Nadi and Ryan got married on the waterfront, which was also the site of their early dates

Real Weddings: Nadia and Ryan

Inside an elegant starlit celebration on the waterfront

As Told To Andrea Yu| Photography by Assaf Friedman
| August 18, 2023

Nadia Ngo, a 32-year-old automotive product management analyst, met Ryan Halliday, a 36-year-old automotive parts program analyst, in June 2020, while they were both working for the same luxury car dealership. Ten months later, they began dating, and in January 2022, Ryan proposed on Centre Island. They married in a June 2023 ceremony at Solarium with bubble guns and a live watercolour sketch artist. Here’s how everything came together.


Nadia and Ryan got married at Solarium, which is above Rebel Nightclub

Nadia: I started a new job in May 2020, doing sales administration for a luxury car dealership in Riverside. One day, my manager told me to email Ryan, who also worked there, to get some pricing information. The next thing I knew, he was standing outside my office. Honestly, my first impression was that he seemed quite standoffish and a bit stern.

Ryan: At first, our conversations were strictly business related. Nadia and I were both in relationships at the time. But, even then, I knew she was cute. We started taking our lunch breaks together. There could only be five people in the lunchroom at once, and the group of us would talk about the news, our families and our pets.

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Nadia: A few times, it would just be me and Ryan. We discovered that we used to hang out at the same spots when we were younger.

Nadi and Ryan by the waterfront before their reception

Ryan: Nadia grew up at Keele and Finch, and I grew up in Scarborough. We’d both frequently hung out at Pacific Mall, a bowling alley called Club 300 and Mix2, which was a pool hall. We must have crossed paths, but we’d never met. Over time, Nadia became my closest friend at work.

Nadia: After that, Ryan and I got along easily. I enjoyed working with him. In August, though, I noticed that he seemed off.

Ryan: I was going through a really difficult breakup. My ex and I had been together for a long time. Before her father passed away, I’d promised him that I would marry his daughter and take care of his family. But the relationship had deteriorated to a point where I knew I couldn’t stay. The guilt I felt for breaking that promise was weighing on me. Nadia kept trying to check in on me, and finally, a month later, I opened up to her during one of our lunch breaks.

Ryan and Nadia walking along the waterfront near where they got married

Nadia: I could tell that he needed someone to talk to. My dad passed away when I was 14, so I knew what it was like to lose someone important. After that, we talked more and more. We found out that we both love anime and superhero movies.

Ryan: I could tell that Nadia had a good head on her shoulders. After losing her dad at a young age, she’d had to grow up fast. But everything was still platonic at that point. For my birthday, in November, she surprised me with a cake. It was so thoughtful. That’s when I first thought that there might be something more than friendship there.

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Nadia: Coincidentally, my relationship had also ended. I wasn’t quite ready for something new, but Ryan and I started hanging out in one of our cars after work. We’d talk for a few hours while we waited for rush hour to die down.

Nadi and Ryan sitting outside of Solarium, where their wedding took place

Ryan: I actually made the first move in her car. I was really nervous, but I leaned over and kissed her. It felt right. Hanging out with her came so naturally. She’s always finishing my sentences.

Nadia: After that, things felt effortless, like we had known each other for so long, even though we hadn’t. And he’s so considerate—he used to order bubble tea at work for me. Since we’d both just got out of long-term relationships, neither of us wanted to waste time. We both saw ourselves getting married soon and eventually having kids.

Ryan: Most of my friends were married with kids, so I was eager to start that chapter. I bought an engagement ring in September 2021, but I wanted to wait for the right time to propose. I figured I’d do it in the winter, because Nadia loves snow. In the meantime, we moved into a basement apartment in North York together.

Ryan with his groomsmen at the wedding

Nadia: Then, at the end of January 2022, I was complaining to Ryan that we hadn’t had a date in a while.

Ryan: It was so cold at the time, like minus 30 or 40 degrees. But I figured it was the perfect opportunity to propose before the snow melted. So, on January 23, I planned a surprise outing.

Nadia: He told me we were going on a picnic. I thought it was unusual, obviously, because of the cold, but I went along with it. He brought me onto the ferry to Centre Island. There was another guy there who offered to take a photo of us. I had no idea that it was a photographer Ryan had hired for the day.

Nadia with her bridesmaids at the wedding

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Ryan: I was so nervous. I kept checking on the ring to make sure it hadn’t fallen out of my pocket. I brought her to a spot on Centre Island with a great view of the Toronto skyline. The photographer was there, pretending to take pictures of the scenery. The lake was completely frozen, so we walked out onto the ice. That’s when I got down on one knee and pulled out the ring. I couldn’t even say, “Will you marry me?” because I was freezing cold.

