Wedding interrupted

Amanda Ritchie and Chester Robards anticipated having their first dance as husband and wife in front of 170 family and friends – but the engaged couple had to postpone their April wedding due to COVID-19. On Monday, Ritchie and Robards were one of six couples given a “treat” by the NBC news program show TODAY and reminded that their special day will happen.

Ritchie and Robards, senior business reporter at The Nassau Guardian, engaged in a virtual first dance in front of millions of viewers on the TODAY show on their WithYouTODAY series.

Show co-host Hoda Kotb teamed up with Pat Monahan, frontman of the band Train, to give the couples a virtual first dance to the quintessential wedding song “Marry Me” in six different locations – The Bahamas, India, Australia, the United States, Costa Rica and Hong Kong.

“It was a very emotional experience,” said Ritchie of the virtual dance shot via Zoom.

“I didn’t even expect to feel the way that I felt. In my mind, I was just going through everything that had happened, [COVID] and the postponement, and I just felt a sense of joy, and that everything is going to be okay, this is going to work out and we do have each other. All of the disappointment in that moment kind of stopped. It was just a sense of joy and just a feeling of love being in the moment with Chester and I,” said Ritchie.

Robards knows their real first dance as husband and wife will be different from the TODAY virtual experience, but he said it was cool having Monahan virtually serenade them.

Amanda Ritchie and Chester Robards, right, at bottom, in a still shot captured from the TODAY show on Monday, May 18, with show co-host Hoda Kotb, center. CHESTER ROBARDS

The TODAY show wanted the couple to don their wedding day outfits for the segment. Ritchie declined.

“I was like oh no, that can’t happen.”

No one, she said, will see her wedding dress before her wedding day.

Ritchie was beautiful in a white dress she was saving for their honeymoon, while Robards looked dapper in black suspenders.

He said it was “neat” sharing the moment with other couples who are going through the same thing.

Ritchie and Robards’ wedding ceremony will be held as soon as the 10-person cap is lifted and borders around the world reopen, as they have family and friends who have to fly in for their celebration.

“We need things to be in order for us to have the wedding that we want. But really what’s important is for us to just have our close friends and family there with us,” said Robards.

Robards proposed to Ritchie last year after they went rappelling at Clifton Pier, which he did with an engagement ring in his pocket. When he got to his landing, he dropped to one knee to propose – but, as that saying goes, the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Robards struggled to get the ring box out of his pocket to present to the unsuspecting Ritchie. The TODAY show featured a clip of the engagement, which Robards had had recorded.

After Ritchie and Robards were featured on TODAY, Robards said they received a deluge of text messages and telephone calls.

Kotb, who also has a wedding planned for this year and doesn’t know if it will have to be postponed, announced to Ritchie and Robards, and the other couples featured in the segment, that WeddingWire would give each of them $1,000 to help with their wedding expenses.

The bride-to-be also said their wedding ceremony vendors have been understanding and accommodating through the ups and downs.

Ritchie and Robards, and the other couples, had to postpone their weddings, as the world battles the global coronavirus public health pandemic.

The Bahamas confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on March 15. To date, there remain 97 confirmed cases – 75 on New Providence, eight on Grand Bahama, 13 on Bimini and one on Cat Cay.

The number of recovered cases was 44, active cases at 43 and hospitalized cases at six up to yesterday. There have been 11 deaths. Tests completed numbered at 1,838.

Worldwide, there were 4,968,133 confirmed cases and 326,464 deaths.

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Shavaughn Moss

Shavaughn Moss joined The Nassau Guardian as a sports reporter in 1989. She was later promoted to sports editor. Shavaughn covered every major athletic championship from the CARIFTA to Central American and Caribbean Championships through to World Championships and Olympics. Shavaughn was appointed as the Lifestyles Editor a few years later.

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