Jennifer Wolowic and Simon Le Pine’s wedding day had a distinctly New Westminster flair.
After a three-year engagement, the local couple tied the knot on Monday, saying their I Do’s at a ceremony in the mayor’s office at city hall that was officiated by wedding commissioner Coun. Lorrie Williams.
City staffer Ruby Campbell, a friend of the couple’s, and a photographer from New West-based Oren and Jones Photography served as their witnesses for the occasion.
“We were trying to decide where in New West to get married,” Wolowic said. “Basically, all of this came together about last Wednesday.”
City hall was a fitting location for the nuptials for this civic-minded couple; Wolowic is serving her second year on the city’s advisory committee for transit, bicycles and pedestrians and is a volunteer director with the New West Grand Prix, while Le Pine helps the city with some of its open data ideas and sits on the committee that organizes New West Innovation Week.
The big day started with a stop at Friendship Gardens for some photos, followed by the ceremony in city hall and a trip to the Brownsville Bar Beach under the Pattullo Bridge in Surrey.
“We popped champagne on the beach and had some photos there. We went to the opposite side to get the whole skyline of New West,” Wolowic said. “We used to live on Royal Avenue and we could look at that park every day, so it was also a place that we knew well.”
From there, the couple enjoyed a day of stops around the Royal City.
“It was a love affair between us and New West. We love New West,” Wolowic said. “We got to go to all these places that we enjoy being at and having all these spontaneous memories of the day.”
Photographer Sandy Jones chauffeured the newlyweds around to some of their favourite spots in New West, including Old Crow Coffee Company, where Wolowic has spent plenty of time writing her PhD dissertation, and Steel & Oak Brewing Company, where staff played 1,000 Beers by Factories and Alleyways, a band the couple saw on their first date.
“We had our first dance at Steel & Oak,” Wolowic said. “It all kind of spontaneously came together.”
The couple stopped by Billard Architecture Inc., dropped by to see some friends who are starting the new Royal City Donuts and dined at el Santo, where they were surprised with cocktails and some treats on the house to complement dinner with friends, who had shown up when news of their nuptials started to spread on Twitter.
“We capped the night off by stopping at Save-On in Sapperton and bought a cake and then knocked on the door of our friends who live on Alberta Street, and said, ‘We have wedding cake!’”
Mayor Jonathan Cote had a meeting scheduled at the time of the ceremony but was pleased to make his office available for the wedding and to offer congratulations once they’d made it official.
“We are really happy for them. They both volunteer in the community and are well known and give back,” he said. “It was nice on our part to be able to help host that special day for them.”
Wolowic, a managing director of a research centre at UBC, and Le Pine, a senior underwriting analyst for an insurance company, met online five years ago. While they’ve been engaged for three years, the time has never been right to get married, as Wolowic was busy finishing her studies and Le Pine was recovering after being hit by a car while riding his bike last summer.
“We had an overall kind of plan to visit and focus on us. Between finishing my PhD and his accident last year, and we both have switched jobs this last year; there’s been a lot of thinking of externalities,” Wolowic said. “We really wanted a day where we could just have fun together and really focus on us. And that’s what ended up happening.”
While the couple spent less than a week planning their big day, they couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out.
“The day was better than I could have imagined, thanks to the city we love,” Le Pine said a day after the wedding. “But my workload is so big right now, I had to be right back at work today at 8 a.m.”