As the novel coronavirus pandemic approaches two months, more and more long-planned events have been pushed back, with little certainty about when they can be held.
Just ask Victoria Salas, 24, who has been planning a wedding for nearly a year and a half after being in a relationship with her fiance for about eight. She hoped to invite 125 guests to a ranch in Springville, but has since reduced the ceremony to a private event with immediate family only.
However, another wrinkle has emerged, further complicating Salas’ wedding plans. The Kern County Clerk’s Office has stopped issuing marriage licenses, and has not yet begun allowing couples to obtain the licenses virtually as permitted by an executive order of Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“A year and a half ago, I would have never expected that this would have happened,” Salas said, adding she had only just begun accepting the fact that she would have to postpone her wedding celebration to a time when large crowds are permitted to gather. “You really can’t prepare yourself for something like that.”
She and her fiance, Charles Riess, selected May 23 as their wedding date specifically because it corresponded with the beginning of their relationship.
“I had an image of how everything would go, how things would look,” she said. “But it is what it is.”
On April 30, Newsom signed an executive order authorizing county clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses through videoconferencing. The order, which will be in effect 60 days from the day it was signed, was meant to allow marriages to move forward during the pandemic.
Kern County has yet to begin issuing marriage licenses through video conference, however. On an average month, the Clerk’s Office issues between 350 and 400 licenses.
When contacted by email, County Clerk Mary Bedard said the county has been working out technical issues related to the videoconference marriage licenses and hoped to have more information on its website this week.
Since the governor issued his executive order, Bedard said her office had received about 100 inquiries on the topic.
Both Salas and her mother said they had difficulty obtaining information from the clerk’s office about the videoconferencing, frustrating them, and they were doubtful they could perform the wedding before obtaining a license. However, Salas said she was excited to move forward with her life even if the licenses are not ready in time.
“I’m definitely excited for next Saturday because I finally get to marry my high school sweetheart and my best friend,” Salas said. “I’m really excited and I can’t wait for next Saturday whether we have a marriage license or not.”