New Brunswick

Flood waves crash wedding, send ceremony to higher ground

Ashleigh Woods and Darren Greeley thought their wedding plans were swept away by Fredericton floodwaters.

Flood was not going to stop Ashleigh Woods and Darren Greeley from tying the knot

Ashleigh Woods and Darren Greeley were not going to let the flood get in the way of their wedding plans.

On Friday, Ashleigh Woods and Darren Greeley, surrounded by seven of their closest family and friends, exchanged vows, rings and a kiss on the terrace of a red-brick University of New Brunswick building.

This week the floods have forced the Fredericton Courthouse on Queen Street to close its doors and move to higher ground. Court of Queen's Bench and the Court of Appeal started operating out of Ludlow Hall at UNB — the same university where Greeley is studying and where Woods got her bachelor's degree in nursing.

"I guess it's fate," Woods said as she laughed.

Woods and Greeley held hands as court clerk Andrea Hull read out the vows to be repeated by the couple. (Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC)

The couple, who have known each other for 10 years, were about to give up on getting their marriage licence and officially tying the knot when they heard the Fredericton Courthouse was closed because of the flooding.

"Our primary concern was just getting married at all, keeping the date, that was the big issue," said Greeley.

Woods said she's glad she got to sign that paper and exchange rings, but her thoughts are with the people still coping with the effects of a high St. John River.

"We're originally from Oromocto so a lot of people from our community are affected," Woods said. "It's heartbreaking."

Woods and Greeley's family and friends look on as the couple officially got married. (Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC)

John Kleefeld, professor and dean of law at UNB, said the hall, which houses the faculty of law at UNB, has been hosting the two courts all week.

Judges use a large courtroom that the moot court program at UNB uses. The school also has two classrooms that can serve as courtrooms, office space and a room for judges chambers.

Makeshift signs made from fluorescent Bristol boards and Sharpies hang on the front door of the building. They read "Court of Appeal, court of Queen's Bench and Fine payments."

The Court of Appeal and Court of Queen's Bench had to move to the University of New Brunswick's Ludlow Hall because of downtown flooding. (Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC)

Andrea Hull, clerk of the court in the judicial districts of Fredericton and Woodstock, welcomed Woods and Greeley in the foyer of Ludlow Hall.

She gave them the option to have the ceremony in one of the classrooms or use the terrace on the side of the building.

Since it had stopped raining, the couple chose the terrace.

"It's nicer than a courtroom as well, to be at least outside," Greeley said.

A view from the back of the Fredericton Courthouse on Queen Street. (Hadeel Ibrahim/CBC)

Kleefeld said it was nice to see a few couples tie the knot on the terrace.

"I think the couple were worried that they weren't going to be able to get married but everything worked out," he said.

The ceremony lasted a little under 15 minutes, and the couple posed with their witnesses and family afterwards. Someone joked, "you're stuck with him now."

"I was actually pretty surprised, we were more concerned that it wasn't going to happen at all, with the court and the flooding and everything so we're quite happy that we were able to do it," Woods said.

The couple are planning a bigger ceremony in Mexico.


Hadeel Ibrahim is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick based in Saint John. She reports in English and Arabic. Email: