Coronavirus: Okanagan residents forced to postpone weddings due to pandemic

It is a day that engaged couples look forward to for months, sometimes years in advance, the day of their wedding.

But for many Okanagan residents, the wait will be much longer.

“I was really excited about the date because it was summer solstice, it was June 20, 2020 and I’m a stats gal and I love the numbers,” said Ellen Churchill. “It was really hard to let go of that day and the idea of that day.”

The West Kelowna woman and her longtime partner Karla Ingbritson, like so many, were forced to postpone their wedding due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was the one who wanted to hold on longer, hold on longer, and she (Karla) was really the realist,” Churchill told Global News.

The pair was scheduled to say their “I do’s” on June 20 at Liquidity Wines in Okanagan Falls.

But recently decided to delay those plans until next year.

Some of their 80 guests would have had to travel to the Okanagan from outside the Interior and many on the guest list are considered to be in the “more at risk” group.

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“What we find with our guest list is a lot of them are over 60 and we were concerned about that,’ said Ingbritson.

The couple also took into consideration some of the financial burdens their guests may carry as a result of the pandemic.

“People are going to be financially strapped,” Churchill said. “So we were trying to think not just about ourselves but the people that we really love and care about who were making an effort to come and spend this moment with us.”

But the hardest part in delaying their nuptials they said, involves their elderly parents.

“Ellen’s mom and dad are definitely getting older and Ellen wants her father to walk her down the aisle, more like dance her down the aisle and I think that’s important,” Ingbritson said.

Churchill said with her parents being in their 80’s, the most most important thing to her is for them to remain healthy so that both can attend her delayed wedding.

“The fear is you know, right now they’re healthy but what if something were to happen to them,” Churchill said. “Time is of the essence, you know, we only have today, that’s all we have.”

The couple has put down more than $10,000 in deposits ahead of the big day and said all of it will be honoured.

Even their venue is still available for the new day they’ve chosen.

While having to put the wedding on hold wasn’t easy, the couple said there are some silver linings, such as being able to secure the wedding vendors that weren’t available this year.

Churchill also said delaying the wedding by a year gives them more time to achieve some personal goals before saying “I do”.

“Three years ago I think, Karla asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I said I wanted to get married and I wanted her to help me lose 100 pounds,” Churchill said. “We’ve lost 100 pounds between the two of us, so this now gives me more time to lose the other half of that.”

The couple has chosen June 19, 2021 as their new wedding date.

When asked if they ever thought something like a pandemic would be the reason behind having to postpone their big day, both simultaneously said, “No, never ever.”

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