Hoda Kotb officiated the wedding of two New York nurses live on the Today show on Thursday, two months after the bride recovered from COVID-19.
The Today co-anchor, who happens to be an ordained minister, wed Vanessa Baral and Herwyn Silva in a socially distanced outdoor ceremony after their May wedding had been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hoda, 55, made sure to stand six feet away from the bride and groom during the televised wedding attended by only a few family members, who all wore masks.
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Special moment: Hoda Kotb, who is an ordained minister, wed Vanessa Baral and Herwyn Silva life on the Today show on Thursday during a socially distanced outdoor ceremony
Time to shine: The New York nurses have been battling COVID-19 on the front lines and had to postpone their May wedding due to the pandemic
Vanessa and Herwyn’s friends and colleagues from Lenox Hill Hospital and Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital watched the couple tie the knot remotely via a video chat that was pulled up on a big screen TV.
The journalist donned a sleeveless black trench dress to officiate the ceremony, making sure the focus was on the couple. The bride looked stunning in an off-the-shoulder white gown, while her soon-to-be husband had on a classic black tux.
Vanessa and Herwyn have been together for more than eight years after they met as part of a dance group in Queens. After getting engaged while on vacation last year, they planned a May wedding, but the pandemic changed everything.
‘I’ll never forget the picture I’ll always have in our ER when almost everybody who were on the stretchers were on oxygen, and I’ve never seen that in my life,’ Herwyn told Today. ‘And that was heartbreaking.’
Safety first: Hoda, 55, made sure to stand six feet away from the bride and groom during the televised wedding
Attendees: The wedding was attended by only a few family members, who all wore masks
On the big screen: Vanessa and Herwyn’s friends and colleagues from Lenox Hill Hospital and Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital watched the couple tie the knot remotely
The wedding was particularly emotional for the healthcare workers, who have been battling COVID 19 on the front lines — and at home.
Vanessa was diagnosed with coronavirus in early April after treating patients at Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital. Thankfully, the nurse didn’t need to be hospitalized, and she recovered after about two weeks.
‘I was afraid for her, as well as myself, and our family, of her getting to that point and being very sick,’ Herwyn said. ‘There was one point where I texted one of my coworkers, I was like, “I’m afraid. What if I’m not going to be able to walk down the aisle with her?” It was hard.’
Hoda addressed both their vocations and their experiences with COVID-19 while performing the ceremony.
Officiant: The Today anchor donned a sleeveless black trench dress to officiate the ceremony, making sure the focus was on the couple
So sweet: Hoda was all smiles as she watched the couple exchange rings
On the front lines: The wedding comes just two months after Vanessa recovered from COVID-19. She contracted the illness while treating patients
Saying ‘I do’: When the couple exchanged vows, Vanessa promised to ‘root for the Knicks,’ while Herwyn agreed to ‘always water the plants’
Celebration: Hoda threw rose petals after pronouncing them husband and wife
‘The words for better or for worse have never been more poignant than in this moment,’ she said. ‘You guys both come from a family of caretakers, and you have both proven that you are committing yourself to others.
‘You’ve spent your whole lives doing that. We get why you guys were meant to be together, and you can handle anything — including getting married during a pandemic.’
When the couple exchanged vows, Vanessa promised to ‘root for the Knicks,’ while Herwyn agreed to ‘always water the plants.’
After pronouncing them husband and wife, they shared a sweet kiss as Hoda tossed flower petals in the air and their family clapped behind them.
Making memories: After the ceremony, Hoda surprised them with a special virtual performance of their wedding song ‘Rainbow’ by the Filipino pop band South Border
Heartwarming: The newlyweds looked deeply into each other’s eyes as they swayed to the music in front of Hoda and their family
Another surprise: The newlyweds are being sent on a seven-day honeymoon in Fiji next year
Careful: Hoda was wearing a mask when she arrived at the outdoor ceremony
‘It’s surreal,’ a beaming Herwyn said.
Hoda then surprised the newlyweds with a special virtual performance of their wedding song ‘Rainbow’ by the Filipino pop band South Border.
It was later revealed that the Today show is sending them on a seven-day honeymoon next year to the Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort and Spa in Fiji, courtesy of Tourism Fiji and Fiji Airways.
‘I’m just grateful to have her,’ Herwyn said. ‘It just makes life a lot better and easier. No matter how hard it gets.’
The newlyweds aren’t the only couple Hoda has pronounced husband and wife in recent months. In April, she officiated a surprise Zoom wedding that was orchestrated by the groom and the bride’s maid of honor.