The woman in a wedding dress darting across Old Market Square on Friday evening wasn’t a runaway-bride situation. Cathi-Anne Cook and Justin Metzger just wanted to tie the knot in the place that started it all for them two years ago.
Metzger clearly remembers the moment he saw Cook — or at least the moment he thought he saw her hula-hooping onstage at the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival.
"I was walking around here with a couple buddies," Metzger said, gesturing at the open green space and food-truck-lined paths. "I saw a performer onstage and I stopped for a minute. I’m just like, ‘She looks so familiar.’"
He and his friends figured it out: it was Cook, and they had gone to high school together about a decade ago.
Metzger looked her up on Facebook and sent a friend request, and a little while later they were on their first date. However, the hula hoop performer Metzger saw onstage turned out to be just a lookalike — but by the time they realized that, it didn’t matter.
"It was kind of the perfect storm," he said.
"That was it," said Metzger’s mom, Gloria. "Sparks just flew."
For Gloria, seeing her son — who wore a button-up shirt covered in tiny chimera from Greek mythology — and Cook marry in the place that helped bring them together is the best thing she could have asked for.
"It was perfect for them. They’re just different characters," she said. "He always liked her from afar."
The wedding took place on the Cube Stage in Old Market Square, in front of a small group of close friends and family — and a large group of strangers who were uncertain what was happening, but seemed happy for them anyway.
The couple wrote their own vows, which glided through some traditional promises and some less common ones.
"I promise to love you every day, through the good, the bad. But most of all, I promise to love you when we’re boring, because that’s when it can be hard to remember how great we are," said Cook. "But then I’ll just suggest something really stupid that we can do together."
The ceremony lasted for all of about three minutes, and ended with the wedding party heading over to hang out in the fringe festival beer gardens for the remainder of the evening.
As for the honeymoon, the pair have another out-of-the-ordinary choice in mind.
"We’re going to all the statues in Manitoba," said Cook.
"There’s like 83, or something like that, in total," said Metzger.