Your wedding day is supposed to be one of the most special days of your life — but for one Calgary couple, their destination wedding was met with roadblock after roadblock.
Marie Acton and Justin Kotschorek had planned to get married in California in mid-April but after international borders closed and the threat of the novel coronavirus spread, the couple made the difficult decision to cancel their outdoor wedding.
The couple then planned to scale back the ceremony and stay in Calgary, but then last week, the provincial government announced a ban on mass gatherings of 15 people or more.
“It’s completely devastating. I’ve been that type of person that had been planning my wedding forever, so I’ve known what I wanted. It’s still not really real that it’s not happening because it’s something I’ve thought about forever,” Marie said.
“We’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, our backup wedding plan is being cancelled.’ Nothing was certain and it was becoming very stressful.”
Devastated about the failed backup plan, Marie and Justin chose to move on, and simply sign marriage papers to officially become husband and wife.
They reached out to the owners of Venue 308 and asked if they can host their marriage signing at the venue, which co-founders Bretton Grassie and her mother Penny Dyte agreed to, offering to help in anyway they can.
“Our hearts went out to them. It was really heartbreaking and we can’t even imagine what they were going through,” she said.
Under these circumstances, Bretton said they offered up the venue free of charge, which she said the couple declined, and also arranged for a wedding commissioner to marry the couple.
Bretton was also aware Marie’s wedding dress wouldn’t be altered in time, and so she she brought five wedding gowns for her to try on.
“We knew we wanted to create a space about the people and the connection, and not the business at the forefront. So, if there was a solution that would make this happen, we were in… I feel that [lending her the wedding dress] was one small thing I could do to show compassion for them as they go through this.”
The first look was a moment the couple said they will cherish forever.
“Marie left the house wearing one dress and that’s what I was expecting. Then, she was wearing a different dress and I was taken back. She looked beautiful of course, and it was a nice surprise and nice touch,” Justin said.
The couple was joined by 13 of their closest family and friends, who were able to witness the special ceremony, while at the same time practicing physical distancing.
“It was beyond what I thought I was going to feel… I didn’t expect it to feel as special as it did. I honestly thought, ‘We’ll just sign the papers.’
“It felt like enough. In the end, we just wanted to get married to each other, and that’s enough.
“They literally saved the day. We can’t thank them enough.“
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