NEWTON, Iowa — The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways people celebrate important events like weddings. But that didn’t stop an Iowa couple who set out to have their perfect “micro wedding,” and they were surprised to find out it wouldn’t cost them a cent.
“They were so cute and so in love,” Alta House Event Center owner Dana Van Gilder said.
Shannon Perrine and Bill Bryer both have hearing loss and they met in church in September of 2017.
“We met and first we were friends and then we started dating and now we’re getting married,” Bride Shannon Perrine said.
But their wedding almost didn’t happen when the COVID-19 pandemic shut down many wedding venues in their price range.
“I could tell that they were concerned about whether or not they could afford to have something here,” Van Gilder said.
“Our money has decreased. We’re having to be very careful. We’re waiting on unemployment benefits and I’ve been home for almost two months and very isolated,” Groom Bill Bryer said.
The Alta House Event Center was isolated, too. They were just about to have a grand opening before the pandemic hit, so to break in the new space, the owner decided to let this couple use the space for free.
“They could have a beautiful little wedding and I don’t know a better way to have our inaugural micro wedding,” Van Gilder said.
“We were surprised, very surprised. I cried that day. I was crying because I felt so special,” Perrine said.
They gathered their small group of friends and family.
“Out of the whole party, six of them are hearing impaired. That’s why they opted to not wear the masks and why they opted to just have ten people,” Van Gilder said.
The couple exchanged vows.
“She makes me happy, she helps me, she inspires me, I feel better. If I have a down day or maybe I’m just not feeling good, she really helps bring me up so I feel better,” Bryer said.
“I feel complete, I feel complete with him. He’s my best friend for life. He’s my other half. I feel safe with him. There are so many things I could list, I can’t name them all. I just love him, he’s the one for me,” Perrine said.
The Alta House Event Center at the Newton KOA Campgrounds plans to be open for large parties in early August.