Nfld. & Labrador

A fairytale pandemic wedding in Labrador means 5 people and 1 live stream

Labrador West couple didn't let COVID-19 dictate their wedding plans, and said "I do" at a local hotel with virtual guests after their wedding in the sand was cancelled.

Brittany and Stephen Young say they couldn't wait to start their life as husband and wife

Brittany and Stephen Young had to resort to online connection to celebrate their wedding day with those they love, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Christina Stirpe Photography)

Brittany and Stephen Young have proven that love conquers all, even a global health crisis that cancelled their dream wedding in Central America. 

"Despite the change of plans, the day was perfect," said the bride, Brittany Young. 

"Neither my husband nor I are big on having attention on us, so I think in the end he was relieved it was such a small ceremony."

Brittany and husband Stephen Young had been planning a destination wedding in Belize for a year before COVID-19 infected their dream, as the federal government banned all non-essential travel and the province entered a public health emergency with restrictions on the number of people who can gather.

"The end result was marrying my best friend and just committing to each other." 

From the Belize beach to the Wabush Hotel

Instead of a ceremony on the beach, the happy couple worked with marriage commissioner Nick McGrath, who arranged for them to have their wedding at the Wabush Hotel on April 18. He also served as their official wedding photographer and chef. 

The groom's brother and the bride's maid of honour were there as witnesses, for a total of five people at the ceremony, as per public health orders, with many more faces joining them through a live video stream.  

Due to the restrictions on gatherings under the province's public health emergency orders, guests virtually joined the ceremony to help the couple celebrate. (submitted by Brittany Young)

Despite her dad not being there to walk her down the aisle, the bride said she still got the wedding day reveal to her husband she always dreamed of. 

"Walking down the aisle to him was kind of the most important vision that I had in my head," said Young. 

"He was set up before I arrived, and his brother [best man] was filming as I came into the room and he saw me in my wedding dress." 

Fancy distanced dress party

The couple said having their loved ones involved was important to them, even though travel restrictions kept them from being there in person. 

Wedding guests couldn't burst the newlywed's 'bubble' — as officials refer to the people in the same household — so they held signs as the couple drove by instead. (submitted by Brittanny Young)

They asked their family and friends to dress up, prepare their own fancy meal, tune in on Facebook for the big event, and share pictures of what they were doing that day. 

"Everyone really got on board and were posting throughout the day of what they were doing on our wedding day to help us celebrate," Brittany said. 

After the ceremony, the newly minted Youngs held what they call a reverse parade: they drove by their friends' homes to wave at those who came out with signs of congratulations. 

"The way that we feel about each other and our love and commitment wouldn't be changed by the change in circumstances, so downscaling just made sense for us," said Young. 

Brittany and Stephen Young should have been honeymooning on the beach in Belize, but ended up at the family cabin in Ashuanipi instead. (submitted by Brittany Young)

Instead of the sunny honeymoon they had hoped for, they spent the weekend at the cabin at Ashuanipi, just outside Labrador West. 

Along with their two dogs, they spent their time hiking in the woods, opening presents and eating wedding cake — what Brittany called a perfect staycation to get away from the new COVID-19 normal.

"We felt like we needed a little bit of a pause, something to bring a little joy to some dark times." 

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