Karen Mahoney learned to ski as a young girl thanks to her friend Brian Ray. Even though the pair lived in different countries — Ray lived in New York and Mahoney just over the border in Canada — their friendship eventually developed into love, with Ray proposing to Mahoney on the ski slopes 35 years later.
With love so long in the making, the pair wanted to marry right away, but the border between Canada and the USA was closed due to the pandemic, meaning close family members wouldn’t be able to attend.
“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 shared with CBS News. They set their date for September 25 in the hope that the borders would be re-opened. Unfortunately, on August 21 they discovered that they would remain closed on their big day.
For Mahoney the news was particularly hard. Although she now lives in New York State, pre-COVID she traveled to Quebec to see her family every week.
“COVID has hit hard. Without being able to hug them for 18 months, it hurts,” she explained. To not have her much-loved family members at her wedding would be doubly hard.
Thankfully a childhood friend, “Border Brian,” stepped up to find an unusual solution. The border patrol agent arranged for the couple to make their vows on the Jamieson Line Border Crossing between Burke, New York and Quebec, Canada, so both families could attend, while staying on their respective sides of the border.
The couple remained on the New York State side, along with their pastor and maid-of-honor. Just a couple of yards away, the bride’s parents and excited 96-year-old grandmother were present to see the couple wed.
The grandmother was particularly moved by the occasion. “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,” shared the new Mrs. Ray.
The couple then went ahead with their original wedding plans in New York State with other guests the following day.
“I got to marry the most beautiful woman in the world two days in a row,” shared the delighted husband.
While it might not have been the initial wedding of their dreams, this couple managed to adapt their plans to focus on what really mattered to them: making their vows in the presence of their beloved family.