What started as a joke turned out as the fix to unite two American and Canadian families.
Kadee Jensen was set to marry her partner Jaxson Jensen in June but, like many couples, the COVID-19 pandemic put their wedding on an indefinite hold.
Complicating things was that Kadee’s family lived in Montana while her in-laws lived in Alberta. All non-essential travel between the Canada-U.S. border has been shut down since March 21, and officials recently extended the closure until Aug. 21.
The two were 16 years old when they first met at a church youth activity. But it wasn’t until last October that they reconnected through family friends. Jaxson was then studying in Edmonton and Kadee in Rexford, Idaho.
Still, that didn’t stop him from driving 14 hours to the U.S. for their first date. The rest, they say, is geography.
“We had planned three or four different weddings. We tried in the United States, we tried in Canada and then we thought about waiting and then we thought, ‘What’s a way that we can have both of our families there?’” Kadee told HuffPost Canada.
“Jaxson suggested why don’t we get married at the border? And we kinda laughed and thought of it as a joke but then we started to ask for permission from people and to see if it was even possible.”
What followed was a 10-day sprint of phone calls between U.S. and Canadian authorities and plenty of support from family, said Kadee, who studied wedding planning and floral design.
“His family was so helpful — my mother- and father-in-law — they helped with everything, decorations, the logistics of the day, how everything happened, so we had a lot of help.”
The wedding took place on the Alberta side of the border near the Del Bonita crossing into Montana. Eight of Kadee’s family members watched from the U.S. side while 45 guests from the groom’s side attended ― plus one border patrol guard to “make sure everything was done right.”
Kadee says she’s received plenty of positive reactions for her wedding but the important part was to have her immediate and extended family together for the day.
“We got to get married and my family was able to be there and yes, there was a fence between us, but at least they were there to witness and I could give ’em a hug.”