Lavinia and Carl’s paths first crossed during a cheese & wine networking event at the University of Ottawa, where Lavinia recalls how she was approached by an “extremely handsome, well-spoken and easygoing” gentlemen. Lavinia and Carl immediately hit it off, chatting for “what felt like forever.” In Lavinia’s words, “it was as if we were old friends and had known each other our entire lives.” For the next year, their conversations would continue in the law school hallways, and when the opportunity felt right they finally went on that first date. After a movie and an evening of dancing and drinks their connection was undeniable and have been inseparable ever since…
Read all about Lavinia & Carl’s love story, Christmas proposal, and wedding aspirations, in their romantic “yin and yang” engagement session in Toronto – beautifully captured by Karimah Gheddai Photography.
Bride & groom-to-be: Lavinia Latham and Carl Alphonse
Occupations: Human Rights Lawyer & Corporate Immigration Lawyer
Wedding location: Toronto
Location of Engagement shoot: Toronto
How did you meet? Interestingly enough, we were both undergraduate students in the same small city of Ottawa but at different and rivalling universities. Carl was completing his undergraduate studies in Kinesiology at University of Ottawa and I was completing my undergraduate studies in Criminology and Criminal Justice at Carleton University. During those entire 4 years of studying, partying, and networking with practically every 20-something year old in Ottawa, we never once crossed paths.
Fast forward to August 2010. It was a really gorgeous summer night as the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law hosted their annual Orientation Gala at the prestigious Chateau Laurier. The glamorous wine and cheese cocktail event was meant to serve as a networking opportunity for incoming law students to meet faculty members as well as each other. I vividly remember feeling a bit out of place as I gingerly attempted to navigate my first formal wine and cheese event. As I accepted a sparkling glass of sauvignon blanc, Carl approached me and quickly introduced himself. I thought he was extremely handsome, well-spoken and easygoing. For what felt like forever, we chatted about every subject under the sun. The conversation was so good that it felt as if we were the only two people in the room. It was as if we were old friends and had known each other our entire lives! At some point, we both agreed that we should probably talk and network with other people. Unbeknownst to me at the time, it would be a long time before we met again.
First year law was extremely rigorous. The material was dense, difficult and extremely fast-paced. Every single waking moment was meant to be spent studying the law. As you can imagine, this type of hardcore learning did not leave much room for socialization. Given the fact that Carl was studying French Common Law and I was studying English Common Law, we rarely crossed paths. Even so, during the seldom times that we did cross paths, we always stopped in the law school halls to chat about life, studying and dissecting the law.
After about one year of crossing paths, dating other people, and focusing on the law, Carl began trying to get my number. For the longest while, he would always ask me for my number, I would give it to him, and then he would just never call. I didn’t think much of this because I was so focused on my studies and I knew Carl was too.
Finally, in November 2011, Carl asked me out on a date. We ended up going to the movie theater to watch Tower Heist. After the movie, we went to a lounge to enjoy some drinks and dancing. We had such a good time catching up, flirting and just enjoying each other’s company. The very next day, Carl asked me out on another date and I happily said yes. The rest is history and we’ve been inseparable ever since!
Tell us about the proposal. Five years later and it’s 2016 during the days leading up to Christmas. Carl seemed to be planning something that he did not want me to know. He managed to even get one of my best girlfriends in on the surprise by having her take me on a shopping trip for engagement rings that were supposedly for her and her boyfriend. Little did I know that Carl had put my friend up to the task of finding out my ring size and my style choices. As my friend and I were shopping, she casually mentioned that I should take Carl ring shopping one day just for fun. At the time, I really didn’t think anything of her comment, I just figured she really wanted to get married!
One day, while we were shopping for Christmas gifts, I asked Carl if he wanted to look at rings for fun. To my surprise he said yes! We went into a jewelry store and I tried on rings and instantly fell in love with a beautiful diamond encrusted three stone engagement ring. Carl asked the saleswoman some questions and we shortly left the store. Again, I really didn’t think anything of it.
It was the night before Christmas day and Carl kept teasing me about this gift that he brought me that would change my life forever. At this point, I figured he was talking about proposing since we had spoken about getting married in the past. He then started teasing that he left my special gift in his Locked-For-The-Holidays office. I was so excited to see what Carl bought me that I insisted we drive to his office in the middle of the night before Christmas so that he could retrieve my gift. I just KNEW something this special had to be The Proposal. I quickly became confused when I saw Carl exit his office with a huge and HEAVY box wrapped in princess paper. I tried as hard as I could to get details or hints about the special box but Carl kept steering me in the wrong direction. When I tried to guess that the box had clothing, Carl said maybe, maybe not. He insisted that I could not open the box until Christmas day.
On Christmas Day, I woke up bright and early to shake the box/open it. Before I could open the box, Carl quickly ran into the room, took the large box from my arms and said I had to open my Christmas gift with the rest of my family at my grandparents house since that’s our tradition. I reluctantly agreed not to open the box until later that night.
At my grandparents house, everything seemed normal. Everyone had an awesome time eating good food, drinking great wine, listening to sweet Soca/Reggae music and sharing stories and memories. As per usual, the entire festivity was video-recorded by my Uncle Junior. After dinner, I quickly attempted to open my mysterious gift. Once again, Carl stopped me. He said that my gift was extra special and that it would have to wait until everyone opened their gifts first. After everyone opened their gifts, I quickly opened my gift. As I ripped open the princess paper, I discovered a brown box with two heavy law books and another smaller box. At this point I was confused and wondered why Carl would give me law books for Christmas! I attempted to open the smaller box and to my surprise, it contained an even smaller box! My heart skipped a beat as I began to realize what this could be. At this point, my little cousin, Cobi, yelled, “OMG, he’s going to PROPOSE!”
Five increasingly smaller boxes later, Carl took the tiny jewelry box from my hands. In front of my entire family, he got down on one knee and asked for my hand in marriage while he slipped that beautiful diamond-encrusted three stone ring onto my left hand. It truly was the happiest moment of my life- a moment that I will forever remember!
Describe your engagement session. We had two photoshoots. One in more formal wear and one we themed Yin and Yang.
What’s your favorite thing to do as a couple? One of the greatest things about life is that there is so much to do and experience. As such, as a couple, our favorite thing to do is travel, explore and learn new places. We recently went on a 12-day Caribbean boat cruise that allowed us to explore 6 different islands in 12 days. This trip allowed us to compare and contrast each island.
How has wedding planning been so far? Wedding planning had some challenges but for the most part it has been an absolutely amazing experience. We love discussing our big day together and going through all of the different options that will make our wedding the best it can possibly be.
Tell us what you’re looking forward to most on the wedding day. We are looking forward to walking down the aisle and finally being able to call each other Husband and Wife in front of our beloved friends and family. We absolutely cannot wait to enjoy some good food, music, and company in our Caribbean Fairytale Glitz and Glam themed wedding! It’s truly looking like it will be a night to remember!