By Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press
It wasn't the April 20 wedding Luke and Tabitha Miskokomon had been planning.
They weren't in special clothes. There wasn't flowers or music. They weren't in Mexico.
COVID-19 put a damper on all that.
But the happily-in-love couple married on their special day anyway.
Tabitha wore a casual dress; Luke, a sweater and jeans. Her mom made a cake. They were in the backyard of their Mount Clemens home.
Tabitha's parents and Luke's best man stood within recommended social distance of each other.
And the person who pronounced them man and wife? Well, he was about a mile away.
Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deeds Fred Miller officiated the ceremony online via Zoom.
"With everything kinda bad going on, we wanted something good, and we were really excited to get married," the 27-year-old new bride said.
Miller, who officiated 15 weddings on Valentine's Day, said this was the first marriage tele-ceremony he has performed.
"They had been planning to get married on this date and the world changes," he said. "Love will find a way."
The day after the wedding, Miller posted the happy occasion on Facebook, with a post that began: "Even in the midst of a pandemic and social distancing, LOVE WILL FIND A WAY!"
His post showed him smiling and clapping in an office, the couple kissing outside on a beautiful day and a beach scene, which turned out to be the avatar for the person who set up the Zoom meeting.
Miller finished his post: "May your journey from this day forward grow sweeter as you share life together! ??"
The ceremony didn't come together overnight, but with some forethought over a couple of weeks.
Once the global coronavirus pandemic hit Michigan in mid-March and the governor put stay-at-home orders in place, the Miskokomons knew they would have to rethink their wedding plans.
Tabitha said they inquired with Luke's best friend since childhood, Mike Keys, who works at the Macomb County Board of Commissioners and is a Clinton Township trustee, about whether there was a way the couple still could marry on their planned date.
Keys said that he saw Miller's office had posted on Facebook about online services it was providing. He said he sent Miller's work email to Tabitha.
The Miskokomons handled their marriage license application and fee online. Miller said he then dropped off the copies they needed at their house.
Keys organized the Zoom meeting and was a witness with Tabitha's mom and dad. His friend opened the Zoom meeting for everyone.
The ceremony took about 10 minutes.
Keys said his friends love their dog, Blue, and because they got married in Michigan, Blue attended the ceremony, too.
Keys said he returned the signed paperwork to the county courthouse in Mount Clemens after the ceremony. When he got there, he put it on the hood of his car. He said Miller walked outside to sign a copy, which Keys returned to the newlyweds, and Miller took the other copies for filing.
"It was a great way to get a little normalcy with everything going on right now," Keys said of the nuptials.
Tabitha said she and Luke, 26, are planning a ceremony and reception with family and friends in Mexico in October, six months after they tied the knot in Michigan.
The newlyweds, who met in high school and were together about six years before marrying, had takeout for their wedding dinner.
"At the end of the day, we're married," Tabitha said, "and that's all I can really ask for."
Throughout his career, Fred Miller has served the people of Macomb County at the federal, state, and local levels, currently as Macomb County Clerk & Register of Deeds