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An Outdoor Wedding — After a Long-Distance Courtship — at the University of Toronto's Hart House

  |  By Rebecca Tucker

Robert and Chloe Chung met in China, at a mutual friend’s wedding, in January 2019. Robert, who was born in China, had been living in Canada for more than two decades, while Chloe still lived there. “Our mutual friend knew we were both single,” Robert says. “I think she was playing matchmaker.”

It worked: after the wedding, Robert and Chloe decided to keep in touch, with Robert travelling overseas twice — first to Shanghai, then to Japan — to meet Chloe. On September 15 — which just happens to be both Robert and Chloe’s birthday — Robert proposed, and Chloe said yes, and the couple set a wedding date of September 2020, in Toronto. 

Chloe travelled to Canada to visit Robert from September to December 2019, after which time she returned to China and the two began the process of researching permanent residency options for her, eventually realizing that the easiest path was to get married first, and then have her apply for residency. Unfortunately, in spring 2020, the pandemic shut down most of North America — so the couple, in the midst of wedding planning, found themselves indefinitely separated. “We thought that it wouldn’t affect our wedding date,” Robert says. “But then, as you know, things went on much longer than expected.”

So keen were Robert and Chloe to be together that they considered getting married somewhere that would allow Chloe to travel — like Las Vegas — in order to tie the knot and secure her residency. Ultimately, though, the couple waited it out, and in October 2020 travel restrictions were eased in a way that allowed Chloe to (finally) travel to Canada. She did, and in November 2020, she and Robert were married — though just in a small ceremony that allowed them access to the marriage certificate that would grant Chloe permanent residency, which she was granted in August of this year. 

Of course, a proper ceremony was still in the cards, and in September 2021 a small group of friends and family gathered at the University of Toronto’s Hart House building to celebrate the couple. Still-in-place restrictions prevented Hart House from hosting a reception or allowing any food or beverages to be consumed on-site — because Hart House is part of the University of Toronto, its restrictions followed university guidelines, and not guidelines that were in place for events venues — but the couple was committed to the venue, not least of all because Chloe, a graphic designer, had fashioned handmade invitations that listed Hart House as the ceremony’s location. Following the intimate outdoor ceremony, Robert and Chloe and their 25 guests headed to a nearby Chinese restaurant for their reception. 

Have a look at photos from the Hart House ceremony — which was the first of its kind at the UofT building in 2021 — below:

Photography by White by Lamemoir

Venue: Hart House
Décor and Floral: Lufu Events
Videography: Bellevie 
Hair and makeup: Laviare Makeup 
Dress: Rachel Lai Bridalwear
Suit: Initial 
Invitations: Chloe Chung

This article was originally published on Nov 19, 2021

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