Bermuda to the rescue for couple’s nuptials
Bermuda came to the rescue of a couple who planned to marry in Canada, but were denied by border restrictions sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic.
American citizen Manuel Artime, 47, from New York, and Montrealer Anastasia Lord, 36, married last Wednesday on the beach at Horseshoe Bay in Southampton. The couple turned to Bermuda after Mr Artime was denied entry to Canada on May 15 because his travel was “non-essential”.
He was also not considered “immediate family” or a common-law spouse of Ms Lord, the two exceptions to the rule, which ruined plans for a Montreal wedding planned for May 30.
Mr Artime said the couple explored alternatives and found out that Bermuda would open up to travellers from the United States and Canada.
Ms Lord said: “At first, I said ‘no way I am going to Bermuda, sorry'. But then I looked into how you have procedures in place and I really liked the way Covid-19 has been handled here.”
But she added a conversation with Kim Minors at the Government's Registry General office helped sway her. Ms Lord said: “She told me the process, sent me information and pamphlets and by the time noon came I called Manuel and said: ‘we are going to Bermuda, I have already applied for the licence'.”
Mr Artime added: “It has been a long journey for us. We looked at getting married in international waters and even on a reservation that straddled the border between the US and Canada.
“We also looked at the Bahamas, but we decided on Bermuda and we are very glad we did.”
He added: “The biggest lesson I have learnt is when the going gets tough, book a flight to Bermuda. That is my new motto. Coming here made everything work out.”
Ms Lord caught a flight to Bermuda from Toronto on July 9 and Mr Artime travelled to Bermuda from Atlanta three days later. It was the first time they had been together for five months. The couple underwent the island's strict test procedures for arrivals to ensure they were coronavirus-free.
Ms Lord's clear pre-travel test arrived before she travelled.
But Mr Artime, tested in New York five days before he departed, has still not got the result. He said: “The way that Bermuda is handling Covid-19 is great; I wish the US would take it more seriously. You guys have the right strategy. It's very important.”
The couple married the day before Ms Lord was scheduled to fly home, but they extended their stay and are set to leave the island today. Ms Lord said their wedding ceremony was “beautiful”.
Mr Artime added: “The reverend was great. It was on the beach, it couldn't have been better. Our only regret is that our families and friends weren't able to be here.”
Those absent included Ms Lord's parents, her eight-year-old son Alexander, and Mr Artime's mother, Adelaida.
Mr Artime said: “My mom is a widow, she raised six kids, and she has done everything for us kids. I am sorry that my mom was not able to be by our side. We both have great parents, and we wish they could have been here.”
Ms Lord added: “Alexander wanted to be a part of it, but I didn't want him to be exposed to the risk of Covid in the plane and at the airport.”
The couple said the island has made a strong impression.
Ms Lord said: “Every time we drive around, it's so beautiful. Bermuda is breathtaking.”
Mr Artime added: “We love it here; we don't want to leave. I am from Miami — we have travelled a lot and Bahamas is close. We love it there, too, but it's different here.
“We don't feel like we are in a tourist trap, and everyone has been so nice. People have gone out of their way to help us and the trip has been great, just beautiful.
“The food is amazing, the people are amazing, and the beaches are amazing.”
The couple added they had split their time between the Royal Palms Hotel, Rosewood Bermuda, and the Fourways Inn and Mr Artime said all of them had been “great”. Ms Lord, an accountant, and Mr Artime, a banker, are expecting a baby in October.
He said he would travel to Montreal in time to complete a 14-day quarantine to be present for the birth.
The couple met four years ago while Mr Artime was in Montreal on vacation.
He said he visited Ms Lord in Canada every three weeks until the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
Mr Artime is the son of the late Cuban soldier and politician Manuel Francisco Artime Buesa, who led a counter-revolution against Fidel Castro and took part in the unsuccessful 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion.
He died of cancer in 1977.
Mr Artime said: “He passed when I was four years old. I am very proud of him — he inspires me every day. He was a hero I will always look up to. The other hero of my life is my mother.”