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

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

(Jen Zielinski - Black Press Media)
Man arrested after hours-long standoff in Rutland

RCMP surrounded a home on Leathead Road, Monday night

(Pixabay photo)
‘Cocaine bananas’ arrive at Kelowna grocery stores after mix up from Colombia: RCMP

Kelowna RCMP recently concluded an international drug investigation after finding cocaine in local grocers’ banana shipments in 2019

Kelowna City Hall. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
More development allowed around Kelowna General Hospital

Zoning for area around KGH amended to allow multi-family housing developments

This dog is going to the SPCA if its owner isn't found. (RDNO Dog Control photo)
Several ‘owners’ claim lost Vernon dog as theirs

‘Dumped’ dog being kept in foster care until rightful owner can provide evidence of ownership

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP intercepted an impaired driver Sunday afternoon, Jan. 17, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Impaired driver pulled off Vernon road thanks to public tip

RCMP Drug Recognition Expert called in for assistance in investigation of Coldstream man

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

Chilliwack ER doctor Marc Greidanus is featured in a video, published Jan. 18, 2021, where he demonstrates and describes effectiveness of various styles of masks. (Youtube)
VIDEO: Emergency room doctor runs through pros and cons of various masks

‘We’ve been asked to wear a mask and it’s not that hard,’ Greidanus says.

(Pixabay photo)
VIDEO: Tip to Metro Vancouver transit police helps woman 4,000 km away in Ohio

Sgt. Clint Hampton says transit police were alerted to a YouTube video of the woman in mental distress

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee
British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Penticton paramedics took about 70 per cent more calls for drug overdoses in 2020 compared to 2019, Interior Health representatives told Penticton council Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. ((Jesse Day - Western News)
Penticton seeks $300K grant to help address opioid crisis

The grant would provide $100K a year over three years to a Community Action Team

Kevin Lee Barrett is charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault. (Facebook)
‘Just a blood bath’: Woman recounts finding victim during West Kelowna attempted murder trial

Kevin Barrett is charged with attempting to kill his mother, leaving her on a forest service road in April 2019

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cranbrook Food Bank coordinator Deanna Kemperman, Potluck Cafe Society executive director Naved Noorani and Sunshine Coast Community Services Society executive director Catherine Leach join B.C.’s new Municipal Affairs Minister Josie Osborne on a video call about B.C. gaming grants, Jan. 19, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. gaming grants reorganized for COVID-19 priorities

Minister highlights community kitchens, food banks

Most Read