- Amanda and Sam Greenberg looked forward to their rescheduled wedding reception on April 30.
- On April 27, Sam tested positive for COVID-19, but the couple didn’t want to postpone again.
- Instead, Amanda attended the reception with a cardboard cutout of Sam while he stayed home.
When the groom tests positive for COVID-19, replace him with a cardboard cutout.
That’s the story for Amanda and Sam Greenberg, who made the best of yet another disappointing situation when it came to their wedding celebration. It had been rescheduled several times in the past two years due to the pandemic.
The date they finally landed on to party with friends and family was April 30, an important day to Amanda—it was the anniversary of her parents’ marriage 43 years before.
“My mom passed away five years ago, so it was one of the reasons why we wanted to follow through with the celebration,” Amanda said. “I appreciate Sam for understanding that because my mom was a bride on that day, I wanted to be one too.”
Amanda told Insider that she and Sam were engaged in 2019 and originally set a September 2020 wedding date. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, the couple ended up pushing their wedding date two different times. By early 2021, they ultimately decided to host a backyard wedding at Amanda’s father’s home in Maryland on January 31, 2021. They would be legally wed.
Amanda ordered a white dress from Rent the Runway and a furry shawl from Amazon for their outdoor celebration in the snow. Sam wore a black suit with a green tie and a matching kippah.
Despite moving forward with an at-home ceremony, the two still wanted to host a traditional reception. They scheduled it for April 30, 2022.
On April 27, three days before their reception, Sam tested positive for COVID-19. The couple had an important decision to make, says Amanda: Cancel the reception and lose their venue deposit or move forward with the wedding, knowing that she had been exposed.
“My dad and I had a discussion, and either we eat all this money or have a celebration for people who still want to come knowing I was exposed,” Amanda said, noting that Sam would not be present due to the diagnosis. “Following the CDC’s guidelines, I told everyone that I had been exposed, but I didn’t have any symptoms.”
Because Sam would be isolating at home, Amanda got the idea to bring along a cardboard cutout of him. She overnighted the prop, so it would arrive in time for their reception. Fittingly, Amanda picked a picture of Sam from their backyard wedding. She said she spent about $400 on two cutouts.
“I just wanted him there and thought it would be funny to dance around with a cardboard cutout,” Amanda said of the five-foot prop.
But Sam showed up in another way for the reception: on screen in the ballroom. It was a surprise to Amanda, she said.
“I hadn’t been in the ballroom to see that he was actually on the screen, so I brought the cardboard cutout with me to do our introduction,” she said.
He even wore his suit from the backyard ceremony for the video cameo. Amanda wore the wedding gown she had picked out for their original date in 2020.
Amanda told Insider that their guests had a blast with the cardboard cutout and even dubbed it “Flat Sam,” an homage to Flat Stanley. Sam told Insider that he thought the cutout was hilarious, but wish it had been it taller to miror his size in real life.
“Unique is probably the only word to describe it,” Sam said. “I certainly missed being there, but more than anything, I just wanted Amanda to be happy and feel like a bride.”
“I’m really happy that she had the best time in a bad situation and enjoyed it with her friends and family,” Sam continued. “Plus, we still have the rest of our lives to celebrate together.”