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Destination Ontario: world travellers return home to host a four-day, summer-camp-like wedding

By Steph Davidson Special to the Star
Sunday, May 8, 2022

When freelance designer, writer and marketer Mary Anne Resendes and 3D printing company owner Ricardo Resendes met working side gigs at The Keg at Yonge and Eglinton in 2008, it wasn’t quite love at first sight. “He was fun, charming and exciting,” Mary Anne says, “but I was — wrongly — worried that he was an older, bad-boy player type. Still, while both skeptical and shy, I loved his attention and, to my surprise, found he put me at ease like few can.” The pair eventually left The Keg and Ricardo moved into Mary Anne’s apartment. Their shared passion for adventure led them to move to Australia in 2011.

“We’ve travelled the world together,” Mary Anne says. “We’ve explored Fiji, New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands, Italy, Thailand, France, Mexico, Portugal, Cuba and Costa Rica, among other destinations.” When they moved back from Australia in July 2012, they made a down payment on the Yonge and Lawrence condo they now call home.

It wasn’t long before the couple got restless again. “In early 2020, we committed to each other and the life we wanted by leaving our nine-to-five jobs for an around-the-world journey. It began with five amazing weeks in Bali,” Mary Anne says. “And then, well, COVID.”

Although the trip was cut short, in November 2020, Ricardo decided to pop the question in a most memorable way. “She loves the water, nature, islands, treehouses, camping, food and all things boho chic,” he says, “so I surprised her with a glamping site somewhere meaningful to us: on an island on her mom’s property in cottage country.”

Ricardo had spent 400 hours 3D printing a massive floating sign reading “WILL YOU MARRY ME?” in letters each about a foot high  “filled with fairy lights,” he says, “so it could float on and follow the movement of the lake and be seen from the island’s clifftop.” He also enlisted their dog Lupa, who carried the engagement ring on her collar.

“Committing to forever together under the stars? It was all so dreamy,” Mary Anne remembers. Ricardo had planned an extended proposal that included a weekend on the island plus a two-week camper-van adventure through western Canada. “It was incredible,” she says, “celebrating our engagement secret together in this way before sharing with others.”

Once it was time to spread the news, the couple had to arrange a pandemic-friendly wedding. They always dreamed of a destination wedding, but between expenses and travel restrictions, they were happy to keep things local. They booked a long weekend in July 2021 at the Northridge Inn in Muskoka and planned an epic getaway for 60 of their closest friends and family members.

“We achieved the destination wedding feel, spending four fun- and love-filled days with our nearest and dearest at an amazing resort,” says Ricardo. The weekend included morning yoga on the dock, fireside singalongs, beach-side charcuterie, a pool party complete with an ice cream bar, and more — all before they tied the knot, after 13 years together, on July 13, 2021. “It felt like an elevated summer camp for adults,” he adds, “one that was attended by only our favourite people and that served up our favourite food, drinks and activities.”

“Our wedding wasn’t just about the one day or just about us,” Mary Anne says. “It was a family holiday.” It was their guests’ first vacation and their first time seeing loved ones in a very long time, according to Mary Anne. “So, everyone was ready to connect, to let loose, to love, to hug, to play, to laugh, to cry. It was a reunion with an extraordinary energy — the greatest combination of powerful emotional moments and pure fun. Seriously, we almost broke that dance floor.”

For both bride and groom, the moment that stood out came on the morning of their nuptials, when they read the letters they wrote to each other. “My wife has a gift with words,” Ricardo says. “Her writing always tastes so sweet, but this time it was extra-special.”

“Most of all, I cherish the powerful, emotional moments that had us genuinely reflecting on and sharing our love story,” says Mary Anne. “Before our ceremony, having a moment just the two of us alone to connect; during our ceremony, hearing each other’s vows for the first time; during dinner, listening to our loved ones’ perspectives in the sweetest speeches; plus, all of the deep chats and tight embraces that took place throughout the getaway.”

As for their next adventure? The couple will soon celebrate their first anniversary with a new member of the Resendes’s travelling clan: a baby girl due to arrive June 30.

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