Real Weddings: Ian and Jonathan

Inside an uber-fashionable two-day downtown wedding celebration

Jonathan Jimenez, a retail sales specialist, and Ian McLelland, a creative director, met online in 2016. This June, the couple made the most of their wedding experience by having it over two days at two different venues. Here’s how it all came about.

Jonathan: We met online in February of 2016, but we didn’t hang out until close to the spring. We started off as friends. We followed the same TV shows, so we got together and watched TV. We didn’t start officially dating until October.

Ian: I’ll also add that we were neighbours. We shared a backyard with a fence that separated our buildings. I would come over, and eventually we were like, Maybe we should take this into the real world. We ended up going for Mexican food on our first date.

Jonathan: I remember that the cab we took to dinner was tricked out with Halloween lights and candy, which was funny. It was the most insane cab that I had ever seen, and I thought, If this is any indicator of what our relationship is going to be like, I’m here for it.

Jonathan: I have a very big personality, and Ian is a little bit quieter and more introverted. I guess you could say the fact that he can put up with my craziness is attractive. We’re definitely opposites in that respect. He blended into my friend group really easily. It was very seamless and felt really natural.

Ian: I’ll echo that comment. We have opposite temperaments, but we balance each other out. He brings me out of my shell a little bit and I probably tone him down. We meet in the middle, and it really works for us.

Jonathan: I’m my best self because of him.

Ian: I feel the same. We took things pretty slow at first. Our first trip together was just a little test trip. We went to New York for a weekend. Right before we moved in together, we went to Italy for two weeks and it was, for me, a life changing trip. That’s when I knew. I had all these rules about relationships and how long things were supposed to take, and after this trip, I was like, well, maybe we should move in together. It was not on the expected timeline, but at that point, I knew he was the one for me.

Jonathan: The year before we met, I had gone through a very difficult time. A lot of things happened that changed my life. My partner of four years had suddenly passed away in September of 2015. What I thought was going to be my happily ever after wasn’t. I had to move out of the home we shared and start my life all over again. Life doesn’t always work out how you plan it, but things always end up the way they’re supposed to. Ian came along not when I needed him but when I was ready for love again. I’m the type of person who moves very fast, so I was ready to go. I knew from the beginning that it was going to be something special because I wouldn’t have opened up to him as quickly as I did otherwise. I was waiting for him to figure it out and meet me where I was.

Ian: In November 2020, everybody was depressed because of the pandemic. Jon was especially depressed because it was his birthday. I wanted to do something to cheer him up, so I planned a trip to Vancouver to get away for a long weekend. I wanted to make his birthday special, and then it occurred to me that maybe this is the time. He had been dropping hints, so I asked a few of his friends and figured out which ring was right for him. I went to Cartier on my lunch break and got the ring less than 24 hours before I proposed. When we got on the plane, the whole time leading up to the proposal, I was acting super weird. I don’t know how you’re supposed to act when you’re about to do that, but I was definitely acting strange. We got to our Airbnb in Vancouver, and there are mountains and all this beautiful scenery. You’d think I’d have waited until we were at the top of some gorgeous location…

Jonathan: I was like, “Hey, can I unpack now?” And he said, “No, can you just let me do some work?” And I thought, Okay, that’s weird, why can’t I unpack? I wanted to hang our clothing but ended up just standing there putzing around our Airbnb.

Ian: I couldn’t wait any longer. I just needed to do it. It didn’t matter to me that the moment wasn’t the most planned out, I just had to do it. It felt right. I pulled the ring out of my luggage, got down on one knee and just proposed then and there.

Jonathan: After I said yes, I started skipping around the room and screaming, “I’m engaged!” This is something that I’d been wanting for myself since I was a kid. I’d always dreamt about the proposal and being married. I was like a giddy school kid.

Jonathan: I’ve had a mood board my entire life, so I already had everything planned out. We knew that it was going to be challenging to find a venue right away because of the backlog of weddings that had been postponed or cancelled. So we hit the ground running. We found our venue in February. We decided to have the wedding on two different days. The first venue was 5 Brock, which is an art gallery at Queen and Brock. We found that space right away and fell in love with it and locked it in. Our ceremony venue—the Drake Sky Yard—also worked out perfectly. We live across the street from the Drake, so it’s a very special place for us. The ceremony would be on one day at the Drake, and then we’d have the reception at the gallery the next day.

Ian: We had two years to plan, so we’d have these little bursts of organizing and getting things together. We didn’t hire a planner to do it for us; we did pretty much everything ourselves until it got closer to the date, and then we hired someone to do the day-of stuff.

