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“The North Fork is where we fell in love,” said Khaner. (Credit: Scott Goldberg, North Fork Wedding Films and Photography)

Big fancy weddings are so 2019. With COVID-19 canceling or cutting events down to size, engaged couples were forced to get creative with impromptu elopements and “micro-weddings” on sailboats, in backyards, around pools, on farms and more, with ceremonies Zoomed to faraway family and friends.

“The pandemic has caused people to reflect on what, and who, is really important in their lives, and to celebrate that joy,” says wedding vendor Jenny Marchese of Wildflower Events.

In our ongoing series, Northforker is spotlighting some of the sweetest micro-weddings on the East End.

The pandemic-inspired second wedding

“The constant reminder of life’s eventual end made us think about how we wanted to shape our future together.”

Cheryl Khaner, 57 is a lawyer and licensing specialist for an Alzheimer’s caregiver training company called Positive Approach to Care. Michael Rechter, 64, is a dentist in Rockville Center. Both reside in Merrick, Long Island, but they chose The Vineyards at Aquebogue for their nuptials because of their special connection to the North Fork. Khaner told us about their 24-guest wedding, which was the second for both — and one they never intended to have until quarantining together changed their minds.

“Our romance really started on the North Fork, so we ended up back there for our wedding. We met on Match and I knew it would be my last Match date, though he didn’t. He was sitting there with a long-stemmed rose and a Diet Peach Snapple (which I explained I was addicted to in my profile). During our courtship, we spent a lot of time exploring and enjoying the North Fork. It’s where we fell in love. 

We were never planning a wedding, much less a big one! We had each been married before and had been dating and living together for 4 1/2 years. However, my main activity during the pandemic was incessant Facebooking, and it was when I found and fell in love with a very unique ring from a jewelry store in Florida. I texted it to Mike, with no intention of it being an engagement ring, but rather as a not-so-subtle suggestion for a birthday gift!

But during quarantine, spending that amount of endless time together and not wanting to kill each other was a true test. I couldn’t imagine making it through that with anyone else, and the constant reminder of life’s eventual end made us think about how we wanted to shape our future together. 

Mike proposed to me (and my family) with the ring at dinner in July. We married twice in August, once by a Judge for the legality and a week later by my brother, who got ordained online. After Mike said his vows at The Vineyards at Aquebogue, he handed me a long-stemmed rose and a Diet Peach Snapple. We had come full circle. 

We celebrated with the only 29 people we could coax out of their homes for a safe, socially distanced ceremony and cocktail party. It was a beautiful location and recalled where our love affair began.”