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Couple whose wedding got canned by COVID three times will marry in Richmond on Valentine's weekend

Two days after booking a pop-up wedding, childhood sweethearts Ioanna Psiharis and Haakon Hanson discovered they're expecting twins
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Ioanna Psiharis and Haakon Hanson, pictured at Psiharis' sister's wedding two years ago. The couple are getting married on Saturday after their COVID cancelled their wedding three times

It’s been quite a week for Ioanna Psiharis and Haakon Hanson.

On Monday, Psiharis and Hanson decided “enough already” and booked a 10-person pop-up wedding at a Richmond hotel on Valentine’s weekend, kicking their thrice COVID-cancelled original wedding plans to the curb.

And on Wednesday, the childhood sweethearts from Ladner - age 24 and 25 respectively, who’ve been together for eight years - discovered they were expecting not one baby, but two.

“I called the hotel three days ago to see if this weekend was available and they called me back right away,” said an excited Psiharis, who’s been engaged to Hanson since December 2018.

“Yesterday, we went in and saw the grand ballroom (at the Executive Hotel Vancouver Airport – on Westminster Highway) and loved it.

“And, we just found out yesterday we are expecting twins. It has been an incredible week.”

Psiharis told the Richmond News how the couple’s original wedding date of Sept. 14, 2020 - with a reception at Newlands Golf Club in Langley after a ceremony at a Greek church in Burnaby – was postponed in May due to the pandemic.

Their re-arranged date in November, at the same venues, was postponed in September, with no end to COVID restrictions on public gatherings in sight.

They went for third-time lucky on Feb. 13, 2021 but, realizing early in the year that it had no chance, the couple pushed it yet again, this time to the same date in February 2022.

But only a few days ago, Psiharis learned from a friend about special 10-person pop-up weddings (as reported in last week’s News) being laid on by the Executive Hotel, event planners Event To.The.Nines and its partner Proline Events, which adhere to the public health orders.

“Honestly, we’ve lost so many people in the last year and, to be honest, we just wanted to get it over with at this point,” said Psiharis about the last-minute decision.

“Our parents are going to be there, our siblings are going to be there. God willing, in a couple of years we can have a bigger celebration. We just want to get married and be husband and wife.

“In the past year, everyone was focused on what we couldn’t do and not what we could do.

“And when we walked into the room in the hotel, everything just seemed right and we realized all the special moments that we hope to have would still be there.”

Psiharis said having the traditional large wedding with a big party “would have been great,” but COVID “has made us fine tune everything in life and everything that’s important to us is going to be in that room.”

As well as hurriedly making her wedding plans, and announcing her pregnancy, Psiharis had another little (or big) problem to sort out urgently – getting her wedding dress re-fitted, which is no mean feat considering she’s lost an incredible 250 pounds since June 2019.

“I haven’t had it altered for a couple of years, partly due to the wedding cancellations,” added Psiharis, who was laid off post-pandemic as a wedding coordinator for the cruise ship industry and had to call brides-to-be last year to tell them their big days were cancelled.

“Luckily we found someone today to take it in to get altered in time for Saturday.”