Mel Keefer via Good Morning America

ER Nurses Take A Break From COVID-19 Frontlines To Get Married

A Louisiana couple who are both emergency room nurses recently took a break from combating the ongoing coronavirus outbreak to tie the knot inside an empty church.

As Good Morning America reported, Mel and Clare Keefer said "I do" in front of rows and rows of empty seats with photos of their friends and family taped to their pews in their absence.

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Clare, 25, met Mel, 35, three years ago while the pair were both working in the emergency room ward at Baton Rouge General Medical Center.

Facebook | Clare Keefer

Their fairy-tale romance was supposed to culminate in a big wedding celebration on April 17 inside Mount St. Carmel Church in St. Francisville, packed with all their friends and family.

However, the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent social distancing measures forced the soon-to-be newlyweds to reconsider their marriage plans.

But rather than postpone it altogether, Clare and Mel decided they would proceed with their wedding, albeit a few hundred guests short.

Facebook | Clare Keefer

Their guest list was cut from 200 people to just 10 of their closest family members in an effort to obey CDC social distancing measures.

"We were just happy to be there and be out of the hospital for a minute," Mel told Good Morning America. "Delaying the wedding didn’t make sense for us so we tried not to worry about things out of our control."

While not all of the couple's loved ones were able to physically attend the wedding, they still wanted them to say "I do" in front of their smiling faces.

Mel Keefer via Good Morning America

So rather than leave every pew in the church empty, Mel's mother enlisted the help of some cousins to tape photos of their absent guests to the seats, giving them the room full of well-wishers they had always imaged — or as close to it as possible.

"I turned around and couldn’t believe it," Mel, who didn't notice the pictures until he'd reached the altar, admitted. "It was crazy to see because I know how much time and effort they had to put in to print all those out. It felt really nice."

It certainly wasn't a traditional wedding by any means, as Clare's father walked her down the aisle wearing a face mask and gloves.

Mel Keefer via Good Morning America

But when all was said and done, they still emerged from that church a happily married couple, and were even treated to the surprise of friends, family, and co-workers waiting in their cars, ready to honk their horns and cheer for the newlyweds.

"It was a heartwarming surprise," Mel said.

Now that they've said "I do", Mel and Clare are right back in the ER on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mel Keefer via Good Morning America

Their honeymoon plans have been put on hold for now, and they also plan on throwing a huge celebration with friends and family once things return to normal.

"It was a good break for both of us to put a lot of sad and negative things to the side and focus on each other for a day,” Mel said. “It felt like a vacation from everything that’s going on and I'm thankful for my family and friends that helped us celebrate our marriage."

h/t: Good Morning America, Photos: Facebook | Clare Keefer