Some people search their whole lives for true love. Yet every once in a while, like a fairytale come true, two lucky people find each other in their youth and have the privilege of a long and happy life together. Such is the case for Vanessa and Jesse: high school sweethearts who fell in love over homework assignments and school dances. Their love has grown with them and blossomed into a wonderful lifelong commitment.
One sunny summer day, after nearly a decade together, Jesse proposed to Vanessa in Tiburon, overlooking the bay with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. Planning began promptly, and Vanessa worked diligently to create the wedding day of her dreams. “I had a strong vision of what I wanted our wedding day to look like and be like,” she says.
One element that was important to both Vanessa and Jesse was the setting of their celebration. In memory of Jesse’s late father, they knew that golf needed to be a part of their wedding. Jesse’s father had taught him to golf growing up and the sport carries an element of sentimentality for them. “Therefore, joining families on a golf course meant my husband’s father was a part of our special day spiritually, although he couldn’t be there physically,” Vanessa explains.
“Two of the most important things in my life are family and culture,” says Vanessa. These two elements guided the entire theme of the wedding day. In addition to the venue, another aspect of the couple’s wedding that took on a personalized touch was the incorporation of Vanessa’s Colombian heritage. The combination of these individualized elements made the entire event a genuine reflection of their love for each other. As to how she achieved that vibe, Vanessa says, “I believe that was a combination of the history of our relationship and the numerous connections we have made with the people in our lives over the years.”
For Vanessa, the most memorable part of the wedding was when Jesse surprised her, along with the rest of their friends and family, with the unique vows he had written for the ceremony. She explains, “Not only were his vows thoughtful, deep and funny, but he hit us all with a curveball. He said his vows to me in both English and Spanish!” She adds, “This allowed for some of my family, who do not speak English, to know my husband even more.”
The beauty of their already long-lived relationship is the fact that marriage has not changed much of it at all. Though they know life comes with ups and downs, they have already proven they can withstand the test of time. Vanessa says they went into their marriage agreeing that they would stay true to the selves that they have been all along.
— Abigail Blank
Vanessa & Jesse Wedding Resources
Harper Grayce on Etsy
Majestic Colonial in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
“Perfect Duet” by Ed Sheeran with Beyonce
“Tu Guardian” by Juanes
“I’ll Be There” by Jackson 5
“Nothin’ On You” by B.o.B. feat. Bruno Mars
“Single Ladies” by Beyonce
“Vacation” by Dirty Heads
“Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Drake
We had a different flavor for each layer of our cake: chocolate cake with cookies and cream filling; vanilla cake with strawberry filling; funfetti Cake with funfetti filling. All three layers were covered in white frosting.
We also had assorted candies as a dessert option.
Bottle openers purchased online.
Stay ahead of the game. Get everything done as soon as you can, because there will always be something else that comes up at a later time that needs attention. This will help keep the stress level to a minimum throughout the process!
Soak everything up that day! You spend massive amounts of time and energy planning an event that happens once in a lifetime. The entire day absolutely flies by, but take time to look around and admire what you put together and the people you are celebrating with. BE IN THE MOMENT. You will remember this forever!
Be as specific and descriptive as you can with all vendors and aspects of your wedding, to ensure everything goes as you would expect! Some small things you have no control over, but put your influence in everything you can to make it yours!