How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Leo and I met in 2010 in the most random way ever. I was at dinner with my family while he was at the next table over having dinner with his family. We had never seen each other before, which is very rare because everyone in our hometown knows everyone somehow, even though Leo was born in Venezuela and moved to the United States when he was 11. He went to middle school and high school in the town I was raised in, but we did not know each other from Adam. One of us caught the other’s eye – I won’t name names (Leo). Neither one of us introduced ourselves at dinner, but as fate would have it, we saw each other later that night at a mutual friend’s party. Once again we didn’t introduce ourselves! Thankfully, we saw each other again the following night and this time, Leo did his best to make an impression on me – he made sure he introduced himself and he basically swept me off my feet at that moment. We dated for about a year and then both decided we should go our own ways (I was in high school still and he was playing baseball at college). Over the three years we were not together, we never lost touch. Thank God we got back together in 2015 and we knew what we had been missing – we never lost the same vibrant love we had for one another all those years before.
Tell us all about the proposal! The most amazing and romantic thing that has ever happened! My family members are so important to me – Leo knows this and took that into account for our engagement. For years, I have traveled to Central America with my family and I have the most wonderful memories in Nicaragua. I thought this was going to be just a trip, a wonderful trip nonetheless, but I could never have imagined how wonderful it was going to be! Leo planned the whole trip behind my back for months, made sure all my immediate family was able to fly down, and took off a week of work. The second day into the trip, we are all at the pool overlooking the ocean, and Leo pulls me aside – I did not suspect anything until this moment. He brought me out to this point on the side of a tiny cliff facing out to the ocean. He begins to reassure everything I already knew about how much he loves me and cares for our relationship – obviously I’m crying like a baby. Never in my life have I felt so beautiful, loved, and appreciated. He is the kindest and most selfless person I know.
When did y’all get married? March 11, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 125
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Willowby by Watters designed my dress, it was actually the first dress I ever tried on. It stuck out to me because of the details and how wonderful I felt wearing it.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No, we did not have a first look. We ended up deciding to share that intimate moment of me walking down the aisle with our families and loved ones.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We got married in my parents’ backyard – I have lived in that house since I was five years old. We shared many memories there together as a couple and with our families and our friends. Their backyard is amazing, backing up to a forest of massive old oak trees and pines.
Did you write your own vows? Yes, we wrote our own vows.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had Leo’s mother read a bible verse in Spanish and English – 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. My brother also read a bible verse for us.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I am a sucker for some old school wedding traditions. I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D” by string quartet. We shared communion at our wedding with our friends and families for the first time as a married couple. For our communion, we had “King of my Heart” by John Mark McMillan played by our two friends who played live acoustic and vocals for us. Our first dance was to “If I Ain’t Got You” by Alicia Keys covered by James Bay.
Describe your wedding flowers. I love greenery, ferns, and vines. I love flowers and I appreciate their beauty, but I wanted our bouquets to look very natural with the backyard. Leo’s godmother made them for us; they were full of lush green eucalyptus, stock flower, green hydrangea, and baby’s breath.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We actually had a small cake that Leo and I cut, but for our guests, we went with gourmet donuts because they are so amazing! We got our donuts from Jupiter Donut Factory in Stuart, Fl.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I wore a necklace that my mom bought for my sister for her to wear at her wedding. I also wore an old emerald bracelet from my mother, and my best friend loaned me her blue opal ring that her grandmother gave to her.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We incorporated native Floridian plants in our wedding decor: air plants, orchids, and ferns. My dad works in the citrus industry and my parents have orange trees in their yard, and the orange blossoms were in full bloom – it smelt like heaven.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Leo and I went to marriage counseling which was super helpful and gave us a great template and outline on how we want to handle our marriage.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We had to decide and remember that we need to focus on each other and the love we share, that the wedding, the guests, and the food were all just background noise. Not getting caught up in the extra things was important to remember – as long as we got married is all that counted to us.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? Less than $10,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Getting married in my mom and dad’s backyard was a huge budget saver!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? True Love Vintage Decor from Stuart, FL. This company rented all of our decor for our wedding, and they totally nailed the whole shabby chic/enchanted/whimsical look we were going for! Our photographer Nikki Neswick did an amazing job coordinating all of the moving parts and massive families that we have.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I know this will sound so cliche, but the whole day/evening was amazing and our photographer captured the moments in such a beautiful way!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Breathe! You will be married by the end of the night so that is what is important.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are living together (finally!) and planning our next trip to Nicaragua! We are so excited that our wedding went as planned – it was honestly a dream and we are on cloud nine!
Photographer: Nikki Neswick | Venue: Family Home | Dessert Baker: Jupiter Donuts | Caterer: Caracas Italian Grill | Rentals and Lighting: True Love Decor | Ceremony Music: Josh Mullen and Elizier Lancelot | Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas | Bride’s Gown: Willowby by Watters | Hair Stylist: Amanda Wilson | Makeup Artist: Makeup by Danielle Nicole | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Lulus | Men’s Attire: H&M