Nova Scotia

With family separated by a border, N.S. couple finds unique way to marry

Lindsay Clowes and Alex Leckie from Windsor, N.S., said “I do” on the Canada-U.S. border in New Brunswick over the weekend, proving not even COVID-19 travel restrictions can get in the way of a picture-perfect wedding. 

Lindsay Clowes and Alex Leckie invited guests from the Maritimes and Maine to their wedding

Lindsay Clowes and Alex Leckie were married along the Canada-U.S. border in St. Stephen, N.B., on Saturday. (Alyssa Williams)

A Nova Scotia couple said "I do" on the Canada-U.S. border over the weekend, proving not even COVID-19 travel restrictions can get in the way of a perfect wedding. 

Lindsay Clowes and Alex Leckie were married on a wharf along the St. Croix River in St. Stephen, N.B., so their family and friends across the river in Maine could share in the celebrations. 

"It was really neat because I could see, you know, Alex standing at the altar in front of me. I could see our family on the U.S. side, and then I could see some of my relatives in the boat just out from the wharf," Clowes told CBC's Maritime Noon on Tuesday. 

It wasn't the wedding they initially planned, but the newlyweds say they wouldn't change a thing. 

"There's not an ounce of disappointment that we decided to go this route. It's definitely a story that we will remember and be telling for years to come," Clowes said.

Guests on the Maine side of the St. Croix River also watched a live stream of the ceremony. (Beth Bernardini)

Clowes was born in New Brunswick and grew up in Calais, Maine, where much of her family still lives. 

The couple's plan to hold a wedding not far from their home in Windsor, N.S., was derailed by COVID-19, and travel restrictions meant guests from the U.S. were barred from coming or would need to self-isolate for two weeks.  

Clowes said she was determined to make a pandemic wedding happen even if it took a bit of planning and a lot of help.

"After I told my mom about this idea, I think she was on the phone with the mayor in St. Stephen about two seconds later to find out if it was possible for us to pull this off," she said.

Clowes's parents from Maine self-isolated for two weeks in New Brunswick so they could attend the wedding on the Canada side. (Lindsay Clowes)

The couple was required to send their wedding plans to the town showing the 30 or so guests on the New Brunswick side would physically distance during the nuptials.

St. Stephen allows gatherings of up to 50 people as long as they physically distance. 

Clowes and Leckie also got the go-ahead from officials in Calais where about 15 of their friends and family gathered on the wharf.

There were even relatives watching from a boat about four metres from the St. Stephen wharf. Thankfully, the water was calm and the sun was out, Clowes said.

"The wind just seemed to stop just for our ceremony. It was just wonderful," she said.

While guests in Maine could see the ceremony across the river, technology helped them hear it.

"We did live stream it through a Facebook group we created and we were able to live stream it to everyone across the water, and everyone in Canada that wasn't able to make it to the ceremony," Leckie said.

Despite the logistics of holding a wedding separated by an international border, he said everything went smoothly.

"I was just incredibly happy," he said.

Border wedding, Automotive expert Doug Bethune. 52:58

The couple is planning to gather with friends and family next year for a viewing party of their unique wedding ceremony if public health regulations allow it.

"What makes me really smile when I think about it is that everybody who was there at the wedding that day played a part in helping us to pull it off," Clowes said.

"Having that group effort and knowing how much our friends and family cared for us and helped us to pull it off was just amazing." 

With files from CBC's Maritime Noon

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