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A teary Asma McKhail sensed wedding plans were off to a bad beginning as her ill-fitting gown was snipped and hemmed with abandon as the woman designated to assist her chimed, "You look great sweetie," and departed for lunch.

At a fourth fitting just days before she was to leave for her ceremony in British Columbia, she panicked when asked, "Didn't you come in yesterday and cancel your wedding?" Staff at the bridal salon had confused her with another client and had not worked on her gown, and their quick adjustments would fall short.

"[They]had screwed up the clasps, my bridesmaid had to pin the dress, and I was late for my wedding," she says. Rush alterations for one of her attendants proved more costly than the dress itself.

Unfortunately, all of this was just a harbinger of more problems to come.

Ms. McKhail and Ryan William Shollert had met at the Toronto Cricket Skating and Curling Club in October, 2001. A York University graduate in kinesiology and health sciences, Ms. McKhail was assistant to the fitness co-ordinator there, and Mr. Shollert a senior-level pairs skater.

By May, Ms. McKhail left to establish her own business, Your Peak Performance, but the two kept in contact. On their first official date on July 14, she asked him to DarkNights, a souped-up-car show at the Markham Fair Grounds and later suggested a jaunt to Niagara Falls.

"We're sensible people, not flighty, but I felt an instant connection," she says.

The couple, now 27, both love soccer, blading, running, skiing, snowboarding and the outdoors. Mr. Shollert admits, "I brought up marriage after a month."

But in March, 2003, the duo parted as Mr. Shollert, a B.C. native, left for Vancouver to find a pairs partner. Friends skeptical of long-distance relationships warned Ms. McKhail that she was in competition with "little girls in little short dresses."

For her part, Ms. McKhail says, "I was never jealous. We knew it would be tough, but we didn't want him to have regrets. You have to put all the emotional stuff aside and focus on the athlete."

To stay in touch, Ms. McKhail designed and e-mailed training programs for athletes in Vancouver, periodically travelling there to assist her clients with off-ice training and rendezvous with her boyfriend.

To celebrate the anniversary of their first date, the couple went ballooning. Their second anniversary, which they celebrated in Kelowna, B.C., in 2004, was climactic. They exchanged gifts, skated privately on a rink he had reserved, and Mr. Shollert presented Ms. McKhail with long-stemmed white roses, their signature flower, before a Thai dinner. Her fortune cookie read, "A merry heart doth good like medicine." He then quipped, "Imagine if it had said marry?''

On the pretext of buying ice cream for dessert, Mr. Shollert then drove Ms. McKhail to Guisachan Heritage Park, literally whirled her around to face the best view of the garden, and proffered a ring.

Permanently in Toronto by 2005, the couple decided on a Kelowna wedding on July 16 at the exact spot where they had become engaged. Eschewing a pushy officiant, they chose "a sweet lady, English, reminding me of my nan," Mr. Shollert says. Too bad, jokes Ms. McKhail, "she turned out to be the grandma from hell." On rehearsal day, she said she was stuck in traffic, had booked another wedding and would conduct the session by phone. Luckily, they were able to say no and replace her with a hastily recruited justice of the peace.

Amid the hubbub, the bride failed to notice the absence of a bridesmaid, who missed her flight when her family had stopped for a car-tire repair and arrived an hour late for the rehearsal. "My dad stepped up and said, 'Let's go through it again for Amanda,' and Asma was none the wiser," laughs Mr. Shollert.

There were other complications: The wedding band couldn't be sized for the bride's tiny fingers and a best-guess custom ring arrived at the 11th hour; the groom needed last-minute help with the music selection; the cake was so disappointing a replacement had to be arranged; programs printed in Toronto had a spelling error.

Through all of this, though, a thoughtful Mr. Shollert ensured the bride stayed unaware of any setbacks and helped her maintain composure by sending white roses and coffee.

And, by the time of their wedding-day nuptials, sunlight dispelled rain clouds and the officiant wed the pair without mishap (other than misspelling the bride's name on the marriage certificate). At the reception following -- as if in tribute to the power of love over adversity -- Mr. and Mrs. Shollert made their debut to the Rocky theme wearing boxing gloves.

In a last glitch, none of the photographer's photos turned out, but guests with digital cameras recorded the day.

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