Clair Nguyen and Darin Sprake know that the key to a lasting relationship, like winning at poker, is patience. Together for eight years before getting engaged, these Edmontonbased college sweethearts have been through so much together that they know the commitment it takes to go all-in with marriage.
One of the couple’s favorite activities is playing poker—both have played in World Series of Poker events—so it was only fitting that Darin chose Las Vegas as the setting for his proposal.
"ON A PRIVATE HELICOPTER RIDE OVER THE STRIP, DARIN POPPED THE QUESTION."
One weekend, Darin told Clair to pack her bags, but refused to tell her where they were headed. He even got the flight attendants and airport security to keep hushhush on their mystery destination. Their first stop—Los Angeles—was just a diversion before they landed in Sin City. On a private helicopter ride over the strip, Darin popped the question.
As much as they love Vegas, the couple couldn’t imagine their nuptials taking place without a beach close-by, so they chose the Barceló in Riviera Maya, Mexico. But before heading south, they honored Clair’s heritage, hosting a Vietnamese tea ceremony. Clad in traditional áo dài outfits, the couple served tea to their family, and in exchange, was blessed with wedding presents and advice.
Wanting to inject their wedding with ample special touches, the duo brought eight suitcases full of projects with them. “We wanted to personalize our wedding,” says Clair, who also managed to sneak in a few surprises for Darin, too, including a video from one of his favorite hockey players, Ryan Smyth, wishing them the best of luck in their marriage.
Afterwards, the couple stayed in Mexico, where they went high stakes and did a trash-the-dress shoot taking pictures on the beach, in a cenote and even underwater.
Location, Caterer, Cake and Décor: Barceló Maya Palace Deluxe, Riviera Maya, Mexico; Event Planner: Lillian Vargas; DJ: Discomovil, Cancun, Mexico; Photography: Gonzalo Nuñez Photography; Suit: Studio Suits