Wildcat wedding
Visitors wed at Yellowknife's best known eatery

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Aug 22/97) - A young couple from Germany tied the knot Wednesday in the casual style characteristic of the North.

"Everybody was asking me what I was going to wear," said bride Suzanne Bellinghausen. "I told them, 'Well, I live in a tent and keep all of my clothes in a bag."

Bellinghausen and Stephen Kovats officially became man and wife on the patio of the Wildcat Cafe.

Asked if it was a spur-of-the-moment decision, the groom replied, "Not really, no. It's a complicated situation, that's why we're on neutral ground."

Kovats is from Ottawa and Bellinghausen is a native of Berlin, Germany. The couple will be returning to Berlin, where they live, next month after a brief stop in Ottawa.

"We've thought about it off and on for a while now, and thought, why not Yellowknife?" said the bride.

The two have been together for five and a half years.

The daughter of a diplomat, Bellinghausen has lived in Kenya and Afghanistan. This was her first trip to the North.

"I was so excited about this place, I had to come," she said. "It's different from anything I've ever seen. I really like the people, the landscape -- it's amazing!"

Justice of the peace Sheila Leonardis presided at the ceremony, prompting the couple through a simple ceremony and recitation of vows.

The cook at the Wildcat, Suzanne Farinha, served as bridesmaid. Kovats' friend and partner in a planned cross-cultural canoe trip, Stephan Buschel, was best man.

Kovats, Bellinghausen and Buschel are currently living in a tent in the Woodyard.

Buschel and Kovats are in the North laying the groundwork for a canoe trip from Lutselk'e to Baker Lake they hope to make next summer. The two plan to make a film of the trip, which will bring together native and European cultures.

Though a little late for the actual ceremony, friends from Yellowknife and Lutselk'e, including former chief Felix Lockhart, enjoyed some Wildcat fare following the ceremony.

"It was very strange for me," said Bellinghausen after the ceremony. "I never thought I would get married, that it wasn't necessary for two people who loved each other.

"That's why we kept it very simple, so there wouldn't be all this importance put on it."