Real Weddings: Cody and Brianne
Inside a moody celebration with an all-black dress code
Brianne Bokla, a 26-year-old senior recruiter, met Cody Cuisia, a 35-year-old senior consultant and musician, on a rowdy summer night in 2018. Within a month, they exchanged “I love yous,” and they’ve been together ever since. The couple tied the knot in July of 2023 and celebrated their love with a ’90s-inspired black-and-white wedding. Here’s how it all came together.
Cody: In June of 2018, I was having a guys’ night out at a bar in Mississauga called Nomads.
Brianne: I’m from Toronto, but I was just visiting at the time because I was living in Halifax for university. I was at Nomads with my friends too. It’s a sit-down bar, but it gets more rowdy as the night goes on.
Cody: I noticed Brianne as soon as she walked in. I pointed her out to my friend, saying she was super attractive. A little while later, I was at the bar grabbing a drink when Brianne and her friends came up and stood right next to me. I turned to Brianne and simply said, “You’re very pretty.”
Brianne: Little did Cody know, my friend had noticed him when we walked into the bar and pointed him out to me, knowing that he was very much my type. She was right. I followed him as he left the bar, and we briefly introduced ourselves. I was immediately obsessed with him. I’d spotted him dancing earlier. There’s something about a guy who has rhythm.
Cody: Admittedly, I was dancing pretty hard that night.
Brianne: I made sure to ask for his number while we were still at the bar.
Cody: Brianne and I ended up dancing together before a group of us went back to my condo for an after-party. We all hung out for a while at my place, but at some point Brianne got super tired. So I tucked her into my bed and went back out to rejoin the party.
Brianne: Who falls asleep at some random guy’s party, right? I don’t know why I did that, but I just felt really comfortable. The next day, I woke up and Cody was heading out for a music gig. I learned that he sings and plays guitar.
Cody: We texted each other and made plans to meet up that night.
Brianne: I was nervous, so when he picked me up, I was talking a lot. I wanted to make sure that the conversation kept flowing. It was kind of like our first meeting since the night before had been so crazy.
Cody: I quickly learned that she wasn’t just attractive but also kind of dorky and very chatty. She did talk a lot, which was fine with me, especially since I was so tired.
Brianne: We talked about our families, our friends, music. We pretty much covered all the bases. Cody is nine years older than me, but it didn’t matter—things felt natural between us from the start. I’m an old soul, so it makes up for the age gap.
Cody: I was absolutely not looking for a relationship. I had just gotten out of one, actually. But, as we started to get to know each other more, I realized it would be a huge mistake to not commit to her just because of the timing.
Brianne: I wasn’t looking for anything serious either. I was only home for a few months, and my plan was to prioritize seeing my friends. But, from the moment I met Cody, I wanted to see him all the time. In my mind, we were officially together from that first day.
Cody: We spent the next month together, going out for dinners, seeing live music and grabbing drinks at cool bars.
Brianne: I knew I loved him after a week of knowing him, but I waited until after that first month to tell him.
Cody: One night in August, we were at Reposado Bar and Lounge on Ossington.
Brianne: I had a lump in my throat because I knew the summer was ending and I needed to tell him how I felt before I left for school. We sat down and I ended up blurting out, “I love you.” I had to get it off my chest!
Cody: I knew it was coming because of how shy she was acting that night. I laughed at her—it was corny. But I felt it too, and she was happy when I told her so.
Brianne: I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t think he felt the same way. Plus we needed to get it out of the way so that we could enjoy some margaritas.
Cody: When September hit, Brianne went back to Halifax. So we did the long-distance thing for a while.
Brianne: I was miserable out there without him. Every month I would secretly fly home just to see Cody. No one in my family knew. I got a part-time job to pay for the flights.
Cody: We were always in communication. We would even fall asleep on FaceTime together. Luckily, after Brianne graduated in 2019, she landed a job in Toronto. She moved into my one-bedroom condo in Humber Bay.
Brianne: Living together was fun from the start. It was a smooth transition, especially since we both enjoy entertaining and hosting. From there, our lives became more intertwined, and we started to travel together. We visited New York, LA, Mexico and Costa Rica.
Cody: Then the pandemic hit, and we were crammed in our 600-square-foot condo, spending literally all our time together. But we had such a blast. We played a ton of video games, and Brianne would paint and draw. We even took a stab at puzzles, but that one wasn’t for us.
Brianne: Video games were Cody’s thing, but I learned to love them.
Cody: The pandemic really showed us how well we worked together, even in the hardest of times. By July 2022, it felt like the right time to propose. I knew I wanted kids one day, and marriage felt like an important first step.
Brianne: My parents have a beautiful relationship. They’ve both been willing to make sacrifices for their marriage, and they prioritize family above all else. Thinking of them, I knew I wanted a commitment too. With Cody, marriage and kids felt like a no-brainer.
Cody: The proposal was never really going to be a surprise. We sat down with a jeweller so Brianne could pick her engagement ring.
Brianne: I chose an eternity band and an elongated radiant-cut diamond.
Cody: On our five-year anniversary, we were coming back from Brianne’s family cottage. I arranged to have a bottle of champagne, flowers and a box of cookies waiting when we arrived home. I pretended it was just an anniversary gesture, but I secretly hid the ring in the cookie box.
