Their Zoom Wedding Day Was the Best Day of Their Lives

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Janine Micheletti and Stephanie Lim married in their Brooklyn apartment on July 26.

Janine Micheletti first met Stephanie Lim a few years back, when the two professional dancers were rehearsing for a friend’s project. “I had a big crush on her,” says Janine, but they were friends for another year or so before she confessed. 

Fast-forward to May 2020, when the couple had been locked down in their Williamsburg, Brooklyn, apartment for two months. Stephanie figured that, if they could handle quarantine, “We can probably live together for the rest of our lives.” They decided, together, to get married. 

The brides considered a 2021 wedding date, but found it impossible to predict when Stephanie’s family, who live in Malaysia, would be able to travel. The couple thought Zoom would allow both of their families to be equally present. Had they had a “normal” wedding, the couple says it would have been small—“like, 10 people,” Janine says. The more the pair talked about it, the more they believed a Zoom wedding might be not just practical, but perfect for them. Thanks to the couple’s creativity and attention to detail, they were right.

In planning their home wedding, the pair played to their strengths. Stephanie made the couple’s cake over three days, baking four tiers of vanilla and chocolate cake separated by alternating layers of vanilla and salted caramel frosting. She covered the cake with meringue, bruléed it with a blow torch, and decorated it all with sugar flowers. She also organized the guest list and florals—a lush altar of plants and delicate ranunculus bouquets from The Bouqs. 

Janine, who is a photographer and videographer as well as a dancer, was responsible for documenting the day and managing the livestreaming logistics. The couple had taught dance classes online throughout lockdown using a combination of livestreaming and Zoom, so they were well-equipped to make their virtual wedding run smoothly. (The process wasn’t all seamless, though: “A week before, I was giving a private dance lesson on the same Zoom link that was on our invitations,” Janine says. “In the middle of the lesson, my aunt and mom came on to ‘test it out.’”)

Credit: J9 Pictures
Officiant Peter Boruchowitz performed the ceremony over Zoom, from a tablet propped up on a tripod.

July 26 began with an intimate ceremony in the couple’s railroad apartment, with two bridesmaids serving as the only in-person guests.

A friend from California was supposed to officiate, but the state of New York denied her approval days before the wedding, so the brides hired Peter Boruchowitz of Our Wedding Officiant NYC in a pinch. “I can’t even explain to you how perfect he was,” Janine says. “He made it so personal that people asked us later if he knew us.”

Janine and Stephanie exchanged rings from Aurate and simple vows—a combination of traditional marriage vows and a few sweet, personal words they wrote right before the ceremony. When they were pronounced married, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” played in celebration. The couple used a separate livestreaming service, synced to Janine’s DSLR camera, to share their ceremony on Zoom with around 30 immediate family members and close friends, before opening up the Zoom for a larger reception. 

As guests “arrived,” Janine quickly edited a video of the ceremony to share with all of them (yes, during the reception!). Then, as Jagged Edge’s “Let’s Get Married” played, the bridesmaids made a bridge with their hands for the newlyweds to pass through as they “entered” their wedding reception—an Italian tradition Janine always loved at family weddings.

Credit: J9 Pictures
Using two cameras and streams let the couple toggle between multiple angles. During the ceremony, cake cutting, and other big moments, guests saw the separate livestream as if watching from an audience, but during the reception, Stephanie and Janine used Zoom on their MacBook to mingle more closely with everyone.

The couple had prerecorded an original piece of choreography set to “Dancing in the Moonlight” by Jubël and filmed it over the course of five days on the beach in Rhode Island where Janine’s parents live. They played the (very charming) video in lieu of a live first dance to kick off the party. “Zoom has a lag, and we’re dancers. We need to be on beat,” Stephanie laughs.

Guests had been instructed to log on with drinks and food to enjoy at the reception, and now they split up into “tables” using Zoom’s breakout group feature, while Janine and Stephanie popped into each one, the way newlyweds might wander from table to table at an IRL wedding. After lunch, it was of course time for dancing—a mix of hip-hop, house, and funk. In a tribute to Stephanie’s late father, the couple played one of his favorite songs, “September,” by Earth Wind & Fire. Following teary-eyed toasts, they not-so-competitively tossed a bouquet to one of the two bridesmaids, their friend Felicia.

As the reception wound down, Janine and Stephanie cut their cake. Then, they boxed it up and poured wine into Ball jars—they had an after-party to get to, at a waterfront park in their neighborhood. A few local friends and Janine’s brother, who lives in Mamaroneck, New York, showed up to eat the cake and toast to their marriage. 

Credit: J9 Pictures
The couple's tea ceremony.

For Janine and Stephanie, holding a Zoom wedding didn’t mean forgoing tradition altogether. “In Chinese culture, we have a tea ceremony before weddings to pay respect to our elders,” Stephanie explains. Typically, older relatives give the young couple red packets of money. The couple held their tea ceremony the day before their wedding over Zoom with their parents, siblings, and Stephanie’s aunt. “Stephanie’s mom, sister, and aunt handed their red packets to the camera, and we pretended to receive them,” says Janine, laughing. “When my parents realized what was going on, my mom ran to get an envelope so she could participate.” 

And in a nod to Italian tradition, during a pre-wedding visit with Janine’s brother’s family outside of the city, Janine’s sister-in-law surprised the couple by giving Stephanie the cornicello necklace that Janine’s mother had given her for her own wedding.

Janine and Stephanie say they don’t have any desire to have a “real” wedding in the future, that this wedding—at home, over Zoom—was as real to the couple as any in-person wedding could be. “People were crying on the Zoom and were really engaged,” says Janine, although she admits that the in-person after-party at the park was essential to making the day feel complete. “It was the best day of my life.” 

The Apartment Therapy Weddings vertical was written and edited independently by the Apartment Therapy editorial team and generously underwritten by Crate & Barrel.