Jake and I met in 2007 at Fitness West in Vernon, BC. I had noticed Jake around the gym because he was one of the only guys attending the group fitness classes on a regular basis at the time. He seemed so friendly and confident in himself, but not in an arrogant way. Sometimes, I would catch myself wishing he would set his mat and equipment up closer to me. That was before we had even spoke.
We definitely noticed each other, but it took a little while for us to connect.
One day, I was on the elliptical as Jake walked into the gym. He had a super cute man bag that he carried all of his gym stuff around in. As I watched him scan his membership card a random thought entered my mind, “You’re going to marry that guy!”. I can remember thinking, “WHAT? You don’t even know that person, that’s a ridiculous thought.”. I passed it off as nothing, but those random thoughts can hold a lot of truth and power.
We were in the aerobics room alone together one day after class, and he started chatting with me. "Do you like biking?", he asked. I replied, "Yes.", and then he handed me his business card. I ended up giving him a call a couple of days later and we set up a date to hang out. We met in the Earl’s parking lot and I hopped into his Toyota Celica. He had planned to take me to a Realtor's open house at Vista Verona (is that typical Realtor behavior? haha). There was free wine, appies and a gorgeous deck with lakeviews.
I was 23 years old at the time, and Jake was 33. When he asked me to guess his age I thought maybe he was 25. He kept me guessing until I realized he was 10 years older than me and admittedly I panicked a bit. Back then, the age difference seemed like a lot. Also, I was a bonafide party girl and Jake wasn't really into that scene. One of the feelings I always had about Jake was that he was the type of guy I wanted to end up with in the long run. The timing wasn't great when we met but I knew I didn't want to let him get away.
After our first date, we started hanging out quite a lot. We went biking, running, hiking, swimming, and to LOTS of movies (one of Jake’s favorite things to do). We were pretty inseparable. We both lived at home with parents, so we went on lots of adventures and had many different hangout spots. We became really good friends and took our relationship pretty slow (Jake’s idea more than mine). We made our relationship official at the end of August 2007. I continued on doing courses at UBCO while he worked hard at building his Real Estate career.
Long before we started dating I had plans to move away and obtain a Dental Hygiene diploma. The fact that I was inevitably leaving kind of held us back in our relationship for the first year. I wanted us to be in a committed long distance relationship, but Jake kept thinking we should keep it more casual and see where things went. He had a sneaking suspicion that I had more wild oats to sow. This made me furious, but in the end it turned out for the best because I ended up having a lot of fun and lived it up while I was away. About halfway through my program we made it Facebook official again and committed to being exclusive. It helped a lot that I was living in his Dad’s basement suite in Toronto because it made me feel like I was still part of the family and it was a good way for us to remain close while we lived so far apart.
Shortly after I moved back to Vernon we started living together. Jake and I would have conversations about whether or not we felt that marriage was an institution we wanted to partake in. We both knew we wanted to be together and were committed to being partners for life, but marriage and children were still up for discussion. Over time, we both realized that being married to each other would be a beautiful way to strengthen our bond and love for one another.
Jake officially proposed to me on Dec. 25, 2013. He had given me a promise ring the year before which was a beautiful family ring passed down to him from his Grandmother. I loved the sentimentality behind the ring but wanted to have it made into something I could wear comfortably everyday. We took it to Furmanek Jewellers in Vernon, B.C. and Ryan made a beautiful custom ring using the central diamond and gold from Jake's Grandmother’s ring. Jake’s wedding band was also made by Ryan Furmanek.
Anytime we would start the process of planning a wedding it just didn’t feel fun. Both Jake and I didn’t want an entire celebration where the attention was all on us. We were going on a trip to Vegas in September for a Real Estate convention and thought about eloping while we were there. I remember looking into all of the details of obtaining a marriage license in Nevada and even decided on a chapel that we could go to. Looking back we are relieved that we didn’t go through with things that way. We also considered going to the courthouse in Vernon but in the end we knew that involving our families was important to us and they would appreciate being included in our special day.
One day, we were having dinner at Cactus Club in Kelowna, and I threw out the idea of planning a surprise wedding! We were already planning a family Summer picnic at Ellison Provincial Park at the end of August 2013, so that quickly morphed into the setting for our secret plan. I got in touch with an officiant who I knew from Enderby and she agreed to meet us there and facilitate the ceremony for us.
We got married on August 25, 2013. It was a small, intimate gathering of family who weren't suspecting a thing. Once we finally got everyone mingling comfortably down on the beach, we made up an excuse to have to leave and get something from our car. Meanwhile, we were actually meeting the officiant and needed time to change into our wedding outfits. I think some of the guests were starting to get suspicious at this point, but it was still a huge surprise to everyone when we walked back down to the beach and started heading towards the group. The expressions on their faces were priceless. We exchanged vows, rings, and kisses and the rest is history. One year later, on our wedding anniversary, our first daughter was born!
Our love strengthens with each year that passes and we are so glad that we honored ourselves and didn't force anything that wasn't authentic to us.
Hope you enjoyed our surprise wedding story!