Local theatre manager plays pandemic St. Valentine

There is one thing even a pandemic can’t stop: Love.

The Roman priest St. Valentine was said to have been imprisoned and eventually beheaded after being caught marrying couples during the reign of Claudius in Rome.

While not against the law (or Provincial Orders), the current pandemic has made it very difficult for couples looking to get hitched to book a venue, create a guest list or actually get married.  Yet one Stouffville town staff member is making sure that couples can still move forward with their relationships.

In a typical year Ashley Chappell spends her time putting on theatre shows and live concerts at 19 on the Park in the heart of Stouffville.  But in recent months – with provincial regulations curbing any live in-person shows – she has found a way to keep serving the residents of Stouffville: providing outdoor marriage ceremonies while Town Hall is closed.

Acting as an agent of the Town Clerk, Chappell has been providing civil marriage ceremonies to dozens of couples just outside the theatre in the Civic Square.

Adhering to provincial regulations with the guests wearing masks and COVID-screening protocols, these micro-weddings have a much smaller than usual attendance of only 10 people (including the happy couple) but have no less love.

“Many of these couples have had to reschedule or cancel their original wedding plans and now they just want to be married.  Providing these very simple ceremonies allows couples to continue with their lives, moving in together and starting families.  It gives them a sense of normalcy in a time when nothing seems to be normal,” says Ashley.  “It warms my heart to be able to provide this service for these couples who are so madly in love that they just don’t want wait any longer.”

For more information on civil marriage ceremonies at 19 on the Park please visit ww.19onthepark.ca or call 905-640-2322

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