“People envision it like The Office’s Pam and Jim,” says Ashlie MacDonald about meeting her now husband, Farouk Dhanidina, at work. It was thanks to being teamed up on a project together that the pair went from relative strangers to speaking every single day. Then, they realized they were neighbours and started walking home together, too. Eventually that led to dinner.
“What ended up happening was, the project ended and we didn’t see each other as much and it was like, wait a second—there was something there,” says Farouk.
After dating for a year, he popped the question to Ashlie on vacation in Santorini. When the photographer he hired to capture the moment showed up a little early and started snapping photos, paparazzi style, Farouk says the perfect plan flopped.
“No it didn’t! You did surprise me,” says Ashlie, with a laugh. “I’m glad to hear that,” says Farouk, “because that guy really butchered it.”
After much deliberation on whether to host their wedding in their home of Calgary or have a destination ceremony, the couple and their wedding planner landed on Nova Scotia, Ashlie’s home province, as the perfect fit.
“We decided all of the people who mean something to both Ashlie and I would make Halifax work,” says Farouk. “Ashlie was a superstar in
handling and managing the traditions that come with an Indian wedding. I’m sure she dreamt about her wedding growing up—but not four days. It meant a lot to my family and she was a total champ, which was more proof to me that she was the one.”
Their fun-filled, tradition-laced, super-social nuptials were celebrated over a weekend of shenanigans they call their “destination wedding”, which included an intimate family meal, an Indian dance party, a boat tour on the harbour and an uber-personal, secular ceremony MC’d by their best friends.
“It’s funny because I had only been to one-day weddings and in hindsight, I can’t imagine a one-day wedding!” says Ashlie of the Indian-east coast fusion. “I loved that we spread it out and actually got to see people.” Having multiple days of festivities meant more time for bonding, which helped to take the fun to the next level. It also meant by day four—the day of the wedding ceremony—the pressure was off.
“Our guests, they were texting each other—people who’d never met! Our families were integrated, the city was just perfect. It made it easy for people to be together,” says Ashlie. “The way our families showed up and embraced each others’ traditions, it was pretty profound actually.”
Suits: Atelier Munro from Harry Rosen
Dress: Anais Anette from Pearl & Dot
Cake: Cake Babes
Flowers: Twig and Twine Floristry
Hair: Jessica Fletcher-Marmont
Makeup: Elle Munster
Rings: Edward Soye, Precision Jewellery Manufacturing Ltd.
Invites: E-invites by Appy Couple
Stationary: Elegant Paper Co.
Music: DJ Kruk (Friday), Bela Strings (ceremony, Sunday), True North DJ Services (reception, Sunday)
Photographer: Jenn Nauss, Cooked Photography