Vanessa and Marcus met through work, although they did not exactly get along in the beginning. They never imagined that their opposite personalities would eventually be what drew them together. After some time dating, a trip to Santa Cruz is when their love really blossomed; it became “their place.” While Vanessa was pregnant with their first child, Marcus planned a getaway to Santa Cruz with some friends. The last morning there, Vanessa and Marcus stayed back at the hotel while all their friends went to the beach. Vanessa had no idea that their trip to the beach was part of a surprise proposal. After their friends returned, they all packed up to head home. Shortly after loading into the car, Marcus suggested they all stop by the beach one last time. Marcus parked strategically so that Vanessa would not see the giant letters written in the sand that spelled out, “Will You Marry Me?” They started to walk down to the beach when suddenly Vanessa noticed the writing. Still unconvinced that this was for her, Vanessa turned to find Marcus who was on one knee asking for her hand in marriage. She was in such shock, it took her a few moments to finally realize that her dreams were really coming true.

Getting married before the arrival of their daughter was important to Vanessa and Marcus, however, Vanessa did not like the idea of walking down the aisle with a pregnant belly. The couple decided to elope first, just the two of them, and wait to have the big wedding until after their daughter arrived. Shortly after the arrival of their daughter, they began planning their big day. Just six months later, however, they learned they were expecting again! Wedding plans were put on hold for a second time. After their baby boy was born, Vanessa began to lose interest in having a large wedding. Marcus, however, knew that it was important to her and convinced her to keep planning. She was grateful that he did, and all the details began to fall into place.

Vanessa had always known that her ceremony would take place at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. She loved that the Cathedral’s own historic beauty did not require any decorations at all. For the reception, the couple knew that the Tsakopoulos Library Galleria was the perfect choice the moment they saw it; it had the “wow” factor they were looking for. They also used the library as inspiration for a theme and incorporated library and love stories into many of their details. From there, selecting vendors went smoothly, and Vanessa was so glad that they were finally having the wedding of their dreams.

The big day was very emotional for both Vanessa and Marcus. The bride remembers the moment when she began walking down the aisle with her father and saw her own daughter with Marcus staring back at them. It was that moment that reminded Vanessa what the day was all about. They were already living their happily ever after.

— Kelley Saia