First meeting – Carlos and I were both working retail when I was in college and he was a manager who had been transferred to my store. That first night he was following me around the store, chatting with me as I was closing. He says he thought I was cute lol, I thought he was kind of cute too, so I didn’t mind. My manager saw he was following me around and asked if he was bothering me; I said no and I probably blushed a little.
Proposal – Carlos and I were in Thailand for my sister’s wedding (my brother in law’s family is from there). We felt so lucky to have that experience that we made a vacation of it. After spending time with family in Bangkok, and being part of a traditional Thai ceremony, we went to a small beach town called Krabi (near Phuket). Our hotel was nestled between the ocean and some very big cliffs, and our room had a balcony with a great view. We were just relaxing on the balcony, mixing Thai drinks in young coconuts and trying foods we had gotten at the market. We talked about the last 2 weeks of my sister’s wedding extravaganzas (there were actually two ceremonies, in two different countries!), we talked about love and growing old, we talked about how “the guy always knows first”. Carlos ran inside and grabbed the ring we had picked out together in Bangkok. He got down on one knee (and I honestly cant remember what he said because I was so excited!) and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes!
The engagement ring – When we were in Bangkok, we went to explore Chatuchak market (the largest outdoor street market in the world). We got lost, found where the locals were eating the good food, and went engagement ring shopping. We had no major plans for the ring at that time and just knew it would be cheaper than in the US. We found a vendor and I tried on a few rings, saying I didn’t want anything too flashy. Carlos suggested one, and I said I didn’t like it. I tried on a few more, and he suggested that same ring again. This time I tried it on, but I still wasn’t sold. I looked at some others, and he found a version of that same ring where the color of the stone was a little different. This time when I tried it on I said “hehehe… it’s really sparkly…” We decided to get that one, a Thai sapphire. I say we picked it out together, but it was really all him!
Why Puerto Rico – When Carlos and I started planning the wedding, we had a hard time finding a venue near us that reflected who we are. We decided on Puerto Rico partially because of the beach, and also because of our family heritage from there. Growing up, we both had grandparents living in Puerto Rico . We both have fond memories of visits to El Morro fort and Old San Juan, El Yunque rain forest , and the coquis. We wanted to share those things with our closest friends and family. The coolest part was that all of a sudden our parents started offering up information on our family history. We learned that my great or great great grandfather was the original mayor of Isabela, Carlos had a great grandfather who was a very influential doctor or lawyer, we learned about “Polanco rock” (which is his family name). I even learned that I’m distantly related to Pedro Albizu Campos, the revolutionary. We don’t have much left for family on the island, and Carlos and I both were raised in the US by parents who did not speak Spanish to us. In a way, we wanted to force the family to re-connect with that part of our past. Our friends who explored the island are STILL talking about how warm and welcoming everyone they met was! One couple is even talking about doing their wedding in Old San Juan.
Wedding ambiance – It was very important to us that the wedding be mostly one big party, and that’s just what it was! With only 22 people, it was very relaxed yet intimate and fun. We kept a rustic/natural/nostalgia theme and décor.
End of the wedding day feeling – drunk and happy, all around haha! And we really all felt like one big family, and all the moms had pretty much adopted a couple more children!
Most memorable moment – There are two: with the first look photos, when my husband looked in my eyes and I immediately started crying, and cried off nearly all of my makeup… and during the vows when Carlos stopped paying attention and got lost in my eyes. He was supposed to repeat “living, loving, learning…” and he looked up and said “umm learning..?” and we all started laughing.
Bride’s dress: David Tutera for Mon Cheri / Bridal Boutique: Brilliant Bridal in Denver, CO / Photography: Yamilette Arana Photography / Venue: Villa Montaña Beach Resort / Brides Hair & Makeup: I Love Makeup and Hair too By Didi Saldaña / Cake: Cupcakes done by the resort Chef / Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse / Invitations: Hand made by the Bride / Music: DJ Tyler Thompson / Honeymoon: Curacao (beach house rental)