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Real Weddings: A Leap of Faith

Posted At : July 1, 2008 2:44 PM   |  Posted By : Bridal Network   |  Views: 5,683
Articles on these Topics: Cultures & Customs,Real Weddings
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Romance was the furthest thing from Fred Matta's mind when planning a a vacation to visit cousins in Calgary in July 2003. "I didn't expect that three years later I'd be married and living in Vancouver," he says. An Australian working in England Fred saw this as a chance to see some of Canada.

Fate intervened when he tagged along with his cousins to their church retreat in Kelowna. Sharing an Egyptian Coptic heritage with his cousins, Fred fit right in at the event. One of the attendees was Vancouverite Mary Ragheb.

He and Mary immediately clicked. "I felt peaceful around her. I felt I could just be me," Fred says. Mary felt the same. "It was so comfortable and relaxed, right from the beginning," she says.

Fred had already been planning to visit Vancouver, so it was a happy coincidence that Mary lived there. "She said, 'I'll give you a tour of our beautiful city,'" he recalls.

Fred took her up on her offer. The two spent several days in Vancouver sightseeing, and their first date at Stepho's restaurant ended with a kiss. When Fred returned to England phone and e-mail correspondence ensued.

In November, he flew out again to see her for three weeks. "I wanted to let her know it wasn't some kind of fling, that I was seriously interested in her," Fred explains. Things went so well that he applied for a Canadian working holiday visa and returned to Vancouver in February 2004. It was a risk but he could always return home.

Happily, their relationship deepened, and that summer they became unofficially engaged. Fred kept a private journal during his travels, and when he proposed on a Victoria getaway, he read Mary excerpts about how he felt when he first met her.

The couple's official engagement came the following January when they, along with Mary's family, flew to Melbourne, where Fred's family lives. On January 7, 2005--Coptic Orthodox Christmas day--they had the union officially blessed. As part of a traditional engagement ceremony in a Coptic Orthodox church, they exchanged wedding bands to wear on their right hands. A reception followed. "It was like a mini-wedding, a little celebration," Mary explains.

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