A New York couple held their wedding at the US-Canada border after the bride’s grandmother could not come to the ceremony because of the travel ban.
Karen Mahoney and husband Brian Ray, of Cadyville, originally planned their wedding on September 25 with the hopes of having her 96-year-old grandmother attend the ceremony.
Travel restrictions for Canadians to the US, which was implemented in March 2020, prevented Mahoney’s grandmother from attending the wedding.
Canadians can fly into the US, but not cross the land border, with the couple deciding that Kate’s grandma – who has not been named – would be safer not getting on a plane with COVID still surging.
The couple’s border patrol friend, nicknamed ‘Border Brian’, was then asked to officiate the ceremony at the Jamieson Line Border Crossing between Burke, New York, and the province of Quebec.
Mahoney’s family members, including her grandmother, and Ray’s family both were able to make the attendance at the ceremony.
New York couple Karen Mahoney (bottom left) and Brian Ray (bottom right) had a US-Canada border wedding so Mahoney’s 96-year-old grandmother (top right) could attend
Mahoney’s grandmother was unable to fly to the US as her family members were concerned for her health and because of the border travel restrictions
‘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,’ Mahoney told CNN.
Despite the fact that Canadians can fly to the US and all of Mahoney’s family were vaccinated, the concern for her grandmother’s health during air travel was a major concern.
Both Mahoney and Ray did not want to push their wedding any further as they were eager to get married and couldn’t wait any longer.
‘We didn’t want to wait and have a long engagement. We are so much in love that we couldn’t wait another day to be married,’ Mahoney told CBS News.
The couple met in 1985 after Ray taught Mahoney how to ski and remained friends even after they both married other people and had their own children.
Following both their divorces, Ray and Mahoney reconnected after she took an interest in a car that he was selling on Facebook.
Ray and Mahoney did not want to push back their September 25 wedding date as they were eager to get married
The couple had their wedding at the Jamieson Line Border Crossing between Burke, New York and Quebec
Ray proposed to Mahoney a year after dating in March on top of a mountain at a ski resort in Vermont.
After the setback of their ceremony, the couple consulted with Border Brian to discuss the rules and restrictions of a border wedding.
‘He was off-duty at the time and … let the other agents who were on duty know what was going to transpire,’ Mahoney told CBS News. ‘He arranged so that it would be uninterrupted.’
The wedding was described as emotional for the couple as both families were able to attend the ceremony with Ray’s family standing on the US side, and Mahoney’s family standing on the Canadian side.
‘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,’ Mahoney told CNN.
‘I cried,’ Ray said. ‘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.’
Ray proposed to Mahoney on top of a Vermont mountaintop after dating for a year and keeping a 35-year friendship
Of course, nothing was more emotional for Mahoney than seeing her grandmother in attendance.
‘She was extremely excited,’ she said. ‘I’ve seen her once in two years. So, it was very emotional. We both cried. And she expressed to me later that to witness the happiest day of my life is a moment she would never forget.’
‘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,’ she added.
This heartwarming ceremony comes a year after another pandemic wedding on October 2020.
Nova Scotia couple Lindsay Clowes and Alex Leckie married at the border between Maine and New Brunswick so both sides of their families could be in attendance.
Clowes was originally from Maine and held the wedding at the border so her family members could watch from across the water.
‘There’s not an ounce of disappointment that we decided to go this route. It’s definitely a story that we will remember and be telling for years to come,’ Clowes told CBC.
A similar border wedding was held for couple Lindsay Clowes and Alex Leckie between the Maine and New Brunswick border
About 15 of Clowes’s family members watched the couple get married across the water in Maine
The land-border travel restrictions from Canada to the US are still in place until at least October 21.
‘This approach continues to confuse travelers who can fly into the United States for non-essential purposes,’ Canadian Chamber of Commerce vice-president Mark Agnew told iPolitics in September.
‘There is no reason why a fully vaccinated traveler can fly from Toronto to Detroit, but is not allowed to drive.’
It was also announced that the US will ease travel restrictions for those visiting from the UK and the EU in November, although a specific date has not been announced.
Those rules were imposed by former President Donald Trump in March 2020.
Noncitizens visiting the country must still show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test to enter the US.
Canada places the same restrictions for foreign visitors as both proof of vaccination and test results will be required 72 hours in advance of arrival.