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The couple host a drive-through wedding while 28 truckloads of excited guests watch from the parking lot

In a year of canceled plans and postponed events, a Calgary couple decided to keep their wedding date on by turning it into a drive-in event despite COVID-19 restrictions.

After a year and a half wedding planning, Chris Hibberd and Anistasia Mechefske were supposed to get married on Wednesday in front of 150 guests.

Unfortunately for the couple, the pandemic threatened to derail their plans, but they eventually decided to get married anyway – and still found a way to involve family and friends.

Hibberd and Mechefske were married on Wednesday in a masked 10-person ceremony at the Flores & Pine restaurant in Bearspaw – while 28 cars full of wedding guests witnessed the ceremony on Zoom in the parking lot outside.

“They didn’t stop, they just kept going,” said the wedding guest pictured, David Guinn. David and Valerie Guinn were watching the ceremony on their cell phones in the parking lot in front of the venue. (Terri Trembath / CBC)

“It was a very difficult time, but it’s also a great event for us. [and] We wanted to make sure we share it with people … and have something positive and good before the end of the year, “newly-married groom Hibberd told CBC News after the ceremony.

“We really appreciated the support and that a lot of people showed up and it was very meaningful to us.”

To make it work

Around the time the bride and groom started planning their wedding, COVID-19 wasn’t an issue, Hibberd said.

Even when it popped up in Alberta last spring and restrictions were closing restaurants, reducing gatherings and keeping Albertans at bay, Hibberd and Mechefske still didn’t think it would jeopardize their plans, especially after cases fell over the summer.

But in the past few months the numbers have risen again, and eventually new restrictions followed, making difficult choices for the couple.

“We talked about pushing [the wedding] back … [but] We’ve been together for a long time so this is a lot longer than a year and a half, “said Hibberd.

“We kind of made up our minds to go ahead and we would find a way to make it work, with what we could.”

‘A beautiful day’

What Hibberd and Mechefske did to involve their guests while respecting public health restrictions proved useful to those in attendance.

They were dressed in their cars, watching the ceremony on cell phones in the parking lot, and waiting for a four-course takeout meal to be served by the venue. They said it was special to share the day with their friends – in an unprecedented time.

“This is fantastic. You have to find a way to celebrate, so do it,” said wedding guest Barry Munro from his car.

“We’ll have champagne afterwards and celebrate. It’s fantastic, a wonderful day.”

According to Valerie Guinn, who was also watching from her car, an unusual and thoughtful ceremony was actually centered on the bride’s personality.

“”[Mechefske is] A very unique person, and she’s a very loving person, so try to involve everyone as much as you can – it’s right on Anistasia’s alley, “Guinn said.” And that’s exactly what they did. “

Brye Ponto, the managing director of Flores & Pine, hopes the idea will catch on.

She was also moved that, despite everything, the couple got married anyway.

“It was amazing. It was very cool to see people in love getting married, and they obviously didn’t want to stop it – they wanted to get married in the middle of this weird pandemic,” she said.

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