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Amateur boxers hear wedding bells outside the ring

Natalleigh Ballantyne and Tyler Huntley-Doherty’s love story started in an unexpected place: a boxing ring.

Small-business owner Ballantyne and advertising account supervisor Huntley-Doherty each signed up for an ad-industry charity-boxing tournament in 2018. But this wasn’t your ordinary fundraiser; training entailed working with Olympic boxers five days a week for three months, so the 12 pugilists quickly became friends. Come fight night, Huntley-Doherty won his match de ella and Ballantyne lost hers. Neither of them stuck with the sport, but the bonds they’d forged with their fellow trainees remained. “They were actual lifelines,” Huntley-Doherty says, “since they were your only people for 12 weeks straight because you can’t drink and you’re so focused.”

The group later joined a dodgeball league, where he and Ballantyne got to know each other better and found that they had a lot more in common than just sports, including a love of live music and great food. Neither of them was looking for a relationship, so it stayed casual—until it didn’t. “It just happened naturally,” Huntley-Doherty says. “Suddenly it was like, ‘Yeah, I really don’t want to hang out with anybody else.’ ”

The pair spent their courtship enjoying the best that the city has to offer: they discovered they shared the same favorite dive bar, Triple A, and delighted in attending Raptors games and checking out random bands. By fall 2019 Huntley-Doherty knew he wanted to put a ring on it, and decided to get the stamp of approval during a family vacation in the Dominican Republic. Her dad gave his blessing from her and Project Proposal was underway.

A pair of Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots adorned their cake to commemorate the couple's meet-cute.

Since they’d started dating around the time of the Super Bowl, Huntley-Doherty wanted to align the proposal with that event. After the pandemic hit, lockdown only made him more certain that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. “I can’t imagine hanging out with anybody else nonstop all the time,” Huntley-Doherty says. He drafted a friend of Ballantyne’s to design the ring, and a wedding-planner pal to help create the candle-filled proposal, inspired by a scene in the movie “Stepmom.”

In the early morning hours of Feb. 7, 2021, aka Super Bowl LV, Ballantyne woke up to some noise, but didn’t suspect anything; Huntley-Doherty blamed their new kitten, who’d been keeping them up nights. At 6 am, Huntley-Doherty, clad in her finest suit, opened the door to their bedroom, revealing to her a living room filled with candles, balloons and flowers, smuggled into their condo an hour earlier by their wedding- planner friend of hers.

The couple made sure skulls and gravestones were among the decor.

“Tyler and I love to host, whether it’s a theme party at our home or a planned night out,” Ballantyne says, “and we wanted our wedding to feel true to us.” The pair sat out a mix CD with their invites and kicked off the wedding weekend with a bash at the X Hotel for their families. Due to lockdown, they had the rooftop all to themselves. “It was so much fun,” Huntley-Doherty says. “It’s the middle of February, so it’s freezing, but it was an absolute blast.”

As an event-industry pro, Ballantyne knows that personal touches make weddings all the more special. For her own nuptials, she incorporated a Scottish poem beloved by her family, and she and Huntley-Doherty recited their vows at the same time (there was even some crowd participation). Huntley-Doherty had spray-painted his childhood dinosaur toys gold and turned them into name-card holders.

Guests gathered to celebrate the couple at OBJX Studio.

Their love of all things spooky manifested in the bold gold-and-black color scheme, and skulls were featured prominently in the décor. The music was curated by LuxeLife Sound and evoked a “Halloween on Valentine’s type of vibe,” as Ballantyne describes it. The bride’s sixth-grade pal, Chef Anthony Harrison, fed the intimate crowd with party favorites like mac and cheese, sliders, tacos, and brisket, along with what Ballantyne calls “the biggest charcuterie wheel I’ve ever seen.”

Of course, they also had to offer a nod to the unique circumstances of their first meeting, so their cake read, “Punch Drunk Love.” And the topper? Two Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots.

They even added a personal touch to their napkins.

The Details

Styling and florals Flower Treasures

Photography Jane Decle Photography

official Francesca Bontas

Hair stephanie raggiunti

Makeup Beauty by Jemz

catering Chef Koopa

venue OBJX-Studio

Cake Make Kwento

Music LuxeLife Sound

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