As Wedding Plans Fell Apart, City Square Became One Couple’s Chapel

Slowly through March and April, wedding plans for Eric Tabb and Allie Ryan started to fall apart piece by piece.

Detailed plans the Charlestown couple had made for their wedding at the Museum of Science became questionable, and finally were impossible. The wedding dress was next to impossible to get altered, and even their City-issued Marriage License required all of the online effort of a teen-ager trying to get concert tickets to a sold-out show.

Charlestown residents Eric Tabb and Allie Ryan met several years ago while teaching at Edwards Middle School in Charlestown. On June 27, they had a regal wedding planned at the Museum of Science.
Gradually, all of the plans, the vendors, and the guests went away as COVID-19 restrictions tightened. The grand ceremony, after many ups and downs, was replaced by a simple ceremony on June 27 in City Square Park.

It was not the wedding they had planned – or ever imagined – but last week on June 27, they set up in City Square in a very simple manner, bride and groom, officiant (the bride’s sister, Katherine Ryan) and family members, and tied the knot outdoors under the fountain in a 20-minute ceremony.

“We were supposed to be married at the Museum of Science on June 27, but with COVID-19 happening, we weren’t able to do that at all,” said Allie. “I think I went through all five stages of grief. There were definitely moments that were hard to come to terms that there was no wedding. There were other times when I was more grateful because Eric and I were healthy and still had our jobs and I was grateful for that. I joined a Facebook group for brides and it was in some ways helpful for people to share the feelings you are feeling an the reactions that are the same…There were a lot of setbacks and changes and trying to figure out what we would do. I had a hard time letting go of the idea of what I had wanted.”

For Tabb, he was disappointed by not having the wedding, but more so about not being able to celebrate afterwards and not being able to take the grand honeymoon they had planned to Europe.

“I was right with Allie in being disappointed even when we decided to keep the date and go forward,” he said. “For me though, it was more about what we were going to do afterward. I had been looking forward to celebrating afterwards. I wanted to be around family and friends and eat and have drinks together.”

None of that could take place though, and in the end, they had a rush to even have something small.

The challenges still mounted.

Getting a marriage license from the City of Boston proved very hard. There were only limited appointments available over only a few days, and Ryan continued to refresh her computer browser over and over to make sure she reserved one of the appointments so they could be officially married. She also called continuously and City officials ended up cluing her into when the reservations would be posted.

“There were so few people doing it that it seemed like I was competing with all of Greater Boston to get a marriage intention appointment,” said Ryan.

“I felt like she was a teen-ager trying to get concert tickets to a sold-out show,” joked Tabb.

Then there was the dress.

Few places were open to be able to tailor it for Ryan, and after encountering several problems with the dress, it had to be sent back. Arriving two days before the ceremony, there was quite a bit of relief.

Then there was the location.

After being turned down at a few locations in Charlestown due to re-opening restrictions, they settled on City Square. Tabb wore his tuxedo and Ryan wore her wedding dress. They had family close and a short ceremony to make it all official, and very simple and beautiful.

“City Square is more private,” said Tabb. “It’s right there, but it’s also very quiet. We thought about up at the Monument, but it gets pretty busy. City Square ended up being perfect.”

It was a great Plan B for a couple that met so long ago at the Edwards Middle School in Charlestown.

Tabb grew up in Roxbury and had graduated college with a degree in business management and marketing, but just at the downturn during the Great Recession. Not wanting to go into a sales job, he decided to try to get his foot in the door of education. That came by working for Citizens’ Schools, a non-profit that trains teachers through collaborating with the Boston Public Schools.

At the same time, Ryan had also just graduated college and was returning from Chile after teaching English there for some time. She felt like teaching would be her calling and also joined Citizen Schools.

Ironically, teaching didn’t end up being for her, but it was certainly a job that would shape her life as it was where she met Tabb.

Tabb said Citizen Schools teaching team building amongst its members, and he and Ryan quickly built a strong relationship. Soon, they began dating, with their go-to place being the 99 in the Bunker Hill Mall. They said they have been together since 2012 and have lived in Charlestown for the past two years. Tabb is an assistant principal at Boston Preparatory School in Hyde Park, while Ryan left teaching and now works in Human Resources for a communications company.

Now they are intent on forging ahead as a newly married couple in the times of COVID-19, but they are also taking some lessons with them about what is really important.

“One thing for me is so many people and friends and family were helping with plans, making phone calls, buying things and even baking cookies for us,” Ryan said. “The amount of support I felt was really nice and a good reminder that thing in the wedding industry that you think you need maybe aren’t really that important.”

Added Tabb, “Even with our flowers for the ceremony, we had two bouquets and two boutonnieres and it was perfect. That compared to everything they always try to sell you and tell you is required.”

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