Ryan Massel, a lifestyle blogger and TV host, and Rob Gairns, an architect, met over 13 years ago while they were both working as flight attendants. “We were scheduled to work together,” Ryan discloses. “A one-in-a-million scheduling coincidence resulted in us finding true love.”
Ryan popped the question during an elaborate surprise proposal in Calgary’s Heritage Park Historical Village. “I had the headline, ‘Ryan Massel Asks Robert Gairns to Marry Him’ printed by the vintage printing press in Heritage Park,” Ryan reveals. “At first Rob didn’t see it. I pointed to it and he said, ‘Wait, what?!’”
The couple knew they had to have an extra special celebration. “The world has come a long way with its legal acceptance of same-sex marriage,” Ryan says. “When Rob and I met, it would not have been possible for us to legally marry. With our wedding we not only wanted to share the story of the eternal love we have for each other, but share the hope and dreams that love around the world will be recognized and accepted for what it is… love!”
The couple split their wedding day into a two-part affair with a daytime pool party and an evening garden party. Instead of holding the ceremony during the day, they opted to have it during the evening event. “This allowed us to gather guests together first in a casual social setting to laugh and celebrate before the evening nuptials,” Ryan explains. “It also gave us more time to enjoy the day with them and shake off any pre-ceremony jitters.”
Guests wore comfortable all-white attire as they mingled and revelled in the festivities. For their guestbook, Ryan and Rob hired an artist to hand-cut silhouettes of the guests. “She made two copies, one for the guestbook and one for the guest to take home.”
Ryan and Rob also made sure some of their favourite Canadian brands went home with their guests. “We gifted jewellery, handmade fabric boutonnières and even custom soaps, as a special treat,” Ryan divulges. “It allowed us to not only thank them for making the trip to Palm Springs, but to also share items that have been special parts of our life together.”
Custom laser-cut cocktail stir sticks were a nod to Rob and Ryan’s wardrobe change for the ceremony, into hot pink and orange suits.
As the sun set, guests made their way from the garden back to the pool as a side-by-side video picture of Rob and Ryan appeared with a 10-minute countdown overlaid on top. “As the timer concluded, our side-by-side images faded,” Ryan says. “Music lifted and separately we would each fade in and out telling the story, as we remember, of how we met and how we’ve felt over the last 13 years together.”
As the countdown ended the screens lifted to reveal Rob and Ryan in bright pink and orange suits for the start of an emotional, tear-filled ceremony. The tears didn’t last long—the couple had one final wow factor up their sleeves.
“We needed a way to turn the tears into a party,” Ryan admits. “Right after our kiss the screens descended and a color, creative video played. Again, the music lifted as one of the world’s top drag queens, Morgan McMichaels, came out and performed a six-song mashup that whipped the crowd into a frenzy!”
Ryan Massel and Rob Gairns, October 8, 2017, Palm Springs, California.
Ceremony and reception venue: The Koerner House
Grooms’ tuxes: OppoSuits
Daytime caterer: Over The Rainbow, El Mirasol and Fruit Wonders
Evening caterer: Trio Restaurant and Liquid Catering
Flowers: My Little Flower Shop
Cake: Over The Rainbow
Stir sticks: California Lustre
Jewellery: Hillberg & Berk
Boutonnieres: Ensemble Style
Custom soaps: Rocky Mountain Soap Company
Silhouette artist: Sylhouettes by Sylvia
DJ: DJ Femme A
Jazz singer: Rose Mallet
Ceremony video: Crushed Rockets
Lighting and AV: AVSU Event Services
Balloons: Balloony Tunes
Letterboards: Words & Co.
Rentals and decor: Signature Party Rentals
Photobooth: Raven Social Photobooths