It’s been a wet and chilly week in Washington. It’s also not where Melanie Baucom hoped she’d be. “It’s definitely odd,” Baucom told Heard on the Hill over the phone. “We should be on our honeymoon right now.”
She works on Capitol Hill as a press secretary for Sen. Mike Crapo, an Idaho Republican. Instead of relaxing on the sands of Jamaica, she’s working from home in a one-bedroom apartment in Arlington.
Baucom and her fiancé, Donovan, were set to tie the knot this past Saturday until, like many recent couples, the coronavirus pandemic forced them to walk away from months of planning.
“We chose March because places aren’t that full,” she said of the wedding. (Little did we know just how empty they would be.) “We were going to see 230 people that we loved. It’s not lost on us how profound that would’ve been.”
As for the honeymoon, the resort gave them a refund and airlines allowed them to cancel and gave them credit. Now that the trip is off, the closest thing to paradise the District has to offer around this time of year is the Tidal Basin, where cherry blossoms sway gently in the breeze, but she can’t go see them either. Parts of the National Mall are closed off, with park rangers and city officials promoting remote viewing options like the “BloomCam.”
“Stay at home,” D.C. Mayor Bowser said Monday at a press conference. “The trees are indeed beautiful … we will enjoy them again next year.”
Instead of a walk down the aisle on Saturday, Baucom and her fiancé settled for a stroll with a realtor through potential future homes — another unpredictable outing, as mortgage rates bounce around in response to the crisis.
The new date for the wedding is set for July, but one tradition didn’t have to wait until then. The couple commemorated their “first song” with a dance in their living room Saturday evening. And Baucom didn’t need a white dress for the occasion. “Costco sweatpants and some old college T-shirt” did the trick.
“It was very special,” she said. “I was a little emotional for sure. … It made me realize all things considered we could be in a worse position.”