Mike and Cat standing outside Soos restaurant on their wedding day

Real Weddings: Cat and Mike

Inside a stylish celebration at Soos restaurant

Cat Morales, a 35-year-old hairstylist, and Mike Caton, a 37-year-old chef and soon-to-be flight attendant, met while walking their dogs in 2020. After many more meetups at their local dog park, their friendship turned romantic. In the spring of 2023, they were wed in an intimate celebration at Soos restaurant, followed by a patio hangout at Sweaty Betty’s Bar with close friends and family. Here’s how it all came together.

A black and white photo of Cat and Mike walking around Queen West

Cat: In early April 2020, I was out walking my dog, Sara. Out of nowhere, a cute guy waved in my direction from across the street. We had never met or seen each other before. I even checked if there was someone behind me. Turns out he was just being friendly. It was a breath of fresh air during the early Covid lockdowns. Most people were avoiding each other. We didn’t talk at all, but it was a nice encounter.

Mike: I’d been taking my dog, Ella, to this unused school soccer field. Once lockdowns started and everyone was home, it became a sort of unofficial dog park. One day, this white spotted dog came up to me looking for pets. When I looked up, I saw its owner, whom I realized I’d waved to on the street a few days earlier.

Cat sitting in the bar at Soos restaurant in her wedding dress

Mike: I thought she was way too well dressed for the dog park. She was wearing very clean Adidas shoes and faux leather pants—brave choices considering how muddy it was. We briefly chatted, and I learned that her name was Cat. In the following weeks, we kept running into each other at the park. Eventually, we became friends.

Cat: We’d talk about music and occasionally have a beer while our dogs played. We started going on longer walks together too.

Cat and Mike walking out of a photo booth together

Mike: There wasn’t a definitive first date. I’m pretty sure going on a date at that time was more or less illegal. Eventually, we exchanged Instagram handles and started scheduling meetups. One night, I was wearing an Alexisonfire hat. It started a several-hours-long conversation about the bands we both loved growing up and how we’re still into them now. We’re both adult emo kids, basically.

Cat: Music has always been an integral part of our lives, which is something we bonded over.

Mike: One day, Cat told me she was a hairstylist and offered to cut my hair. So I went over to her house. She had a nice vintage salon chair and mirror set up inside her apartment. There was a funny moment when she dropped a pair of shears in my lap. Thankfully there was no damage.

Cat and Mike walking around on their wedding day, holding hands

Cat: I was so nervous to be cutting his hair that first time. After that, he started coming by more regularly. We spent a good two months just being friends and getting to know each other. Then, I had a small get-together on my patio one night. That was the first time we kissed.

Mike: Cat and I were both living in the Queen West area, just a five minute walk apart, which made it easy for us to continue seeing each other regularly. After we’d been dating for almost a year, we decided to move in together. We wanted more space than either of us had.

Cat and Mike sitting outside a coffee shop on queen street

Cat: We also wanted to make sure the dogs could live together in harmony. They’re both alpha-female types. Once we narrowed our search down to a few apartments, we took the dogs with us on viewings. It actually went really well—the new spaces were neutral territories for them.

Mike: We moved into an apartment just south of where we’d both been before. We’re closer to the waterfront, which is perfect for the dogs.

Cat and Mike standing against a wall with their dogs

Cat: In October 2021, we started to talk about getting married. It was less of a formal proposal and more of a conversation. We were making dinner one night and I just asked him, “Do you want to get married?” And he said, “Okay!” That was it. Then I said that, if I was going to wear the ring every day, I wanted to pick it out.

Mike: By that point we had booked our first trip together, which was going to be to Tulum in February 2023.

Cat: Originally, neither of us wanted to have a wedding. So we just made a plan to do private vows while we were in Mexico.

Cat and Mike walking through their neighbourhood holding hands

Mike: By pure coincidence, we found out that two of our friends, Jess and Matt, who run Whim and Willow Photo in Toronto, were heading to Tulum at the same time. They were going to be shooting a wedding. We let them know ahead of time that we wanted to do a fun photoshoot and a little vow exchange, and they agreed to photograph us.

Cat: We arrived and did the vow exchange right away, like 30 minutes after we’d gotten to our resort. Luckily, we got the perfect golden-hour lighting coming over the cliffs and the ocean.

The couple during their vow exchange in Mexico
Photo by Whim and Willow Photo

Mike: We were very candid. I didn’t write anything down beforehand. I just spoke from the heart. Exchanging those vows with the ocean right next to us was a truly special experience.

Cat: We loved doing the initial ceremony our own way. It was very intimate.

The couple after their Mexico vow exchange
Photo by Whim and Willow Photo

Mike: After some consideration, we decided to have a small ceremony in Toronto to share the moment with friends and family. Our wedding in Tulum hadn’t been legally binding either, so this time we’d have an officiant who would marry us officially.

Cat: Since we’d never been excited about the idea of a big wedding, we wanted to make sure that it felt more like a fun party.

