Windsor is seeing more civil wedding ceremonies this year

Windsor Town Hall has a dedicated room for civil wedding ceremonies. The town has seen an influx of people wanting to get married there. (Submitted by Terri Knight Lepain – image credit)

The city of Windsor is seeing an influx of people wanting to get married in civil wedding ceremonies.

Windsor’s civil ceremony revenue is expected to show a $30,000 surplus this year, according to an operating budget variance report that was recently presented to council.

Anyone getting married must obtain a license – priced at $135 at the City of Windsor – and can also choose to get married at City Hall for $250.

What’s different this year is that requests for marriage licenses to the city are down slightly while requests for civil ceremonies are up, says Terri Knight Lepain, the city’s records and elections manager.

Lepain believes the pandemic and COVID-19 restrictions have led to more couples choosing to get married quickly.

“People have extended their marriages for one, two and three years and they just want to get married,” she said.

The easing of border measures and the ability to travel for a destination wedding could also lead to a rush of weddings at City Hall, Lepain said.

Submitted by Terri Knight Lepain

Submitted by Terri Knight Lepain

“I would say things were changing before COVID, and the pandemic accelerated those changes,” said Nancy Campana of Nouveau Event Planning, which hosts wedding shows in Windsor every year.

“We were seeing a big change before the pandemic in the wine industry. Lots of couples were having weddings at our local wineries, more outdoor weddings, weddings that were a little smaller but more lavish.”

The outdoor trend “has accelerated” in recent years due to COVID-19 guidelines, Campana said, and has led to new outdoor venues in the area.

Lisa Xing/CBC

Lisa Xing/CBC

But Campana says there is a backlog of weddings that were on hiatus due to the pandemic, and 2023 will also be a busy year for nuptials as venues and venues continue to be booked.

“This safeguard could continue for the next five years, as anyone who gets engaged over Christmas – and 30-40% of engagements will be during the holiday season – will be very hard pressed to find a venue next year,” she said.

“So that means they’re going to be pushed back to the following year.”

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The city was unable to hold ceremonies due to provincial shutdowns during the pandemic and even halted licensing services for a brief period, Knight Lepain said.

But now, his staff welcomes anyone who wants to hold a ceremony at City Hall.

There is a dedicated room for ceremonies and two members of staff who perform them, although Chevalier Lepain also steps in on busy days.

“I definitely enjoy doing them,” she said.

Knight Lepain said she hopes the new plaza outside Windsor Town Hall will be completed this year, with dedicated outdoor space for holding civil weddings.

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