A couple have held their wedding at the border of US and Canada, after COVID-19 restrictions made it difficult for the Canadian bride to have her family at her US wedding.
Karen Mahoney and her new husband, Brian Ray met 35 years ago over a love of skiing, and when they finally got engaged in March, the ski instructors didn’t want to wait to get married.
Mahoney told CNN that one of the things that really mattered to her was having her parents and 96-year-old grandmother at the wedding.
“She’s my only living grandparent, the only grandparent I’ve ever known, so it was very important for me for her to be there to watch the happiest day of my life.
“The most important part of the day for us was the promises we told to each other, and we wanted my parents and grandmother to witness that.”
The United States has been limiting non-essential travel at land crossings with Canada since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and extending those restrictions on a monthly basis. Air travel between the countries is possible, but even with her family being vaccinated, Mahoney said, she felt it put them at greater risk, especially considering her grandmother’s age.
The bride who revealed that they had a friend who works for border patrol and had previously arranged for her to meet her family at the closed border, including when Ray asked her father, Paul, for her hand in marriage, said he also came through for their wedding.
The border patrol official explained all the rules, including making sure they stayed on their given sides and did not exchange anything. He also informed the patrol on duty what was going on in case they saw the ceremony on the cameras in the area. They met up at the border outside Burke, New York, the day before their planned wedding on September 25.
The border crossing more resembles a meadow with a marker showing the country names. There were no gates or fences in the way. Mahoney’s parents stood on their Canadian side and the couple, their wedding party and their officiant stood on the other.
Mahoney’s father told CNN affiliate WPTZ;
“We would not have missed it. Not for the world.”
Signing of the marriage certificate was reportedly reserved for the big wedding the next day at Mahoney’s home in Cadyville, New York.
Emotional Mahoney said;
“The minister asked them if they (my parents) acknowledge that Brian was vowing to love me the rest of our lives, and did they accept him into the Mahoney clan, and they responded, ‘We do’ and that was extremely emotional.
“I cried. 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.”
The couple met in 1985 when Ray taught Mahoney to ski. They remained friends through the years even after they both married other people and each had two children. About 10 years ago, Ray was the one to teach Mahoney’s kids how to ski.
After each was married for 19 years, they each divorced and were brought together by a Facebook post in which Mahoney was selling a beloved vehicle. Ray knew she loved the car and they got to talking about it, and the rest was history.