Bride's Canadian family watches Vermont wedding from Quebec border
Davina Finn and David Hecht said their nuptials in Vermont while Finn's family watched from Quebec. (Courtesy: Union Eleven Photographers)
TORONTO -- A couple got creative for their COVID-19 wedding with the guests divided along the Quebec-Vermont border so that all of their immediate family could attend.
Davina Finn and David Hecht, like many, had to postpone their wedding plans when the pandemic began in March 2020. With no signs of border restrictions easing any time soon, the couple decided to get creative and get married at the border.
“With the border closure and everything we realized there was probably no way that we were going to be able to all be in the same place and it was important for us for both of our families, or at least our immediate families, to be there with us,” Davina Finn told CTVNews.ca in a phone interview Tuesday.
Google Maps came to the rescue as they looked for places along the Canada-U.S. border where their guests would be able to stand and watch the ceremony safely, without blockades impeding the view.
“This is one of, I think, very, very few places across the very long border where you can actually stand on both sides and see each other,” she said. “It is a very unique section of the border.”
Guests stood on the Stanstead, Que. side of the border, while the couple completed their nuptials across the way in Derby, Vermont.
“We called the border station on both sides of the border... they couldn't give official permission to use the spot, but we gave them a heads up that we were intending to be there and notified the RCMP on the Canadian side and the Vermont Regional Police on the other side,” she said.
To keep numbers down the wedding was limited to immediate family on location with a livestream available for family and friends to watch.
And while it was the first time she’d been able to see her family in person since the start of the pandemic, Finn, who is Canadian, said it was hard being separated by an invisible line and some flower pots lining the border.
“It was very emotional and really amazing to be able to see them in person, but yeah incredibly hard to not run and give them a hug,” said Finn.
The photographer they hired for the wedding, Union Eleven Photographers, shot the entire thing, and set up the live stream, from the Canadian side.
“They definitely made it work. I think it was a weird challenge, but they somehow made it flawless,” she said. “It was really weird that they were, they were in a different country while photographing.”
They weren’t the only ones at the border that day, another family was using the unique border location to connect and have a brunch. Everyone carried on as though a wedding wasn’t happening in their midst.
“Clearly a lot of people noticed it and said their congratulations, but people went about went about their day,” she said.
They also had some uninvited visitors paying close attention to the proceedings in the form of border agents making sure no one crossed the border.
“They were there the whole time paying attention,” said Finn. “They were pretty focused on us.”
And having a ceremony of 12 instead of the originally pre-pandemic guest list of more than 200 allowed for a much more intimate ceremony with families on both sides participating in the wedding.
Her brother, who at 35-years-old hadn’t played the saxophone since high school, even relearned the instrument to play from the Canadian side of the border.
“We were able to have our family participate and say words to us during the ceremony from across the border, we had my parents and brother participate and my brother learnt the saxophone in preparation for my wedding,” she said.
“He played some very traditional Jewish wedding songs and that was really meaningful."
While she’ll never know if she would’ve preferred her 200 person wedding that was originally planned for, having the small ceremony made it a memorable affair.
“We were able to make it a really intimate, but really special ceremony that maybe we would have, you know, rushed through.”