Two event professionals raced to create the wedding of a lifetime: their own
The first time Kate Duncan met Chris Cameron, she told him to get out of the way. The two were both working Ryerson University’s Mass Exodus fashion show in 2012 — Duncan as a stage manager for the venue, and Cameron as a technical director for the AV company — and he was sitting in between her and the lighting designer she needed to speak with, pronto.
“I asked him to move to the other end of the table,” Duncan says. But Cameron wasn’t disillusioned by her less-than-polite request. “I was like, ‘Oh, the cute girl wants me to move,’” he says.
After the event, they headed to the bar with their colleagues to celebrate at the after party. “We went out with this big group,” Duncan says, “but only talked to each other.” He thought she was wonderfully confident. She was struck by his boyish handsomeness and friendly demeanour. They also had a wealth of similar interests — hiking and camping — beyond their shared profession. They both love to travel and discusses destinations they’d like to visit, such as Mexico, Bali and Ireland.
In 2018, the pair travelled to Iceland, renting a camper van to save on accommodations. They drove around the country, scoping out waterfalls and hot springs with no agenda besides one glacier hike Cameron had planned in Vatnajökull National Park.
“I had a feeling Chris was going to propose,” Duncan says, “but we shared a bag on the trip and I didn’t find a ring in there so I put it out of my mind.”
The day of the hike, their guide notified the group that they couldn’t reach the summit because the wind was too dangerous. “When he told us he had something equally good to show us, I thought, ‘I sure hope so,’” says Cameron, who’d secretly packed the ring in his camera bag. The guide brought the group to a cave beneath the glacier, where the couple lingered until they were the only ones left. Cameron told Duncan he wanted to take her picture and when she turned to face him, he was on one knee.
They basked in the post-engagement glow for six months before discussing wedding details. “Our biggest thought was that we produce shows and events for a living, so we didn’t want our wedding to feel like work,” Duncan says.
They settled on an intimate Sunday-brunch wedding to be held at Cluny Bistro in May 2020. When the pandemic forced them to postpone their wedding by a year, they ordered pastries and champagne from Cluny. On the morning of their original wedding date, Cluny’s general manager showed up at their doorstep with the pastries and a sign wishing the couple well.
When it became clear the restaurant wouldn’t be open in May 2021 either, the couple decided they didn’t want to wait any longer and set out to have their wedding within 30 days. “Our event instincts kicked in,” Duncan says. For a venue, their photographer suggested they look into photo studios. They settled on Preto Loft, a light-filled industrial space in the west end.
On the day of the wedding, the couple met up in the opulent lobby of the Ed Mirvish Theatre to take first-look photos. On what should have been a bustling Sunday afternoon full of matinee-goers, the theatre was eerily empty. “It was incredibly emotional to step into a theatre after having not been inside one for so long,” Duncan says, “especially while our industry had been shut down for the past 18 months.”
From there the couple drove to Preto Loft, which had been set up for their seven guests, including both sets of parents and Cameron’s younger sister, who was the maid of honour, and her husband. Three of their stage-management colleagues helped organize a professional-grade Zoom call where the couple’s 70 remote guests — including Cameron’s 101-year-old grandfather — could tune in from home. During the ceremony, the bride and groom could barely believe that they were finally getting married, more than a year after they had initially planned.
As the couple said their vows, Cameron began to tear up. “In our nine years of being together,” Duncan says, “I had not seen him cry before that day.”
When the festivities were done, the couple trekked over to their beloved Cluny Bistro and ordered French fries and sangria. All the outdoor benches were taken, so someone working at the antique shop next door brought out a pair of stools for them to sit on in full wedding regalia.
Looking back on their special day, Duncan and Cameron wouldn’t change a thing. “We accomplished exactly what we set out to do, which was to have a small wedding with just friends and family,” Cameron says. “It just ended up being significantly smaller than we expected.”
Wedding venue Preto Loft
Gown Lis Simon from Ferré Sposa