A couple who has maintained a long-distance relationship for nearly a decade has finally succeeded at their second attempt to get married since the beginning COVID-19 global health crisis.

“After nine years now we are finally together and we will never be alone,” celebrated Erika Namuco, mere moments after sharing her vows.

While Namuco has been living in Steinbach for years now, her now-husband, Peter Justine, was only recently able to relocate from the Philippines. For obvious reasons, immigration has been challenging lately and Namuco feels blessed that the federal government approved his one-way flight to Canada. She adds their ceremony at the Mennonite Heritage Village on Thursday marks their second crack at a wedding.

“Our wedding was cancelled last year during the lockdown in the Philippines,” she details. "It was planned, it was paid for, but it had to be cancelled because of the pandemic.”

Earlier in February, when the capacity for weddings was increased to ten people, Namuco says she and Justine, leapt at the opportunity. Foregoing the many months of labour-intensive planning, the pair secured a venue, photographer, and officiant in the span of three days, not wanting to wait a moment longer than necessary.

Namuco has been serving at the Smith Neufeld Jodoin law firm for some time now and her workplace friend and colleague John Neufeld was the one who pronounced them ‘husband and wife’.

“These people have gone through a lot to get married today, they’ve been living apart for seven years, he in the Philippines and she in Canada,” stated Neufeld, “and I am honoured that she asked me to do this.”

Now that Justine is here to stay, Namuco says she is thrilled to do away with routine Skype calls and habitual letter writing and at long last spend the rest of her life physically next to the man she loves the most.