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News >  Spokane

In sickness and in health: North Spokane couple weds in front yard during pandemic

UPDATED: Mon., May 18, 2020

Tony and Nikki Barbee dance in the street after they were married in their front yard on Sunday, May 17, 2020. The couple had a South Hill wedding planned with 160 attendees but had to cancel the gathering due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review)
Tony and Nikki Barbee dance in the street after they were married in their front yard on Sunday, May 17, 2020. The couple had a South Hill wedding planned with 160 attendees but had to cancel the gathering due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review)

Nothing was going to stop Tony and Nikki Barbee from getting married on Sunday – not a worldwide pandemic and certainly not a little bit of rain.

The couple tied the knot Sunday afternoon in their front yard as friends and family watched from the sidewalk.

The couple met about five years ago when Tony started working at Costco in Kirkland, Washington, and Nikki helped train him.

“I started working there and she taught me how to do the book table at Costco,” Tony said with a chuckle.

The pair enjoyed great banter and often quoted from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” to each other.

Nikki made the first move by buying a copy of the movie for Tony.

They quickly began falling for each other. In fact, their first dance was to the classic Tom Petty tune, “Free Fallin’.”

Tony has three kids, Aadin, 15, Evelynne, 10, and Tony Jr., 9. Nikki has a 12-year-old son, Brayden Webster.

“Nikki has swooped in and loved Tony’s kids like they’re hers, and Tony does the same,” said Dallas Hoy, a bridesmaid and sister-in-law. “It’s just really sweet to watch.”

Nikki said she knew Tony was the one on their first Mother’s Day as a couple. Despite their constant banter, Tony found a moment to be sincere.

The pair were joking around and Tony said, “Yeah, it’s cause I love you,” Nikki recounted.

“It just made my heart melt obviously and I was like, this guy is a keeper,” Nikki said.

Nikki’s mother agreed.

“He’s just always been really attentive, even with her son,” said Nadine Webster. “They feed on each other’s craziness. It’s just fun.”

A few years later, Tony “couldn’t stand being away from Spokane anymore” and decided he needed to move back.

“She stood by me through everything, ups, downs, moving,” Tony said.

Last year, Tony planned a vacation to Mexico to propose.

“I planned the whole trip just to ask her to marry me,” Tony said.

Nikki had noticed Tony mentioning marriage a bit more in the months before the vacation and had an “inkling” a proposal was coming, but wasn’t quite sure when.

But when Tony got down on one knee on the beach, Nikki was overjoyed.

The couple came back to Spokane and started planning their wedding.

“We had everything already paid for and paid off,” Tony said. “We were going to have Veraci Pizza cater and we had a spot on the South Hill.”

They planned on having about 160 people attend, but at the beginning of April it was obvious they would have to cancel the gathering. The couple decided the nuptials just couldn’t be postponed.

“Nothing was going to stop her from being my wife today,” Tony said. “That’s what we had planned and I wasn’t going to wait any longer than that.”

So they decided on a front yard wedding at their north Spokane home.

Nikki wore a strapless white dress with red pumps and a red ribbon at the end of her braided hair. The dress was a steal for $50 at Goodwill.

“I hope the rain goes away,” Nikki said while she was getting dressed. “I don’t want to get my dress wet.”

It rained all afternoon, but moments before the ceremony began at 5 p.m. the clouds cleared.

Tony stood nervously, waiting under a canopy.

“Honestly, I couldn’t wait,” Nikki said. “Just looking and seeing his face was probably the best moment of it right there.”

Tony described the moment as “just happy, just all happy.”

The ceremony was short but sentimental, with a few jokes and lots of laughs.

Moments after Kenny Carlson, the pastor, pronounced them husband and wife, the couple’s 3-year-old nephew, Presley, screamed “They did it!” eliciting cheers from the family.

“It’s better than we could have ever thought,” Tony said.

That statement sums up not only the wedding day but the couple’s relationship, according to Tony’s brother Matt.

“From the first time Tony ever mentioned her – he has never talked about any girl like that,” Matt said. “The first time I ever met her, I finally felt like I had a sister.”

Matt’s wife, Hoy, agreed.

“When I first met Nikki it just made sense,” Hoy said. “She and him, they’re both complete absolute weirdos, which is why they’re perfect together.”

Tony’s parents, Kim and Jeri Barbee, couldn’t agree more.

“We call her the Energizer bunny,” Kim said.

“She’s just a light, a positive light,” Jeri added.

Despite all that energy and positivity, it has been a tough season for the couple, who were set to open their business, Vintage Slice Pizza Co., before the pandemic put things on hold.

The couple both worked for the food truck when they lived in Western Washington, and told the former owner if he ever wanted to sell the 1953 blue GMC pickup with a wood fire pizza oven in the back, that they would buy it.

“We fell in love with making pizzas, and each other,” Tony said.

Now, the pair have to wait until Washington reopens to get the rest of their permits.

Even with the setbacks and change of plans, the couple are excited for married life.

“We’ve lived together for four years and are raising our kids together, and I mean it’s just another day but we’re married now,” Nikki said.

The couple danced to Tom Petty in the middle of the street as friends and family tearfully looked on.

Some even drove across the state to be there.

“The fact that they were here made me realize how special and loved both of us are,” Nikki said.

While their wedding wasn’t quite what they expected, it was not only a celebration of love but indicative of the positive and resilient people the Barbees are.

“This wedding is such a good representation of them as a couple,” Hoy said. “The two of them together will take any poor, negative situation and make the best out of it.”

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