Edmonton

'A one-night-only performance': Couple to wed on stage at Edmonton Fringe

The bride will wear white. The groom will enter stage right.

'If we have to do a reprise of this, things aren't going well'

Christina Garies and Chase Padgett will get married on stage at the Garneau Theatre on Friday. (Christina Garies/Facebook)

The bride will wear white. The groom will enter stage right.

The ceremony will take place in front of friends, family and ticket holders.

Chase Padgett and Christina Garies are set to tie the knot on stage at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival.

The wedding, aptly named Chase Padgett Gets Married, will include real wedding vows followed by a variety show with songs, speeches and even a cameo from some clowns. 

"It's more like a Fringe cabaret," Padgett said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM.  "And one of the bits in the cabaret is our wedding vows.

"I'm kind of hoping for a three-star review on this."

Just like the hundreds of other stage performances taking place at the theatre festival in Old Strathcona, the wedding is open to anyone. It will take place in front of a sold-out crowd Friday evening on the Garneau Theatre stage. The price of admission: $16. 

"It's a one-night-only performance," Padgett said. "If we have to do a reprise of this, things aren't going well." 

'How romance bloomed'

The couple share a long history with Fringe. They met at the festival on Aug. 23 , 2017.

Padgett, an actor and musician, had just finished performing with the live band at the Late Night Cabaret when he heard a woman shouting from the front steps of Steel Wheels, a popular late-night restaurant serving up Korean eats and pizza by the slice.

"I came out of the venue, came around the corner and was near Steel Wheels — the most elegant of Edmonton establishments — and we saw each other," Padgett recalled. 

"And that's how romance bloomed." 

The stranger was Garies and she was eager to give Padgett an unsolicited review of his performance. 

"I was sitting outside of Steel Wheels," Garies said, "and I yelled at him and he turned around and I went, 'Everyone says I should know who you are but I don't know who you are but you did a real good job.' And then I found a bug and he just walked away.

"It was a very large bug."

Chase Padgett and Christina Garies met at the Edmonton Fringe Festival in 2017. (Christina Garies/Facebook)

Insect-related distractions aside, the pair were properly introduced by a mutual friend later that night and hit it off. 

Padgett was working in the United States at the time but they kept in touch. After months of online correspondence, they started officially dating after Padgett suffered a heart attack while working as a Disney Cruise Line performer.

When they returned to Fringe the following year, Padgett proposed.

He orchestrated the surprise proposal outside Steel Wheels, on Aug. 23, 2018, a year to the day after they met.

"He is very bad at surprises," she said. "He is bad at lying and I'm thankful for that, but on this particular day he lied very well.

As their favourite song, Luckiest by Ben Folds, played out over the loudspeaker, Padgett got down on one knee. She said yes.

"I kind of blanked and I looked up through tears and our family was there," Garies said. "My parents were there, his mom was there, a lot of our friends were there." 

'The joke kind of ran away'

When a friend jokingly suggested they get married at Fringe, they laughed. But the more they thought about it, the more they liked the idea. 

"The joke kind of ran away," Garies said.

The couple figures the unusual ceremony, followed by a pizza party dinner, will allow them to avoid some of the usual wedding headaches.

There will be no gift registry, no complicated seating plans and no big bill to contend with when the night is over.

"We don't want gifts, we don't need a blender," Padgett said. "And we thought, if people did buy a ticket to the wedding, that's more than enough." 

They plan to use the ticket proceeds for an equally unusual honeymoon.

They will travel to Hawaii around the New Year so Padgett can attend a guitar camp hosted by his favourite guitarist, Tommy Emmanuel. He's been dying to attend the workshop for years but could never afford it. That is, until Garies said the camp could double as their honeymoon.

And as far as wedding nerves, Padgett isn't feeling them. For once, the Fringe veteran won't be thinking at all about the audience.

"I lucked out," he said. "I won the wife lottery."

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