Although they dated for several months before becoming engaged, Miryam and Peter both say they were sure they’d be spending a lifetime together from the moment they met.

“From the first second I saw Peter,” Miryam says, “my heart was beating so fast. I felt something, [and] then one day we went to a steakhouse to have dinner. That night I looked at him and felt my heart telling me, ‘He is the one, Miryam!’”

The couple, who became acquainted through their Coptic Church community in Montreal where Peter was stationed with the army, wasted no time practicing their future vows—particularly the sacred promise to have and to hold in sickness and in health.

“It was very cold [and] I was sick…and laying on the bed,” Miryam says of the night her now husband proposed. “Peter was taking care of me. He was making me food, but I couldn’t eat anything. He was like, ‘Babe, you have to eat something!” When Miryam finally decided she was in the mood for a bit of poutine (a popular Canadian dish consisting of French fries, gravy and cheese curds), a doting Peter took off on foot amid below-freezing winter temperatures to make his future bride’s dreams come true—in more ways than one. He eventually returned victorious and, between feeding her bites of comfort food, asked for Miryam’s hand in marriage.

Shortly after, the couple began the challenging process of planning their nuptials around Peter’s demanding schedule, which included a deployment to Afghanistan and a six-month training program following his promotion to the rank of army captain.

“I wanted a very romantic and classy wedding,” Miryam shares. “I really wanted to make it simple and beautiful and romantic.”

“I was thinking [about] what makes me happy, and I just did it. I didn’t really go with ‘what everyone else does’ because, in the end, it’s about me marrying the man of my life,” remembers the bride.

After months of long-distance arrangements, the couple was overjoyed to exchange vows at Stockton’s Saint Basil Greek Orthodox Christian Church before joining their 100 guests at the sprawling Brookside Country Club. The bride, dressed in an Allure Couture design from Quebec, met her new husband on the dance floor for the first time to the tune of Bryan Adams’ “Please Forgive Me” before tucking into a decadent strawberry shortcake by M&W Dutch American Bakery.

“Everything went great,” Miryam recalls. “I forgot [some] little details, but it was not important because I decided no matter what happens, I just want to enjoy it the way it is. [I had been planning for so long] that I just wanted to relax and enjoy.”

 ―Morgan Cásarez