DWH: Who is Athena & Jess?
A & J: We live in Inuvik, Canada. It’s a beautiful Northern oasis, from periods of 24 hours of daylight to a month with no direct sunlight to walking across the frozen Arctic ocean, the north is a spectacular place to live.
We are both Emergency Nurses; we met while working in out-post in Toronto and eventually Athena convinced Jess to move up north. When we aren’t working, you’ll find us rediscovering the city, and spending time with our two dogs. Nothing beats eating an eclectic charcuterie board paired with a sour microbrewery beer – we really are city girls living in the arctic north!
DWH: So, you met at work?
J: I had been working at Toronto Western Hospital for two years before Athena started. I remember the first day I saw her come in for day shift. I thought she was someone I knew, someone I didn’t like, but was happy when I realised it was someone different. A friend ran up to me that day saying that she’d found the perfect girl for me.
Athena would purposefully try to trade shifts with me so that we could talk. I was completely oblivious to her advances until one night out with co-workers where I got the impression there might be some interest. This lead to shy conversations, in true emergency nurse style, around the washing machine waiting for pans to process, while dispensing medications and during patient reporting. It took another night out and some liquid courage for me to talk about the elephant in the room and I’m so glad that I did.
DWH: Oh, a shy start! Tell us more about the proposal.
J: We had gone to Athena’s Mums birthday and we were on the way to visit my parents and she stated that she knew a shortcut. Because I don’t drive so often, I went with it. The shortcut was through the neighbouring airport and as we were driving through I joked, “I didn’t bring my passport”, she replied, “don’t worry, I packed it”.
She stopped the car and told me to get out; we were going on a trip. I laughed and stayed in the car – I didn’t believe her! She jumped out and went to the trunk and pulled out two suitcases. Her Mum randomly appeared in front of the car screaming “you’re going on a trip”!
Completely overwhelmed Athena said, “I wasn’t joking I have your passport”. She handed me a bag with comfortable shoes, smiled and said: “…and that’s why I told you not to wear heels today”.
I didn’t find out where we were going until I saw CDG on the boarding pass and knew right away, we were going to Paris. I’d been there when I was 17 and had told her it was the best experience of my life, so she wanted to take me back.
A: In the morning of the 4th day, I ordered room service for breakfast, scattered rose petals around the room, fake ones that I’d brought on the trip, and a bottle of our favourite champagne.
I read a letter and pulled out a scrabble board that said, “Jessica, will you marry me?”. She replied, “most defiantly”.
DWH: You decided to marry in Toronto, how did you go about planning a wedding from Inuvik?
A & J: We had a lot of Skype and Facetime conversations with our vendors and met our officiant face-to-face the day before the wedding.
The spring before our September wedding there was a massive flood that took over our venue. The floor was the worst on Ward’s Island in history. Many couples had to cancel their wedding, and our wedding planner was really encouraging us to plan for a different venue. Luckily many sandbags helped keep the island afloat and no one needed their rubber boots.
DWH: Talk us through the wedding day.
J: During the reception, My Girl by The Temptations came on and we slow danced surrounded by our closest family and friends. It was perfect and felt like a movie.
Having our loved ones and friends, who we don’t get to see very often, because we live so far away, all in the same place at the same time was a heart-warming experience.
Our officiant, Mark Groleau from Unboring Weddings, also did an amazing job! He had the best rendition of our love story. Everyone at the ceremony was laughing.
My Dad also surprised me for our Father-Daughter dance by dressing up as Darth Vader and walking out to The Imperial March – I’m obviously a Star Wars fan and I loved it!
DWH: Do you have any advice for others planning their wedding day?
A & J: Do what you and your fiancé want to do. Don’t listen to anyone else and be really clear with what you really want. There will be so many opinions and options!
If, for you, the flowers need to be a certain colour or type then make them that way – even if your guests don’t remember, you will.
Also, plan to have a moment to yourselves after the ceremony. It’s great to have the time together to reflect. We took a minute, sat on a bench and a random white cat walked up to us. It was so cute…if that’s a good omen, we’ll take it!
Photographer Christine Hewitt Weddings | Design and Decor Ding Dong Decor | Transportation Island Princess Ferry | Caterer Urban Acorn | Makeup Artist The Beauty Movement | Officiant Unboring Wedding | Event Venue Algonquin Island Association Clubhouse | Event Planner Love Collective | Equipment Rentals A Goof Fork