Despite all the trials and tribulations that it took to get Sadie, 25, and Armand Rack, 26, married, the newly wedded Temecula couple regret nothing.
The young couple, who met more than eight years ago just after high school and recently lived in Bonsall, were secretly married at the historic Orange County Courthouse.
“The local courthouses were a bit plain and we wanted something with character so we had our hearts set on the old Orange County Courthouse,” Sadie Rack said. “The history is awesome; it’s historic and it’s the oldest courthouse in California.
“We wanted to secretly elope at the courthouse and do something fun and romantic with just the two of us,” she said. “Then we planned on having an intimate family ceremony at a chapel at the Riverside Mission Inn Hotel and Spa and to also have a reception for the rest of our family members and family friends at one of our family member’s homes. It definitely was not planned as a normal wedding.”
But in the days leading up to the big day, everything changed. The wedding they had planned for March 19, suddenly wasn’t possible because of the county building closures that came with the guidelines limiting contact due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“The courthouse announced that all weddings were canceled and that the last day to come in was March 16; we were supposed to be married on March 19,” Sadie Rack said. “We wanted to get married on the first day of spring.”
In another devastating setback, Armand Rack’s father, John, died unexpectedly in the week before.
“When we were supposed to be getting ready for our elopement, we were preparing to lay our dad to rest and to say goodbye to him,” Sadie Rack said. “We still can’t believe he’s gone. I really don’t even know how we’ve gotten through the month of March really.
“It’s hard to talk about because we still are having a really hard time accepting everything that’s happened recently and our hearts will always hurt tremendously. It crushed our souls and always will. The service for John was set two days before we were supposed to elope,” she said.
Fearing their window of opportunity was closing without any idea of when they would have the chance to elope, they considered their options.
“Gosh, did we just want to tell our families what was going on,” Sadie Rack said. “But we didn’t. We were not sure if we even wanted to go on with the elopement. But, because we already had paid for everything we didn’t have a choice financially but to go on.
“We really weren’t ready to get married but something in our souls said just do it. So, we drove to the courthouse and got married the day before Armand’s dad’s service. It was bittersweet, we were really sad and stressed,” she said.
Moments later, a reporter from a news station stuck a camera in their face for a live interview.
“We were planning on sharing the news with our family in a fun way,” Sadie said. “Before we knew it we were in front of cameras and had microphones attached to us – it was unreal we were so nervous. We still can’t believe that happened, it was super special and we will never forget it.”
Sadie Rack said she believed Armand Rack’s dad was watching over them.
“It was almost as if an angel was watching above us,” she said. “We were relieved that the courthouse let us get married because they closed down that day. All of our previous plans were put to a stop, and we chose to go around it all and keep on with our plans of getting hitched no matter what life threw at us. A parent passing, a worldwide pandemic, horrible weather and closures throughout. It really was hard and stressful, but we did it and we made it and we don’t have any regrets.”
They didn’t have much time to celebrate, but they tried.
“We had a mini-honeymoon at the Mission Inn afterward,” Sadie said. “Due to the coronavirus, the hotel almost shut down, and we ended up being the only ones at the hotel.”
The next day, the couple joined their family to lay John Rack to rest.
The couple said they hope they can be an example of perseverance to other couples facing adversities in their love stories.
“Our elopement story is one of a kind,” Sadie said. “We are still in disbelief of everything that has happened and what’s still happening. We really are just taking it one day at a time. We hope that we can be an example to others by showing them no matter what life throws at you – strive for what’s good, treat yourself to what makes you happy. Life is too short and we know life is tremendously hard, but you gotta just keep believing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that you deserve to be happy, laugh and smile.”
Jeff Pack can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.