Love will be in the Penticton air on Feb. 14, when close to 20 couples walk down the aisle and get married on a whim in front of a room full of strangers.
The Barking Parrot, a pub located inside the Lakeside Resort, is making Valentine’s Day in the city a little extra special by transforming into a wedding chapel and hosting several couples on the biggest day of their lives.
“We decorate the place to make it feel special, have marriage commissioners come in and then it turns into a big, happy event,” said Marty O’Hara, the pub’s manager. “People will be getting married, essentially for free.”
With the purchase of a marriage license beforehand, any couple ready to start a new era of love is welcome to take advantage of the wedding-themed accommodations at the Barking Parrot.
Last February, 23 couples got legally hitched at the bar, with one pair from Kamloops renewing their vows after 25 years of marriage.
“It’s right on the lake and you’re in a venue where you could just have some fun afterward anyway like a reception, not just with your family and friends but also with others in the same spot looking to have a good time,” O’Hara added.
This time around, the pub is hosting a wedding party from 7 to 9 p.m., featuring official marriage ceremonies, dancing, prize giveaways and more. Each participating couple will also receive a complimentary night’s stay at the Penticton Lakeside Resort.
At the end of the party, one of the newlyweds will be randomly selected to win a honeymoon prize basket.
It’s not those getting married who are invited to the Barking Parrot on Valentine’s Day, though.
Along with friends and families of the ones walking down the aisle, O’Hara says the pub was full of local spectators for the event in 2022.
“It’s a very unique event,” O’Hara said. “Where else could you go to have a drink at your local bar and watch people who want to get married actually do it…it’s a very different way for someone to spend their own Valentine’s Day.
Each couple will be invited up on a stage to share their loving vows with those inside the soon-to-be wedding chapel. Ceremonies are expected to take no more than 15 minutes.
Those interested in getting married at the Barking Parrot this Valentine’s Day are asked to join the sign-up list by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The pub’s manager expects up to 16 couples to sign up and get married.