ST. STEPHEN, New Brunswick — Thousands of couples have had to postpone wedding plans as a result of coronavirus-imposed precautions and restrictions, particularly regarding the number of people allowed to gather at once in states across the country.
When the COVID-19 pandemic shook their plans, the couple initially scheduled a new date in 2021.
But as time went on, Clowes decided she couldn’t wait and began thinking creatively about how the two could celebrate their union in a safe but fun way.
She came up with an idea to host the wedding on a wharf along the St. Croix River in St. Stephen, New Brunswick. The river runs between the territory and Maine, where Clowes grew up and where a number of her family members still live.
The location would allow the couple’s friends and family in both countries to witness their wedding while adhering to guidelines enforced by both countries.
COVID-19 restrictions in Canada require a 50-person limit on gatherings and proof of plans to social distance. Any international guests are required to quarantine in the country for two weeks, an unrealistic factor for all of the couple’s loved ones.
“After I told my mom about this idea, I think she was on the phone with the mayor in St. Stephen about two seconds later to find out if it was possible for us to pull this off,” Clowes told CBC News.
The family received approval from officials in St. Stephen, where they planned to have 30 attendees, and Calais, Maine, where they planned to invite 15 guests.
They even got Clowes' grandparents to watch the nuptials from a safe distance on a boat on the water.
“It was really neat because I could see, you know, Alex standing at the altar in front of me. I could see our family on the U.S. side, and then I could see some of my relatives in the boat just out from the wharf,” Clowes told CBC.
Despite the distance, relatives on the U.S. side were able to hear vows via a Facebook livestream that was set up at the altar. Friends and family on the Canadian side who couldn’t attend the wedding also tuned in.
“It couldn’t have gone any better. I wouldn’t change anything about it,” Clowes told CNN. “It turned out to be a lot more special than anything else we could have done.”
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