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Love — And A Very Small Wedding — Blooms In Spite Of Virus Gloom



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Based on the heartfelt and tearful wedding vows Peter Cloudas recited to his fiance Cynthia Ann Carraway on the stoop of Newtown’s Municipal Center, March 20, the local engineer had discovered his life partner the day he met her over a dozen years ago.

Carraway, a paralegal from Orlando, Fla., expressed a similar sentiment as the pair stood before minister Herman Olivera III, as one of the couple’s tripod-mounted mobile phones simultaneously recorded the brief ceremony, while the other broadcast it to friends and family across the country on Facebook Live.

Otherwise, the only witness to the brief but touching event was The Newtown Bee. The newspaper was invited to cover the wedding after connecting with the couple through Assistant Town Clerk Monica Duhancik.

Olivera, from Monroe, said this was the first wedding he was asked to officiate since the COVID-19 outbreak, which actually forced the postponement of several other weddings on his calendar this spring.

“A lot of the venues have already shut down and they can’t even reschedule with all the uncertainty around this virus situation,” Olivera said, adding his wife is a wedding videographer and is also facing the financial fallout from clients whose weddings and other activities have been put on hold.

Speaking to Duhancik as the couple completed their wedding license, Carraway said after being together for 13 years, the coronavirus situation spurred them to make their relationship official so they would never be separated if one or the other was ever hospitalized.

Off To The Wedding!

With all the necessary formalities completed inside, the couple joined their minister just outside the northern entrance of the Municipal Center.

Speaking loud enough so he could be heard by those watching remotely on video, Olivera remarked that the Friday morning skies over the ceremony were cloudy, “but the love radiating here is about to brighten the darkest moments in this journey we call life.”

The minister said life is not like a Hollywood movie, and that couples like the pair standing before him March 20 need to weather the storms they may face to truly appreciate “the rainbows that will follow.”

Reading from vows she created, Carraway acknowledged, “to vow that we will be together in the future is irrelevant, you have already proven to me in many, many ways during our years together in health and sickness, happiness and tragedy, your love. We are in this together and I love you.”

In turn, her beloved replied, “Sometimes bad things happen in our lives that put us directly on a path to the most wonderful things. That certainly explains how we came together and stay together.

“You have already been, for 13 years, with me for better and for worse, through the good times and bad, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health as my life partner,” Cloudas continued. “And I promise to commit my life to you... to paddle that crazy water of joy and sorrow with you. I love you.”

Foregoing for just a few moments the rules of social distancing, Olivera asked the couple to join hands while he recited his official script, and in lieu of actual rings, asked the couple to hold each other’s hand using their ring fingers.

“This is typically where I talk about what the wedding ring symbolizes, but I want this little bond you’ve created to serve as a lasting memory of the true bond — it’s not metal, or a tattooed ring, but a simpler bond,” he said, encouraging the couple to hook their ring fingers together whenever they are challenged in life.

After completing the rest of their vows, the very newly wedded couple kissed and embraced tightly as several of those watching on the Facebook broadcast shouted out congratulations and best wishes.

Monroe minister Herman Olivera III, left, smiles as he greets Sandy Hook couple Cynthia Ann Carraway and Peter Cloudas, who arranged a brief but intimate wedding ceremony at the Newtown Municipal Center, March 20. Cloudas is pictured adjusting one of two mobile phones set up to broadcast the event to friends and family members across the country by Facebook Live. —Bee Photos, Voket
Sandy Hook residents Cynthia Ann Carraway and Peter Cloudas complete their marriage certification with Assistant Newtown Town Clerk Monica Duhancik March 20 at the Municipal Center, before the two headed outside for a brief official ceremony.
Cynthia Ann Carraway, holding a small bouquet of roses, and Peter Cloudas listen as Monroe minister Herman Olivera III officiates their wedding outside the Newtown Municipal Center, March 20.
The newlyweds embrace after being pronounced man and wife by Monroe minister Herman Olivera III.
Newtown residents Peter Cloudas and Cynthia Ann Carraway set up their respective mobile phones to capture their brief wedding ceremony, March 20, outside the Municipal Center at Fairfield Hills. In light of the coronavirus threat, the couple eschewed inviting anyone to the ceremony, opting to broadcast it to friends and family via a Facebook Live session.
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