No. 13: Because true love finds a way

No. 13: Because true love finds a way

The pandemic meant postponement for thousands of bethrothed Torontonians. These four couples made other plans

Sandra Lee Photography

Jeannie Cho, a finance executive at 1Password, and Ryan De Guzman, a project manager at Sun Life, got engaged in April. When Jeannie’s grandmother’s health suddenly took a turn for the worse, they decided—why wait? They opted to host a small ceremony outside her grandmother’s nursing home alongside a few of their closest friends and family. Cho’s parents, who live in Atlanta, joined by Zoom. With the home’s permission, they hosted 20 guests, half of them watching from across the street. All told, they spent around $6,000, for rings, flowers, everything. Their siblings, cousins and Ryan’s parents were there that day, plus two nieces as flower girls. Jeannie’s grandmother was sitting inside at a big window, wearing a traditional Korean dress and a huge smile.

Photograph by Mango Studios

Vinay Kanthan, a performance analyst, and Shuhrat Shabnam, an innovation consultant, planned to host a 400-guest wedding over two days at the Globe and Mail Centre and Liberty Grand. Instead, they got married on the waterfront with just 40 of their nearest and dearest. He proposed on her birthday in February 2019. The wedding was initially going to be a 400-person event over the first weekend of July, with two full days of celebrations, but when Covid hit, they decided to expedite the plans. They got their marriage licence on June 18, then invited their parents and siblings and friends to come down to the Toronto Music Garden, at the foot of Spadina. They got ready together in their condo and walked to the park and exchanged vows.

Photograph by Lizzie O'Donnell

Andrew Boutilier, a commercial realtor, and Naz Araghian, a communications professional, met in 2014, when they were working at the same recruiting firm. Their wedding, a 160-guest affair at a Richmond Hill country club, was scheduled for April 25. When it was cancelled, they decided to host it in their backyard instead, and share it with guests virtually. Because the courts were closed, they couldn’t get a marriage licence, so Boutilier asked one of his best men, Peter, to officiate a faux ceremony (they’ll do an official signing later). The day of the wedding, Araghian’s mom came over to set up the backyard with candles, runners and beautiful flower arrangements. Araghian couldn’t get to the final fitting for her wedding dress, so she wore a white jumpsuit from Aritzia instead.

Photograph by 4K Production Studio

Faraz Hussaini, a first-year law student at Windsor, and Malaika Pervez, a political science major at York University, were going to make it official at a 1,000-person, multi-event celebration in August. When the pandemic hit in March, they held out as long as they could for the original date. Finally, in June, they re-evaluated and moved the date to July 4. After their mosque held a drive-through celebration for Eid, Malaika’s dad came up with the idea of a drive-through wedding, to be held at Brampton’s Pearson Convention Centre, and got it approved by Toronto Public Health. There was a red carpet, so people could walk up and take photos with the couple from a safe distance. About 570 people showed up, some of them waiting patiently for as long as two hours.

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