Sonny and Nancy Watson were among hundreds lining Beacon Avenue to congratulate Josh Huizinga and Brynne Cumming following their wedding scaled down because of COVID-19. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

PHOTOS: COVID-19 forced Sidney couple to change wedding arrangements

Hundreds give newlyweds parade down Sidney’s Beacon Avenue

In what could end up becoming a new tradition in the COVID-19 era, hundreds of well-wishers including relatives, friends and strangers gave a just-married couple a parade down Sidney’s Beacon Avenue Sunday afternoon.

As people lined both sides of Beacon Avenue from at least Fourth Street down holding balloons and placards, Josh Huizinga and Brynne Cumming waved to the crowd as a vintage black Rolls-Royce chauffeured them towards the traffic circle at First Street near the Sidney Pier Hotel and Spa, where immediate family and members of the wedding greeted them.

Hours later, the young couple got married in the father of the groom’s backyard in a small ceremony with a total of 13 people as social distancing rules against large gathering to fight COVID-19 forced the couple to make alternative arrangements.

“I’m surprised how many people showed,” said Brynne, standing on the traffic circle in her wedding gown, when asked about the reception the couple received.

“I’m speechless,” said Josh. “I thought it was going to be 20 people,” added Brynne. “So it’s very special.”

Josh said the couple was trying to make the best out of a situation out of their control. “But we did our best to make the best out of the situation. I think it still turned out very amazing. In light of everything going, we were still able to have a really great day.”

Brynne said the couple started planning for the worst-case scenario about six weeks ago. “The worst-case scenario for us would have been if we were like on a mandatory shutdown,” said Brynne. “We were prepared to meet with our pastor in the living room in our pajamas and just sign the paper work. But we were able to do it in the backyard with everybody standing at a safe distance.”

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The couple plans to spend its honeymoon at an Airbnb in Sooke. “That is the most adventurous thing that we could really plan for right now,” she said. “We will do something bigger after all of this calms down,” he added.

The couple knew each other while attending Parkland Secondary together and started dating while attending nursing school together at Camosun College. Both are still students, but are currently working as care aides, he at Berwick Royal Oak, she at Aberdeen Hospital.

“We personally have not dealt [with COVID-19 patients] because our facilities are on a pretty strict lock-down to keep everyone safe,” said Josh. “We have been able to keep it outside the doors.”

But if COVID-19 looms large in both of their professional and personal lives, Sunday’s ceremony and parade was evidence that they were able to make best out of the situation, with plenty of help from friends and family, including Nancy and Sonny Watson, who knows the couple through church.

“It’s awesome,” said Sonny, when asked about the parade. “It’s amazing,” added Nancy. “I’m glad that love doesn’t get conquered by COVID-19. They continue on it. It doesn’t have to be the party the way it was supposed to be and they just roll forward. You know, in a marriage, you got to do that. So they are starting off very early, showing that they are going to be able go with the roll, adapt and overcome.”


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This family was one of many greeting newlyweds Josh Huizinga and Brynne Cumming greeting them during a parade down Beacon Avenue Sunday afternoon. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

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