Two Logan Square residents refused to let COVID-19 postpone their wedding day indefinitely and recently put together a memorable ceremony — all on the sunny rooftop of their building. The unique event could only have been born out of the chaos the virus brought to their previous plans.
“We didn’t have any of those fancy things” you might expect at a normal ceremony, said the bride, Clarissa Rosenberg. “But I think just because it was us and we were the main focus, I think that made it really special. Just because it was simple. It wasn’t like a usual wedding. It was more intimate.”
A Change of Plans
In May of 2019, Clarissa and Gordon Rosenberg left for a romantic Memorial Day weekend trip to The Art Institute of Chicago, a day made even more special because it was the anniversary of their first date. On that holiday weekend, the city was alive and overflowing with people. Clarissa, walking ahead of Gordon, noticed a wedding party and joked that they should crash the group and join in on the photos.
Gordon had a different idea. Sensing that it was the perfect time, he dropped to one knee and said, “Or we could just take our own.”
The newly engaged couple were eager to start planning. In fact, by July 2019, Clarissa had finalized many aspects of the wedding, including picking out her dress already. Everything seemed to fall into place shortly after that, with the couple picking Room 1520 as the venue, one of their last decisions.
After sending out invitations in February and paying vendors at the beginning of March of this year, the couple felt all set for their wedding day. Then, a week before Clarissa’s bridal shower, all those plans changed as coronavirus took the United States by storm.
Soon enough, shelter-in-place orders hit state after state, and Illinois followed suit. It became clear that the Rosenberg’s well-laid plans would have to change.
“It actually took a little bit of time for me to come to terms with postponing the wedding,” Clarissa said. “I was still wrapping my head around the fact of my bridal shower, and the bachelor and bachelorette parties were just canceled in such a short time.”
With heavy hearts the couple, decided to push back the wedding to July, hoping that the virus would run its course by then and life would return to normal. Before long, however, they realized normal life would not be returning, and so the Rosenbergs postponed a second time, in particular due to concerns over the health of their original officiant, Clarissa’s grandfather. Due to his age, they worried about exposing him to coronavirus, so the couple decided to postpone indefinitely, for a year at least.
Emotional over the postponments and all the unfortunate blows to their plans, Clarissa and Gordon began thinking they still wanted to express their love and officially celebrate the longed-anticipated day of their wedding.
Within two weeks, they managed to plan an impromptu wedding, using the rooftop of their building as the space for their ceremony, with a beautiful view of the Chicago skyline behind them. They held the ceremony on May 24. (The couple still plans to hold their official, larger ceremony next year.)
To make the day even more impactful, both Clarissa’s mother and Gordon’s father, who happened to be ordained, officiated the ceremony.
Close friends and family attended the sky-high ceremony, with others watching via Zoom.
Photographer Arielle Gallione took shots of the ceremony, and Clarissa said she was grateful for Gallione’s dedication to capturing the couple’s day.
“I reached out to her to see if she was available. I told her that we were still going to get married in our apartment, but we’re going to push the wedding back for next year. Arielle told us not to worry about it. She said ‘I am available that day I have you booked, and I’ll be there for both weddings,'” Clarissa said. “She offered that, and I just I cried. I lost it. I didn’t expect her to say that.”
After the ceremony, Clarissa and Gordon changed into more comfortable attire to finish off the festivities the event still had in store. Gordon, a dedicated Kobe Bryant fan, decided to honor the legacy of the late athlete, who died in January, by wearing a replica Bryant jersey. Coincidentally Bryant’s number 24 matches the date of the newlyweds’ ceremony, May 24.
The wedding concluded with donuts, mimosas and a surprise parade for the newlyweds: Friends drove past the front of the apartment building bearing celebratory signs and sharing congratulations. That final touch rounded off the perfect day, Clarissa said.
Clarissa and Gordon said they look forward to celebrating their wedding again next year with all of their guests. But they added that they’re happy to have made such a wonderful memory amid trying circumstances.
Looking back on the day, Clarissa said, “There were no arguments. There was nothing that should have happened that didn’t. Everything just really came together. I think because our expectations weren’t like the perfect wedding day, it was just like, hey, let’s get married, let’s celebrate our
love and whatever else happens happens.”
Featured photo: Arielle Gallione Photography.