On The Cover: Wolfville Wedding Chapel

Emily Leeson

It is February and amidst the flurries and freezing rain, there is also love in the Annapolis Valley air. For couples looking to tie the knot, renew their love, or just put on a bit of a show—the Wolfville Wedding Chapel has been making love come true since 2021.

The chapel is the passion project of Sarah Anderson, who also created East Coast Pop Up Weddings. “I’d had the idea of a chapel in the back of my mind for a year or two,” says Anderson. “I’ve been to Vegas, I love colour and kitsch, and I wanted to keep with the one-stop-shopping idea for weddings that has worked so well for me in the past few years.”

While this may be the era of tiny events, there’s no skimping on the possibilities of what a wedding can be when done just right, right here in the Annapolis Valley. “Tiny does not mean lesser than,” says Anderson. “What I love about intimate weddings is that they can be completely reflective of the couple—which is how weddings are intended to be, aren’t they? There’s more room for personality, for splurging on the fun bits, and anything small tends to be more ceremony-focused and real. And that’s what’s at the heart of a marriage, isn’t it? Getting married.”

Since opening its doors, the Wolfville Wedding Chapel has helped to broaden ideas of what a wedding can be. 

Whether it’s on a weekend, weekday, in the early hours of the rising sun, or just before a night out on the town, weddings at the chapel are whatever couples want them to be.

“The chapel is the ‘church for all,’ so to speak,” says Anderson. “When we look back at the people we’ve married in the last six months, it’s been everyone: culturally diverse, same sex, parents with young children and adult children, folks on their second marriage, couples in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, introverts and extroverts and everyone in between, folks who’ve always wanted to elope, folks who had plans thwarted  by COVID, folks looking for the quick and dirty now and the wild party later, etc. But the common thread is people looking for a wedding where they can just be themselves and isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?”

The chapel is ready to host a ceremony and celebration—but Anderson says couples who have lived and loved in the time of COVID are even making that timeline their own. There’s always the option of getting married now and partying later. “Who says it all has to happen on the same day? If your time is now, have at it!” she says. “Don’t wait for siblings to fly in from out west, don’t wait for this pandemic to be over. Your family and friends will love you regardless of whether or not they’re on the invite list and they’ll celebrate you afterwards with a party or reception when restrictions allow.”

And whether couples are dreaming of a do with friends and family, or planning an even more intimate pas-de-deux, celebrations here in the Valley can continue long after the ceremony. 

Here are Sarah’s favourite Valley spots to celebrate once your ‘I’do’s’ are done:

Baxter’s Harbour: If scenic natural wonders are where you want to start your marital bliss, Baxter’s Harbour Falls won’t disappoint. Accessible via a short trail, you’ll want to check out the tide times before you embark on this little adventure, but once you’ve got the schedule set, this little trek and picnic on site is a picture-perfect way to toast your nuptials!

Annapolis Royal: What isn’t there to love about this gem of Annapolis County. Just far enough away to feel like a little trip, there are scenic spots aplenty for wedding photos, a bustling main street to stroll, and charming B&Bs where you can make a weekend out of it. And if you’re there on a Saturdays, the Farmers & Traders Market is worth the trip all on its own!

Grand-Pré National Historic Site: Beautiful in any season and steeped in the history of this land, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the perfect spot to take a stroll and kick off your life together. If your honeymoon plans involve a bit of glamping, the site now also features Otentiks for rent. En route, be sure to pause at View Park on Old Post Road for the best view of Cape Blomidon — it’s the view Valley residents say let’s them know they’re home (it also looks beautiful as a wedding photo backdrop!).

When you’re ready to take the leap, the Wolfville Wedding Chapel has a trio of wedding options—each with its own set of delights. Check out all the offerings at wolfvilleweddingchapel.com