Multiple cancellations, multiple guest lists and roller coaster of emotions later, some soon-to-be-married couples in the Ottawa area breathe a collective but cautious sigh of relief as Ontario enters its third phase of reopening .
“Every lockdown, every wave or strain of this COVID has been very stressful,” said bride Carly Sparling, who had to postpone her August 2020 wedding, and has now spent two years planning for the big day.
When she learned that Ontario would be entering Stage 3 of its plan to reopen earlier than expected, Sparling was elated as it allowed her to re-invite immediate family members who could not be on their short list. provisional guests.
“I was ecstatic, super emotional and happy,” she said. “[I] probably couldn’t have had better news so close to the wedding day. “
On Saturday, Sparling and her partner will get married outside in Renfrew County surrounded by 100 friends and family – just a day after the province eased restrictions.
Stage 3 allows for larger indoor and outdoor gatherings. Places can have:
- Up to 1,000 people indoors, or half capacity (whichever is less) while physically distancing themselves.
- Up to 5,000 people outdoors, or 75% of capacity (whichever is less) with distancing.
Private properties can accommodate 25 indoors and 100 outdoors.
A spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries said dancing at wedding receptions in Stage 3 – whether at private residences or venues – is authorized under conditions.
Gatherings must comply with the requirements of Step 3 rules for dining rooms and dance halls, noted the spokesperson, which include masking and distancing rules.
Sparling’s marriage won’t be close to “normal” – no hugging, physically distant greetings, households sitting in bubbles and her radio host uncle providing most of the entertainment – but she is optimistic.
“It will be a great day no matter what,” she said.
Worried about variants
After nearly two years of planning her wedding, Michelle Connolly describes the trip as “emotional, scary and frustrating.”
She was swept away by emotions when she found out that stage 3 would begin before getting married.
“It was probably about 20 minutes of crying to be honest,” she said.
WATCH | The bride-to-be describes stressful planning:
“It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions, but we’re almost there and I can’t wait to make Michelle my wife!” said her fiance David Wilton.
The big day also matters even more to the couple as Connolly’s late mother won’t be there. Wilton’s father has also passed away within the past year.
“This marriage means more to us [and] we know they will be there to watch over us, ”said Wilton.
The couple will marry on July 31 with about 50 guests at a hotel overlooking the Rideau River. Connolly said it would mean the world for her to dance with her dad and make Wilton dance with her mom.
They are holding their breath in case another lockdown occurs in the next two weeks.
“I’m always worried about the variations that are out there,” Connolly said. “I really hope there won’t be a wave four.”
“On the brink of wedding boom,” says seller
Stacy Kenopic, an Ottawa wedding photographer, said it had been slow for wedding vendors until last week when news of Stage 3 broke.
“We are on the verge of a marriage boom,” she said. “Reservations are insane for 2021, 2022… I get multiple reservations or inquiries per day.”
On Saturday, Kenopic, who also married during the pandemic in September, will film her first eight-hour wedding since 2019.
She says she can’t wait to see her industry return to some form of normalcy for the sake of couples. She expects “bigger and better” weddings to begin this winter.
“I can’t wait for more people to come together,” she said. “It makes me happy that they are happy.”