Cat and Mike standing together in Soos restaurant

Mike: We envisioned a cocktail party that also happened to have a little wedding. We knew we wanted to do it at a restaurant. We were dining at Soos on Ossington one night, our favourite spot, and we just asked if we could book it. It was the perfect size for us and our guests.

Cat: The staff at Soos were so helpful with menu planning. We love their food, but we wanted small passed plates rather than a sit-down meal.

Mike: For decor, we settled on a bright palette with florals.

A photo of the bride and grooms shoes and the brightly coloured bouquet

Cat: I knew I wanted to wear something non-traditional, minimalistic and chic. We both love fashion and wanted our outfits to be amazing. I went with a short white dress with dramatic wide shoulders and puffed sleeves from Silk Row Bridal.

Mike: I picked out a white leopard-print suit jacket. We always knew that we wanted the dogs incorporated into the ceremony somehow. It felt too complicated to have them there in the flesh, so our friend made life-size cardboard cut-outs of them.

A cardboard cut out of one of the couple's dogs

Cat: On the big day, I got ready in our friend’s condo party room. It had an insane view of the lake. I didn’t have a bridal party, but I did invite a few of my favourite people over. I’m a bridal hair specialist, so I did most people’s hair. Then all the men—Mike, my dad and some of my close guy friends—come up to the room for a first look.

Mike: It was fun walking through the door and watching everyone react to my outfit. Then I went out on the balcony to see Cat in her dress.

Cat: I had been so nervous all day, but as soon as I saw Mike, I felt calm. I was ready to do this with him. He’s got a way of always grounding me.

Mike getting ready in his suit

Mike: Then we spent a few hours taking photos in the neighbourhood where we first met. Strangers on the street were cheering us on. Someone even offered us shots of tequila. We briefly met up with the dogs and got some great photos with them. We lucked out with the weather too—it was rainy every day that week except for the day of the wedding. It was all so wonderful and surreal. I get emotional just thinking about it.

The couple doing a photoshoot with their two dogs

Cat: Then we walked over to Soos. When we came in, we played “Only One” by Yellowcard. Everyone cheered as we walked down the aisle, which we’d put in the middle of the restaurant. The room was filled with so much love.

Mike: It was such an amazing feeling, and seeing my dogs at the altar was super comforting—even if they were cardboard. The ceremony was great, short and sweet. This time I wrote down what I wanted to say because I knew I might forget it in the moment.

Cat and Mike standing together, black and white

Cat: My bouquet was filled with orchids and peonies. It was so beautiful and colourful. After the wedding, I dried and pressed the flowers into a beautiful collage that I’ve since framed.

Mike: All of our favourites from the menu were worked into the wedding. We had baos and some great rice and noodle dishes. The food, as always, was so good. Plus there was an open bar with our signature drink, the spicy margarita.

The couple drinking their signature drink during the wedding

Cat: My dear friend Carla made our cake, and my cousin made our cake topper. It was me, Mike and the dogs. 

Mike: The DJ played a chronological playlist, which started in the ’70s and finished in the 2000s. It was killer. One of the best moments of the night was when Cat’s cousin Claudio did a “death drop” during a Beyoncé track.

The couple's cake topper, which was them with their dogs

Cat: The father-daughter dance was so special. Halfway through it, we invited the rest of my family onto the floor. It became a big party. Around 11:30 p.m., we moved over to our local watering hole, Sweaty Betty’s, to finish the night.

Mike: We had the whole back patio to ourselves. We ordered a ton of pizzas.

Mike and Cat dancing together at their wedding

Cat: Over the last four years, we’ve built a beautiful, cozy home with our pups. There’s never a dull moment in our house.

Mike: We bring out the best in each other and push each other to continue growing. We are constantly having fun and making each other laugh.

The couple standing together at the bar at Soos restaurant

Cat: Being married to Mike has been nothing but amazing. He’s my partner, my best friend, my biggest cheerleader. We hope to go on a proper honeymoon in the next year. We’re thinking of Italy, partially for the sights but mainly for the food. Japan is also high on the list.

Mike: I also want to go back to Tulum. I think we’re due for a post-wedding visit. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey together—the best is yet to come.

Cat and Mike waling away from the camera at the end of the night

Cheat Sheet

Date: May 6, 2023
Venue: Soos
Catering: Soos
Toronto photography: Carmichael Pictures
Mexico photography: Whim and Willow Photo
Day-of coordinator: Nataleigh from Love Shack Toronto
Bride’s dress: Silk Row Bridal
Bride’s shoes: Dior
Bride’s earrings: Armed Jewelry
Groom’s outfit: Leopard-print jacket from Topman, shirt and pants from Simon’s
Groom’s shoes: Spring
Cake: Carla Beça
Makeup: Angelina Masich
DJ: Pat McCormick
Florals: Unfazed Floral
Hair: Luda Bello
Rings: Michael Hill