by Nicole Swickle
Tammy and her now-husband Justin were planning for their destination wedding to take place on June 12, but 2020 had other plans for the Nashville couple. Nearly 100 friends and family members were expected to make the trip to The Henderson Beach Resort in Destin, Florida for Tammy and Justin’s big day. That was before a global pandemic broke out.
The Knot, a wedding planning and inspiration platform, estimates that between March and August of this year one million weddings were originally scheduled to take place.
Like most engaged couples affected by COVID-19, the decision for Tammy and Justin to cancel their wedding wasn’t easy.
“The theme was rustic, elegant, and white. We had white florals and candles to complement the beach sunset. We just wanted an atmosphere where everyone could relax and spend quality time with each other,” said Tammy.
“We just kept looking forward to the next week in hopes that ‘the curve’ would be flattened,” said Justin. “It was disheartening to have to face reality as a few months until our wedding turned into four short weeks and there had been no good news.”
When Tammy’s gym family at Seven Minutes fitness studio caught wind of her cancelled destination wedding, they were quick to step into action for the bride-to-be. “I was heading into the gym for a work meeting and we were told to bring our better halves to help critique a new workout regimen,” said Tammy. When she entered the gym, a small gathering including the owners, trainers and guests surprised Tammy and Justin with a wedding “fit” for the loving couple.
“I was just in shock,” said Tammy. “Justin and I were in a place that we needed a moment. We had our bachelor and bachelorette parties cancelled, bridal shower cancelled, my dress fittings cancelled, and all of our trips cancelled.”
Justin is a Nurse Practitioner and has been an essential worker throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. “It caught us both off-guard. That night was filled with so much laughter, joy, love, and support,” said Tammy. “The team at Seven Minutes truly supports and love each other. We step up when we have bad days, and that night, everyone was there for us. Every single person showered us with so much love.”
The Seven Minutes fitness crew delivered on the details. In celebration of Tammy and Justin’s big day, the gym was filled with flowers down a makeshift aisle, a vail, bouquet, sushi and a champagne toast. They exchanged funny vows, led by one of the head trainers and received a pretend marriage license. The reception continued as the newlyweds shared their first dance to “Beautiful Crazy” by Luke Combs and played Family Feud-style games. Their grand exit was complete with a bubble sendoff and car decorations.
Justin had envisioned what his wife would look like on their big day and how their Florida wedding experience would have come to fruition. “It’s a very emotionally charged decision,” said Justin. “It is difficult to ask friends and family to make it to a destination wedding, especially with so many unknowns. We couldn’t live with the guilt of having someone become sick from COVID because of our wedding. It was not the right time to be selfish. We truly had to think of everyone in this decision,” he said.
The hardest part for Tammy was missing out on the keepsake memories. Not being able to get her hair and makeup done with her bridesmaids, having her mother button up her wedding dress or walking down the aisle. “I had envisioned Justin seeing me for the first time while I am on my daddio’s arm – giving me to the man that I have prayed for,” she said.
While the world shifted around them, Tammy and Justin’s love for one another outstood the uncertainty of 2020. Justin and Tammy were able to keep their original wedding date on June 12, 2020, where they were pronounced husband and wife by Mr. John Rutherford at Mamas Java Coffee in Nolensville. Immediate family members were able to digitally witness the wedding and the signing of their marriage license.
The Seven Minutes team aims to “turn it up to meet you where you are today,” and that’s exactly what they did for one of their own. While COVID-19 continues to impact our everyday lives, this is just another example of how the Nashville fitness community has come together to prove its strength in times of need.