White wedding: Winnipeg brides forced to relocate after city veiled in snow

A Winnipeg couple was excited to get married at a romantic venue that means a lot to them, but the snowstorm that hammered the southern half of Manitoba earlier this month forced a change of plans.

Snowstorm knocked out power to Assiniboine Park venue on day of wedding, but ended up in 'a blessing': bride

Brenda Schade and Susan Reid got married on Thanksgiving weekend, after a snowstorm hit the southern half of the province and forced a last-minute change of venue. (Hearsum Photography)

Winnipeggers Susan Reid and Brenda Schade were excited about getting married at a romantic venue that means a lot to them — but the snowstorm that hammered the southern half of Manitoba earlier this month forced a last-minute change of plans for their special day.

On the morning of Oct. 13 — the day she was set to marry Schade, her partner of 20 years — Reid was about half an hour into her hair appointment when she got a call from a staff member at Assiniboine Park.

The couple had planned to be married at the park's Qualico Family Centre — but following the wet, heavy snow that started falling on the city days earlier, the building's power had been knocked out.

"We went into … 'how do we fix this and what do we do' mode really quickly," Reid said. 

Luckily, Assiniboine Park did the same. They came up with a plan to ensure the couple could still be married in the park that evening.

Despite the difficult conditions, staff moved the wedding to the Gateway to the Arctic building at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

For Schade and Reid, the park is a truly special place, and the original venue seemed like a natural choice.

Brenda Schade and Susan Reid were gifted an engraved sidewalk stone at Assiniboine Park, one of their favourite places to go together. (Hearsum Photography)

"It's just a really beautiful space that … has always resonated with us," Reid said.

"It's a place my partner and I like to spend a lot of time. We have a dog, we spend lots of time walking in the park, we spend lots of time going to the events in the park."

The alternative venue at the zoo was actually a step up from the Qualico Centre, though. It's more expensive, which is part of the reason the couple didn't choose it in the first place.

"It was a blessing, having come from a very challenging few hours leading up to that," Reid said.

Considering how hard the storm walloped the province, the couple's wedding came off relatively unscathed. Most guests were able to make it — even those who were coming from out of town, in spite of some highways being closed.

Schade and Reid agree it was a special night full of love. 

"Apparently, during our ceremony … there was an active polar bear right beside us," said Reid.

Brenda Schade and Susan Reid were able to get married in the Gateway to the Arctic exhibit at the Assiniboine Park Zoo. (Hearsum Photography)

"Of course we we didn't see [that] whatsoever. Everybody around us saw it. We were focused on one another and caught up in the moment of becoming married," she said.

"I hope someone has a picture of that."


Rachel Bergen is a journalist for CBC Manitoba and previously reported for CBC Saskatoon. Email story ideas to


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