BELTON, S.C. – Josh Skierski and Vanessa Palacios had been dating since a chance meeting on Valentine’s Day in 2010, and they’d been discussing getting married for the past year, patiently waiting for the right opportunity to tie the knot. “We were trying to find the location that spoke to us,” Palacios said.
Then three weeks ago, the couple heard a total eclipse would be covering the country, and the couple figured when better to commemorate their once-in-a-lifetime union than during the rare natural phenomenon?
“We’re not exactly traditional,” Skierski said. “Anybody who knows us knows it was going to be weird and going to be fun.”
Skierski and Palacios said their vows alongside five other couples at Blue Jar Barn in Belton, S.C., as the outdoor event space offered couples a special price of $300 to get married at 2 p.m. on Monday. The twelve men and women stood in front of the altar together in a shaded portion of a field surrounded by wooded area. The men said their portion of the vows when instructed, and the women followed. The rings that Skierski and Palacios exchanged represent the total eclipse when placed side by side.
After the wedding, Rev. Duane Jenkins, who officiated the wedding, warned everyone in attendance to don protective eclipse glasses, and then Skierski and Palacios walked down the aisle as man and wife, joining their dog, Leona. They put their arms around each other, looked up at the sky and gasped as darkness covered Belton at 2:38 p.m. for 2 minutes and 27 seconds. People cheered and a car horn rang out in the distance.
“It’s the first moment that we’re never going to be able to reproduce together,” Skierski said. “That’s the start of our journey together, and it’s historical, but it’s also something that we got to experience together.”
“My whole body felt warm,” Palacios said.
The couple rented an RV on Saturday, making the two-hour drive from Atlanta to settle on the Blue Jar Barn property for the weekend with their close friends. The next two days were spent eating apple pie and watching 16 hours of Oprah after they purchased a DVD set of her show at a thrift store near where they rented the RV.
“You couldn’t ask for much more than that,” Palacios said.