COVID Weddings: The Dietels

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by Kristina Domitrovich // Photos by Faith Riley Photography 

Brittney McCoy-Dietel and David Dietel went to the same high school in Center Grove Indiana, where they both grew up, but they never met each other.

“Although he played football and I cheered, our paths just never crossed,” she said.

David graduated first and went off to Indiana State University, and Brittney “packed my bags” and went to the University of Mississippi.

After they both graduated college, they found themselves in Indianapolis in 2018; once they finally met, “I mean, the rest is history,” she said.

They laugh about never having met in high school now, because Brittney’s brother went on to play David’s position on the football team.

“When I graduated from high school,” he said, “I started to hear about this young up-and-coming football player, and his name was Titus McCoy.”

When they put two and two together, Brittney laughed because they wound up chatting about her brother fairly often over the course of their first few dates, since it was a comfortable topic in the beginning of a new relationship. When David met Brittney’s two brothers, she said it was a big moment for her.

“He was the first guy that my brothers actually really really liked, and they couldn’t say a bad thing about him,” she said. “So I know when my brothers could imagine him being their older brother, that really put it in great perspective to me that, ‘Okay, this is something that is completely orchestrated by God.’”

For David, he said he fell in love with her about six months into dating, when they were on a weekend trip to Chicago in December 2018. They hadn’t said ‘I love you’ yet, but the two later realized that’s when they both fell in love.

“Just the conversations we had, I just really thought to myself, ‘Wow, I want more of this, and I truly do see a future with this woman, and I just can’t wait to continue this,’” he said. “‘This is the one I want to marry.’”

David proposed to Brittney in September 2019. He planned a date that included the three places they went on their first three dates in Indianapolis, and proposed to her on the canal, just the two of them.

“We really wanted to enjoy that season of engagement — we did not want stress to enter,” she said. “We opted for a longer engagement. We originally set a date to get married in April of 2021.”

Their original wedding plans were far different than the wedding they had. Their guest list exceeded 300 people, and they were wanting to have a “formal, southern-style big wedding” in Indianapolis, with a religious ceremony, southern cuisine, a groom’s cake and monogrammed details throughout. Brittney’s extended family lives in Mississippi, and she spent her summers visiting her grandparents in Tupelo; she’s always loved Mississippi.

“I absolutely loved it, it was just a peaceful place for me,” she said. “And the southern hospitality is so unrivaled. I’ve traveled a lot of places and I’ve gone to different countries, but there’s no place like Mississippi.”

But as the date approached, their vendors suggested pushing back the wedding to July 2021. She and her mother went dress shopping, but with the difference of Indiana weather in April, when it could still be snowing, and July, when summer is in full swing, there was too much in limbo to decide. And they felt that way about a lot of choices for their wedding.

The couple heeded a friend’s advice: “‘You guys should give people something to celebrate, in this troublesome year, with some joy,’ so we did just that,” Brittney said.

The couple gave their closest family and friends one month’s notice: They were going to elope in a place the couple loved so much: Oxford, Mississippi. Brittney worked closely with the Visit Oxford tourism center to coordinate their weekend plans and to stay in-tune with local and state regulations. In the end, their family traveled from Indiana, friends came from Washington D.C. and Denver, some family from Missouri and her family from Mississippi joined.

The guest list went from over 300, down to 25, and they all converged in Oxford for the big day. Three of Brittney’s bridesmaids were able to be there, and four of David’s groomsmen were in attendance.

“We didn’t know how it was going to unfold until we actually went down there, and did it. So the actual day of the ceremony, it was just kind of go-with-it,” David said. “But the cool thing is, I couldn’t have asked for a better wedding. (We) didn’t know what was going to happen, but everything fell into place perfectly.”

On Dec. 11, 2020, on Friday afternoon, they had the civil ceremony in Oxford’s courthouse, where David wore his suit and Brittney wore a jumpsuit. Her grandmother was able to sew on lace details from her mother’s wedding dress.

“Although I wasn’t wearing a traditional wedding dress,” she said, “I still felt like a bride because I had a piece of my mom’s wedding dress in my attire.”

That evening, Brittney’s parents hosted “an intimate dinner” on the Square for all the guests, where her father and some of the guests gave speeches and toasts to the newlyweds.

“That was really, really sentimental for both of us,” she said.

Saturday morning, her parents reserved a double-decker bus tour to guide the family and guests through Oxford, where they got to know the small town and its history, and to see it in “all its glory with the Christmas lights and all the holiday décor,” Brittney remembers. After the tour, the group attended a bridal brunch hosted by David’s parents.

“During weddings, there’s a lot of events that take place leading up to the wedding, and I just felt a little selfish during a time where there’s so much darkness and uncertainty, asking people to focus on David and I,” she said. “I felt like that just wasn’t us. We just really wanted to, more so than anything, just give people a reason to celebrate and to be happy and kind of experience a new place.”

Originally, when they first agreed on the elopement plans, they had intentions of returning home to Indianapolis, and celebrating at another time with friends and loved ones there; now, they might not.

“We are just at so much peace, and we are so happy with how everything came together, that we don’t need a wedding dress or a reception to feel married. We were able to exchange our vows legally and in the presence of God, so to us, we are just happily married now,” Brittney said. “This would be hard to beat.”

The couple agreed they wouldn’t change a single thing about their wedding day, and the trip they shared with their guests.

“I’m so thankful we did it this way,” she said. “Looking back on it, I wish we would have done it this way to begin with; it was so great. I’m so thankful we did it this way.”

Where are they now?

After they were married, Brittney and David returned to Indianapolis, where she moved into his house. David is a real estate broker and owner of an electric company, and Brittney is the director of marketing and PR specialist in the architect and design industry. They’re busying themselves with new home renovations, while also training their eight-month old Australian Shepherd puppy, Archie — that’s Archie, like Archie Manning, though David’s a huge Colts fan, so Peyton Manning is his favorite Manning.

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