Couples Name: Vanessa & Mario

Wedding Date: September 23, 2012

Photography by Jacqueline Photography

Tell us about you and your beloved: Mario and I met at a mutual friend’s house for a New Year’s Eve Party on December 31, 2007. I vividly remember that night so perfectly. I was walking towards the kitchen to grab a drink when I heard a knock at the front door. To my curiosity, as I turned around to see who it was I was caught off guard by a very good looking guy, and I couldn’t help but to stare at him. I remember grabbing my friends’ arm that was standing near me, and I asked “Who is that?” She replied back, “Who, that guy? That’s Mario!” as if I was crazy not to know who he was already. That brief moment that we locked eyes, there was a feeling of interest and wonder…a connection that we both felt that neither of us could put into words, but it was just the beginning!

At the time, I had recently got out of a long term relationship and Mario was dating someone else, but that relationship quickly ended as well. It wasn’t long before Mario and I were inseparable. It didn’t matter what we were doing because we found laughter and enjoyment in each other’s company. Being around him gave me a kind of happiness that I never felt with anyone else before.

Before I knew it, I was falling hard for Mario, and I knew down deep inside it was a different kind of feeling-it was TRUE LOVE! Our friendship was confusing to others, maybe because the dating title was never there, but it was one of those things where I just knew I found the one and I didn’t need him to ask me to be his girlfriend to seal the title. We both knew it was meant to be and within each other we found our soul mate!

What was the most amazing part of your day? I had two moments that stand out to me. Two weeks before the wedding Mario and I had made the decision to do the “first look” before the ceremony. We had been against this because it wasn’t traditional and I was afraid it was going to take away the special moment of seeing Mario beforehand. Thanks to our awesome photographer, Jackie of Jacqueline Photography, she talked us into doing it. Everything she said about it she was right. Our first look took place at The Citizen Hotel where the entire bridal party got ready. I remember being so shaky and nervous to see Mario, but I knew I was ready to.

As we both stood on opposite sides of the door of our suite, I grabbed his hands from around the corner and instantly I felt a rush of emotions go through me. Just having his hands to hold gave me a complete feeling of comfort and all I could think was “this is it, this is our day!” Tears began to fill my eyes as we both came from around the door to reveal ourselves to one another.

As our photographer and videographer captured this beautiful moment all Mario and I could do was hold each other and cry together. This intimate moment between us was full of tears, joy and laugher and beautiful in every way. I am so happy we decided to do the first look; it was definitely an “awe” moment!

My next favorite moment was the abundance of love we received. I was completely humbled by all of our family and friends who traveled from so far way to share this special day with us. Sharing one big room with two families that became one is such an absolute joy to witness.

Both our families are Hispanic so in celebration of our marriage we toasted with tequila shots and started the party off right! The day went by way too fast and I wish it could have lasted forever…but if it was one memory I could remember forever was that this day, our wedding day was the happiest day of my life. I married my forever best friend, and the love of my life!

Ceremony and Reception Site, and Caterer: Croatian American Cultural Center

Officiate: Kevin Hill

Accommodations: The Citizen Hotel

Photography by: Jacqueline Photography

Videographer: Inner Drive Video Production

Cake: The Sweetest Things

Flowers: Fleurs du Jour

Favors: Miniature glass pineapple favors (our last name is Pina, which means pineapple in Spanish)

Bridal Attire: Alfred Angelo

Bridesmaids Attire: Enchanted Bridal & Tuxedo Shoppe, David’s Bridal and Alfred Angelo

Hair: Hair Emporium

Make-up: Mac Makeup

Invitations: David’s Bridal

DJ/Entertainment Band and Lighting: Encore Entertainment

Décor Rentals: Fleurs du Jour

Furniture Rentals: Croatian American Cultural Center

Transportation: API Limousine

Honeymoon Location: Cancun, Mexico

First Dance Song: “God Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts

Any wedding advice you’d give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now? Take as much time as you need to plan your wedding, but don’t let the stress of money, details, or perfection get to you. Spend the extra money on a great photographer. I am so happy we did! The wedding lasts for one day, but pictures last forever!

Also, don’t forget to include your spouse and remember that his opinions and ideas count to. It’s a special day for the both of you so plan together! And remember all the stress and energy leading up to the day will all be worth it and more special than you can imagine.

Anything that you would have done differently if you were given the chance? Honestly, I wouldn’t take a moment back! I wish I could have stopped the hands of time because the day went by way too fast but it was perfect in every way! Marrying the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with is ultimately the best feeling ever!

Blog post by Real Weddings Magazine’s Social Media Maven, Aimee Carroll.

Photos courtesy of and copyright Jacqueline Photography.

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