Meghan and Ramin at the Aga Khan Museum before their wedding ceremony

Real Weddings: Ramin and Meghan

Inside the two-ceremony celebration of a powerhockey power couple

Meghan Hines, a 33-year-old HR professional at a financial institution, and Ramin Raunak, a 30-year-old government administrator, are both powerhockey players who represent Team Canada at the national and international level. They met when they joined the same league in 2016. On their first date, the couple bonded over their love of sports and quickly became inseparable. After getting engaged at Etobicoke’s James Gardens in 2021, Meghan and Ramin were married in August 2023, in two celebrations that paid homage to each of their backgrounds. Here’s how it all came together.

Meghan and Ramin at the Aga Khan Museum before their wedding ceremony

Meghan: In the fall of 2016, I started playing in the same powerhockey league as Ramin, and we were put on the same team. Ramin jokes that he made the league organizers do that because he wanted to get to know me. At first, I thought he was a bit of a wild player who might crash into me.

Ramin: What initially caught my attention about Meghan is that she’s a strong, competitive hockey player. She isn’t afraid to get right in there.

Meghan: After a few games, Ramin texted me to ask if I wanted to have dinner and watch a Leafs game. He told me later on that he’d been really nervous. But we hit it off right away.

Meghan and her service dog, Clifford, before her wedding ceremony

Ramin: When I got to know Meghan outside of hockey, I was struck by how independent she is. She’s also incredibly caring and will do anything for her friends and family. I learned that we have a lot in common—we both love travelling, spending time with our families and going on adventures. We quickly became inseparable, travelling the world together for powerhockey, trying new restaurants and spending quiet nights binge-watching TV shows. We joke that we’re a power couple both on and off the court.

Meghan: Ramin and I come from different cultures—my background is Canadian and British; Ramin’s is Russian, Kazakh and Afghan—and we’ve always tried to bridge and embrace our differences. The first family meal I joined was at Ramin’s parents’ house, and he “forgot” to warn me that the first round of food was only the appetizers. I was so full before the main course had even started, but everything was so good that I couldn’t say no. I got to try new and delicious food, like beet and carrot salad, baursak (a puffy fried Kazakh bread), and Ramin’s mom’s Nutella crêpes.

Celebrations with Ramin’s family are a lot of fun. Friends and family all come together, and everyone gives a toast to the person we’re celebrating. It makes that person feel extra special and loved.

Ramin at the Aga Khan Museum before his wedding ceremony

Ramin: I’m Muslim, and the first year Meghan and I dated, I spent my first Christmas with Meghan’s family. I really got into the Christmas spirit—I wore a Christmas onesie that Meghan gave me and discovered a new favourite food: Meghan’s mom’s turkey stuffing. I could eat it every day.

Meghan: Even though I’d initially told my family that Ramin and I were just friends, they eventually assumed we were more than that since he was around so often. My family really liked his sense of humour and how happy he made me.

Ramin: Since Meghan is immunocompromised, when Covid hit, we thought it would be safest for me to stay at her place for what we thought would be just a few weeks. We ended up moving in together permanently. At that point, we had been together for over four years, and we had naturally started talking about marriage.

Meghan and Ramin at the Aga Khan Museum before their wedding ceremony

Ramin: By January 2021, I’d decided that it was time to propose. In late March, Meghan and I went for our usual walk around James Gardens, and I joked that I wanted to do a photoshoot with the ducks. When we got to the park, I made up an excuse about needing to get something from my sister, who was waiting in the parking lot. We met her briefly so she could sneak a box into the back of my wheelchair. Meghan and I then went over to one of the gardens, where I took the box out and placed it on a bench. Inside was a chocolate smash heart that said “Vaccine 1” on it. Meghan thought we were celebrating getting our first Covid vaccines that week. She smashed the heart, and inside, there was another message that said, “Will you marry me?”

