A couple exchanged wedding vows on the US-Canadian border so that the bride’s family could be present for the nuptials.
Karen Mahoney and Brian Ray, who live in Cadyville, New York, and who both work as ski instructors, got engaged in March after knowing one another for 35 years.
However, after deciding that they wanted to get married, the couple faced a dilemma, as Mahoney’s parents and 96-year-old grandmother live in Canada, where non-essential travel to the US has been limited since the start of the pandemic.
According to Mahoney, for the past few months, she and her loved ones have watched the monthly travel updates with hopes for good news, telling NBC5 that their “fingers, toes, everything was crossed”.
But the family didn’t receive the news they were wishing for, as the bride recalled: “On 21 Aug they announced that everything was closed,” before explaining that the family then focused their attention on figuring out “something to have mom, dad and nan here”.
The answer to the dilemma ended up being a ceremony held on the border of the US and Canada outside of Burke, New York, where Ray and Mahoney, their wedding party, and an officiant stood on the New York side, while the bride’s immediate family stood just across the border in Canada.
According to CNN, the ceremony, which took place a day before the pair celebrated their actual wedding on 25 September, included everything except the signing of the marriage certificate.
Of the chance to see his daughter say “I do”, Mahoney’s father told NBC5: “We would not have missed it. Not for the world.”
The experience was also important for Mahoney, who told CNN that the moment the minister asked her parents whether they accepted Ray into the Mahoney clan and they responded: “We do” was “extremely emotional”.
Ray also shared what the ceremony meant to him, with the groom telling the outlet that he cried because he knew how much the opportunity meant to his new wife.
“I cried,” he said. “It was good for me, because I knew how much it meant to her to have her parents and her grandmother here and see us exchanging vows.”
As for the logistics of the distanced ceremony, the couple told CNN that they had relied on the help of a friend who works for border patrol. In addition to informing them of the rules they would have to follow, such as making sure they stayed on their designated sides, the friend also informed the border patrol agent on duty that the wedding would be taking place.