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Social distancing wedding reception surprises Austintown couple

Alexis Benyo and Connor Chrystal changed destinations to say "I do."

AUSTINTOWN — Once upon a time, Alexis Benyo and Conor Chrystal planned a destination wedding in Florida.

Then the coronavirus pandemic made traveling on the last Saturday in April an impossibility.

The couple had a choice — wait for a safer time or shift to Plan B.

They decided they couldn't wait to say "I do," so they planned a small family affair ceremony at St. Joseph Parish on New Road with the Very Rev. Gregory Fedor presiding. 

Their family also made a plan, surprising the couple after Saturday's ceremony with a "social distancing" reception in the church parking lot. About two dozen cars belonging to friends and family formed an aisle for the couple to stroll.

Conor, an insurance agent, and Alexis, a pharmacist who owns Lake Milton Pharmacy, wore special Mr. and Mrs. masks made by the bride's grandmother, Pat Benyo. 

It was the Mahoning Valley's second (at least) social distancing wedding celebration in as many weekends. On April 17 in Boardman, Hilary Minton and Kevin Johnson planned a celebration in the parking lot where their reception was to be.

The Chrystal wedding was limited to parents and siblings. Mac Chrystal served as best man and Kara Benyo was the maid of honor. Also attending were Alex and Vickie Benyo (parents of the bride), Bill and Sharyn Chrystal (parents of the groom), Caitlin Chrystal (sister of the groom) and Kyle Benyo and Blake Benyo (brothers of the bride).

The couple has postponed their honeymoon until October when they will go to Sanibel Island in Florida to renew the vows then celebrate with a reception where masks will — hopefully — be optional.

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