Benny Flax, 38, and Erica Grier, 33, celebrate after getting married Monday during a livestreamed wedding with Cook County Marriage Court Judge Krista D. Butler. | Provided

Monday was the first day couples could have a downtown Cook County judge conduct their wedding via Zoom.

If you tuned in late, you could be forgiven for thinking that Nicole Bell and Curtis McQueen’s wedding was a sham — that they weren’t really in love at all.

Or perhaps theirs was a secret, forbidden union.

Each was in a separate room during a livestreamed ceremony Monday before Cook County Marriage Court Judge Krista D. Butler and at the end, they blew kisses without actually touching.

The true answer was a lot more pedestrian: They were having technical difficulties — a weird echo on each of their phones as they tried to speak their vows to the judge, a problem only resolved when they separated.

They remedied the situation a few moments later with a proper smooch.

“The kissing was shocking, electrifying!” said McQueen, 36, who lives with Bell, 48, on the South Side.

Monday was the first day for couples looking to tie the knot before a downtown Cook County judge without having to show up in person — and it went off without too many hitches.

“Because of COVID, we were only limited to two people with the couple at in-person weddings,” said Judge Diann Marsalek, acting presiding judge of Marriage Court and the Traffic Division. “We thought it would be nice to have Zoom, so they can have their family and friends — even from all over the world — watch the ceremony.”

Erica Grier’s wedding to Benny Flax began with Butler gently notifying the couple, “You’re muted.”

And then the groom couldn’t remember where he’d put the ring. He’d hidden it to keep it beyond the reach of the couple’s two small children.

“The kids are really touchy grabby,” said Flax, who lives with his bride on the West Side.

A few minutes later, Flax retrieved the ring from the glove compartment of his car and the ceremony continued.

Grier and Flax had planned to marry in person, but they were informed — a week before the wedding — that because of a spike in coronavirus cases, the ceremony had to be canceled. So Flax, 38, found out about the virtual option and persuaded Grier, 33, that this was an option they couldn’t pass up.

“The devil has been busy a lot in my life,” Flax said. “It was like he was trying to keep me from being happy, and I wasn’t going to have it.”

And now the newlyweds are making plans to celebrate in Las Vegas.

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