Cristina Mas, of CIM Consulting, shares what it's like to adapt in both her personal wedding planning process, as well as in her professional life working in event planning. She and her fiance have postponed their wedding until 2021.


Rev. Andrew J. Sherman of St. Gregory's Episcopal Church in Boca Raton, and Rabbi David Spey of Temple Bat Yam in Fort Lauderdale also joined the conversation to talk about what it's been like as faith leaders guiding their communities through general uncertainty and anxiety, while still conducting socially-distant ceremonies and traditions. 


Lastly, J.W. Arnold, executive director of PRIDE Fort Lauderdale, reflects on postponing the first Pride of the Americas event, and marking the 50th anniversary of Pride month with virtual events and looking to the future.  


Watch a broadcast of the program from WLRN's Facebook page