Deanna and Christopher

How We Met: Christopher and I met in the late Autumn of 2009.  Appropriately named, the venue where we first met was called Jupiter Lounge, located in the West-End sector of downtown Vancouver. Christopher and I were both attending birthday celebrations that evening, and myself, along with my two best friends Jennifer and Alexa, were in a swanky private room adjacent to the common area of the lounge. My girlfriends and I were in a deep, intellectual conversation about the lulls of singledom – jokingly trying to top each others stories of heartaches and breakup survivorship – cheap wine style.

Indeed, the stars and planets must have been aligned that eve, because across our private dance floor comes strutting towards me (in full force), the man that would one day become my husband…

Christopher was in the final months of completing his MBA in Corporate Finance at Queens University, and had just returned home days earlier to Vancouver from a school sponsored trip that allowed him and his classmates to apply their business and development skills to aid impoverished communities in the slums of Africa.  He had no intention of going out at all that evening, but a classmate of his persuaded him to catch up with some friends whom they had not seen in months. And so be it, Christopher later joined a birthday celebration at Jupiter Lounge later that evening.

To this day, I always tell Christopher that I fell in love with him under the disco-infused lights in the middle of the dance floor that night.  Although not romantic by any standard, Ladies: I am proof that you can indeed find the love of your life at a bar!

Inseparable from that event onward, Christopher and I will be happily wed on 2 June, 2012.

how they asked: Christopher is indeed the perfect definition of my better half. I have never met a gentleman so encompassing as him – he would tell me I was beautiful even when I wasn’t, and that my imperfections were what made me perfect to him. Our courtship was only a mere 15 months but we felt like we had experienced a lifetime together – traveling, cooking, strolls around the seawall at sunset (our favourite), family vacations, sharing Peanut Buster Parfaits from Dairy Queen and an attempt at Italian lessons at the Italian Cultural Center, which although was not as successful as anticipated, allowed us to create a type of quasi-Italian dialect – our own language of love as we joke!

Perhaps our biggest inspiration have been our parents and grandparents, whom have been married for a combined total of 172 years! Incredible. Inspirational. Enviable. Our biggest gratitude to them for being setting such a loving example.

March 18th, 2011 was any ordinary Friday in the Spring – Vancouver was infused with dark clouds and showering cold rain, the type of weather that totally put you in a bad mood, just because. Christopher had planned a date night to our favourite Italian restaurant, named Marcello’s Pizzeria on Commercial Drive, but what was supposed to be a short 10 minute drive away became three lanes of bumper-to-bumper gridlock heading East towards Coquitlam in rush-hour traffic along Hwy. #1 at 4 pm in the afternoon! Totally agitated and confused as to why we were stuck in traffic, Christopher, smiling, informed me were going on a slight detour to visit my Nonna who lived 45 minutes away, prior to dinner – I may have shot him the classic stink-eye in response.  But I would soon regret it immensley less than an hour later….

Anyone who has an Italian grandmother knows that her life revolves around cooking and keeping her family comfortable and well-fed. To add, my Nonna ADORES Christopher and he too is her biggest fan, so it was natural for him to want to include her and my mother in our special engagement. My grandfather passed away just prior to me meeting Christopher in 2009 and I was very sad that he never had the privilege of meeting my husband to-be. I always interpreted this series of events as Nonno sending me his ultimate blessings from heaven –  “angels must stand back, whilst giving loving support only, as we work things out for ourselves – these are the times when we feel alone, the dark before dawn.”

The short but productive visit came to an end as we were about to depart. Christopher called me in to the basement entertainment room where my nonno always used to reside and where we spent many Christmas’s and holidays together as a family when he was alive.  He asked me to help him find a dictionary that belonged to my grandfather – a dictionary I thought? Yes, the same Italian-English dictionary that my Nonno used when he first immigrated to Vancouver in 1951 with his hand-written notes scribbled amongst the pages; the only source he had to communicate in a language he did not know; and the only way he could write my grandmother love-letters to Gubbio, Italy, where she still lived at the time before she too immigrated to Vancouver to be with him some years later.

I pointed to the dictionary that was of course on the table in front of me, and next to it, a ring box.  Christopher got down on his knee and told me he no longer wanted to be my boyfriend, and that he loved me with all that he is. He asked if I would marry him….Queue Deanna’s response: “SHUT UP! I mean, sorry, [crying] does my mom know? Did you ask my dad? Nonno is here with us! Yes, of course!”.  Not at my greatest poise, I graciously accepted. The spot where Christopher proposed was the same place my father proposed to my mother some 30 years ago. The sentiment had such an impact that it continues to tug at our heartstrings every time Christopher and I think about it.

Christopher is indeed my lover and best friend, I knew this the moment my heart stretched the day I met him. I am eternally in debt for all the love he provides to me.  We look forward to proclaiming our vows to one another with family and friends at the Holy Rosary Cathedral in Vancouver.

Photography provided by Ophelia Photography based in Vancouver.