Paramount TV Studios Development Boss Gets Married in Living Room After 'Stay at Home' Order

Jamie Street/Rad+In Love
Jenna Santoianni and Eric Cartier

Jenna Santoianni and Eric Cartier, who were set to wed at AOC in Los Angeles, had a private ceremony at home March 21 with only their photographer as a witness.

On March 21, Jenna Santoianni, exec vp and head of development at Paramount Television Studios, married Eric Cartier, managing director at investment banking company Houlihan Lokey, in a slightly different way than the two of them had planned: at home in their living room, with no guests. 

The couple, who got engaged in November and were set to have a 37-person wedding at AOC in West Hollywood, were forced to scrap their plans amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and Los Angeles' "Stay at Home" order — but that didn't stop them from making it official from their Echo Park home. 

Santoianni said in the days leading up to the wedding, originally set for March 21, things slowly came crashing down as their vendors canceled (starting with her makeup artist) and the locations for their rehearsal dinner and day-after co-worker brunch were closed, followed by the order to close restaurants and therefore, their wedding venue. The one vendor who stayed on was photographer Jamie Street, who refused to cancel and was adamant that the couple still get married on their set day, even serving as their sole witness with an officiant standing six feet away.  

After taking some pictures in their neighborhood, "we just moved some furniture in the living room and handwrote our vows to each other because we don't have a printer to print them on. We had like a 10-minute ceremony in our living room that was very intimate and very emotional because there was no one else to look at besides each other," Santoianni says. "We called people after and we got to hear some of the fun toasts that they would have said at our wedding, but honestly by 7:30 we were both in sweatpants and eating a pizza," ordering in from Triple Beam Pizza along with cupcakes from Sprinkles and cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory after they tried and failed to get a cake that read "For Better or Corona." 

The exec said it was a difficult decision to decide to get married without friends or family, especially since the couple had 12 to 15 people who were willing to attend at their home despite the risk of a group event. 

"The night before the wedding, we kind of looked at each other as all of the information kept coming out and said, 'I don't think this is a good idea — it's going to be horrible if we're the wedding that gave everyone corona,'" Santoianni says. "We just sort of said to everyone, 'Listen, we're canceling it. It's not that we don't want you there, but I think we're better safe than sorry and we don't know if we're going to reschedule it.' We didn't really tell anyone that we were just going to get married in our living room because we didn't want anyone to feel like we excluded them." 

They also opted out of live-streaming the wedding to their guests via Zoom or FaceTime because both spend all week long on video conference meetings and felt like they wanted to do the ceremony for each other rather than for the computer. The couple had picked up their rings the week before and wore the wedding dress and suit (which already had "3/21/20" embroidered inside) they had chosen for the original ceremony. 

Of the decision to not just postpone the big day, Santoianni says, "you spend a lot of time looking forward to these events in your life, to postpone it feels like a really big disappointment when so much other stuff in the world is not great news at the moment. For the two of us, we wanted to do it because it was something we've really been looking forward to you and in this time of uncertainty, it was something that is going to make a great story later on but also gave us a lot of hope. It did give us something to celebrate, even if the celebration was smaller." 

"I think when we look back on it, it's going be something that's just kind of personal between the two of us — which at the time seemed like a big disappointment, but looking back at it, I don't think either one of us would have wanted it any other way," she says.