Since we’ve laid eyes on Angeles and Jorge’s wedding, we’ve been dying to hear all the details. This adventurous couple sealed the deal in a hot air balloon then packed their bags and fled to Cuba with their closest friends. It’s the kind of love Angus and Julia Stone write songs about. We’re still blushing that Angeles chose to wear the Jude gown.
x The Meeting Story
Although we have several mutual friends and knew of each other for years before we actually met, our first conversation was at a house party in 2008. We played beer pong and spent most of the night in each other’s ears but didn’t exchange numbers. The seed was planted for both of us. We ran into each other again the following year while both working in downtown Los Angeles. We floated in and out of each other’s lives including a false start sometime in 2009. After second first date in May 2011 is when we started prioritizing getting to know each other. He was living in DC and I was still in Los Angeles, we earned lots of airline miles during that time. A few months later we took a 10-day trip to Costa Rica. We lost ourselves somewhere between the tropical rain and the hot springs. That adventure sealed the deal for us.
x The Proposal
I grew up in the Napa Valley. We were a working-class family making ends meet in a very rich part of the country. As a kid, I would wake up to skies filled with colorful hot-air balloons and it was always an experience that I felt was so out of reach for me. Jorge knew this and he set up a hot-air balloon ride for us March 2015. It was beautiful, and a very emotional experience for me. My dad, a Mexican immigrant, picked grapes for a Napa winery for 25 years. He passed away in 2004 after a 6-month battle with lung cancer. To hover over the vineyards that my dad once worked in, and to get that perspective from above, was overwhelming. Then, to see Jorge get down on one knee in the basket and talk about my dad, what it meant to Jorge to experience that with me, professing this desire to want to be with me forever, it was perfect. I couldn’t stop crying.
We ran off to Cuba. We decided on Havana, Cuba because of the inevitable dramatic change within the next few years now that Cuban-U.S. relations have allowed for travel opportunities. We both had always wanted to travel there. We knew we didn’t want to have a big wedding and there was no way we could get away with a local small one considering that between the two of us we must have over 30 aunts/uncles and dozens of cousins, not to mention our friends. We wanted to keep it as low budget as possible and not take on any debt. Although our vision was simple, planning a wedding in Cuba without a wedding planner was slow going. Internet is almost non-existent for most of the country so we had to be incredibly patient as the planning went underway. Through some serious online searching, we found a N.Y. based photographer, Ayenia Nour, who is from Havana. Once we linked up with her, things fell into place. My husband’s colleague had recently traveled to Havana and said the best meal he had there was at a restaurant called La Guarida. I looked up the venue and immediately knew that this was the place.
Simple and minimal. The venue speaks for itself. I knew I wanted to bring in some Mexican elements and that having papel picado hanging in the venue would be perfect for the ceremony. We had sunset cocktails on the roof after the ceremony and decorated with lights (both retro Edison lights and fairy lights) that made for such a beautiful ambience. We wanted to keep the color scheme neutral because of how colorful the Cuban aesthetic already is. Jorge picked out his bright blue suit on his own. He’s fashion adventurous and I had to trust that it would work out and it totally did. I can’t imagine him in any other color now that I look back at it. It added just the right pop of color to the neutrals in the venue and then brought out all the blues and other colors around us once we went out into the City for photos.
I am not the girl who had a dress in mind before being proposed to. Power to those who have dresses pinned to inspiration boards since childhood, but that wasn’t me. I honestly never imagined myself getting married, so dress shopping was not really something that I looked forward to. I went to one vintage boutique in Echo Park and tried on maybe 5 dresses. I saw this Daughters of Simone lace two piece that felt vintage but also had a Spanish vibe to it. I loved that it was a two-piece and that it had a low back. The scalloped lace was definitely my favorite thing about it, but I also loved the small train that it had. It just felt right. It was just simple enough, but also really beautiful.
x The Ring
I ended up with two beautiful rings. Jorge’s uncle is a jeweler and he and Jorge designed a gorgeous vintage-inspired ring with engraved roses and grapevines. It’s really a work of art. This is the ring he proposed with. We decided that the ring would look better with a black stone rather than the diamond so we took the diamond and placed it in a different setting. I was at a loss in coming up with a new setting idea. I just wanted something simple and definitely yellow gold. Jorge’s mom had a ring from high school that her best friend designed in the 70’s. She showed it to me and I loved it! We gave it to Jorge’s uncle and he made me a replica. It is geometric and has a really interesting retro profile. We had the band designed into the same geometric shape. It’s an awesome set. I wear all three rings almost every day. I love that the new ring has a story to it. And I love that the original ring makes me think of my dad. He would have loved it.
x DIY Projects
I love to draw and I love DIY. I wanted to make booklets for our guests (all 8 of them!) with information on day trips, where to eat in Havana, where to drink, etc. I spent months gathering information and a sweet and super creative friend of mine, Char, helped me put the books together. They came out beautiful and since we didn’t send out actual invitations, it’s a nice keepsake.
Our photographer told me that there are certain things that I’d have to just plan on doing myself in Havana due to major limitations in almost everything: my hair, my makeup, my flowers, music and decorations. The flowers and my bouquet were going to pose the biggest issue since we were to arrive in Havana 5 days before the wedding. I went to the Los Angeles Flower Mart and hunted down as many succulents and other flowers that would last. I just walked around asking vendors and ended up with a lot of really cool looking, non traditional flowers and greenery. I may have technically broken some Customs rules, but I packaged up the flowers in bunches and took them in several pieces of luggage. I put together my own bouquet and the boutonnieres on the night before the wedding. It was fun and challenging. I’m happy with the way they ended up looking and how they brought everything together. The colors were perfect.
The day of our wedding, December 18, 2015, was a very hot day in Havana, it must have been in the high 80s, plus humidity, which made it feel way hotter. My hair did not stay curled, my makeup was running, I could feel beads of sweet running down my body, we had to wipe Jorge down in between photos, and there was loud construction going on in our venue that we had no idea about beforehand. But we were just patient and laughed and got through it. To go from never imagining a wedding, to then being in that moment with a man that I love, and in such a beautiful space, was really magical. It made up for all of the things that we couldn’t control. Nothing else mattered and nothing else should.
x Most Memorable Moment