Match made in a pandemic: Edmonton couples not letting COVID-19 get in way of relationships

Restrictions meant to limit social interaction and therefore the spread of COVID-19 are changing the way people gather, but they are not eliminating all opportunities for romantic connection.

With some adjustment, dates, weddings, proposals are still happening

Jonah Siegle helps his wife, Alida Siegle, adjust her mask on their wedding day in Edmonton. (Alida Siegle)

Many couples have rushed to postpone their weddings because of COVID-19, but Jonah and Alida Siegle did the opposite.

The Edmonton couple had originally planned a May wedding for about 100 guests, but as the pandemic worsened, they decided to walk down the aisle early, saying their vows in front of a significantly smaller group.

"We weren't sure if everything would go ahead in May or not and we wanted to be able to still get married with our family and a couple of friends," Alida said Monday in an interview with CBC's Radio Active.

Many guests tuned in from home, watching the wedding ceremony live on YouTube.

"I thought it was so crazy and we couldn't pull it off, but somehow it turned out really well," Jonah said.

Alida and Jonah Siegle got married at Grace Lutheran Church in Oliver. (Alida Siegle)

    Restrictions meant to limit social interaction and therefore the spread of COVID-19 are changing the way people gather, but they are not eliminating all opportunities for romantic connection.

    Dating moves online

    "Everybody is feeling a little bit closed in and a bit lonely," said Connie O'Boyle, who organizes speed-dating events through Date n' Dash Edmonton.

    Connie O'Boyle is running video speed-dating events during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Connie O'Boyle)

    That's why Boyle has moved her speed-dating events online. Daters have just four minutes to make an impression, but may request extra time.

    "You're still going with your gut, but you're not seeing body language as much," she said.

      Moirae Choquette, a communications professional in Edmonton who has been using the dating app Bumble for a few months, said many people are changing their profiles to reflect current events and increasingly sending videos back and forth, instead of meeting in person.

        On Saturday, Choquette went on a virtual first date using the video conferencing app Zoom. To her surprise, the conversation lasted for six hours.

        "It was one of the best first dates I've been a part of!" she said.

        Having a pandemic to talk about helps.

        "It just allowed so much more of a conversation and to get to know somebody on so many different levels," Choquette said.

        Not your average dinner date

        Alberta musicians Ellen Doty and Murray Wood had a trip to a Bragg Creek bed-and-breakfast planned for last weekend, but cancelled due to the pandemic. 

        Instead, the couple got dressed up for a date night at home, ordering food from the Italian Centre and wine from Color de Vino.

        Despite the change of setting, Wood decided to go through with his original plan to propose.

        He offered Doty her grandmother's ring in their living room and she accepted. The couple popped champagne and celebrated over dinner.

        "It was especially meaningful," Doty said.

        "We don't really know how long this pandemic's going to go on for, so I thought we'd bring a little joy into our lives," Wood said.

        With files from Chris Martin


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