Jonathan: Even before meeting Ian, I always knew that I wanted a strict black-and-white dress code for my wedding. Initially, I had trouble finding something to wear that would stand out in a crowd of black and white, but I ended up finding exactly what I wanted. It was from the Alexander McQueen Spring 2021 Collection. It was perfect—a dream. I didn’t see anything afterward that I felt as strongly about, so I knew I’d made the right decision.

Ian: I had seen Odell Beckham Jr. at the Met Gala wearing a Thom Browne kilt skirt tuxedo, and I thought it was so cool. Even before I proposed to Jon, I thought it would make for a great wedding outfit. It’s not really a kilt, but it’s kilt-adjacent—a nod to my Scottish heritage.

Jonathan: We got our ceremony tuxedos custom made from Suit Supply in Yorkville. We wore identical white tuxedo jackets with black pants and sparkly matching shoes from Saint Laurent. We were head-to-toe identical.

Jonathan: I spent the night before our wedding at the Artist Loft at the Drake with my two maids of honour. I didn’t write my vows until that night. Then, the next morning, I got ready with the girls for the ceremony. Ian stayed at our condo, and then his sisters came over to have a toast with him before he walked over for the ceremony.

The ceremony itself was just for immediate family, and then we had a lunch on the Drake rooftop for our extended family, about 60 people. The next day was this huge experience with two DJs. We told our decor team that we wanted it to feel like Studio 54 meets Tulum meets Berlin meets the Met Gala after-party. That was the vibe we wanted to accomplish. A friend of mine does installations, so we hired her to create this world in the gallery’s two rooms. One room featured a Tulum vibe with palm trees, jungle projections and this giant silver-foiled wall that people were taking pictures in front of. The second room was sparser, with a custom-made neon cube that housed our reveal, the first dance, and the speeches.

Jonathan: We didn’t want a typical entrance either, so we had the cocktail hour in the main room while the second room was closed off with a curtain. Then the lights suddenly went off, the curtains opened and there we were, standing in this lit box staring at everyone. We also had a custom neon sign made that said “Bahala Ka,” which in Tagalog loosely translates to “Do whatever you want.” I taught Ian how to say it, and now it’s one of his favourite sayings, especially with my family. It now hangs behind our couch.

Instead of a photo booth, we hired a fashion illustrator to do live sketches of our guests throughout the night, which was super fun for people. Almost everything we conjured up came to be; it was amazing. I remember feeling really calm the night before—weirdly so.

Ian: I absolutely hate being the center of attention. But I also got that sense of calm.

Jonathan: We had two separate DJs for the night so that we could cater to the people who wanted hip hop and those who wanted techno and house. Ian and I changed out of our dress shirts into lace body suits so we could be more comfortable while dancing.

Jonathan: The night wrapped up at around 1 a.m., and then we invited the last people standing back to our suite for a small after-party. The last people left at 10:30 a.m. Sunday morning. It was perfect.

We love Toronto in the summer, so we always said we wouldn’t rush the honeymoon and would wait until the following year. We had other weddings to attend, concerts, things like that. Pride was the weekend after our wedding—the first Pride since Covid, and even now, there’s still so much going on in the city that we’ll wait to do a honeymoon. We’ll enjoy Toronto for now.

Ian: One of our future plans is to upgrade our condo.

Jonathan: I bought it right before we started dating, and it wasn’t meant for two people. We live at Queen West, and it’s small, but it’s comfortable. We like it for now, we’ll just need to find a bigger place in time.

Ian: Jon mentioned that getting married was something he’d always dreamed of. The most important thing, other than committing my life to him, was to be able to give him everything he wanted. I was so happy that I could do that. For me, that was the best part of the whole experience.

Cheat Sheet

Date: June 17 for the ceremony, June 18 for the reception
Venue: The Drake Sky Yard and 5 Brock
Catering: The Drake and Eatertainment
Photographer: Natasha Gerschon
Cinematography: Dale Sood
Florals: Ouisey
Decor: Visual Arts
Light installations: Marquee Marc
Ian’s outfit: Suit Supply, Saint Laurent, Thom Browne
Jonathan’s outfit: Suit Supply, Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen, Christian Louboutin
Officiant: Tiffany Naval
DJs: Gimmemar, Phillippe
Fashion Illustrator: Annie Naranian
Weekend Coordinator: Genevieve Taylor
Guests: 60 for the ceremony, 130 for the reception