Harvey Perle and Neal Foman celebrated their one-of-a-kind love with a one-of-a-kind quarantine wedding.
Getting married during COVID-19 is, well, it’s something couples will never forget. Some folks have postponed their weddings, hoping for a date in the not-too-distant future where they’ll be able to tie the knot (without masks!), while others have changed their weddings completely to adhere to COVID-19 health precautions. For Harvey Perle and Neal Foman, getting married during COVID-19 meant one thing: Zoom.
“It was the first gay, Jewish Zoom wedding for both Shir Tikvah Synagogue and for most of our guests,” the couple jokes. “But in this time of challenge for all of us, we accomplished the task of bringing smiles to a lot of people.”
The two got married from their home via Zoom on July 26, after being together for five years. Their daughter, Lexi, took pre-wedding photos, and friends sent screen shots from their pre-wedding Zoom Bachelor Party and couples dating game. There were about 300 online guests.
“We decorated our Chuppah (canopy) with the Talitot (prayer shawls) of ourselves and our four adult children,” Foman and Perle say. “We gave everyone the choice of filet mignon, salmon almandine, or vegetarian pasta, followed by the dessert of their choice, made in their own homes to their own particular liking, and received zero complaints on how the food tasted. Rabbi Michael Alan Latz of Shir Tikvah officiated.”
Though a Zoom wedding likely wasn’t what Perle and Foman had been envisioning, the two say that the pandemic-induced virtual celebration actually gave them opportunities that previously would not have been possible.
“Our children Matt, Lexi, Michelle, Danielle, and Josh, and our grandson Myles announced the marriage of their dads in the invitation and were all active participants in the ceremony from three different states,” they say. “Only we and our two witnesses (required by Jewish law) were physically present and socially distant. Even the Rabbi was online from his home.”
Not only that, but Zoom also permitted friends and family from all over the world to attend because of the video-conferencing platform. “Eliminating the need to travel during the pandemic maximized our wish list of who could be included,” Perle and Foman say. “As a result, 98 percent of the people invited were able to attend. Guests attended from Denmark, Ghana, Israel, and the United States.”
Friends of the couple, many of whom they’ve known for forty-five years, were able to attend the celebration.
“As opposed to a traditional wedding ceremony where our backs would have been to a congregation, we were able to face our guests for the entire ceremony,” they explain. “A video was prepared in advance by our children and presented to us the morning of the wedding that was comprised of individual toasts and well wishes to provide personal messages.”
After the ceremony, the couple’s reception included a visit with their guests on Zoom for almost two hours. Despite the electronic platform, Perle and Foman say the experience was surprisingly intimate.
“Someday, multiple in-person celebrations will be enjoyed by all after the pandemic is behind all of us,” they say.
Cheers to the happy couple!