They’ve only had a few days to plan, but it’s a wedding 14 years in the making.
Dolly Sutherland and her partner Mark met when they were both sober and working. In recent years, issues of addiction and homelessness plagued the couple, landing them at the Calgary Drop-In and Rehab Centre.
“As the years went by, addictions progressed and got worse,” said Mark, who requested his last name be withheld. “We built everything together, we lost everything together, and for her to still stand beside me…proves quite a bit.”
Sutherland said they’ve been wanting to tie the knot for awhile, but “we had too many things on our plate,” she said.
As part of the Drop-In’s annual Christmas Wish List — a list of clients’ holiday requests, which can be sponsored online — the couple simply asked to be wed.
Calgarian Nichole Barwise knew she wanted to keep up her tradition of sponsoring a wish, and immediately connected with the couple’s story.
“They didn’t want a night on the town … or a nice fancy laptop. They wanted to get married to each other,” said Barwise.
She met the couple at the registry Tuesday to pay for their marriage license, and before she could get her debit card out, one of the registry staff members had paid for the license, and moments later, another employee offered a recently purchased wedding dress for Sutherland to wear.
On Wednesday, the couple opened a donated pair of wedding bands from Troy Shoppe Jewellers with tears in their eyes.
“These are happy tears,” said Sutherland.
Now living in an apartment, Sutherland said getting married is one more achievement to be proud of.
“We can put the past away and start our new lives together,” she said. “They made our wish come true, and that means a lot to us.”
The couple will be wed on Thursday at the Scarboro United Church.