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Vancouver City Hall to offer 'micro-weddings' in plaza amid pandemic

Last Updated May 9, 2020 at 9:18 am PDT

(Helena Gutteridge plaza at Vancouver City Hall. Courtesy vancouver.ca)

A pilot project allows couples to pay $85 to book 30-minute time slots for 'micro-weddings' at city hall

Coun. Melissa De Genova first brought a motion asking for weddings at city hall in 2018

De Genova says she hopes couples who have had to cancel weddings due to the pandemic will take advantage

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Because love can’t wait until the pandemic is over, Vancouver City Hall is now offering up its plaza for physically distanced micro-weddings.

Coun. Melissa De Genova has been engaged with this idea since the end of 2018, when she first proposed permitting weddings at the venue.

And she says now –with banquet halls shuttered and large gatherings banned– is the perfect time to launch a pilot.

“It’s very happy news, especially in uncertain times,” she says.

“I was sad to hear that many couples, over the past months due to the pandemic, had had to cancel their wedding plans. Some had quite extravagant weddings planned, some it was smaller weddings, but they’d put off their plans indefinitely.”

For $85 a couple can secure a 30-minute time slot in the east-wing plaza.

Only 10 people total are allowed. Couples must bring their own officiant and have already secured a licence.

“When I’ve heard people say we’re going to city hall to get married it’s usually a no-frills ceremony, that’s what those couples are looking for,” De Genova says.

“So, in some cases, it may be couples that had something planned that wasn’t able to move forward because of the pandemic. But, for other couples, this is what they wanted from the get-go. They wanted a small simple ceremony, and they wanted to have it in a meaningful place in the city.”

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Previously, couples could rent space at city hall but would have to apply for an event permit, a lengthy and expensive process.

“I really appreciate that our staff have cut through the red tape in order to be able to help some of these couples,” she says.

“With an $85 fee and an online application, I think many couples will find that this is not only easy and accessible but affordable as well.”

She says an affordable option is especially important in an unaffordable city like Vancouver.

Toronto’s city hall has a dedicated wedding chamber with officiants on-hand and same-day licencing.

De  Genova hopes this small pilot project will lead to more options for larger, indoor ceremonies in the future.

“I would expect that later on, when we’re able to have gatherings that are more than 50 people and when physical and social distancing isn’t as much of a recommendation that we would also be able to offer those types of ceremonies,” she says.

“It’s certainly been a long way to the altar but I’m very pleased.”