As It Happens

Couple didn't let N.L.'s worst blizzard in decades stop them from tying the knot

Chris and Brianne Butt were determined to get married this past Saturday in Newfoundland and Labrador. And they weren't going to let a blizzard, which ground everything in the St. John's region to a standstill, prevent them from tying the knot.

St. John's and surrounding towns got at least 75 cm of snow and gusts over 150 km/h

Couple gets married during N.L. blizzard

2 years ago
Duration 6:39
Brianne Jordan and Chris Butt knew they were taking a chance getting married in January, but they didn't count on a blizzard of historic proportions.


Chris and Brianne Butt were determined to get married Saturday in Newfoundland and Labrador. And they weren't going to let a blizzard, which ground everything in the St. John's region to a standstill, stop them.

"I promised Brianne that on January 18th when we went to sleep, we would go to sleep as husband and wife," Chris, 26, told As It Happens host Carol Off.

But the odds were stacked against the couple from Carbonear, N.L., given that meteorologists were forecasting at least 75 centimetres of snow with gusts exceeding 150 km/h for the St. John's region on the Avalon Peninsula beginning Friday.

On Saturday morning, Brianne learned that the reception had to be postponed because the venue was buried under a heap of snow.

But Chris told Brianne: "We're still getting married in the church."

Brianne and Chris held their wedding ceremony in the basement of the priest's parish home. (Submitted by Brianne Butt)

Then there was the laborious task of clearing Chris's driveway and digging his car out on Saturday morning so he could get to his future mother-in-law's home, next to St. Joseph's Church in Harbour Grace, N.L., where the wedding ceremony was to take place.

However, the priest told Chris in a call that the church was damaged from the snow and high winds, so it wouldn't be safe to hold the ceremony there.

"I was almost ready to give up," Brianne, 25, said upon hearing the news.

But the priest said that if they were that committed to getting married that day, he would let them hold their ceremony in the basement of his parish home.

Brianne was back to shovelling after her wedding this weekend. (Submitted by Brianne Butt)

About 150 guests were expected on Saturday, but about 40 people were able to make it. Most of Brianne's bridesmaids showed up except for Chris's sister and brother-in-law, whose street hadn't yet been plowed.

So Chris's mother ended up FaceTiming the ceremony so they could watch it.

After a hectic week of weather-related obstacles, Chris said their big day was "magical," while Brianne said it was "so personal" and "so cozy." 

"You have at least 40 people that you know that want to be with you," Chris said. "They want to go out of their way to celebrate with you — even if it's a little bit crazy to do it on a day like that."

Written by Showwei Chu. Interview produced by Morgan Passi.


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