Leanna and Mark thank Stephen Hawking for introducing them; a mutual friend had lent Mark The Grand Design earlier in the year, and used the book to set up the fateful encounter.
In February 2013, the couple faced the challenge of a long distance relationship when Mark moved to Edmonton for work. Leanna jumped at an elective in Edmonton, but was devastated when it was cut short–signaling an early return to Calgary. Mark drove her to a secluded spot in a park to comfort her, and Leanna’s tears changed from sorrow to joy when he proposed under a moonlit sky.
The Big Day
Leanna and Mark wanted a venue that would showcase the beauty of their hometown, Edmonton. After an emotional tea ceremony (Leanna’s relatives flew in from China to bless her with her grandmother’s gold bracelet), Leanna walked down the aisle to “Cinderella’s Waltz” on the Empire Terrace of the Hotel MacDonald. Guests enjoyed an evening of food and classical music in the Wedgwood Room–Mark played violin with his brother accompanying him on the grand piano, and their emcee surprised everyone with an operatic performance. Guests left with chocolate-covered Oreos decorated with the Chinese symbols for “double happiness.”
Leanna: “It’s hard to choose a favourite! The private tea ceremony with the heartfelt blessings we received from both set of parents brought us all to tears. I loved all the speeches and performances during the reception, especially when Mark surprised my parents by performing the Butterfly Lover’s Concerto and everyone watched with admiration. But perhaps the most surreal moments was walking through the terrace doors with both my parents to Cinderella’s Waltz, and I was in awe of the beautiful weather, stunning view, and perfect décor – but when my eyes focused on my handsome groom, it was the moment that everything felt so real.“
Mark: “The whole wedding was memorable. One of the most striking moments was hearing the arrangement of Cinderella’s Waltz that I had chosen for Leanna’s entrance, watching her walk down the aisle towards me with her parents, and finally taking her hands as I led her to the front of the terrace. In addition, the feeling of overwhelming joy and relief after exchanging our vows and our pronouncement in front of all our closest family & friends was surreal.”
Engagement Ring Cut
Advice from the Newlyweds
Remember that this celebration with friends and family is ultimately is about your love and commitment to one another. The wedding day that you planned for eons will go by quickly – I would invest in a photographer and videographer to capture these precious moments and create art for you to enjoy for years to come.
Looking Forward to Most Now Being Married
The newlyweds look forward to living in the same city again and enjoying the simple things that are easily taken for granted.