BLOOMINGBURG – Friday was supposed to be Colleen Carey and Anthony Chessari Jr.’s wedding day.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic entered the picture, forcing them and many other couples around the region, the nation and the world to put their marriage plans on hold.
But while Carey and Chessari did not walk down the aisle Friday, they still got to have their first dance on schedule, in their backyard, with the help of a local DJ.
Brian Stylez, of Stylez Entertainment, showed up around 6:30 Friday night and played the song they had chosen for their dance: “It All Started with a Beer” by country singer Frankie Ballard.
“Let’s make some noise,” Stylez encouraged the witnesses.
The few family and friends able to attend under current limits on gatherings cheered and woo-hooed loudly as the couple embraced and danced on the lawn, Anthony in a t-shirt, shorts and sneakers, Colleen in a brown dress and flip flops.
And when it was over, there was a simple feast of pizza provided by friends.
Carey said she knows Styles from other weddings where he has DJed.
“Brian is the brother of one of my best friends,” Carey said. “There was nobody else I would have wanted to do this.”
Their choice of a first dance song was symbolic. In a way, their relationship really did start with a beer.
Carey and Chessari have been together for six years. They met at Players, a bar in Middletown, and they still go there to mark birthdays and other significant milestones.
The couple got engaged in March of last year and have been planning the wedding ever since.
They had expected about 200 relatives and friends to come to the ceremony.
“And then COVID happened,” Carey said.
She and Chessari are not the only ones Stylez has provided this service for. He said he already played a first dance for one other couple this month, and he has a few engagements lined up for June.
“It’s just a way to bring a little happiness to them at this difficult time,” he said.
And, as Carey noted, he does it all free of charge.
The couple now is looking forward to Nov. 20. That’s their new wedding date, when they will be married by Father Dennis Nikolic, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Middletown.
But May 22 will also be a sort of unofficial, second anniversary for them, especially after Friday night’s dance.
“This will always be a special day for us, too,” Carey said.