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Adapting To Coronavirus: NYC Wedding Planning Business Now Coordinating Couples' Big Days Online With Ease

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- For so many New Yorkers, weddings are synonymous with summer. But the coronavirus pandemic has led to many couples having to cancel or postpone.

Now, a local business is stepping in to ensure couples who are going forward with their ceremony online can do so smoothly, CBS2's Kiran Dhillon reported Tuesday.

For the past five and a half years, Brooklyn-based alternative wedding planning company Modern Rebel has been helping couples plan out every detail of their big day.

COVID-19 quickly put a halt to that.

"People stopped reaching out because of what was going on in the world," Modern Rebel owner Amy Shack Egan said.


With revenues down more than 60%, Shack Egan knew she had to reimagine her business to survive. She quickly shifted to virtual wedding coordination.

"Virtual weddings are not void of logistics. Like if you've been on a work call, even with, like, more than 10 people, you know that it's chaotic. And so what we do is we take the stress out of it," she said.

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The company is now one of a few across the country that helps couples with every step of virtual wedding planning. Modern Rebel now helps with everything from digital invitations, virtual video keepsakes, and DJs, to contactless deliveries of wedding musts like cake and flowers, day-of coordination, and even virtual rehearsal dinners.

"We run a technical rehearsal, so that means someone that's maybe doing some sort of reading during the ceremony, and they need to understand when is that reading coming up? How are they positioning themselves?," Shack Egan said. "Maybe they've never used, you know, a video service before, a video platform, so they're super uncomfortable. We actually created tutorial videos for people to share with their families on how to set up an account."

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New Yorkers Madina and Nabil Bohsali were the company's first virtual clients. They met four years ago on a subway car in Manhattan and were originally supposed to get married in August with around 300 guests. Those plans were canceled by the coronavirus.

"The whole thing was going to be on this waterfront venue and we had a band booked and a DJ. I had my custom playlist. It was really devastating. But then I kind of had to take stock of the state of the world and decide not to be a baby. My problems are really small in the grand scheme of things," Madina said.

So instead, the couple opted to get married virtually in their West Village apartment last weekend, with Modern Rebel helping to coordinate.

"They were just helpful with that part of it, kind of keeping the tech side of it all, so we didn't have to worry about jumping screens and chaos of everyone speaking at once," Madina said. "No technical issues. A lot of heartfelt contributions from all our different family members. It was all very sweet. I thought it went well."

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And while it wasn't the original wedding they planned, the couple is now recommending getting married online to others. Modern Rebel agrees.

"It's really important that we cling to love, cling to the relationships in our life. I mean, people, now it's never been more important to lean into the love. And so we need to be able to celebrate that now," Shack Egan said.

So if the actual party has to be put on hold for now, there's no reason the love also has to.

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