by Kara Olney, CBSN Digital Line Producer

CHICAGO (CBS) — The coronavirus pandemic has wedding season off to a bleak start, but it’s not all bad. Mount Prospect couple, Jenny Van Wakeman and Joe Stecher, didn’t let a little COVID-19 stop them from saying “I do.” Instead, the couple streamed their ceremony on Facebook Live while family, friends, and complete strangers tuned in to watch.   

Jenny and Joe had a traditional wedding planned for March 21st. But their ‘3-2-1 blast-off’ theme fizzled out as the COVID-19 crisis grew. With the travel ban hanging over their heads and family members flying in, they decided to cancel their big day.  

“It wasn’t such a black and white answer a week ago,” Jenny said. “But it quickly became black and white.”

But on the night before they were supposed to get married, their mutual friend convinced them to go ahead with the ceremony in an unconventional way via live stream. 

In less than 24 hours, Jenny and Joe, with the help of their neighbors, friends, and pastor, pulled off their first ever Facebook Live.  

“We had about 100 people online watching it live, all over the world; Germany, Belgium, really everywhere,” Joe said. “Full disclosure, they weren’t all invited to the wedding.” 

Jenny Van Wakeman and Joe Stecher streamed their wedding ceremony on Facebook Live, after their traditional wedding plan fizzled due to the governor’s “stay at home” order. (Credit: Mark Belter)

Jenny’s cousins live in the area and were able to watch the ceremony and sip champagne from the sidewalk while maintaining safe social distancing. Jenny’s uncle was the official photographer.  

The ceremony took place on their front lawn in Mount Prospect at 3:21 in the afternoon, fitting right in with their original countdown theme.  

Their advice to couples who may be thinking about live-streaming their weddings too: “Stay positive and do it. You have nothing to lose.” 

Jenny and Joe plan to celebrate with their family and friends in person this September. You can watch the whole ceremony below.