Nadia: I didn’t know whether Ryan was too nervous or too cold to speak, but I just said yes. After that, I went straight into wedding-planner mode. I’m type A, so I loved every moment of it. I don’t know why everyone says that planning your wedding is so stressful.

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Ryan: I was happy to let Nadia to take the lead, but she did ask me for final approval on things.

The solarium, elegantly decorated for Ryan and Nadia's wedding

Nadia: I wanted to be married in a glass structure so we’d have that indoor/outdoor feeling, and I wanted to be by the water because of our dates at the lake and the proposal on the Island. So we chose Solarium, which is on the top floor of Rebel nightclub. For decor, we went contemporary, elegant and romantic—a lot of black and white with neutral beiges. We had dry florals, like pampas grass and baby’s breath. The tables had clear chairs and black tablecloths with hints of gold in the table numbers and centrepieces, and we hung lights from the ceiling to simulate the stars.

Ryan: I got my suit at Per Lui in Woodbridge. It has a custom lining printed with photos of Nadia and me together.

Nadia and Ryan walking through the Solarium. Nadia is wearing a mermaid-style gown.

Nadia: My wedding dress was mermaid style with lace appliqué and a lot of sparkle. On the wedding day, we rented an Airbnb nearby, where Ryan and I got ready. It all felt very relaxed. I had a good five hours of sleep, which I’ve heard is a lot more than most brides. I wasn’t stressed at all. Everything was happening on schedule.

Ryan: At one point, I got a bit worried because I was waiting for the photographer to take getting-ready pictures of me and my groomsmen. They were behind because they had spent too much time with the girls.

Nadia: Sorry about that.

Ryan: I also got nervous waiting at the altar, but once I saw Nadia walking down the aisle, I just thought, Goddamn, she’s beautiful. I started tearing up.  

Nadia walking down the aisle to meet Ryan

Nadia: My heart was pounding a million times a minute. At the same time, I felt a sense of relief. I thought to myself, I’m walking toward my husband.

Ryan: The ceremony started at 1:30 p.m. and was pretty quick, about 30 minutes.

Nadia: There was a four-hour break for our guests while we took photos, and the catering staff flipped the venue so that dinner could be in the same spot as the ceremony. We gave my maid of honour and Ryan’s best man bubble guns so they could fill the room with bubbles for our grand entrance.

Nadia and Ryan emerging into a storm of bubbles, courtesy of two bubble guns.
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Ryan: Our first dance was to “Until I Found You” by Stephen Sanchez. We learned a choreographed dance from a YouTube video, but the bubbles had made the floor too slippery. So we swayed a bit and did some turns here and there.

Nadia: For dinner, we served a salad, then our guests’ choice of salmon, short rib or pesto pasta. We also had two flavours of wedding cake: matcha and chocolate. Before we opened up the dance floor, the DJ played “Gangnam Style” while Ryan and I took a photo with every one of the tables. Then we got everyone to come on the dance floor for a group photo before the song ended. It was a fun way to get our close friends and family members out of their seats. We had a photo booth, and we hired an artist to do live watercolour sketches of our guests. Our wedding favours were little cans of bubble tea from the Alley.

Ryan and Nadia partying late into the night.

Ryan: Things stayed lively late into the night. Everyone was having a good time.

Nadia: People were doing shots on the dance floor, and the party kept going until 1 a.m. I was tired, but I was a thousand per cent happy with how the day came together. I’m not sure how much Ryan remembers about the evening, though. I think he had a bit too much fun.

Ryan: I do remember! I remember having a good time and that everything turned out how we planned.

Nadia and Ryan walking hand in hand outside Rebel Nightclub.

Nadia: I’m still getting used to calling Ryan “my husband” instead of “my boyfriend” or “my fiancé.” Our honeymoon is booked for November. We’re going to the Maldives for two weeks.

Ryan: Looking back at our relationship, it felt like someone was watching over us. Everything happened for a reason. It honestly still feels a bit surreal. Our relationship is the same as it was, but it feels more solid now that we’re married.

Nadia: I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with Ryan. There is no one else who understands me better than he does.

Nadia and Ryan enlisted their maid of honour and best man to fill the room with bubbles for their entrance
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Cheat Sheet

Wedding Date: June 16, 2023 Photography: Assaf Friedman Videography: Parallel Productions Social media videographer: Eighty8 Social Wedding location: Solarium Wedding coordinator: Marielle Gourlay Events Officiant: Joy Johnson, Fun Weddings Furniture rental: Event Rental Group, K&M Party Rental Catering: Provisions Wedding Cake: Devuyst Desserts DJ: Lanny Nguyễn MC: Durgy Spade Live guest sketches: Caterina Cruzeiro Photo booth: PhotoboothTO Guest favours: The Alley Bride’s hair: Windy Chiu Bride’s makeup: Jen Evoy Makeup Studio Bride’s dress: Adi Shlomo Groom’s outfit: Per Lui

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