Nurses fill pews with photos of loved ones for wedding; will skip honeymoon to keep saving lives

Mel Keefer and Clare Seghers were wed during the coronavirus pandemic. They adapted their...
Mel Keefer and Clare Seghers were wed during the coronavirus pandemic. They adapted their ceremony to include photographs of the attendees who could not physically be in the chapel with them.(Family)
Updated: Apr. 18, 2020 at 7:25 PM CDT
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ST. FRANCISVILLE, La. (WAFB) - Inside a Louisiana church there was silence, except for ceremonious music, as Clare Seghers tearfully walked down the aisle towards her fiancé, Mel Keefer.

Under normal circumstances that silence would be credited to wedding attendees stunned by a gracious bride.

But on Seghers’ wedding day it was due to the chapel where she was wed being almost empty as the world battles the coronavirus pandemic.

Complying with social distancing guidelines to prevent the virus from spreading meant Seghers and Keefer couldn’t have their loved ones attend their ceremony.

So they settled for the next best thing.

Seghers and Keefer set up an online live stream for their loved ones to watch them exchange vows.

To make the moment even more special, attendees submitted their photographs before the wedding.

Those photos were placed where the attendee would have sat during the ceremony.

In cars secretly parked outside of the chapel, wedding attendees wore the same smiles captured in the photographs that lined the pews inside.

When the newlyweds exited the church, believing they’d be walking out to an empty parking lot, the secretly gathered attendees honked their horns and shouted congratulations.

Attendees then watched the couple’s first dance from their vehicles.

With the ceremony over, the newlyweds are skipping their honeymoon to continue saving lives.

Both are nurses fighting on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mel treats patients at an emergency room in West Feliciana Parish.

Clare works in the intensive care unit for COVID-19 patients at Baton Rouge General, the hospital where they met.

Together, now as newlyweds, they’re supporting each other through the emotional toll the battle against the virus takes on healthcare workers and are planning for their future together after the pandemic passes.

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