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Newlywed couple exits small ceremony to find a big surprise

Coronavirus kept the wedding small, but dozens of friends gathered outside the church to welcome the happy couple from a safe distance.

ALAMO HEIGHTS, Texas — Katelyn Pope and Michael Almquist had been planning their wedding for two years. The coronavirus changed their plans and hundreds of wedding invitations had to be canceled. They were married Saturday in a mostly empty church. 

Rescheduling wasn't an option. Michael will soon begin a medical residency in Lafayette, LA, and Katelyn's father has been battling an illness that's taken its toll.

"He was determined that he was going to be here to walk his daughter down the aisle," said Michael's mother, Lisa Almquist.

The small ceremony would not be the end of their day however. Lisa had carefully planned a surprise.

When Michael and Katelyn exited the church, they were greeted with the cheers of dozens of their friends and family, most wearing masks and doing their best to social distance.

Then, a parade from the Alamo Heights fire and police departments drove by, honking horns and flashing lights to celebrate the newlyweds. 

The crowning moment, perhaps, was the father-bride dance that they thought was lost. Katelyn and her father danced to Brown Eyed Girl, sung by a family member.

The crowd was smaller than Michael and Katelyn had wanted, but larger than they expected. Their friends' faces were obscured by masks, but their smiles still unmistakable. It certainly looked nothing like the wedding day they had dreamed of, but it will remain one of the happiest memories of their lives.

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