Saskatchewan

Regina newlyweds open up about 'so different and so special' backyard wedding during pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic quashed plans for Madelayne Klein's big wedding but it wasn't enough to stop Klein and her husband from celebrating their love and exchanging vows in March.

The couple ditched the hotel venue for the groom's parents’ backyard

Madelayne and Justin Klein were originally supposed to get married at a downtown Regina hotel with almost 150 of their closest friends and family members. However, that changed when Saskatchewan declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19 on March 18. (My Boots Photography)

Madelayne and Justin Klein started planning for their wedding immediately after getting engaged on Jan. 22, 2019.

They booked a hotel venue in downtown Regina, picked out a colour scheme and sent out nearly 150 wedding invitations.

But that all came to a halt on March 18 when the Saskatchewan government declared a provincial state of emergency due to COVID-19 and brought in new rules including a ban on large gatherings.

Madelayne and Justin Klein's grandparents safely watched their wedding ceremony from a neighbour's yard. (My Boots Photography)

Instead of postponing their wedding like most other couples had done in 2020, the Kleins decided to go through with their plans.

"I realized that different things are important to different people," Madelayne said.

"All the things that were important to me could still go on — I still got some pictures with my bridal party; my dad could still walk me down the aisle and I could still get married."

Madelayne and Justin Klein's wedding party watched their marriage ceremony from a neighbour's treehouse, instead of at the altar as previously planned. (Submitted by Madelayne Klein)

Naturally, the couple came up with a Plan B: They would wed on Justin's parents' raised backyard deck with only each other, their marriage commissioner, photographer, witnesses and parents.

The rest of the wedding party would watch from the next door neighbour's tree house and their grandparents on the nearby patio. 

I was just up for whatever — as long as I was getting married to her.- Justin Klein, speaking about alternative wedding arrangements 

When the big day came on May 17, more friends and family came to safely watch the ceremony on their physically-distanced ladders over the back fence or on the Facebook live stream.

Some of the Klein's wedding guests safely watched from a distance along a back fence. (Submitted by Madelayne Klein)

"I'll never forget when I finally got up on the deck; I looked out and I saw these people standing there from afar so excited," Madelayne said. "Even the neighbours' neighbours were out on their decks excited — people we didn't even know.

"It was so different and so special."

Justin agrees.

"I just kind of go with the flow and I was just up for whatever — as long as I was getting married to her," he said, turning to Madelayne with a smile.

"But it was better than we expected."

Dozens of neighbours — many of them strangers — watched as the couple wed in the groom's backyard. (Submitted by Madelayne Klein)

Both noted they'll never regret their decision to back out of a big reception.

"Everybody makes a hashtag for their wedding and ours was '#OnCloudKlein,' but that's recently changed to '#LoveWins' because we didn't let anything get in the way of tying the knot," Madelayne explained.

"Lots of people have said, 'This is a story to tell your grandkids,' and I couldn't agree more."

About the Author

Jessie Anton is a Regina-based journalist with CBC Saskatchewan. She’s been sharing stories from across the province on television, radio and online since 2016, initially getting her start in the rural weekly newspaper world. Email her: jessie.anton@cbc.ca.

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