Maria Corrigan thought she and boyfriend Nick Yunge-Bateman had returned to their native town of Burlington, Ontario, to surprise her dad during the week of his birthday. Despite the couple’s 10th anniversary falling shortly before the celebration and her family not seeming particularly shocked at what should have been an unexpected visit, Maria did not suspect that anything else was planned. “When the day of our 10th anniversary rolled around a few days later, we went to a little hot dog shack where we had our first date and then hiked at the Royal Botanical Gardens where we use to always go when we lived there,” she reflects. “We were on a trail taking in all the sights and sounds together.” Suddenly, Maria heard Nick bend down and when she turned around, he was on one knee holding a diamond ring nestled in a silver bell case. “We both started to tear up and as he got up, we hugged and kissed and I said yes! So, technically, I guess he never actually asked me to marry him!” the bride laughs at the memory. 

One year later, on their 11th anniversary, loved ones of Maria and Nick gathered at a Malibu ranch to witness the duo tie the knot. They selected the venue after falling in love with it during a visit to the onsite café for the groom’s birthday. With a baby boy at home and Nick – who is as an actor and model – working on a movie throughout the engagement, there was a lot for the couple to balance while preparing for the big day. “So, he helped out when he could, but I took care of most of the planning with the help of our wedding planner Charley [Izabella King of Bluebell Events],” the bride explains. “The only thing he requested was that I had a princess dress when I walked down the aisle!”

Though she later changed into a slimmer silhouette, Maria delighted her groom with an ethereal ball gown for the ceremony, looking angelic in a cathedral veil and clutching a textured bouquet of quicksand roses, spray roses, and peonies in white and beige hues. The couple’s darling son, Chase, preceded his mother down the aisle in a wooden wagon that was almost as cute as the toddler. Nick cites both these moments as his favorite from the special day. “I’ll never forget seeing my bride walking down, looking beautiful in her dress, and seeing my son being wheeled in on a little cart,” he confirms. “Just a perfect representation of how great my life is.” Beneath a gorgeous archway of flowers and a crystal chandelier, the longtime lovebirds exchanged vows and were at last pronounced husband and wife. 

Friends and family entered a stunning room with wood details and large windows showcasing the natural beauty outside for the reception. “We really wanted a neutral, rustic, romantic wedding,” Maria details of the décor, which featured centerpieces that included candelabra, blush and ivory roses, variegated ivy, and gold accents. “Charley was pretty instrumental in bringing our theme together as well,” she adds. “All I had to do was provide her with a few inspiration pictures and she created a wedding masterpiece!”

Following a traditional seated dinner, guests danced to both oldies and modern hits curated by the DJ. In addition to the lively music, energy was maintained through a delicious cake and a donut wall. “Everyone knows I have a sweet tooth,” the bride admits. The picturesque confection – which the newlyweds sliced with a samurai sword – had two flavors: banana chocolate chip and coconut with passion fruit buttercream. As for the donuts, Maria is such a fan that the one thing she would change about the wedding is to have even more dessert treats! 

Though the official reception ended at 11PM, the after-party featuring additional snacks and drinks lasted until 2AM. As the newlyweds are natives of Canada, they wanted to give attendees a taste of home, offering mini glass bottles of syrup in the shape of maple leaves as favors. 

Aside from the desire for a few extra sweets, the day couldn’t have gone better. “I was most surprised by how smoothly it ran,” Nick reveals, as after hearing countless stories he was sure something would go wrong. Instead he and his new wife were thrilled to spend hours soaking up the joy that comes with being surrounded by the most important people in their lives. “So many friends and family came from different places all over the world, so seeing them all in the same room celebrating our love was indescribable,” Maria affirms. “Being able to share that special day with them was such an amazing memory.”

When it comes to couples preparing to plan their own nuptials, the bride has one important piece of advice: “Planning a wedding is a stressful business regardless, so make sure to take time out for yourselves and go on dates! It’s a great way to de-stress and reconnect.