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Wedding day in Petrolia brings together 9 couples eager to tie the knot

Couples who had been forced to cancel or reschedule their weddings throughout the pandemic will get a chance to take part in half-hour civil ceremonies organized by the Town of Petrolia.

Separate ceremonies will take place consecutively at Bridgeview Park on Saturday

Mike Bruce and Lindsay Peterson are one of the nine couples taking part in the ceremonies at Bridgeview Park in Petrolia on Saturday. The town has arranged for the weddings after the pandemic put a damper on many couples' plans. (Submitted by Lindsay Peterson and Mike Bruce)

The Town of Petrolia in Lambton County is hosting a full day of civil ceremonies on Saturday, June 26 for couples who have been unable to get married throughout the pandemic. 

Nine couples will be given half an hour each with a few attendees for their ceremony, followed by the opportunity to have pictures taken around Bridgeview Park where the events will be held. 

Mandi Pearson, the operations clerk for Petrolia, said the idea for the event came together after the town received multiple requests from couples asking for any kind of accommodation to be made. 

The ceremonies will take place at this covered bridge located in the park. (Submitted by Mandi Pearson)

"We started to get calls during the pandemic of would we be able to assist with couples that had to either have their wedding cancelled, changed or postponed" Pearson said. "We noticed in the end of April, early May, the calls that we started getting were increasing with couples saying 'Please we really want to do something.'"

Due to indoor gathering restrictions at the time the town was unable to help, but with warmer weather and limits on outdoor gatherings increasing they decided to conduct the ceremonies outside. 

Initially the town had seven time slots available for the day but added two more to accommodate additional requests. Four other couples are still on a waitlist should a party cancel or if another date is added. 

Couples will get to choose between three types of ceremonies for their half-hour service. Simple and legal only - which lasts seven minutes, sweet and sentimental - about 11 minutes long, and celebration of love with bride given away- about 15 minutes. (Submitted by Mandi Pearson)

One of the couples participating in the ceremonies on Saturday are Mike Bruce and Lindsay Peterson. This will be their fourth attempt at getting married after COVID-19 restrictions and cancellations forced them to wait. 

"The location was really nice, but it's very affordable. It's a civil ceremony outdoors in a beautiful space, and it's $175. Even when we were looking at other pop-up wedding opportunities, it was still between $1,500 and $3,000", Peterson said.

"We've invested a lot of time and money and we haven't been able to get all of our deposits back from different plans that we've made. And understandably, because the vendors haven't been working either."

After their ceremony couples can move through the park, taking pictures at multiple locations while the next couple scheduled can settle in for their service. (Submitted by Mandi Pearson)

Despite this, the couple feel a strong connection to the town and park where the ceremonies will take place. 

"When we heard that the town was doing this, it made perfect sense. It's literally the park that's in my parent's backyard. I used to go and sit there when I was a kid and daydream my world away," said Peterson. 

Though not how they would've imagined it, both are looking forward to their nuptials in a place where sometimes even day-dreams come true. 

LISTEN | Hear more about how this event came together on CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive:

Seven couples in Petrolia who put their wedding plans on hold because of the pandemic will finally get their chance to tie the knot, one after the other. The operations clerk for the town tells Afternoon Drive host Chris dela Torre about how the town is going to manage with seven ceremonies in one day. 8:23

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