When the new Hallmark original movie “Love in the Maldives” premieres on April 1, 2023, viewers may notice co-stars Jocelyn Hudon and Jake Manley have an easy and authentic chemistry as their characters fall for each other in “the world’s most romantic vacation destination.” That’s because the on-screen couple is also a real-life couple who’ve been married for a year and a half.
Manley’s surprise proposal was right out of a Hallmark playbook, surrounded by red roses on a rooftop in Toronto. But their Vegas wedding on October 31, 2021, was far from a typical Hallmark affair, with its pink Cadillac, a “zombie Elvis” and Hudon’s black wedding dress, according to ET Online. Though Hudon admits it was a “strange wedding,” the couple maintains eloping on Halloween was perfect for them.
Jocelyn Hudon Got Engaged Surrounded By 1,000 Red Roses
Hudon, 28, a Hallmark veteran with past roles on “When Calls The Heart” and “When Hope Calls” as well as starring roles in movies including “From Friend to Fiancé” with Ryan Paevey and “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Steve Lund, told ET Online in 2020 that she met Manley, 31, best known for Netflix’s “The Order” and the streaming crime drama “Infamous,” through their mutual “self-tape coach — the person who films our auditions” and learned they had the same agent. They then drove together to a summer party thrown by their agent in 2015, she said, and “have been together ever since.”
Hudon told the outlet she knew he was “the one” when he suggested they stay in on New Year’s Eve, make pasta, and watch “Lord of the Rings.” The two quarantined together in Los Angeles at the beginning of the COVID pandemic, Manley told Young Hollywood in 2020, but he had to return home to Canada that June while “she stayed out in L.A. with the dog.” The couple shares a Golden Doodle named Rupert who has his own Instagram account.
On their fifth anniversary of dating, in August 2020, Manley surprised Hudon with a romantic proposal inspired by one of Hudon’s favorite TV shows, “Gilmore Girls,” which she told Parade in 2019 was the one show she could binge-watch “all day, every day.”
“We had just driven six hours from Toronto to Montreal and got to our Airbnb, which is about six floors, and after a sweaty walk up all of the flights of stairs, we went up to the rooftop terrace and waiting on the patio was 1,000 red roses,” she told ET Online.
“I was so shocked,” she continued. “I thought maybe production had sent them or it was a mistake, or maybe the Airbnb was storing them up there, and then Jake said, ‘1,000 red roses,’ which is from one of my favorite episodes of ‘Gilmore Girls.’ Then he got down on one knee and I was like, ‘Oh my god, is this real!?’ and then he asked me to marry him! I just kind of fell over and said, ‘Yes.’ I’m still in shock. I love surprises.”
Jocelyn Hudon Warned Her Mom She Wasn’t Having a ‘Perfect, Traditional Wedding’
Hudon told ET Online that she had originally been planning a Canadian wedding and finding her dress on the TLC show “Say Yes to the Dress,” but the couple eventually decided all that planning was too much work. In 2021, she was so busy filming that she and Manley decided on a whim to elope to Las Vegas on her favorite holiday, Halloween.
“I’ve always had Vegas in the back of my mind,” she told the outlet. “When I went to University, I met this girl who told me it was her dream to do a Vegas wedding and that always stuck with me.”
She continued, “I was in the middle of filming three movies back to back and we realized that Halloween — my favorite day ever — was on a Sunday, so I could fit it in my filming schedule. And then it snowballed from there.”
On March 4, 2022, she shared photos of her Halloween wedding on Instagram, captioning the series of images with only a black heart. The photos show that she wound up wearing a shimmering black mini-dress to their wedding at A Little White Wedding Chapel, the site of many celebrity weddings since 1951, including the 2022 nuptials of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck.
Hudon and Manley texted their family and friends, she told ET online, and said, “We actually had a surprising number of people fly in super last minute for it, which was so awesome.”
But the actress said she had to tell her mom in advance that the wedding would be very different than she was used to.
“I tried to mentally prepare my mom for a strange wedding,” she said. “I told her that this isn’t going to be a perfect, traditional wedding — we’re going to get married next to a Cadillac, in a tunnel, and Elvis is dressed as a zombie. But luckily, zombie Elvis went above and beyond what I expected, and my dad walked me down the aisle, which was awesome.”
Hudson shared photos on Instagram while filming “Love in the Maldives” in November 2022, including images of her swimming with sharks. She also shared many photos and videos from her adventures there in her Instagram Stories.
When someone asked if the experience was “awesome,” Hudon replied, “ya!!! Was different free diving vs scuba.. scuba I find you’re more an observer where free diving felt way more in the chaos.”
“Love in the Maldives” premieres on April 1, 2023, at 8 p.m. Eastern.