Daniel Frausto married Maple Ridge’s Elizabeth Rodriguez at a small ceremony in Peace Arch Park. (Studio 76 Photography - Special to The News)

Maple Ridge woman uses Peace Arch Park loophole to marry American beau

Elizabeth Rodriguez met San Diegan, Daniel Frausto, on live streaming app two years ago

Elizabeth Rodriguez’s journey to connect with her husband, Daniel Frausto, has been compelling from the start, so it only made sense their wedding would be equally off-beat.

Rodriguez, 43, from Maple Ridge, wed Frausto, 34, from San Diego in Peace Arch park on Sept 2.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions they were unable to throw the wedding they would have liked to, but through a loophole – thanks to an 1814 treaty between the United States and Canada – they were able to exchange rings at the international border park.

The pair met in 2018, shortly after Rodriguez started using the live-streaming app, Periscope.

Rodriguez said she used to live-chat with fellow users from around the world as a way to relax at night.

She began sharing some songs she had been writing, and some users – who enjoyed the music – encouraged her to share more.

“And he was one of them,” Rodriguez said.

“He would come in, and say we need to make music, as he had dabbled in it, and was a bit of a musician himself.”

READ MORE: Friends surprise recently married couple with COVID-19 friendly reception on Pitt Meadows street

Their messaging increased over the following months to the point where they were in contact all the time.

“One day I decided to tell him I like him, and as I was typing it,” Rodriguez said, “He told me he liked me, and [our relationship] took off very quickly from there.”

They finally met in person in December 2019 when she took a trip to San Diego to spend Christmas and New Years with him.

“As soon as I saw him I ran into his arms, and our connection was immediate,” she said.

“I knew that there was no doubt – I was already in love with him.”

Any trepidation she felt at meeting someone she had only communicated with online, melted away, and the two spent a wonderful holiday season with each other.

Just as COVID-19 started to affect everyone’s lives, they met up again.

“I got down [to San Diego] on March 10 and by the 12th everyone was running out of toilet paper and going crazy,” Rodriguez said.

Thinking it would blow over, the couple got an Airbnb in Tijuana and prepared to hunker down.

“It seemed like a good idea but when it got really scary, I thought I’ve got to get home, so on April 7 we both flew to Vancouver.”

Frausto made it as far as customs, but was separated from Rodriguez, and they would not see each other until moments before they were wed.

Desperate to see him again, Rodriguez did some research and found out about Peace Arch Park through a Facebook group.

They arranged for an officiant from Washington State to marry them on the two year anniversary of Frausto saying hello to Rodriguez on Periscope.

The guests included Rodriguez’s dad, who gave her away, and her two sons from a previous relationship.

“It was a beautiful day,” she noted. “The sun was shining, and it was so nice.”

She walked to meet the groom with Bruno Mars’ Just the Way You Are playing.

“Every time that song came on, Daniel used to joke that it was my theme song,” she said.

While she wishes she could have celebrated the occasion with all their friends and family, Rodriguez said, it was perfect the way it was.

“The important thing for me was I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him,” she said.

“He’s just the perfect person who came into my life. I can’t get over how much he’s encouraged me to do things I was too afraid to do.”

The pair are now living in Maple Ridge, and after a two week quarantine, Frausto is getting to explore Maple Ridge for the first time.

“He likes all the green trees, and thinks it’s pretty here,” Rodriguez said, noting she has taken him to Alouette Lake and Maple Ridge Park.

He is hoping to obtain work as a mechanic, and she will be releasing her first album at the end of the month.



ronan.p.odoherty@blackpress.ca

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