Two frontline nurses from Astoria shared their love with the world as they tied the knot during a live wedding ceremony on NBC’s TODAY show on June 25.
Vanessa Baral, 27, a float nurse from Long Island Jewish Forest Hills Hospital, and Herwyn Silva, 28, a nurse at Lenox Hill Hospital, were married by TODAY co-anchor and ordained minister Hoda Kotb as the couple’s coworkers held watch parties for the ceremony at both hospitals.
NBC is sending the newlywed couple to Fiji for their honeymoon.
“It definitely caught us by surprise. We still can’t believe it and we’re still processing it,” the couple told QNS. “We went back to work and everyone said, ‘You’re going to Fiji!’ We are definitely in disbelief and excited to take a trip next year.’”
NBC had contacted Lenox Hill Hospital asking if there were healthcare workers that had marriage plans affected by the coronavirus pandemic. According to Silva, his manager or supervisor sent the couple’s information, which then led to a phone interview for a wedding on live television.
“We were in disbelief. Vanessa was next to me during that phone call and started falling onto the floor,” Silva said. “We still can’t believe it happened and we’re just so thankful.”
The couple’s May nuptials were postponed by the pandemic. In early April, Baral began feeling tired and came down with the virus after treating patients at LIJ Forest Hills.
Baral had suffered shortness of breath, a dry cough, diarrhea, and a loss of smell and taste, she said.
“It was a difficult time period. I’m glad that I never had to be hospitalized,” Baral said. “I didn’t want the virus to progress and I kept telling myself ‘you better fight this.’”
Silva said he was thankful that he didn’t become sick but was worried about Vanessa.
“I get worried sometimes especially with loved ones,” Silva said. “I try to protect myself as best as I can at work because we all know where the virus lives.”
Following Baral’s successful recovery and then tying the knot on television two months later, the couple said their “hearts feel so full with the whole experience” and are glad their coworkers and family were able to witness the ceremony.
“The whole crew at the TODAY show were very welcoming and they made it feel so much easier,” the couple said. “We are really thankful to be healthy and to have the opportunity to share our love with everyone.”