January 21, 2021


Mary Kate Vollmer and Evan Sloan didn’t intend to cause a ruckus with their Nov. 2 wedding in the automotive aisle of Blain’s Farm & Fleet, a country store in Montgomery, Ill. They were just trying to bring Mr. Sloan’s 90-year-old, coronavirus-stricken grandmother, Beth Stanley, some peace.

“Ever since March, when we moved in together, Grandma was like, ‘You live together, you have to get married,’” said Mr. Sloan, 31, of Oswego, Ill. The couple, who met in April 2018 through a dating app (neither can remember which), were working toward it. Mr. Sloan, a personal injury trial lawyer, had proposed to Ms. Vollmer, a medical surgical nurse who works with coronavirus patients, on a Sept. 23 walk around a local lake where they had once spotted a great blue heron. Ms. Vollmer, 29, said yes.

Getting married in 2020 was not on their radar. “We were waiting for the Covid numbers to go down,” Ms. Vollmer said. “We were thinking, we’ll send out Christmas cards with a save-the-date for maybe April. But then Evan’s grandma got sick.”

At the end of October, Mr. Sloan’s mother called from his hometown Kalamazoo, Mich. “The first thing she said was, ‘Grandma has Covid,’” he said. “I could tell she was freaked out.” Ms. Stanley, though robust for 90, was in assisted-living housing. “She had been through all these negative events, like my grandfather dying a few years ago. When I talked to her, I could tell she was struggling with her mortality, and scared. I knew the next few weeks would have to be about helping Grandma get her strength back.”

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