A whirlwind romance: Ottawa couple tie knot in tornado-darkened ceremony

Ottawa Citizen: September 23, 2018

Many a young couple has tied the knot with storm clouds on their horizon, but the circumstances of newlyweds Ryan and Kaitlyn Flett were more literal than most.

On Friday, the Ottawa couple were getting ready to take formal photos before their wedding ceremony in Carleton Place when their cellphones, and those of everyone around them, started buzzing.

It was an emergency warning about the looming tornado approaching the region.

“We were a little worried then,” Ryan said.

But the 27-year-olds carried on and, when they got to their rustic-themed wedding venue The Barn, everything seemed as though it would be fine. Then, as the 100 or so attendees were taking their seats, and about five minutes before Kaitlyn was to walk down the aisle, the lights went out.

“It had been flickering before,” she said, “and then finally went off.” For some, that might be the moment of panic or tears. But it’s worth noting that Ryan, who works at the Ottawa Art Gallery, and Kaitlyn, who works in HR, say they’ve always marched to their own drum over the course of their five years together; they don’t do the usual, typical things. Simply put, two pesky tornadoes and attendant storms weren’t about to ruin their big day.

“I knew that we didn’t need electricity to get married,” Kaitlyn said with a laugh.
Fortunately for them, wedding officiant Alan Viau has what he describes as a background in theatre.

“The DJ had some LED lighting, and they’re battery powered, and we kind of made a bit of a stage,” said Viau, who has been doing weddings for 14 years, but said he never before had to pull one off in the dark.

With the jerry-rigged mood lighting, a mix of battery-powered torches and candles and the musicians — who usually play in a heavy metal band with Ryan — switching to acoustic, the gig was a go. So, to an acoustic rendering of Coolio’s Gansta’s Paradise, the bride walked down the aisle and the nuptials proceeded “without a hitch,” Viau confirmed.

“I thought it felt kind of romantic, really,” Kaitlyn said. “It was just dimly lit and it was soft, and all of our friends and family were there, so to me it felt kind of romantic and special.”
“It was really romantic,” Ryan added. “It was really different.”

Shortly after the pair had said their “I do’s,” the lights came back on and the reception went ahead.

Adds Viau in a philosophical aside: “In the middle of all this disaster, there’s
still happiness happening.”

Listen to the CTV report on the event HERE.