As Sask. prepares to raise limits on gathering size, couples see chance to tie the knot
SASKATOON -- Leigh-Ann Wilkes and her fiancé Sean Harder spent over a year planning the wedding of their dreams.
However back in March, the couple was forced to change their plans when the province announced a ban on gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It was hard and gut-wrenching realizing that something you’ve been planning for almost a year wasn’t going to pan out and then knowing that we would have to uninvite people was even harder,” said Wilkes.
Wilkes initial plan was a large affair with 130 guests attending the nuptials at Elk Ridge Resort in northern Saskatchewan, a destination the couple says they visited often.
“It was going to be in the pavilion and in a setting that we were so excited to have while also having our photos taken in the boreal forest, it was supposed to be a wedding in an environment that meant a lot to us,” said Wilkes.
According to the couple, just over $30,000 was spent planning the wedding; however Elk Ridge Resort did reimburse all of the money following the cancellation.
“It felt great, and took one less thing off of our shoulders,” said Wilkes.
With the initial wedding cancelled, Wilkes and her fiancé Harder decided they would still get married on August 15th, 2020 and turned to their wedding planner to organize a "plan B" wedding.
“We decided Saskatoon was an easier option, and fairly quickly decided with our wedding planner that our backyard would be the new spot for a tent wedding,” said Wilkes.
The new wedding plan is being designed by wedding planner Karly Shanks who owns Pretty in the Pines, a Saskatoon-based event company.
“We always tell clients to have a plan B with the weather in Saskatchewan and we always hope we don’t have to use it but this year we had to use all of them and then had to decide with our clients how to proceed,” said Shanks.
On June 8th the province of Saskatchewan will increase its limits on outdoor gatherings from 10 to 30 people; a lifted restriction that Shanks says is going to give some couples the options of an intimate wedding with immediate family members.
“This year I initially had 26 weddings and I rescheduled and postponed about 80% of them for next year, however I will have 4 planned for this summer they will be much more intimate but it works for the couples,” said Shank’s.
For Wilkes and Harder although the big day will be much different than the original plan, one thing will remain the same, the day will signify a moment of love the wasn’t lost due to the pandemic.
“In 10 years we will look back and see that we survived it and we still got married and we never let the crazy time take away the biggest moments of our life,” said Wilkes.