“I wasn’t upset over the past year so I wanted to take this moment to celebrate for myself,” said Studley, 39.

On Sunday, she walked into the M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore at the mass vaccination station, wearing her retro white satin A-line dress with polka-dot tulle. She combined it with peep toes.

It’s the outfit she would have worn to her wedding reception, she said, had it not been canceled due to the pandemic.

Studley and Brian Horlor, 39, got engaged in November 2019. They set a wedding date a year later and planned an elegant celebration for 100 people in San Diego – where Horlor’s 94-year-old grandfather lives. Of course, the plans have changed.

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“It became very clear that it was going to be a very bad idea for us to continue,” said Studley.

However, the couple married in November anyway. In a nondescript civil ceremony – despite wearing traditional wedding attire – the couple tied the knot outside the clerk’s office in San Diego County. This was followed by a small dinner with the immediate family and a cake from Costco.

“It wasn’t what I would have chosen,” said Studley. “But there were definitely things that were wonderful.”

Even so, the couple wanted a bigger reception to celebrate with their extended family and friends. They started planning an event for June, and Studley bought a whimsical polka dot wedding dress to wear to the party.

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However, when the vaccine rollout lagged behind in January, they pulled the plug.

“It didn’t seem possible to have a reception that was both safe and fun, so we decided to cancel it,” said Studley, an attorney with a DC nonprofit.

That meant the polka-dotted dress would unfortunately hang in her closet indefinitely – or at least until there was a suitable occasion to wear it. For Studley, her first vaccination appointment seemed to be just that, she said.

She was inspired to take off her wedding dress after coming across a tweet from someone wearing a full-length sequin dress to a vaccine appointment in February because getting vaccinated is the “MY YEAR EVENT,” the post said.

“It was an excellent idea,” said Studley. “I was so impressed because things were really dark and the idea of ​​getting a vaccine is such a bright moment.”

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“It’s not a cure, it’s not the end of the pandemic, but it’s certainly a major turning point,” Studley said. “For me personally, it means getting a vaccine, carefree hugging my 81-year-old father and going shopping without worrying about infecting workers.”

So on Sunday Studley pulled her hair back in a bun and wore a pair of pearl earrings. She even applied eyeliner, and she was glad she remembered how to do it after months without makeup. Then she closed the dress with a zipper.

Before going to the vaccine appointment, she showed her husband her bride-to-be.

“I was definitely surprised,” said Horlor, who had not yet seen his wife in the dress. “There it was, everything pimped up.”

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Horlor, a chemist, didn’t know Studley was going to wear her reception gown to her vaccination appointment, he said, but he’s glad she did.

“Our wedding was an opportunity and their vaccination was an opportunity,” said Horlor. “Usually these two things don’t go hand in hand, but why not?”

As soon as Studley got out of her car in the vaccination center parking lot – a partnership between the state of Maryland and the University of Maryland Medical System – someone stopped her to ask where she was going.

Her answer: “Here I go,” she said, pointing to the converted football stadium. “I explained that this was my reception gown and we had to cancel the reception. Now it’s my vaccine reception gown.”

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The people at the vaccination site got a kick from Studley’s bridal wear, she said, especially the staff.

Julie Lefkowitz, a nurse at the vaccination site, immediately waved Studley over to her ward when she spotted her at the entrance.

“Okay, please tell me the story,” Lefkowitz said to Studley as she approached her.

“She was noticed. You don’t see many people walking in with white frilly dresses, ”said 52-year-old Lefkowitz. “I wanted to understand their story and be part of it.”

Before Lefkowitz delivered the shot, Studley explained why they were all dressed.

“It just shone. She was super optimistic and excited, and you could tell that she had done her part to bring the world back to normal, ”said Lefkowitz. “It was definitely a lot of fun. We all need positive things, and that is positive. “

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Richie Stever, the head of operations at the vaccination site, said Studley loved him and countless others.

“We usually see people in sportswear and casual wear. Certainly not a wedding dress, ”said Stever. “Everyone who was near that vaccination station had a particularly big smile.”

Although Studley’s main goal was to disguise herself, she was thrilled to uplift others in the process.

“It was really nice to have such positive interactions,” she said, adding that she encourages others to dress up for their vaccination appointments as well.

“Celebrate it. It doesn’t have to be fancy, ”said Studley. “Take advantage of the moment.”

She added, “I’m already thinking about what to do for my second dose.”


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