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

Surrey Fire Service at a garage fire in the 14400-block of 82A Ave on March 22, 2021. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
‘Perfect storm’ of variants, increasing COVID cases are concerning for Surrey fire chief

Between police and fire, Larry Thomas said there are 8 confirmed cases, 18 others isolating

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Small plane crashes at Delta’s Boundary Bay Airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

Signage on a South Surrey sidewalk reminds pedestrians to respect social-distancing guidelines. (Photo: Tracy Holmes)
Surrey records 4,400 COVID-19 cases in March

New cases almost doubled between February, March

The Rotary Club of South Surrey is planning to host another shredding event on April 17, 2021.(Contributed file photo)
South Surrey Rotarians to host shredding event

April 17 fundraiser to offer secure shredding by donation

Surrey Fire Service is on scene of a fire in the 12300-block of 72A Avenue Saturday morning (April 10). (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
Surrey crews on scene of house fire

It happened in the 12300-block of 72A Avenue

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Emergency crews on scene after a small plane crashed in a grassy area on the northeast side of Boundary Bay Airport Saturday morning (April 10). A freelancer said the plane caught fire and one person was transported to hospital by BC Emergency Health Services. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
1 taken to hospital after plane crash at Metro Vancouver airport

Plane appears to have suffered ‘significant’ damage, says freelancer

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

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

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

As of Saturday, April 10, people born in 1961 are the latest to be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. (Black Press files)
B.C. residents age 60+ can now register to get their COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccine registration is now open to people born in 1961 or earlier

A new saline gargle test, made in B.C., will soon be replacing COVID-19 nasal swab tests for kids. (PHSA screenshot)
Take-home COVID-19 tests available for some B.C. students who fall ill at school

BC Children’s Hospital plans to provide 1,200 kits to Vancouver district schools this April

Ruming Jiang and his dog Chiu Chiu are doing fine following a brush with hypothermia that saw several people work together to get them out of the Fraser River near Langley’s Derby Reach Park on March 25, 2021 (Special to the Advance Times)
Man finds men who rescued him from drowning in B.C.’s Fraser River

A grateful Ruming Jiang says he will thank them again, this time in person when the pandemic ends

Most Read