The table linens, invitations and centrepieces were selected and the venue was booked, but then COVID-19 threw an unexpected wrench into Chad and Sarah Langedock’s wedding plans.
A global pandemic wasn’t going to stop the Winnipeg nurses from tying the knot, however — and last weekend, they said their vows in front of friends and family members watching from their vehicles.
“We kind of just went for it. At this point, we really just wanted to be married instead of waiting it out,” Sarah Langedock, an intensive care nurse at St. Boniface Hospital, said in an interview on CBC Manitoba’s Up to Speed Monday.
“We probably chose the worst time within the restrictions to get married, but it’s kind of become this beautiful memory,” she said. “No one else can say that they got married in the middle of the worst restrictions ever in Manitoba.”
Winnipeg moved to the red, or critical, level of Manitoba’s pandemic response system on Nov. 2. The rest of the province shifted to the highest level of the colour-coded system on Nov. 12.
Under the latest provincial restrictions, most indoor gatherings aren’t allowed at all — weddings are permitted, but are capped a maximum of five people.
Drive-ins, however, are OK.
So on Saturday, Dec. 12, family members helped set up an arch for the couple in the field behind their home, said Chad, a mental health nurse at Victoria General Hospital. In addition to the drive-in guests, loved ones were able to tune in via a live stream.
“People drove in. We had our arch set up and some lights. We said what we needed to say to each other, we had friends and family witness that,” he said.
After the ceremony, the group drove in a convoy to St. Vital Park, where friends and family gave the newlyweds a sendoff to begin their honeymoon: a stay at Winnipeg’s Inn at the Forks.
“We got creative with it and we couldn’t be happier with how everything went,” Chad said.
‘Why not do it now?’
The couple got engaged in February and Sarah started planning the wedding right away, she said. Originally, they’d planned to get married at the St. Boniface Golf Club in April 2021.
Then the pandemic hit and public health orders started limiting their options, so they adjusted.
“I had done all this planning and then, you know, all the restrictions started happening, and we started thinking … it might not happen the way we wanted in April,” Sarah said.
“We both just decided, why not do it now and start our lives, instead of waiting for the unknown?”
Through his work in mental health, Chad said he’s seen the impact the pandemic has had on people. In the face of a difficult year, their lockdown-friendly wedding was an opportunity to spread love and cheer to others, too.
“Hopefully people felt that, and can take that with them through 2020 and look back and just say we did it,” he said. “And we have our lives and our families and our health to thank.”
For any other couples considering tying the knot during Manitoba’s partial lockdown, Sarah advises finding creative solutions to stay safe and taking the leap.
“I would say go for it. Honestly, the pressure kind of just gets taken off,” she said.
“We look back at this day as such an amazing memory and such an amazing day. And now, whenever we look out into the back field behind our house, that’s where we got married. So it’s just all good memories.”