Like many a modern couple, Raina & Olivier met on a dating app in 2016. Raina matched with Olivier and he suggest a hike for their first date. “I later found out that I was Olivier’s first match on the app and that he had actually just signed up the day before,” Raina smiles.
While on a romantic getaway to Quebec City for Easter in 2019, the couple found a cozy spot for lunch after exploring the historical city in the wet, chilly weather. As they waited for their meal, Olivier produced an engagement ring from his jacket pocket. “I wasn’t expecting it at all and started tearing up.” Raina recalls, “the rest of the trip was blissful and we couldn’t have cared less for the weather and lack of activities.”
Although the couple had immediately begun planning their fall 2020 wedding in spring of 2019, the challenges and restrictions imposed in 2020 meant that their plans had to be altered not once, not twice, not even three times but more times than they could even possibly remember. Despite those difficulties, they still decided to stick to their original wedding date instead of postponing. “We were just so ready to be together and continue the next stage of our lives as husband and wife. Not even a pandemic would stop us,” Raina shared. “We would have found a way, no matter what, to be married in 2020. Although it was an incredibly challenging journey, it made us stronger as a couple and appreciative of what we had and of each other.” She added, “We are very thankful that our vendors were supportive and accommodating of our plans to go ahead and tie the knot. We are also extremely thankful that we live in a time where technological advancements allowed us to share our important moments with our family and friends safely and remotely.”
When their big day arrived, Raina’s sister and Olivier parents were the only wedding guests. Raina recalls getting ready with her sister Julie, who took on the role of Maid of Honour. “It’s not every day that we are made to feel like princesses and I’m glad I was able to share this moment with my sister. Our mother was not able to be present due to the pandemic, so I was very appreciative that my sister took on the responsibility to make our wedding go as smooth as possible.”
Before the ceremony, the couple decided to have a moment to themselves with a First Look. “It was a lot more nerve-wracking than expected,” recalls Raina. “But I love that we took the time to make a small event out of seeing each other for the first time in our wedding attire. Near our neighbourhood, there’s a small stream with a wooden bridge and we decided to meet each other there. It was a dreamlike moment and I absolutely love that our photographer captured it!”
The wedding was held at a countryside venue with a rustic theme in shades of orange and green. “Because of the restrictions on gatherings, our initial guest list of over 150 people dropped down to only the required witnesses.” The bride explained how they managed to broadcast their special day with family and friends: “We decided to set up a Facebook Live of the ceremony and are we ever glad we did! We received so much love from everyone watching and it made our wedding day even more lovely and special. The best part, is that now we have a video of our ceremony with comments from our loved ones that we can watch whenever we want.”
Raina Chian & Olivier Castonguay, October 10th, 2020, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec
Photography courtesy of L’Orangerie Photo
Bridal Gown: Espace Blanc de Blancs
Groom’s Tux: Glorius
Cake: La Petite Charlotte
Stationery: Deux Amoureux
Hair & Makeup: Sherry Hu
Wedding Planner/Flowers/Decor: Myriades & Co.
Venue: Les Bergeries de l’Acadie