Photo: Courtesy of Gina Frangello

I didn’t want to go. This was March 24, Zoom was still a strange new download on my desktop, and I was racked with fear about COVID-19. How could I possibly show up with love and celebration for Gina and Rob  when I couldn’t be less in the wedding spirit?

Plus: my hair, still in a days-old ponytail. My tired face, which hadn’t seen a lick of makeup in weeks. Those endless toasts by overserved uncles and college friends — a reception requisite that reliably triggers my secondhand embarrassment. Then I realized an online wedding meant no standing around in uncomfortable heels. Or any heels! Also, I could surely mute any speeches, right?

Barefoot, still emotionally wobbly, I clicked “Join the Meeting.” Onto my screen burst two people facing each other, making promises that they were already living. Gina, beaming in a sexy strappy white dress. Rob, handsome and disheveled and grave. As they exchanged vows in their home, I could hear their three kids (a.k.a. the videographers) clapping from offscreen.

At the top of my screen, thumbnail images of dozens of guests — a multitude of expressions exactly matching mine: teary, jubilant, yearning to connect.

As Gina and Rob kissed, we broke into muted digital applause, waving our arms. I forgot my COVID anxiety. I forgot to care how I looked. I forgot to be grateful we skipped the endless toasts, the staged photos, the small talk.

Who knows when I’ll next attend a wedding in person, or what that will look like. Maybe the pinch of my high heels will cue a smile at the memory of a different kind of ceremony, one where I didn’t stress about messing up someone’s name or whether I’d be forced to dance to “Mony Mony.”