‘Too good to be true’: Couple working on front lines during pandemic gifted dream wedding

CHARLOTTE — A Charlotte couple who has been on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19 will get a wedding beyond their wildest dreams in about a month.

Wedding planners, who were losing money hand over fist during the height of the pandemic, decided to volunteer their resources to help a firefighter and a nurse who have already given so much.

“We still don’t believe it,” said Emily Bellow.

She was still in awe during her second trip to Separk Mansion in Gastonia.

“We were like, ‘Wow, this is too good to be true,” Bellow told Channel 9.

The mansion is one of the premier wedding venues in the area, and people save up for years in order to have their wedding there.

Bellow and her fiancé, Cody McCray, will get the mansion, a photographer, and flowers -- for nothing.

“I feel like we hit the wedding lottery,” Bellow said.

In March of last year, McCray, a Charlotte firefighter, along with other firefighters were among the first to respond to calls of people with COVID symptoms. Bellow was a nurse practitioner at Novant Health, seeing the impact the virus had on patients.

“It was just, there are no words,” she said. “I have never experienced anything like it in my career before. And I hope to never experience anything like it again.”

The couple heard that Separk and other planners dealing with scores of wedding cancellations wanted to raffle off a wedding at no charge for people fighting to keep everyone safe.

Bellow and McCray won.

“Because, you know, during a time when everybody’s struggling, they decided to give,” Bellow told Channel 9. “And the fact that they’re giving us this gift is just astounding.”

When the world went into a shut down, Bellow and McCray didn’t image plans would restart like this.

“So, the fact that they were able to give us the wedding of our dreams, there are no words. I mean, I still can’t believe this is real life every single day,” Bellow said.

The operators of Separk Mansion said they and the other wedding vendors wanted those who were fighting under dire circumstances to know how much they are appreciated.

“I speak for all of us when we say … thank you for everything that the community has done for us through all of this,” Bellow said.

Bellow said she and her fiancé originally planned an intimate wedding with their closest friends, but Separk Mansion can host as many as 250 people for a wedding, so Bellow told Channel 9 they were able to expand their guest list and invite more friends and family to join them on their special day.

(WATCH BELOW: Community pulls together to give Charlotte homeless couple dream wedding)