When Harry married Su – OOE residents tie the knot at Brantwood in virtually unbeatable style

LORI GANDY

When Harry MacKay and Su-Bin Park-Mackay decided last February to get married in October, they immediately started planning a traditional event – hall, band, catering, photographer and about 100 guests. “We thought we were being very clever getting everything organized as quickly as possible,” says Harry.

Then the pandemic happened and by June they realized that an October wedding in a hall was unlikely, given the predicted second COVID-19 wave in the fall. So, they rebooked everything for next year.

But Harry and Su didn’t want to wait a year. “October is a special month for us,” says Su. “Harry’s birthday is October 1st and mine is on Hallowe’en. So having our anniversary on the 17th means the entire month of October is our month.”

It was not the wedding they had originally planned; but it was better! Photo By Mashaell Photography

It was not the wedding they had originally planned; but it was better! Photo By Mashaell Photography

So they shifted gears and started planning a “simple” wedding for October. Their first thought was a City Hall ceremony but that couldn’t happen because it’s not available for weddings now.

They eventually chose a location in Brantwood Park next to their favourite walking trail. Turns out it was a great choice. When October arrived, new restrictions were introduced for restaurants and event spaces. “So it was going to be outdoors or in our garage,” says Harry.

Next came the planning. They found the perfect officiant through a Google search. Catering came from their favourite Korean restaurant, Maht, which opened early to prepare box lunches for the guests and deliver them to the park by 1:00 pm. Desserts came from the Green Door. They wrote their own vows. And about a week before the wedding, Harry built seven wooden benches for the guests to sit on. Su was busy for weeks obtaining items, including candles, a carafe and a cake plate, from OOE’s Buy Nothing group, for the wedding. “It’s a great way to find many useful things,” she says.

Thirteen people attended the ceremony in the park, including Su’s mother and Harry’s aunt and uncle. Many of their relatives weren’t able to attend though. Su has family in Korea, and a brother in Toronto. Harry’s parents were planning to drive from Nova Scotia to attend, but the couple had to tell them that they couldn’t come because of the pandemic situation in Ottawa.

The happy newlyweds pose for a photo beneath their simple wedding canopy in front of their favourite Brantwood Park walking trail. Photo by Mashaell Photography

The happy newlyweds pose for a photo beneath their simple wedding canopy in front of their favourite Brantwood Park walking trail. Photo by Mashaell Photography


That’s when Harry and Su decided to turn their wedding into a virtual event. “The whole wedding arose as a solution to the short-term problem of getting married during a pandemic,” Harry says. “Then it kind of evolved into something that was a full ceremony. We only started thinking about Zoom when my parents couldn’t make it, about a week before the ceremony. Afterwards, we realized we could’ve invited the original 100 people on our guest list. We didn’t realize it was going to work so well.”

Thanks to Zoom, Harry’s parents were “present” for the ceremony. “I could see them and talk to them before and after the ceremony and that was very special for me. It was like they were there with us,” says Harry. His parents and their guests ordered Korean food as well, so they could feel as much a part of the day as if they were there in person.

Harry’s parents also sent the Zoom link to extended family and friends, much to his surprise and delight. Su’s uncle in Korea was awake at 2:00 am videotaping the ceremony from Zoom. He then sent the video to Su’s relatives in Korea.

There were a few hiccups. Their phone was hooked up to Bluetooth for the music, and during one of the more heartfelt speech moments, the phone rang. Cameras were set up in various locations so the final video would have a multi-camera view of the wedding. Wires and equipment were everywhere, and they almost tripped over the wires at one point. Looking back on the video Harry compiled, Su says that these moments just added to the charm of the day.

As for the weather? They crossed their fingers and hoped for the best. And they got it – a glorious fall day, warm and sunny.

Su recalls they were a bit concerned about the public nature of the wedding, but in the end, the passersby – on foot, bicycles, even a canoeist – offered warm congratulations. “It was a perfect reminder of what a great neighbourhood we live in,” they said.

Invited guests perch on Harry's handmade benches to witness the marriage of Harry and Su on a glorious fall day. Photo by Mashaell Photography

Invited guests perch on Harry’s handmade benches to witness the marriage of Harry and Su on a glorious fall day. Photo by Mashaell Photography

It wasn’t the wedding they originally planned; it was better, they both agreed. A beautiful memory, an inspiration for others contemplating a simple heartfelt wedding, pandemic or not, and a terrific story for their kids and grandkids. Congratulations from all of us at The Mainstreeter, Harry and Su!

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