Couple get married after meeting at house party
When Deneille Walters showed up to a house party on Rusholme Road in 2016, she had no idea what role this old brick house would play in the trajectory of her life. The same could also be said for the guy she was about to have a tipsy argument with in the kitchen. Walters, now an educational technology consultant, had been invited to a summer party at a colleague’s boyfriend’s house. Among the boyfriend’s roommates: Michael Macas, who was then a chemical engineering student at UofT.
The two got off to a rocky start, locked in a heated debate over the merits of writing fiction (Walters) versus non-fiction (Macas). “For context, this conversation was maybe at 2 or 3 a.m.,” Walters says. Another discord erupted when Macas made himself a grilled cheese sandwich and wouldn’t let her eat it. “That slight made it all the way to wedding vows,” adds Macas, now an analyst.
Despite this inauspicious encounter, Walters had a good enough time to decide to return a few months later for the housemates’ annual Halloween karaoke. During a night in which the two made fun of the other singers’ rough performances, things between them took a decidedly different turn. “After that, I basically lived there,” Walters says. Although the house was home to a close-knit group of friends, Walters was quickly welcomed into the fold. (As one of the other residents said, “If the cat trusts you, you must be cool.”)
Walters and Macas say they immediately felt comfortable with each other. “Before I met him — and I think it was the same for both of us — I actually never wanted a long-term relationship or to get married,” Walters said. After about three years of dating, they decided to move into a place of their own – and found one a block away.
They continued to visit the old house until their friends slowly drifted to new houses. Soon their last remaining friend there was about to move out and decided to throw one last party to commemorate the occasion. “It felt like something big was coming to an end,” Walters says. “I wanted our – and especially Mike’s – last time in this house to be a very special experience that wasn’t just about the endings.”
In the evenings leading up to the party, she began to run away from their own home. (“Allegedly going for a run,” Macas recalled.) Macas, who was planning to propose to her that summer, had no idea.
On the afternoon of the farewell party, the group headed to the bridge to take pictures. As they gathered near a table Macas himself had built years earlier, Walters asked if he could move a potted aloe plant from the surface – which revealed a marriage proposal which she had carefully engraved on the table. He said yes.
Unsurprisingly, for a couple whose relationship was forged in a house full of friends, Walters and Macas’ top priority for their wedding was throwing a killer party.
“We never wanted a formal wedding,” Walters says. “We especially wanted to be able to celebrate our relationship with our friends and family, and we hadn’t seen so many in two years at that point. We wanted it to feel like a reunion.
They organized the ceremony themselves in just four months. Their venue – the Great Hall on Queen West, which they secured at the last minute, thanks to a cancellation – was so perfect for their Gothic woodland theme, the space didn’t need much decor other than candles and some wild flower arrangements courtesy of Moody Blooms’ Katie Flohr. “The moment she heard we wanted foam in our arrangements,” Walters says, “she was on board.”
What really brought the theme home was asking their guests to dress in black. For her part, Walters chose an untraditional wedding dress: an off-white royal gown topped with a crown. The couple had planned for their pet rabbit, Vincenzo, to serve as their ring bearer, but when he died shortly before the wedding, they asked the officiant, a friend, to carry his ashes in the gone with the rings. Although it might sound a little dark, Vinny was so loved that all of the guests understood and appreciated the decision. “People saw it and weren’t like, ‘That’s weird,'” Walters says. “They just got it.”
The day passed in a blur of laughter, tears and speeches, punctuated by a few moments of tranquility stolen by the couple in a green room typically reserved for musicians playing the room. And, of course, there was a lot of dancing. “To the point where they had to kick us all out,” Macas says. “Even the staff was like, ‘This is the most fun wedding.’ They were just hanging out, talking to our friends, befriending them.
The couple’s mission to keep the epic holiday spirit alive on Rusholme has been a success. At the end of the evening, the director of the Great Hall dismissed them. “You are welcome to come back,” he told them. “You know, in case you want to have a second marriage.”
Venue The big room
Photography Lindsay Duncan
Florist Katie Flohr, the Moody Blooms
Restoration Gusto 54 and Chubby’s Jamaican Cuisine
wedding rings Katherine
dj DJ Elegance
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