Monica and Antonio are high school loves! They met in 2004 when they were both students at Oakwood Collegiate Institute. After learning and growing together in love the couple tied the knot in a bohemian-themed wedding ceremony in Toronto, Canada. Read more of their love story and share in the joy of their gorgeous affair captured by F10 Studio photography.
Bride: Monica Samuel, 31, Social Entrepreneur and Equity Consultant
Groom: Antonio Blass, 33, Healthcare Worker
Photography by: F10 Studio
Place of residence: Toronto, ON
Wedding date: April 10, 2021
Wedding location: The Florist Loft, Toronto, ON
Wedding theme/motif/inspiration: Black Love, Garden/Bohemian, Minimal
Honeymoon Destination: Riviera Maya, Mexico
What makes your love special?
Over the past 16 years, we've done so much learning, growing and healing together that has strengthened our chemistry and deepened our understanding and love for each other. Our love is special because it is enduring. It is special because it is rooted in compassion. Rooted in transformation. We know that we can be our truest, most authentic self when we are together. Our love is genuine and sacred.
After carefully planning a rooftop proposal in downtown Toronto, Antonio makes the mistake of telling his soon to be mother-in-law of his plans to propose. She then starts dropping incredibly obvious hints "what's your ring finger size", "I feel like it's time for Antonio to propose, no?". It was really clear to me that something was on the horizon. Antonio then made the mistake of making the ring purchase on our joint credit card.
We pivoted collectively, and brought together a small group of our family together and he proposed in our home. Even though I knew it was coming, I still cried like a baby that night.
From the Bride: (briefly tell us about your wedding experience and how you felt on your big day)
I was incredibly anxious and overwhelmed on our wedding because it was so unfamiliar. We had not seen our parents take this step and didn't really have a blueprint or understanding of how the day is supposed to go. We did photography and videography before, which was a bit taxing for me mentally. When we got in the car, that's when I started getting the anxiety shakes and sweats. I remember reciting Bible scriptures in my head and asking God for strength as we were getting ready to walk down the aisle together. But when we stood in front of the officiant and I held my partner's hand, I felt this ease and calm that helped me to reground myself and come back to my body. I was able to feel joy again. We finally were getting married! Because we were dealing with lockdown procedures there were moments where things felt rushed, but by the end of it we were just glad we tied the knot.
From the Groom: (briefly tell us about your wedding experience and how you felt on your big day)
I was extremely nervous on the morning of our wedding day. I grew up not seeing a lot of weddings, so I felt a bit lost. Having my fiancée by my side helped tremendously with my nerves. It was clear how much we loved each other and why we were doing this. She was my emotional crutch for the entire day. When I got to the venue, and saw our families seated, I definitely was emotional. I felt excitement, pride and relief. We were the first to do it! A new pathway for a new generation. An example for my younger siblings and friends and family of what is possible. Black love is possible and we deserve to see it and be it.
Your best/most memorable moment:
Our vows. Lots of crying, lots of boogers. Also, walking down the aisle and seeing our mother's faces.
Wedding song, explain choice for song:
Sam Cooke, Nothing Can Change This Love
We are huge Sam Cooke fans. Sam's words just have a way of piercing the heart. This song fully encapsulates the feelings we have for each other.
Favorite wedding detail (favors, cake, food, band, etc.):
Our wedding favors. We worked together in designing and packing a wedding favor box filled with our favorite things including, coffee imported from the Dominican Republic.
What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?
Advice for a Bride/Groom on their wedding day:
Antonio - Your wedding day should center and prioritize what you both need and want, so be tender with each other. Weddings are incredibly stressful, so checking-in with your partner is paramount. Call, text, leave love notes, ask questions, listen, ensure they've eaten, etc. My wife and I got ready together, rode in the limo together and walked down the aisle together. We were each other's strength and emotional support system that day, which made our union that much more special.
Monica - Too often we see weddings and marriages defined by what our parents and families say, which creates added stress and robs couples of their autonomy and joy. Our parents had a lot of "input" and "thoughts" on what we were doing and why, but we had to remind them that this was OUR day. Setting that boundary before really helps to set the tone of what lies ahead in your marriage. So, ensure your likes, your traditions, your rituals and your flavors are integrated into your big day. This is about you, not them.
Congratulations to the happy couple! We wish them many years of wedded bliss!