Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio

Real Weddings: Dawne and Kevin

Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at Mararamiro Home and Studio

As told to Andrea Yu| Photography by Calyssa Lorraine
| May 20, 2022

Dawne Maranan, a patient safety specialist and content creator, matched with Kevin Huang, a human resources professional, on the dating app Hinge at the end of 2019. They moved in together during the lockdown and after Dawne became pregnant in the summer of 2021, they planned an intimate wedding for December. Here’s how their wedding came together.

Kevin: In 2007, I was studying human resources at York University and working as a club promoter for a venue called Metro in the Entertainment District. One night, a friend brought Dawne to the club. I was immediately drawn to her—she was super attractive, bubbly and very fun—but she was dating someone at the time. Eleven years later, in December of 2019, I was on Hinge and saw Dawne’s profile. I figured she would be getting a million messages a day, so I sent her a DM on Instagram instead.

Dawne: I was nonchalant about Kevin’s message when I saw it. It would either be a catch-up with an old friend or something more. I thought, let me give this a chance.

Kevin: We met up at Markville Mall, in Markham, and walked around for a bit. Then we went to a hotpot place nearby for dinner.

Dawne: I was taken by surprise when I saw Kevin again. When I first met him, he was such a flirt. But on our date, he seemed so mature and responsible. He shared his plans for the future—he wanted to be in a serious relationship, get married and have kids one day. And I felt the same way. After dinner, we sat in Kevin’s car and kept talking for about two hours because we both wanted to keep the conversation going. I felt really comfortable with him. I thought, this could be something real.

Kevin: I left that evening feeling really, really good. I wanted to see if the connection and the energy were there. They were.

Dawne: At the time, I was living in Cambridge with my parents. But I was commuting into Toronto every day for work. And Kevin was working up in Markham. A few days after our first date, I ended up having a work meeting in Markham, so I asked him out to lunch. We went on a few more dates after that and have been together ever since. Things got serious once Covid hit. We had to decide whether we were going to stay away from each other. I was worried that it would slow down our relationship.

Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio
Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio

Kevin: Meanwhile, I was living in the basement of a triplex in the Beaches while waiting for my pre-construction condo unit in Regent Park to be completed. I asked Dawne to move in with me, and we quarantined together during the first lockdown while working from home. We were still in the honeymoon stage of our relationship. Everything was so exciting. We just wanted to be together all the time and the lockdowns gave us the opportunity to really get to know each other.

Dawne: It was so easy being with Kevin. Our relationship just felt right. With him, I was at peace. We got along so well. I was like, oh my gosh, is this normal? I freak out a lot and can be very anxious. But Kevin is very chill, which I need in my life.

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Kevin: Dawne has always been very positive, fun and high-energy. We balance each other out a lot. Living together was a glimpse of what the future might look like living with her forever. I thought, this could actually work. In November of 2020, the condo was ready. So, we moved out of the triplex and into the two-bedroom condo in Regent Park. We had been talking about marriage and having kids. We had plans to travel together first, but, of course, Covid was happening.

Dawne: My background is in nursing, so in May of 2021 I was redeployed to the frontlines of Covid. It was really stressful, and I was tired all the time. On Father’s Day in June, Kevin and I were at my parents’ house in Cambridge. We’re all pretty open with each other, so I was telling them about how stressed I was about work and how I had missed my period. My sister thought I should take a pregnancy test and drove out to buy one. I took it and it came back positive. I was shocked and started crying. I was very happy. I walked down to the basement, where Kevin was hanging out with my parents and showed him the test.

Kevin: I thought I was getting punked because it was Father’s Day. But when I saw Dawne crying, I knew it was serious. I was totally caught off guard and happily surprised. It was a magical day.

Dawne: We started weighing our options. At first, we thought we should be responsible and put our money towards a house instead of spending it on an extravagant wedding. But we changed our minds and decided that we wanted to have an engagement party and an intimate wedding with our immediate family.

Our wedding came together very easily. My side gig is in social media content creation, so I know a lot of people in that industry. I have really good friends that are photographers, makeup artists and hairdressers. We booked a studio in the east end of Toronto called Mararamiro for December. I wanted something intimate and romantic, so our florist placed baby’s breath with white and neutral roses on the mantle of the fireplace.

Kevin: I’m Chinese and Dawne is Filipino, and we wanted to incorporate both of our cultures in the wedding. We planned a Chinese tea ceremony before the wedding ceremony and found traditional outfits at Pacific Mall. And for the civil wedding, I found an Armani suit and bowtie at Hudson’s Bay.

Dawne: I didn’t want a dress that was too heavy, with the extra weight I was carrying. I went to a bridal shop and fell in love with the first dress I tried on. It was an empire-waist ballgown that hit above my baby bump. My pregnancy was progressing, and I was worried that the dress wouldn’t fit properly, but the seamstress reassured me. A week before the wedding, I went back and she made some alterations. It fit perfectly. On the day of the wedding, we started with the tea ceremony with Kevin’s parents. Then, I got ready for the civil ceremony. In the Filipino tradition, both of your parents walk you down the aisle. My dad wore a traditional Filipino suit called a barong.

Kevin: We wanted the ceremony to be simple and sweet. We wrote our own vows. I felt a rush of emotions when I saw Dawne walking down the aisle and standing across from me. I felt the weight of responsibility by getting married, but at the same time, I also felt very free and light because Dawne was standing across from me. I knew that I’d be in good hands for the rest of my life.

Dawne: As I started reading my vows to Kevin, I felt a flood of emotions, and I started crying. It was hard to get through our vows. I was overwhelmed with happiness. I thought, I can’t believe I’m getting married.

Kevin: After the wedding, we went to a Chinese restaurant in Markham for dinner. My friend had just opened up a new restaurant, called Mansion Six, and we had a private room booked for us. We had a really nice 10-course meal which included deep-fried lobster and stewed pork with black truffle and abalone.

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The wedding was a symbol of our love. I’m glad that we could share that happy moment with our loved ones. We’d already been living together, so it didn’t feel too different after we got married. In many ways, we were already a family. But at the same time, calling Dawne my wife is the cherry on top—the last final touch that completes our journey.

Dawne: Our son, Kane, was born in February. It’s tough adjusting to our new life sometimes, but Kane makes it bearable because he’s so cute. We love him so much and he’s such a good baby. We’re really lucky.

Kevin: With a baby and working from home, our two-bedroom feels like a bachelor now. So, we’re hoping to move to a bigger space by the end of the summer.

Dawne: When I was single, I remember my best friend telling me that I would find someone and that everything would happen quickly. It’s funny to look back and know that she was right. I’m so glad we decided to get married before having a baby. There’s no time to plan a wedding now. I don’t know how people plan a wedding with kids.

Cheat Sheet

Date: December 5, 2021 Location: Mararamiro Home and Studio Florals: Partybox Floral Officiant: Judith Blair, Dream Weddings Canada Photography: Calyssa Lorraine Rings: Everlast Diamond Cake: The Rolling Pin Hair and Makeup: Styled by Nadia; Jess Wolfert Beauty Bride’s outfit: Anakoi Bridal, Giovanna Alessandro Groom’s outfit: Armani

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Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio

Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio

Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio

Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio
Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio
Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio
Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio Real Weddings: Inside a multi-cultural ceremony at a Leslieville studio
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