Wedding Commissioner Ruth Lipton, wearing a protective face shield, looks on after marrying Nikki Alexis and Roni Jones during a city of Vancouver micro-wedding pilot program outside of Vancouver City Hall, Friday, June 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

‘A little different’: Vancouver ‘micro-weddings’ help couples during COVID-19

The weddings can range in style

Nikki Alexis and Roni Jones originally imagined their September wedding would include 100 people, including friends and family, and a large celebration.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed that, with gatherings of more than 50 people prohibited across British Columbia.

“It wasn’t safe for us,” said Alexis, speaking after their wedding ceremony. “We knew we still really wanted to get married this year.”

The couple joined others from the area to take part in a City of Vancouver-led “micro-wedding” on Friday afternoon.

The events, which are booked through the city, feature a handful of witnesses, a commissioner and a photographer.

“I think this is just one of those little ways we can help people who otherwise had to put their fairly extravagant and long-planned plans off,” said Melissa de Genova, the city councillor who brought forward the motion to allow weddings at city hall.

De Genova said she was inspired by seeing weddings at city halls in other communities.

She intended to have the ceremonies held inside council chambers with a plan to eventually stage them on the roof to allow for a panoramic shot of Vancouver.

The COVID-19 pandemic changed those plans, with staff working to allow weddings in a plaza in front of city hall.

The weddings can range in style. One couple hired a limo. Another wedding featured a friend showing up with a guitar to serenade the happy couple exchanging their vows.

“We picked up a marriage licence at the beginning of May so it was perfect timing,” said Nathalie Pohl, who married her partner Art on Friday.

Nathalie and Art were engaged for three years and both say the small aspect of the micro-wedding appealed to them.

The Pohls met on a dating website, holding their first date at a Coquitlam restaurant.

“We closed the restaurant down,” said Nathalie during her vows.

There are some limits with the city-led ceremony. Only 10 people, including photographers, are allowed to attend and the 30-minute weddings are staggered throughout the day. Interested couples have to bring a marriage licence, hire a wedding commissioner or officiate and bring at least two witnesses.

Another couple — Alexis and Jones — admitted there were some tough discussions about who would be allowed to attend. Those unable to be there in person joined in by Zoom.

“This is certainly smaller, I think we originally planned for 100 people and today we had 10 people,” said Jones, who added that he thought the experience was great. “It’s certainly a little different than planned.”

City staff plan to marry 40 couples outside city hall this summer across five days of weddings. July 27 has been designated for two spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer couples to celebrate Pride.

City staff said they will evaluate if the weddings were a success at the end of the summer and determine if it’s a viable project to continue in the future.

Nick Wells, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tough time for tree fruits as some B.C. farm products soar

Province reports record 2019 sales, largely due to cannabis

Summerland Museum to hold walking tours

Community’s past will be explained during series of summer tours

Summerland mayor asks for community conversation following racist vandalism

Home of Indo-Canadian family in Summerland was targeted on evening of July 13

COVID-19 cases at Oliver farm likely linked to Kelowna outbreak, says Interior Health

A team of doctors, nurses and health investigators are at the Krazy Cherry Farm to test employees

COLUMN: A problem with the WE charity

Federal ethics commissioner investigating Trudeau for the third time

21 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in B.C. as virus ‘silently circulates’ in broader community

Health officials urge British Columbians to enjoy summer safely as surge continues

Separate trials set for 2018 Kelowna Canada Day killing

Four people have been charged with manslaughter in relation to Esa Carriere’s death, including two youths

Kootnekoff: New workplace harassment and violence requirements

Susan Kootnekoff is the founder of Inspire Law, her diverse legal career spans over 20 years.

Dyer: Buying an electric car

Kristy Dyer is a columnist for Black Press Media who writes about the environment

HERGOTT: Goodbye column

Paul Hergott is taking a break from writing for Black Press

Province agrees to multimillion-dollar payout for alleged victims of Kelowna social worker

Robert Riley Saunders is accused of misappropriating funds of children — often Indigenous — in his care

Lake Country motorhome fire deemed suspicious

Vehicle found fully engulfed Tuesday, July 14, just before 8:30 p.m.

Wet June, dry July: Okanagan on track for hot summer

Environment Canada said the summer and early fall will most likely be warmer than average

Okanagan College bestows highest honour to five individuals

Couple from Westbank First Nation and men from Vernon, Kelowna and Shuswap named Honourary Fellows

Most Read