Meghan: I was so surprised and excited—I immediately said yes. After we had a moment to celebrate, both of our families popped out from behind some bushes. Ramin had planned for them to be there so they could celebrate with us, which was really special.

Meghan, Ramin and their wedding parties at the Aga Khan Museum

Ramin: We chose a wedding date in August 2023, because we wanted to be able to include all of our loved ones and limit the risk of Covid. We also had a busy summer in 2022—we travelled to Switzerland to compete in the powerhockey world cup with Team Canada. We also figured we could use the extra time to plan, since we’d decided to have two ceremonies: a Western ceremony and a nikah.

Meghan: For our Western ceremony, we wanted a venue that had great food and a nice atmosphere, and importantly, it had to be wheelchair accessible. We invited a group of our powerhockey teammates and wanted to make sure they could all celebrate with us. It was surprisingly difficult to find a venue that met our accessibility needs on top of everything else, but as soon as we saw Parkview Manor, a banquet hall in North York, we knew it was a perfect fit.

Meghan and Ramin at their wedding ceremony at Parkview Manor

Ramin: On the day of our wedding, we were worried because the forecast was calling for thunderstorms all day. It rained in the morning, but we were optimistic that it would clear up—we only needed sunshine from 2 to 5 p.m. for pictures and travelling to the venue. Thankfully, the skies cleared just before 1 o’clock. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.

Meghan: It was such a special day because we were able to incorporate elements that were important to each of us. Ramin is Ismaili Muslim, and the Aga Khan Museum is a special place for his family, so we took photos there before the ceremony. We also had a candle-lighting ceremony to commemorate my father, who passed away. At the wedding, we had Kazakh and Afghan dance performances to celebrate Ramin’s background, and we incorporated my service dog, Clifford, into our ceremony as one of Ramin’s groomsmen. We used my mother’s carrot cake recipe—which both Ramin and I love—for our wedding cake.

Meghan and Ramin at their wedding ceremony at Parkview Manor

Ramin: For the ceremony, we decided to have everyone sit at their assigned tables instead of in the theatre-style seating that’s more common in Western weddings. It’s more similar to how things are done in Afghan ceremonies. We also thought it would be more accessible for our guests who use wheelchairs. Afterward, we had plenty of dancing. Two of our friends deejayed, and they did a great job keeping the energy going so we could celebrate and dance the night away.

Dancers at Meghan and Ramin's wedding

Meghan: The next day, we celebrated our nikah at Ramin’s mosque, Willowdale Jamatkhana. The leaders of the mosque have known Ramin and his family since he was young, so it was really special that they were able to perform our ceremony. Afterward, as is customary in a nikah, we greeted all of our guests, took photos with them and thanked them for coming. Then our families went back to Ramin’s parents’ house for tea and dessert, including some of our wedding cake from the night before.

Afghan and Kazakh dancers performing at Meghan and Ramin's wedding

Ramin: It was a weekend I’ll never forget; everything went better than we could have asked for. Now, we’re excited for what the future has in store. It will definitely involve a lot of powerhockey, travelling, eating too much food at great restaurants and exploring new parts of the city.

Meghan: I loved every part of our wedding weekend. Being able to incorporate so many things that were important to each of us, like our family traditions, made the occasion uniquely ours. Most importantly, all of our friends and family were there to celebrate with us.

Meghan and Ramin at their wedding ceremony at Parkview Manor

Cheat Sheet

Date: August 12 and 13, 2023
Wedding venue: Parkview Manor
Nikah venue: Willowdale Jamatkhana
Photography and videography: Kath Films @kathfilms
Catering: Parkview Manor
Bride’s hair: @stylesbymich
Bride’s makeup: @amybobamybeauty
Bride’s dress: Custom made by Montgomery Alterations, with fabric from Jealous Fabrics
Groom’s outfits: Suit by RW&Co., traditional chapan from Kazakhstan
DJ: @wamiqfu and @altaz.m
Traditional Kazakh and Afghan dance performance: @ensembletopaz