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CEO Robbie Briggs in The Wall Street Journal: My daughter's pixel-perfect wedding

Each Friday, Robbie Briggs, president and CEO of Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty, writes about luxury, trends, business and more in the advertising pages of the Mansion section of The Wall Street Journal. Below is a longer version of his letter of July 10, 2020.  FROM MY PERSPECTIVE The father of the bride wore pixels Life doesn’t stop because of COVID-19. It cannot. Sometimes, it makes it harder. My heart goes out to those who have loved ones in the hospital or nursing homes, where they can’t be by their sides. And, plans have to change and we all have to be flexible, because this pandemic is serious. We have to take precautions for each other, to help stop the spread of this deadly illness. We have a friend who has been in ICU on a ventilator for almost 30 days. Every day, we pray things will get better for him. We certainly hope they will. Almost everyone is making concessions, and our family just did, too. Our daughter, Anne, fell in love with a great young man from Taiwan. Many months ago, Anne and Mark set a wedding date for June 27. The wedding needed to be in Taiwan because a beloved grandfather in his 90s couldn’t travel. Our family is spread out all over the world, so it was no inconvenience at all for us to travel for the big day. Then, along came COVID. The Taiwan borders eventually closed. Anne would have to get married with no family there, nor any of her special friends. She was sad. We all were sad. My wife was really sad. But, the joy of their wedding was greater than our sadness — so we made the best of it, thanks to technology. It started with a phone call early Friday morning, which is Friday night in Taiwan. The happy couple was starting the rehearsal dinner — but I was still having a morning shower and my wife was still in bed. Anne took the phone and, with video, introduced my wife to the entire restaurant. (Yes, she was the lady with the covers pulled up to her chin.) I quickly donned my clothes and we watched great friends and family toast and give wonderful accolades to our daughter and her soon-to-be-husband. So touching. Friday evening in the U.S. came as the wedding party got ready for a 10 a.m. Saturday wedding, in the Taiwan village of the grandfather. We started with watching the bride get ready and dressed for the big day. She looked amazing. I had scheduled some 10-minute alone-time with my daughter, just before the groom’s father walked her down the aisle. (With my other two daughters, that “Daddy time” was precious and I didn’t want to miss that.) Anne and I cried together as I prayed over her and Mark’s beginning of marriage. Here is where technology really came in. Anne carried me — well, a video me — on a tablet down the aisle, so the pastor could ask “Who gives this woman away?” I said loud enough for everyone to hear, “Her mother and I do!” Then, they set the tablet on the front row, so we had the view of the ceremony from our proper seats. On one occasion, the keeper of the tablet turned us toward the groom’s father and grandfather, so that we could smile and give each other a thumbs-up. Then, our family and close friends watched the service on live-streaming social media and video. Our family — Anne’s two older brothers and their families, and her two younger sisters and their husbands — was all connected on a video group chat, so that we could watch each other laugh and cry. We were actually very much there. And the happy couple is married and on their honeymoon — fortunately, in person and not virtually. Some things, technology just cannot beat. Robbie Briggs President and CEO Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Realty rbriggs@briggsfreeman.com  

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