It’s your wedding day and it’s -45C outside. Go.

Last modified: February 8, 2021 at 3:14pm

Love is in the air. So is the risk of frostbite in moments.

Jescinda Cullihall and Josh Powell awoke in Yellowknife on their wedding day to discover the capital of the Northwest Territories was enduring its coldest day in more than a decade.

Saturday, February 6 dipped to -45.4C without wind chill. An extreme cold warning had been issued. What would your wedding day look like in that temperature?

“It was actually quite a lovely day,” said Cullihall. “In short increments.”


Cullihall and Powell were married on the ice road that runs across Great Slave Lake from Yellowknife to the nearby community of Dettah.

Jescinda Cullihall and Josh Powell
Photo: Vincent Ret

The exchange of rings happened before anyone got out of their vehicle, to avoid unnecessary exposed flesh. Gloves remained on throughout. Powell has a little frostbite around the ears, otherwise both emerged from their wedding unscathed.

“We had decided to just have a small elopement together in the middle of the ice road,” said Cullihall.

“It was just us and our commissioner and our wonderful photographer, and our poor, poor freezing witnesses.


“It was very lovely. It felt like we were on a completely different planet with the ice fog.”

‘Life’s too short’

Cullihall and Powell moved from Newfoundland to the Northwest Territories two years ago. They made the decision to get married after coming through a tough 2020 together.

“This year has been quite unprecedented not only in what is happening globally, but also in our personal lives,” Cullihall told Cabin Radio.

“We both sat down and thought about it for a long time and realized life’s too short to put things on pause and to wait.

“It’s not something we wanted a big production for, it’s just something we wanted for us and to celebrate the love that we have for each other. So we very last-minute looked at each other and said, let’s just do it. Let’s do it here, let’s do it now.”


Jescinda Cullihall and Josh Powell
Photo: Vincent Ret

The couple paid tribute to wedding planning service Let Me Knot and photographer Vincent Ret.

“We are so, so grateful for everything they did for us,” Cullihall said.

“I don’t think it’s a day that we will ever forget. We’re so pleased with how everything turned out and how everyone was willing to brave the elements for our special day.

“We really love it in Yellowknife. We’re so happy that we came to see this special place and came to live here.”