CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Bryan and Caitlin Schnell knew the pandemic wouldn’t cancel their wedding.
But what they didn’t know, was that the majority of their original guest list would still be attending.
The Schnell’s were forced to alter their wedding plans and substantially shrink their guest list to align with the state’s social distancing mandate.
But family and friends didn’t let the pandemic stop them from coming anyway. As Ryan and Caitlin prepared to be married on her maid of honor’s front lawn, dozens of cars lined up in the Cranston West High School parking lot.
“We’re just trying to be here for our friends and, you know, they want to get married, so we want to be here for them in any way,” Ryan Horner said.
As the ceremony started, cars began pulling up as if they were attending a drive-in movie, much to the surprise of Bryan and Caitlin.
“Just our immediate family was supposed to be here and that is not what happened,” Caitlin said after the ceremony.
Loved ones honked their car horns and held signs out their windows and sunroofs in support as the couple said their vows.
Dania Lo, Caitlin’s maid of honor, said she was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who participated.
“Way more than I envisioned,” Lo said. “[I was] shocked by the number of people that actually came, made signs, honked their horn.”
The couple tells Eyewitness News the surprise convoy made their big day even more special.
“The love and support that we’ve received from people in their cars, watching us get married, is just insurmountable,” Caitlin said.
The Schnell’s plan to have another ceremony and reception in July. If the social distancing mandates are still in effect, they plan to further postpone the date until they can properly thank their loved ones for the surprise.