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Helping with high costs: B.C. woman hosts pop-up wedding for 7 couples

Inspired by the fact her kids weddings came with a hefty price tag, J’lene Bradley decided to do something about it to help others

Gigantic, multi-tiered wedding cakes, ostentatious floral displays, obscenely expensive wedding dresses and choreographed first dances had, in recent years, become the hallmark of wedding ceremonies and it seemed, for a time, that the trend would continue to expand into even greater hedonistic excess.

But those elaborate weddings have come with a hefty price tag. According to the Global Wedding Report, the average cost of one of those celebrations in Canada in 2023 was $30,000 to $50,000.

But recently, things appear to be changing. For one thing, following the COVID epidemic, and in the age of elevated inflation, the number of weddings happening in Canada and the United States have seen a significant decline.

And even for those who are getting married, it seems as though there’s has been a general decline in the importance of big weddings.

Enter Vancouver Island's J’lene Bradley.

Bradley, who spent much of her life working as a registered nurse, has recently completed her training to become a Certified Life Cycle Celebrant.

With that qualification in hand, and finding herself qualified to conduct weddings, Bradley decided it was a chance to give something back.

“My kids just got married and it was crazy expensive,” said Bradley. “I decided that I’d provide an option and came up with the idea of holding pop-up weddings here on the beach in Sidney. I put up some posters and invited people to come down here today and get married at no cost.”

So it happened that, in the early afternoon on June 15, several couples, with  their marriage licenses in hand-arrived at Tulista Park in the Victoria suburb of Sidney where Bradley had set up a small location on the shore to conduct her simple wedding ceremony.

Linda Pellow and Blaine Rust were one of the many couples who took advantage of the opportunity.

“This is perfect. There’s no fuss and no muss,” said Pellow. “We’ve been together for 35 years and, although we never thought that it mattered whether we formalized the marriage, it seems that for things like survivorship rights, in B.C. it seems that it does matter.”

The couple laughed when asked their age, acknowledging that they had been together for decades.

“We were living in Ontario and had some mutual friends,” said Pellow. “One day the phone in my studio rang and I answered and asked who it was calling. I’ll never forget what Blaine answered. He said, ‘this is a voice out of your future’.”

Pellow was smitten.

“We went on a first date and… well, here we are, 35 years later.”

In total, seven couples took advantage of the opportunity to get married on the beach, and they represented a wide variety of ages and circumstances.

“They ranged in age from their 20’s to their 70’s,” said Bradley. “One couple came with their two children, another with both sets of parents and some came on their own.”

And while several couples arrived in casual attire, some opted for a more formal approach, complete with bouquets of flowers and, in one case, a tiara.

Bradley is unsure whether she’ll be repeating the pop-up wedding concept.

“I really don’t know. I suppose it’s a possibility,” she said.

Until then Bradley will continue to offer customized life celebrations for the people of Sidney, including end of life ceremonies, baby welcoming, weddings and more.

”I fear that we’ve lost a lot of the celebrations in our society. We’ve become social media people but we’re really no all that social. I hope to help change that,” she said.

For more information on Bradley’s services, visit