Big wedding canceled, couple shifts venue to hospital

WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — While the COVID-19 pandemic has put a halt to much of our lives, one thing it apparently cannot stop is love and marriage. A nurse and physician assistant at Metro Health Hospital in Wyoming decided to not let the virus delay their life plans.

Melanie Bork, a Kenowa Hills grad, attended the University of Michigan and spent 10 years working in Petoskey before coming to work for Metro in post-anesthesia recovery. Bradley Wernette grew up in the Flint area and did his undergraduate work at Grand Valley State University. He is now a physician assistant in neurosurgery.

Both in their early 30s, they met on a dating site, and their first face-to-face date at Perrin Brewing Co. went pretty well.

“Our first date was like, five hours later, we’re still sitting there having dinner,” Bork said Monday, a few hours before their planned nuptials.

She was living in Petoskey and he was living near Grand Rapids when they had their first few dates in Cadillac, which is about half way between the three hour drive.

After several months of long-distance dating, they decided to take a trip to Tahquamenon Falls, a two-hour drive from her house in Petoskey, for an October color tour.

A courtesy photo of Bradley Wernette and Melanie Bork.

“In that two hours, there was sun, there was rain, there was hail and in October, it was the changing of the leaves, so that by the time we got there, the clouds parted, it was sunny, it was beautiful,” Wernette said.

Between the falls, he found a spot to pop the question and she said “yes.”

They had put months into planning the wedding and reception for 110 people in Petoskey and had it all set for Friday, followed by a honeymoon in Hawaii. Coronavirus closures made that impossible.

They decided to get married anyway, and picked Metro Health as their new venue.

“You don’t know how things are going to go. They’re obviously day-to-day and week-to-week, so you can postpone to any amount you want,” Wernette said, explaining why they decided to not just wait until after the closures are over.

“We can say that we’re more excited about the marriage than one day of a party and a wedding. We’re more excited about the rest of our lives and a marriage,” Bork said.

They tied the knot Monday evening, streaming the ceremony to some family members. Bork wore her wedding dress and the hospital cafeteria provided a little cake.

John DeVries has been the chaplain at Metro Health for eight years and has married other people at the hospital, but it is often when someone is too sick to have a wedding anywhere else. He says this is a much nicer experience, despite the less-than-perfect venue.

“It is really nice to have a wedding to focus on to take us to a positive place and to realize this is not the way it’s always going to be and there are some good things going on,” DeVries said.

The couple does hope to have a big wedding reception this summer.