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Chloe and Ian joined forces in the most natural of ways, literally; the pair met in high school but “fell in love covered in sweat, dirt, and bug spray at a tree-planting camp in the Ontario bush.” As if their beginning couldn’t get any more intriguing, once they found an enduring partnership in their relationship, they moved into their first home: a tent. Eleven years and two kids and a plethora of pets later, they traipsed down the aisle together to say their I Do’s with the BEST proposal story we’ve heard ever, we think. With the omniscient help of Chloe’s good friend and planner Sheila from Inspired Elegance Events, Chloe and Ian were able to have their cozy, modern wedding in Winnipeg that they envisioned.

To the couple, a smaller wedding was a bit daunting when it came to finding a venue that spoke to them. Kitchen Sync was hailed to be the victor with its warmth, high ceilings, and the classic exposed brick detailing that Winnipeg’s Exchange District structures often showcase. To keep with the theme of intimate spaces, Chloe and Ian opted for a long harvest table to accommodate their short list of guests. Pillar and floating candles were used in tandem with head-turning florals and greenery like eucalyptus, silal, and Italian ruscus from Lily Stone Gardens. According to Chloe, she never truly envisioned having a romantic wedding until Sheila’s own wedding planning creativity started to bloom. After that, as we can see, the rest is history.

How did you meet?

Ian and I have known each other since high school but we fell in love covered in sweat, dirt and bug spray in a tree-planting camp in the Ontario bush. We started planting less trees and getting to know each other more, talking too much as we worked. Tree planting is piece-work so we made less money than we’d planned, but we each gained a lifelong friend and moved into our first home together: a tent. That was almost 11 years, 2 babies, 2 doggs and 2 bunnies ago. We live in Rural Northwestern Ontario where we both grew up and are raising our family surrounded by lakes and loving family.  

What is your proposal story?

My best friend Sheila of Inspired Elegance Events had been doing event planning for a long time and I knew was a genius, but it was not until she went out on her own as a wedding planner did I even think about getting married. We never thought it was important to us. I watched Sheila built her brand and got to see more of her talent through her social media. I heard her passion when she told me about her wedding gigs and how much she cared about each couple…and I caught the bug!

I wanted something romantic like that for me and my husband (I’d already been calling him husband for a long time). I immediately envisioned a small wedding with our closest friends and family. I knew it would be a special thing to have one of my best friends help me plan our special day, and I knew our family would love to see us tie the knot in an intimate setting.

Now my husband hadn’t been following Sheila on social media, or listening to her talk about wedding planning, or secretly following amazing wedding vendors on Instagram while falling in love with the idea of getting married. A wedding was still very much not on his radar of importance in the near future. Right from the start I knew he would love the event itself, but none of the planning. So I just didn’t tell  him ;).

With Sheila’s help I picked a date, a venue, a caterer and starting looking at dresses.W e live in a rural town 3.5 hours from Winnipeg, in Northwestern Ontario but I knew that Winnipeg would be the easiest place for our faraway friends to get to, and it would give us a nice little getaway. Next, I booked a weekend for us to go to Winnipeg for Ian’s birthday. At this point he had never had a tailored suit, so under the guise of a birthday present I took him to Harry Rosen and he got fitted-an experience that he loved!

Later, in the hotel room I asked him if he liked his suit and if he thought it would do for our wedding. He looked blankly at me. “So,” I said, “If you want to, we can get married September 22nd right here in Winnipeg and our friends and family are coming. You can say no but we’ll lose the deposit.” (; I said this jokingly of course! Honestly he was beaming right away and got on the phone to call his brother.

It was stressful and yet thrilling covertly planning everything for 2 months before telling him. I was locked in our basement office a lot sending emails, asking for quotes, etc. It was such a relief to finally tell him and our family. 

What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?

The most important thing was that it not be stressful. We wanted classy but casual, fun, and intimate. And food! We wanted good food. Our guests raved about our food and wine and asked for the recipes! Our caterer was amazing at doing a mix of vegan with chicken options, served family style so there was gourmet food for all.  We skipped a cutting cake and had our dessert served right after dinner, eating during speeches. We also splurged on the Edison lightbulb back drop for our ceremony. It was impressive and these folks have done similar lighting setups for Cirque Du Soleil on a large scale!

What were your favorite parts of the day?

We have wonderful memories of the proposal. I knew Ian would say yes! He’d been with me for 10 years already! It was such a HUGE secret to keep for 2 months from my best friend, and he was truly shocked when I told him, and had no inkling what I’d been up to. It was a really fun moment for us.

During our ceremony when we were standing at the front just before starting our vows and the room was very silent, my 4 year old said for all to hear, “Is she married yet”? I LOVED looking out at our guests and seeing my children on their grandparents’ knees. Everyone looked so proud of us.

I knew that our names and wedding date were embroidered into Ian’s suit jacket, but after we were hitched he popped his collar to reveal it was embroidered there too. Such a fun moment.

Ian’s best man making fun of my dress during his speech, asking why Ian let me wear a doily when he could afford a real dress. Hahahaha. Was crying laughing.

Our wedding was 23 people and very intimate. Several of our best friends and family members got up and delivered incredibly heartfelt speeches. We were so touched. I remember the laughter and happy tears. I remember seeing the venue for the first time and it felt like a giant hug from Sheila, my best friend and wedding planner. The love that went into creating that was so obvious. She is so talented and I felt SO blessed to have the experience of her helping me plan an incredible day.

Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?

Do what makes you happy. Don’t do things that cause you stress. Weddings aren’t mandatory anymore, so do it for yourself and your partner. Hire a wedding planner. Even for a small wedding. Our wedding was 23 people, but having Sheila’s help meant not worrying about a thing, and not having to give jobs to family members. They all had a fabulous and relaxing weekend getaway with us. Sheila thought of details that I never would have that just made everything run seamlessly.