Going Garcia: Elena + Antonio’s Wedding Story

We, your Perfect Wedding Guide team, adore stories. Stories are what make us who we are from start to finish, and they live on beyond our years on this Earth through the gift of family and friends. We are especially fond of the stories that are about love, of course, because they are passed on from generation to generation. This is why whenever we receive a new wedding story from a bride, we grab a box of tissues and anxiously wait to share it with all of you.

Elena and Antonio Garcia just got married in October of 2019, and have quite the story to share. Before you keep reading, we just want to warn you–it’s a bit of a tear-jerker (in all of the best ways). The way Elena tells her story is so eloquent, so we are going to let her take center stage for this feature:

“Tony and I met in 7th grade pre-algebra, but it wasn’t until the summer before Junior year of college that we went on our first date. We were friends, of course, for the 7 or so years before we started dating, but this guy was ALWAYS in a serious relationship. (If you asked him he’d say the same about me, haha). He asked me to go to breakfast with him sometime in April of 2014, and the night before, actually like 10 hours before, he texted me to cancel. So, I took matters into my own hands and text him later in the week asking if we could make it up another time. We scheduled for May and this time he showed! We went to the Tea House in Santa Fe and afterward he waited the appropriate amount of time…5.5 hours… to call me and ask if we could do it again (lol). Then 3.5 years later, Christmas Eve on the Canyon Road Gallery Walk at that very same little cafe table, he got down on one knee. At the time I was living in PHX finishing my doctorate and he was in ABQ. We had spent the last 2 years fumbling, and I do mean FUMBLING, through long distance. However, as hard as it was Tony never gave up on me, drove 6 hours one way 2-3x/month, and loved me harder than I ever knew was possible. The second he reached for that ring in his pocket, and even way before the considerable shock and awe wore off, I knew my answer was: yes.

Haley Lupinski Photography

It took us a while to begin planning our wedding as I was set to move back and finish my clinical rotations in May of that same year. But once we did, I was immediately in love with all of it. I had no idea how much fun it would be to coordinate, plan and truly create a whole day centered around this incredible love I had found in Tony. We truly were a team throughout the whole planning process, in fact, he is the one who found and booked our venue, baker and DJ and he and his groomsmen created all our woodworking DIY items. We went to Bridal Expos and open houses together, he would bring home the latest copy of the Perfect Wedding Guide, we watched wedding shows on TV and followed wedding videographers near and far to get inspiration. We painted signs together, built custom monogram cornhole sets, made an escort card board and set visions for our head table displays and for months I was amazed to find how much my right brain loved being able to create, plan and enjoy the whole process. We elected to have a kind of “week-long” celebration in that our bridal party arrived 2 days early and we stayed all-together in bride and grooms suites. Which led me to wonderful insight. The day goes by so fast that you will likely not even have time to think. I would 200% recommend having your close loved ones around in advance. My girls and I got to hot tub, we bonded with the boys, we stayed up and ironed robes and talked about the excitement and butterflies, we enjoyed a few adult beverages together and truly I could not imagine anything more calming two days before the wedding than that. It was absolutely wonderful and necessary.

Haley Lupinski Photography

Then, the day arrived. Which, of course, everyone says its the “best day of your life” but no one can prepare for how truly magical it feels to see your loved ones all in one place there for no other reason than to support this incredible love and life you have created. Tony and I are both criers so we, and just about everyone there, sobbed the entire day. But in between that we laughed, we danced, we took tons of photos and most importantly we stayed present and enjoyed every second. As with every wedding, or event in life really, there were a few game-day challenges. For starters my dress came in..in the wrong size, twice, months beforehand. The second too small dress I actually tore trying to get off in the bridal store…that was horrifying. But still beyond worth it the day of to see my husband’s face as he saw me for the first time walking down the aisle. Next, I ordered a veil online that was apparently not proper veil material because when I took it in to get steamed on the Monday before the wedding, yes, as in 4 days before, it burned. But my dress consultant was kind and generous enough to actually give me one that was truly WAY more beautiful and matched my dress to a T.

Haley Lupinski Photography

And then….the weather. Beginning the week before, we found that our wedding day was being called an “Impact Weather Day,” and supposedly bringing not only a chill, but 40-45MPH wind gusts. That forecast seemed to be getting worse and worse all week until that morning while in hair and make-up, our wonderful coordinator Shaunna came to ask me what we would most like our back-up plan to be. I found out later that not only was the wind gusting…it had been raining and somehow my amazing friends had kept me away from the windows enough to keep that a secret. In all her wisdom, Shaunna decided to keep our original planned ceremony spot and drop the two back-ups seconds before the wedding, so we were a go. Then, at exactly 4:00pm, just as the weatherman had projected…the wind came. Set to begin at exactly 4, I was wondering slightly what the hold-up was but at this point knew better than to ask. Turns out, our officiant, after walking down the aisle and getting everyone ready to go had been victimized by one of those “Impact Day” gusts, and his paperwork, our vows, and our ceremony script were riddled along the dirt path behind the ceremony site blowing away and being chased down by guests. So, at 4:15pm, completely unaware, the paperwork finally collected and the guests back in their seats, I was finally walking down the aisle. When I first looked outside I was terrified. I literally thought some of those trees may blow over, and I realized the ground was somewhat damp. For a second as I looked down at everyone in their places I thought, “is it too late to use our back-up ceremony room” but realized as I saw my husband standing there with tears in his eyes (no telling if from the wind or from emotion) that it certainly was too late. But then, something amazing happened. The wind blew the clouds away, the sun came out, and the gusts settled (probably to 20MPH or so) and we got married, exactly as we had planned to.  My gorgeous new veil blew in the wind the whole time, and although my head was a touch sore, it made for some BEAUTIFUL photos.

Haley Lupinski Photography

The rest of our day was gorgeous and perfect. Tony made everyone laugh with his “dance lessons,” our friends and family made gorgeous toasts,  our reception space was exactly as we had dreamed it to be and I have never laughed so whole-heartedly in my life. The one thing that we got complimented on most had nothing to do with our planning or preparation. It turned out, Tony and I began our vows in the exact same way, completely unknowingly. It was a sweet, unexpected surprise for us, but more than that our guests loved to hear the same story in each of our perspectives and I learned quickly throughout the day that it was simple personal touches that made the most impact. After all the hustle and bustle of the most perfect and wonderful day I have ever experienced I was left with three main pieces of advice that I collected and came up with throughout the nearly two years of our engagement.

1. Rain is good luck.

2. The best weddings are the ones where something totally unexpected happens, you can’t plan for everything, nor would you want to.

3. Don’t forget the day is about you and your significant other. Spend time together and alone, laugh with one-another, take time to meditate beforehand, notice not only your guest reactions and facial expressions, but more importantly your partners, and be present.

If you truly plan the day together you will learn more about each other than you ever thought you could, so don’t forget to enjoy every second.”

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