A cool way to start married life

Tim Hoffman of Dashwood and Cathy Costello of Mitchell met through a mutual friend two years ago, and started dating. They got married February 14 on a three-layer cake made of snow as part of the Grand Bend Winter Carnival.

Interview & photos by Casey Lessard

Take me back to when you first met.
Tim: It was a blind date, so I had no idea what she would look like. You never know what to expect, but it was good. We had good conversation that night and everything went well, and when I left, she told me to come and give her a hug.
Cathy: He was a gentleman. Very nice. He seemed really down to earth. He deserved a hug.

The first date is one thing, but what was the impetus to say this is going to work?
C: I brought him to a party with the girls I work with, and the Mitchell girls are pretty wild. He fit right in with them. It was very important that he could put up with their craziness.
T: They all seemed to enjoy a good time and were fun to be around. Then Cathy came up and gradually met my family more and more and fit in really well.

Family is really important to both of you. What was it like to think about merging the two?
C: We just felt it was the next step to take. I was ready to move out of Mitchell, out of the small town – and into another small town. We were driving a lot; he came up pretty much every night to Mitchell. We just thought it would make more sense to be in the same household.
T: As time goes on, you can see you will be compatible together and it makes sense to take the next step.

What were you looking for? What was special about Cathy?
T: Someone who takes interest in what I do, and we can have a good time together and laugh together.

What was special about Tim?
C: He had to be compatible with my daughter Olivia. Whenever they met, they just clicked. That was nice to see.

Cathy, you had a family already. How did that play into things?
C: It was hard. I didn’t trust many people. I could see with Tim that he was a genuinely nice guy and treated her and me with respect.
T: I just tried to be a good role model for Olivia and build a family with them.

How did you propose?
T: We were going on a camping trip to Tobermory last August, and I knew prior to the trip that I would do it. There’s a high cliff on the Bruce Trail, and it’s the most beautiful spot that I’ve ever seen. There’s nothing manmade as far as you can see. Years ago, before I had met Cathy, I said that would be the spot if I ever had to propose.
We had quite a challenging time to get to that point. It was a holiday weekend, so you had to take a narrow provincial park road and I was towing a big trailer. It was pretty much impossible for two cars to go side-by-side. Someone pretty much ran me off the road and I ended up getting stuck in the gravel going partway up the hill. We thought we were going to be there for the day. Finally, a bunch of good old Canadian boys came along and gave us a push out.
We got it out and got over the hill, and we couldn’t go any further because there were all these cars parked there. So we pulled off the side as far as we could and went swimming. When I went back to the truck, the cars were gone and I was able to move the truck to the parking lot.
I told Cathy I wanted to go for a hike before it got dark, and luckily enough, Cathy, Olivia and my nephew were willing to go. Olivia was apprehensive because she didn’t want to walk, but she got in her head that she was going to be the leader and she beat us to the top.
Once we got to the high cliff, I told the kids I needed to talk to Cathy in private for a minute.
C: I didn’t know what was going on. We had gone up the trail the year before and up to the cliff. He shooed the kids away and proposed. It was very sweet. Olivia didn’t know what to think, but she was fine. She gave Tim a big hug and she was happy.

Then this contest comes up. Whose idea was it to enter?
C: We had gone out to supper with a bunch of people from his work, and the whole month before they had been saying, You’ve got to enter. They were on us all night long and we came home and decided to put our names in. We didn’t think too much about it.
I was at work and it was 7:50 a.m. They said “Cathy Costello, Line 1.” I picked up and the voice said, This is so-and-so from 104.9 The Beach. Do you have a few minutes to talk to us? I was like, not really, I’m at work. I tried my best to get out of the phone call, but he said he would call back in half an hour. My heart was racing the whole time. All the girls were wondering what was wrong with me.
They called back and gave me the spiel about how we had won and would be the couple on the cake. I went to my supervisor and asked if I could make a long-distance call to Tim. His boss answered and she started screaming. It was crazy.
T: We had only entered the week before and the wedding was two weeks later.
C: We hadn’t told anyone at all that we had entered. People were calling and it was crazy that day.

The big day comes around, and you’re on a big snow cake. What was it like?
C: I was really nervous until I got on top of the cake and it was so calm and quiet up there. It was fine once we were up there.
T: You’re kind of apprehensive about the crowd of strangers watching you, but it was just us up there.

What was most interesting about getting married on the snow cake?
T: Getting Cathy known in the community. Everyone’s going to know her now! We pretty much went for a month straight being on the front page of the paper.
C: At the time, it was so completely stressful, but I look back now and think it was a cool way to do it.

Tim and Cathy will have another wedding this summer. They are thankful for the work of Linda Hillman-Rapley and Diana Simpson for organizing the wedding.