On May 22, former West Bloomfield resident Sari Saperstein was wed to Rich Hohenbrink. Their family walked them down the aisle via cellphone.

On May 22, former West Bloomfield resident Sari Saperstein was wed to Rich Hohenbrink. Their family walked them down the aisle via cellphone.

Photo provided by Sari Saperstein


Family pushes forward with wedding during pandemic

By: Mark Vest | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published July 23, 2020

 Earlier this year, former West Bloomfield resident Sari Saperstein accepted a proposal from her long-time boyfriend, Rich Hohenbrink, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, former West Bloomfield resident Sari Saperstein accepted a proposal from her long-time boyfriend, Rich Hohenbrink, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo provided by Sari Saperstein

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — For many around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic brought life to a screeching halt.

But for others, this year has been as exciting and filled with as many adventures as any other.

Between April and May, the life of former West Bloomfield resident Sari Saperstein took multiple twists and turns.

It started April 4, when the man she had been dating for nearly six years, Rich Hohenbrink, proposed to her in a park in Colorado, where the couple currently resides.

Saperstein said yes.

A month later, she completed graduate school.

Then Saperstein decided that she also wanted to propose to Hohenbrink, which she did May 15.

One week later, on May 22, the couple got married in the park where he originally proposed to her.

As if all that wasn’t enough, Saperstein said, “We found the exact house that we kind of like had been dreaming about the day after we got married.”

It has been a time period unlike any other in her life.

“It’s pretty amazing; 2020’s been such a hard year for so many people, including us, but it’s been really nice to have those shining moments of just pure joy and celebration,” Saperstein said. “It’s really made 2020 easier for us and helped us move forward in our lives.”

Had it not been for COVID-19, the couple may have opted for a traditional wedding. But circumstances helped dictate a different direction.

The only ones physically present at the wedding were Hohenbrink, Saperstein, a judge, a photographer and a videographer.

Despite not being there in person, Saperstein’s mom, Brenda Oventhal Saperstein, said, “They had told the parents to be on our cellphones so we could walk them down the aisle virtually.”

“It was all so meaningful,” Oventhal Saperstein, of West Bloomfield, said. “They wanted our pictures on the chairs, our wedding pictures, as if we were there, even though we were holding our cellphones watching them.”

Pictures of grandparents were also at the ceremony, along with two shawls that Oventhal Saperstein’s great-grandmother had made, and a tallit — a shawl with fringed corners worn over the head or shoulders by Jewish men — from Hohenbrink’s grandfather.

The couple got married under a canopy that Hohenbrink had made, with the shawls and tallit placed on top.

“It was really intimate and personal, and probably more special, I think, to Rich and I than it would’ve been if we were in like a giant ballroom with everybody watching us,” Saperstein said. “We were really present and focused on the moment, and the reason why we were there in the first place. … It was special to feel my mom’s presence there even though she couldn’t be there.”

Despite not being there physically, Oventhal Saperstein went through an emotional journey on the day of her daughter’s wedding.

“I had this perpetual smile,” she said. “I didn’t cry, but my eyes watered. … My heart was beating so much; it was fantastic. It was a different wedding, but it was beautiful.”

With different family members living in various parts of the country, from Oventhal Saperstein’s perspective, a traditional wedding would have been “problematic.”

Despite how “horrendous” the pandemic has been, on a beautiful and sunny day in Colorado May 22, it helped lead to a ceremony Oventhal Saperstein described as a “special, delightful, different wedding that you can’t forget.”

“It was beautiful and uplifting,” she said. “I’m so glad it worked out this way. Sorry about the pandemic, but I’m glad it worked out this way.”

Had the ceremony been a more traditional one, Saperstein’s memories of that day may not have been as rich as the ones she has now.

“If I were in front of a big group of people, I probably would’ve blacked out, not remembered what I said with my vows, and (not) remembered the moment as intimately as I did,” she said. “It was nice to be fully there and present, and not letting any outside influences influence the way we wanted our day to be.”

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