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A Wedding Without the Hoopla

The first time Elizabeth Maia Wexler met Eric Ryan Hollenberg, she didn’t see the bottom half of his face.

The pair initially connected on the dating app Bumble in March 2020. They had been sporadically messaging for months when, that June, they realized that they both happened to be vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, and decided to meet up for a socially distanced walk in a park.

Even though they kept their masks on and stayed six feet apart during their walk, they enjoyed spending time with each other, and left craving more. The next day, Ms. Wexler and Mr. Hollenberg met up at Lambert’s Cove Beach, where they spread out a towel between them to ensure they kept far enough apart.

“It was like a breath of fresh air,” said Mr. Hollenberg, 31, about his first few dates with Ms. Wexler.

Both were living in Manhattan, and when they returned that summer, they began seeing each other more regularly. By the fall of 2020, the two were spending most of their time together, eating outdoors or exploring Westchester County, N.Y., where Ms. Wexler’s parents live. (Mr. Hollenberg’s parents reside in Livingston, N.J.)

“We were our most natural selves,” said Ms. Wexler, 31. “It was just so easy.”

That winter they returned to Martha’s Vineyard for about two months, where they celebrated both of their birthdays together.

“We were joking that we felt like an old married couple,” Mr. Hollenberg said. “It just felt so natural.”

Following that trip, they began talking about their future and, in April 2021, the two moved in together in Manhattan. A few months later they picked out an engagement ring. In July 2021, Mr. Hollenberg proposed during another visit to Martha’s Vineyard. But Ms. Wexler said that she had already started planning a wedding before they became engaged.

A graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, she is the founder of Emlan Events, a wedding and event planning company in Manhattan. Mr. Hollenberg graduated from Suffolk University in Boston and is the founder of Third Ave Studios, a branding agency in Manhattan.

The couple knew they wanted to have a short engagement, and soon settled on Shun Lee West, a restaurant in Manhattan, as the venue for their wedding set for the winter of 2021. The guest list numbered 150.

Ms. Wexler was looking forward to working with a group of vendors she had met over the course of her career. But as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus began to sweep through New York, she started to get worried. A few days before their wedding, Ms. Wexler and Mr. Hollenberg decided to cancel the large celebration they had planned.

“It’s just incredibly ironic that the wedding planner’s plans have been completely thrown into the air by Omicron,” Ms. Wexler said. But the couple knew that they still wanted to get married, and chose to hold a much smaller gathering on the same date instead.

“It’s not about the hoopla,” she said. “It’s about getting married.”

In less than a week, Ms. Wexler and her team planned a second celebration for about 35 of the couple’s close friends and family members, all of whom were vaccinated and tested negative for Covid-19.

On Dec. 23, the two were married at her parents’ home in Rye, N.Y., in a ceremony led by Rabbi Jeffrey Segelman.

“Our lives are better and more full with each other,” Ms. Wexler said. “It’s really just the biggest blessing in the world to have each other and have a really strong relationship.”

Of their pared-down celebration, Mr. Hollenberg said, “I just think it’s so fitting. We met during Covid.”

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