Brianne: I was surprised by the ring when I eventually found it, and of course I said yes immediately. He nailed it. It was a very low-key proposal, just like us. I didn’t want anything big or lavish. I’m a huge planner, though, so I was excited to start planning every little detail of the wedding.
Cody: We knew we wanted to keep it intimate, with just our close friends and family. I wasn’t trying to meet new people at my own wedding.
Brianne: I made decisions about almost everything within the first month of our engagement. It was a very stress-free process. For the weeks right before the wedding, we hired a coordinator, who helped with last-minute details.
Cody: We set the date for July 8, 2023, and chose an industrial multi-purpose venue called District 28. It’s very cool and low-key.
Brianne: The vision for the wedding was to keep things light and fun. For decor, we went simple. The focus was on flowers, candles and drapery. The flowers were my favourite part of the wedding. My Nona and I used to spend a lot of time in her garden together when I was a kid, so we chose the flowers for the big day together.
Cody: We placed cigars and cigarette trays around the venue to create a social environment where people could strike up a conversation over a smoke.
Brianne: We also hung sheer black drapery around the venue to add a super romantic element.
Cody: We asked every guest to wear black. We didn’t want any one outfit to be overpowering or clash with the rest of the decor, which was predominantly black and white. If anyone had an issue with the request, we didn’t hear about it. Everyone looked great, and our vision was fulfilled.
Brianne: The photography was important to us. We wanted clean, film-style photos. I had sent our photographer, Felix from Mango Photography, mood boards of the ’90s aesthetic I had in mind.
Cody: I kept it simple with my outfit. My groomsmen and I wore black Zara suits that cost $400 a piece. They all wore ties, and I wore a bow tie to differentiate.
Brianne: One of my biggest muses is Monica Bellucci, the Italian actor and model. She looks good at every angle, all the time. She inspired my look. My dress wasn’t a traditional bridal dress at all. It was made by an Australian designer, Effie Kats. I actually ordered the dress online before Cody and I were even engaged, since I knew we’d get married eventually. I had never seen something so unique and different. When it arrived, it fit like a glove. No alterations needed.
Cody: We tried to buy clothes that we could wear again in the future.
Brianne: At my request, Cody’s sister’s mother-in-law hand-sewed the flower girl dresses, which were inspired by Nicole Richie’s fashion. I loved them so much.
Cody: The evening before the wedding, I spent the whole night rewriting my vows.
Brianne: I, on the other hand, had written my vows nine months in advance.
Cody: The morning of, I took an Uber down to the Broadview Hotel, where I met up with my groomsmen and parents for photos. We took a couple of shots at the hotel bar and then headed down to Prohibition, another local bar, to relax.
Brianne: I wasn’t nervous on the morning of the wedding. I didn’t even register that it was my wedding day. When Cody’s seven-year-old niece told me how beautiful I looked, that’s when it became real—I was so excited to officially become her aunt. We have a special bond. We got our hair and makeup done together. Later, we took a limo over to the wedding venue.
Cody: I was nervous. I usually enjoy being the centre of attention, but walking down the aisle and having everyone’s eyes on me was definitely nerve-wracking.
Brianne: I walked down the aisle to “At Last” by Etta James. Then, when the rest of the wedding party came down the aisle, we played “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross.
Cody: We wanted people to feel like dancing while everyone was coming in.
Brianne: Once the ceremony was over, the whole venue opened up so people could walk around and mingle in the different rooms for cocktail hour.
Cody: We served ice-cold shots and palomas.
Brianne: Cody and I walked into the reception to our first dance song, “I Wanna Know” by Joe.
Cody: My mom and I did a pre-recorded dance to some more-upbeat songs, which was a ton of fun. When Brianne and her father did the father-daughter dance, everyone was surprised to hear my voice singing “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder. I had pre-recorded a cover of the song for the dance.
Brianne: Then we had a three-course meal—an arugula salad with squash and berries, then steak or risotto with halibut, then cheesecake for dessert.
Cody: My friend deejayed the wedding and pulled together a great set. We didn’t want any Top 40–type songs or the “Cha Cha Slide.” He played tracks from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s—stuff every generation could appreciate.
Brianne: Everything was perfectly timed and on schedule. Being in the same venue for all the events made the transitions seamless.
Cody: That was definitely the way to do it. It was a great party. A week after the wedding, we moved into our new home in the Fairbanks area. It’s been great to settle into a bigger space. We plan to do our honeymoon in Spain for our first wedding anniversary. We’re going to visit Madrid, Ibiza, Seville and Mallorca.
Brianne: I can’t wait to be sipping on a cocktail on the beach.
Cody: Nothing has changed for me since getting married. We were happy and in love before, and it’s the same now.
Date: July 8, 2023
Venue: District 28
Planner: Joy By Janice
Photography: Mango Studios
Officiant: Helena Cassano
Catering: District 28
Staffing: District 28
DJ: Giovanni Spagnolo
Bride’s hair: Hair Love by Sigourney
Bride’s makeup: Blush X Balm
Bride’s dress: Effie Kats
Groom’s suit: Zara