Details of the day: Bernie was born and raised in Costa Rica and I lived there for 7 months on a fellowship, so we wanted to incorporate details that honored this country we both love. Our tables were named after different cities and regions in Costa Rica and each table number was a framed map of that region. We created programs in either English or Spanish and attached them to popsicle sticks so people could use them as fans to beat the heat. All the signs at our reception were in English and Spanish. And most importantly, we wrote our vows in both languages. We wrote our vows as a conversation that we read together- he would read a line and then I would read a line. We both read some lines in English and some lines in Spanish. In my ring, we had inscribed “te amo siempre” while his ring has “I love you forever.”
We really tried to keep the wedding fun, laid back, and full of joy- we wanted it to embody the Costa Rican philosophy of “pura vida!” We held the ceremony at the church where I grew up, the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship. In the back is a labyrinth where we held the ceremony. We arranged the chairs in a circle around the labyrinth with us in the middle so we got married surrounded by our family and friends. On the outside of the labyrinth is a “whispering wall.” If you stand on on end, you can hear what someone on the other end is whispering. Our photographer had some fun taking pictures of us whispering, although we clearly couldn’t stand on opposite ends and fit into the same picture. Our photographers, Linton Photography, also did my sister’s wedding last October so they already knew our family and knew that we like a mix of fun and sweet pictures. They felt more like guests than vendors. We used Bernie’s little brother Justin and nephew Amiel as our “flower boys.” Justin took it very seriously while Amiel just had fun throwing lavender everywhere he could. For the first couple minutes of the ceremony, he just kept throwing lavender he had left over on the ground where he was sitting.
Our minister, Alison Miller, led a beautiful ceremony where our parents blessed our marriage, Alison talked about our love story, and then we shared our personal vows. For the reception, my sister, friend Claudia, dad, and I all went to the firehouse on Thursday night and decorated the place with navy blue and dusty rose (our colors) paper lanterns. It made the whole place look beautiful. Throughout the day, my sister and Maid of Honor, Julia, handed my letters written by all the incredible women in my life with advice for my marriage. I made it all the way up until an hour before the ceremony without crying… at which point I read a letter where my friend wrote: “The way you look at Bernie is the same way you look when the Dominos delivery man arrives… and that’s how I know you he is perfect for you.” It was such a silly joke but it made me burst into tears!
Your favorite part: Our favorite part of the night was after the whole thing was over! We went to the bar that Bernie works at for the after party and then walked home, just the two of us, in our wedding attire and holding hands.
If you could change one thing about your wedding what would it be? I would have brought bug spray and had it available for guests! I forgot about bugs in July and got bit 3 times- including on my face!- while we were taking pictures before the ceremony. We had to swap the bridesmaids and groomsmen sides last minute so I could be on the side where my bug bite wouldn’t show up in all the pictures… luckily the swelling went mostly down before the ceremony started.
Advice for other brides: Don’t plan a wedding while studying for the LSAT and applying to law school!
Perez Zeledon, Costa Rica
Morristown Unitarian Fellowship
Hoffman Hall at the Chester Firehouse
Linton Photography+ more