Mary and AJ had two chance encounters that brought them together. They initially met back in 2013 at a medical conference about epidemiology in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. They ended up taking a photo together with a few of the other attendees and then they went home to go about their lives as normal. Years later they would have their second meeting at a bus stop in Ottawa. “He was a medical student at the time and I was working at the children’s hospital,” Mary recalls. The would-be-couple couldn’t place each other but when comparing the conferences they had been to, Mary had the feeling she had met him before. “I rushed home and found a picture of a group of us in front of the Saskatoon river,” she says. “The photo is of us facing the sunset, and in the middle, as clear as ever, is AJ with his arm around me.”
The pair got engaged on a two-week European trip Mary had planned with friends and family back in 2017. AJ told Mary he couldn’t make the trip with her and she would have to go without him. “I was sad because this was my third trip to Europe but my first trip to Europe without him,” Mary shares. She had plans to meet up with her sister in Lisbon when she touched down and got settled in where she was staying for the trip. “As I was dragging my suitcase up the bumpy cobblestones to my AirBnB, I saw AJ,” Mary says. He got down on one knee and proposed to her right there on the cobblestones and she accepted.
For their wedding the couple opted for a neutral palette featuring bright whites and golds. The floral centrepieces had a personal DIY touch. “We bought my flowers in bulk,” Mary explains. “My family came over and helped me arrange all of the centrepieces.” The ceremony was held at the James Cooper Mansion in Toronto—a heritage building features stone masonry and a mansard roof. “It felt like having all the perks of a backyard wedding with the look of a luxurious mansion,” Mary says.
With respect to AJ’s Middle Eastern background, the two decided to hire a belly dancer for the event. “Iana was great—she boosted the crowd energy, had lots of audience participation and was a fabulous performer,” Mary says. The pair insists that the dancer was one of the biggest highlights of the night.
Mary and AJ lived next door to the venue and that came with a range of benefits. They had multiple trips to their venue to check on things and look around, something not possible for most other couples. For the pair most importantly they got to spend time preparing for their big day together. “We had a coffee together in the morning, went to the salon together, and got dressed together at home, Mary enthuses. “Being able to prepare together made me so happy about the day ahead and the future to come.”
Mary Aglipay and Amjed Kadhim-Saleh, May 25, 2018, Toronto, Ontario.
Photography courtesy of iDream Studios.
Ceremony and reception venue: James Cooper Mansion
Wedding planner: Reign
Bridal gown: Peter Langner from Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay
Groom’s tux: Freeman Formal
Cake: Rococoa Butter
Hair and makeup: Civello Salon & Spa