When Courtney Zylstra met Stephanie Barber, it was far from love at first sight.
“We met working at a grocery store in Elmira, Ontario,” recalls Courtney. “I was in university and she was in college, and she hated my guts.” That didn’t last, though. The two became best friends, then pen pals when Courtney moved to Nova Scotia. “And then we fell in love.” Courtney and Stephanie are both in Nova Scotia now and have been for several years. Stephanie’s first “proposal”— when she asked Courtney to be her girlfriend—took place after scavenger hunt she’d arranged in Point Pleasant Park. After a couple years of dating, Stephanie asked Courtney to be her wife in their living room.
Originally, the plan was to elope, “just ’cause our families weren’t totally on board from the beginning,” explains Courtney. “Then some stuff changed for us and thankfully everybody came together.”
The spur-of-the-moment ceremony took place at Point Pleasant, where their romantic relationship began, on the date of their anniversary. Courtney and Stephanie said their vows in front of 12 guests, as well as their two chihuahuas. “Our little guy Brutus walked Steph down the aisle and I walked with Penny.”
Following the nuptials, Courtney and Stephanie went to Port City Tattoo Studio for matching ink. Stephanie can’t usually wear a ring due to her job as a massage therapist, so the couple both got “Mrs.” tattooed on their ring fingers. “It was probably our favourite part,” says Courtney, “because it was truly just the two of us at that point.”