Fairytale romances? They start out with a bang. A chance meeting in a Las Vegas bar kind of bang that you kind of think only happens in the movies, but when it comes to this darling NYC duo, it’s a seriously awesome reality. One that was followed up by a long-distance romance, a cross-country move and a San Juan wedding that will, put simply, blow you away. It’s a day that was made for the big screen, complete with the planning expertise of Momentus and one image after another of pure pretty from Envi Photo. See them all in the full gallery.
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From the Bride… I (a native Texan) was living in Los Angeles, working for a boutique hotel in Beverly Hills… and Devin (a life-long East Coaster) was living in New York, working as Director of Business Development for a cross-channel digital marketing company – when our worlds collided in a Las Vegas hotel bar on January 28, 2008.
After a few short months of cross-country dating and endless hours of long-distance phone calls (thank goodness for unlimited plans!), we decided to see what would happen if we lived in the same city – in fact, in the same apartment! By July of 2008, I (and all of my earthly belongings) had landed in Brooklyn, and we never looked back!
In 2010, while on vacation in Puerto Rico to celebrate my 40th birthday, Devin charmed me into a midnight walk on the beach. He had managed to keep the proposal and the ring a complete surprise – I had no idea what was happening! The next thing I know, he is on one knee. After a few squeals and joyously running around in a circle (my trademark), I accepted.
We immediately chose San Juan for the wedding, not only to commemorate the location of our engagement, but also to honor Devin’s family from the island. Devin (definitely the romantic of the two of us) selected January 28, 2012 for our wedding. On that date, guests from New York, California, Spain, Florida, Sweden and Texas converged on Puerto Rico for a sunset wedding, written entirely by us.
Four years to the day after walking into a bar in Vegas (in my “I love boys” t-shirt), I walked down the aisle and married the love of my life (this time I was in Vera Wang).
A destination wedding is certainly no easy feat – especially for a detail fiend like myself! I approached the planning and the event itself the way I would have if it were going to be in New York. I am very hands on, and we both really wanted something classic, yet modern – and most importantly “us” – which meant some fun and quirkiness added in.
I can’t seem to leave anything alone – even our Save the Dates, I hand-cut a layer of vellum and tied each one with a platinum ribbon. As inviting guests for a Destination Wedding is a substantial undertaking, we wanted to ensure that our guests had as much time as possible to plan – and we also hoped they would make an extended trip of it, and truly enjoy the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Although we selected a classic design, we included the note: “partypants required” which our friends and family loved.
The invitations were a critical component of the wedding for us. I found out through this process that my husband is as big a paper snob as I am! We both wanted letterpress, however, quickly decided it was well out of our price range. After weeks of searching, I simply could not get this ONE letterpress design out of my mind. We bit the bullet – and it was truly one of the best decisions we made. The invitations were exquisite… the design a perfect match of classic and modern. Of course, I couldn’t leave them alone – as gorgeous as they were. I wanted them to be absolutely one of a kind and set the tone for the entire weekend. I mounted each invitation on charcoal gray cardstock, and cut wide bands of the most stunning handmade paper that I had found in an art shop here in the city. And for my NEXT trick – I lined each and every last envelope by hand on our kitchen table – not only the invitation envelope, but also the RSVP envelope. I handmade the menus – using the same cardstock backing, and bands of the same paper that went around the invitations… details that were not lost on our guests – we had so many compliments!
Devin’s sister Cristina, also the Maid of Honor, was instrumental in organizing a number of group activities leading up to the wedding. More than anything, we really wanted to give everyone a sense of the island and to have multiple opportunities to meet and bond with each other before the wedding. We had a welcome happy hour at La Taberna Lupulo in Old San Juan, a guided rum tour at the Bacardi Distillery, and a sunset catamaran tour among others.
The day of the wedding was just happy. Everything had come together, and it truly just felt RIGHT. There were a couple of minor issues, but by the big day absolutely nothing could bother me. I think I may have floated down the aisle. Devin and I had spent hours and hours crafting our wedding ceremony. We wrote the ENTIRE ceremony, beginning to end. Our officiant said that in his almost 30 years of performing weddings, no one had EVER handed him an entire wedding ceremony. Especially as it was destination, and with a complete stranger performing the most important ceremony in our lives – I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. We were able to take all the very best parts of who we are and who we want to be – and write a ceremony and vows that celebrated all of that, while including all of the amazing friends and family that have supported us and helped us become the people we are. It was so powerful for the both of us.
I also made the programs – MORE handmade papers and platinum ribbon – which included the story of us, as well as passages from the wedding, and favorite pictures and quotes. Although a lot of work, I truly enjoyed making each one of them knowing that a very special loved one would have this memento of our day to take with them. We had guests ask for extras!
The reception, the dinner and dancing – was all better than we could have hoped. For our table numbers, we decided to pay homage to hotels that had played a part in our story together. The Avalon Beverly Hills (where I worked when we met), The Rio Las Vegas (where we met), The London NYC (where I worked upon landing in NYC), The El San Juan (where we became engaged, and rounding out the group The Ritz-Carlton (the site of our wedding). It was such a magical night, and sharing it with friends and family from quite literally all over the world was simply overwhelming and humbling. To have these incredible people, from different parts of our lives all in one room sharing our joy and wishing us well – it was heaven! We sent our loved ones off to bed with a gift bag which included: an ultrasuede eye mask, bottle of water, advil, tylenol pm and emergen-c. We received MANY “thank you’s” the next day as everyone was recovering!
Our last hurrah, was our shoot in Old San Juan. I simply HAD to have pictures amongst the history, architecture, and colors of this amazing city. Enuel Viera of Envi Photo met us two days after the wedding, and we ventured all through the cobblestone streets shooting amazing pictures to complement our wedding day images. Of COURSE, as we met in a bar – we ended our shoot at a bar there in Old San Juan – and toasted our new chapter.
Wedding Photography: Enuel Viera of Envi Photo | Wedding Venue: The Ritz-Carlton San Juan | Floral + Event Design: Gadiel Valentin of SIOD | Cake + Cupcakes: Vanilla Bean Cupcakery | Wedding Coordination: Momentus | Invitations: Elum Design Letterpress | Handmade Papers: Lee’s Art Shop | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Sash: Yaneth & Co. Bridal | Veil: VeiledBeauty | Shoes: Silver (Wedding Day) Kate Spade + Red (Old San Juan Shoot) La Fenice Venezia | Groom’s Suit: Ted Baker | Hair + Makeup: Javier Moreno | Manicure + Pedicure: Edouard de Paris Salon and Spa | Musicians: Camerata Filarmónica | DJ: DJ Rockhand | Welcome Reception Venue: La Taberna Lupulo