Bride Visits Grandmother in Isolation on her Wedding Day


old woman at window

The elderly experience isolation prior to the coronavirus, as they are stuck in nursing homes or hospitals, hoping for a visit from a loved one. One couple from Minnesota wouldn’t allow this to happen to their isolated grandma. Despite everything going on in the world, they wanted to ensure she was included in their wedding celebration. 

COVID-19 came with a secondary pandemic: a pandemic of isolation and loneliness. People are unable to travel or even visit with relatives they don’t live with. For the immunocompromised, the risk of contracting the disease is even higher — as is the intensity of their loneliness.

Grandma in Isolation Joins the Wedding Celebration  

Confined to her nursing home, Grandma Janis couldn’t attend the event. So the bride and groom came to her. 

 “Though Shauna and Travis had much different plans for their April 25th wedding celebration, the couple decided COVID-19 was not going to stop them [from] becoming husband and wife,” Country Manor’s Rapid Recovery & Aquatic Center shared on Facebook. “This beautiful bride had one request — her Grandma Janis still be part of her big day.” [1] 

The nursing home staff was determined that Janis saw her granddaughter on her wedding day. They arranged to wheel her to a wide window to greet the couple. They even helped her pick an outfit for the event that she felt good in. Country Manor’s Rapid Recovery & Aquatic Center’s facilities have been on lockdown with no visitors allowed since mid-March.  

Shauna Varner knew she’d had to cut many corners of her wedding dream due to the pandemic. Still, she wasn’t going to cut her grandmother sharing in her special day.  

Read: Married Couple Discovers They Were Childhood Sweethearts Two Decades Later

Preparing the Wedding’s Guest of Honor 

Jeff Varner, Shauna’s father, contacted Emily Frericks, the director of public relations and marketing at Country Manor, to explain his daughter’s wish.  

The night before the wedding, on April 24, Frericks told Janis the plan for the next day. “She said she didn’t think she would be able to sleep because she was so excited,” she said. 

Janis had her own ‘prep team’ the day of the event. “The night before we did her hair, the morning of we did her makeup, and got her feeling her very best,” Frericks said. “It almost felt like it was her wedding day.” 

“A plan was created to allow for this once-in-lifetime moment to take place, while ensuring the safety of Janis and all involved,” the nursing home shared in their post. “The moment Shauna stepped out of the car, the love radiated between them.” 

When Varner and her groom pulled up, the song “Marry Me” played. The emotion resonating off of Janis was felt by all of the staff present. 

Initially, the Varner’s planned that Janis would do a reading at the wedding so they had to improvise. Frericks practiced the reading with Janis beforehand and sent the recording to Shauna as a surprise. [2] 

Frericks also recorded the visit so the family could cherish the moment forever. She understood the feeling of wanting to share one’s special day with a grandparent. In fact, she’s planning a wedding herself and wishes her own grandmother, who had recently passed, could attend. “My grandma was my best friend,” she said. 

Read: Couple married for 70 years reunited after months apart due to coronavirus restrictions

Sharing a Light in the Darkness 

“In facilities like ours, where we have extreme precautions, for our patients and their families it has been extremely difficult to be away from one another. We are… most likely going to be having to keep people apart for the foreseeable future because of the vulnerable population that we serve,” Frericks said. 

As the world struggles to keep safe from the pandemic, life carries on. And sometimes a happy event like marriage comes with a lot of bittersweet feelings. Sweet, of course, because of the union of a beautiful couple, but bitter because of the pandemic. Friends and relatives from out of town can’t fly in. The number of guests is severely limited. The dream hall cannot be booked. Wedding shopping has become draining while adhering to social distancing regulations. Corners have to be cut, and destination weddings or even honeymoons are practically impossible.  

It’s easy for these happy times to become mournful for what could have been, but they don’t have to be. With a little creativity and optimism, a beautiful wedding can be realized. Shauna, although she was giving up on her wedding dream, knew what was most valuable to her: having her grandmother attend. A wonderful moment like that is irreplaceable, no matter what craziness is happening to the world. 

“We are living in very challenging times right now and I think that a feel-good story can remind so many people that there is still a lot of love and light happening,” said Frericks. [3] 

Keep Reading: No One Came to His Graduation So His Teacher Decided to Celebrate With Him Instead

  1. “Couple Makes Isolated Grandma Part of Wedding Day.” Allison Aulds. WebMD. May 4, 2020 
  1. “Grandma in isolation sees granddaughter through glass door on wedding day.” Genevieve Shaw Brown. KSTP. May 2, 2020 
  1. ” A grandmother in isolation at a care facility got to see her granddaughter on her wedding day through a window.” Zoë Ettinger. Insider. April 29, 2020 

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