Natalie and Shervin Esfahani were supposed to marry on May 2 but decided to cancel the ceremony because they didn’t want their 100 guests to risk catching the virus, Natalie told Insider.
“The more I thought about it, I realized it’s not the right thing to do,” the bride said.
So instead, the couple decided to spend the rest of their wedding budget on a van that they bought and renovated into a part-time house.
According to Insider, the couple expected their wedding would cost $35,000, but by the time they canceled the ceremony, they had already put down $15,000 in deposits.
They lost most of that, but with their remaining money, they decided to purchase a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van and convert it into a house on wheels for $11,000.
Natalie and Shervin bought the van in July, the same month they went forward with a legal marriage ceremony over Skype.
The couple spent several months renovating the van and once they finished, they decided to have a vow ceremony in front of the completed project.
The florist and photographer they had booked for their original ceremony were able to help them decorate and document the ceremony, with bride and groom in their wedding attire and the van front and center.
"At that point, we put so much effort [into the motorized home] that it became our child," Natalie told Insider. "We built this thing from scratch. It felt so good and rewarding, so we were ready to show it off to the world."
"We had this moment where we were like, 'this is it,'" she added. "It was just perfect. I think it was more than we could've dreamt of for our wedding. It was much more meaningful."
Natalie and Shervin have taken the van on a weekong “honeymoon” around towns in Pennsylvania, as well as Lake Champlain and Lake George. They also drove to Florida -- where they were originally supposed to get married.
When they’re done traveling, they say the van will continue to be a way for them to escape -- and a reminder of their adventures during a difficult time.
"It's like making lemonade out of a ton of lemons," Natalie said. "We tried our best to stay positive through it all. I think we both are looking at it now like it was one of the greatest experiences of our lives. It provided us an unplanned, new lease on life."