I am always surprised on wedding days. I have in my mind that a day is going to go one way and then it always turns and goes another way, usually for the best! That was the truth of this day. Gus and Sonia planned a very small, intimate wedding in the midst of a pandemic. They originally weren’t even going to have a wedding but at the last minute decided it was the right thing to do, to include their family and a few friends. They planned this wedding in a month! Needless to say, I was expecting it to be a simple, yet beautiful day. However, this wedding exceeded my expectations! When I showed up to Sonia’s parent’s house I got a glimpse into the De Leon family. How wonderful to have two sisters and such loving parents! All throughout the morning I was so touched to watch their family dynamic and to see how much they loved each other. I especially loved the way Sonia looked at her father and the closeness I could see between them as he gave her a special blessing on her big day.
However, “family” is a relative term. Close friends can also be family as I saw when two of her closest friends showed up bearing special gifts while Sonia was getting ready. As she unwrapped each gift from her friends and her two sisters, they explained how they had chosen each charm to make sure she had something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue to wear down the aisle. There was quite a bit of laughter, and quite a bit of tears, even from me, behind my camera! After her friends left her sisters and her mother gently helped her get dressed and get prepared to meet her groom.
Zack had been with the men getting ready and he and Gus were waiting for us so Gus and Sonia could share a “first look.” Wow, this was phenomenally special. When Gus turned around and saw his beautiful bride, the look on his face was priceless! It was so adorable when he stood there frozen and asked me, “can I hug her?” Of course! I know they heard me giving them instructions for their poses, but I think it was just faintly since they were so consumed with each other, and rightly so! It was such an honor and a joy to be a part of this time with them.
The ceremony was pretty unique since the pandemic required that it couldn’t be inside (religious ceremony). However, it didn’t matter. The guests, family, and friends alike were so overjoyed for Gus and Sonia that sitting in a parking lot made no difference! In fact, with the beautiful wooden barn doors of Harvest Collective and the phenomenal flower display by Kolibri Flower Lab, the venue was beautiful. I think everyone in the audience was moved even further when Sonia turned to Gus’ two sons, Gabriel and Christian, and reassured them of her love for them and her overflowing joy that they were now a family. Not a dry eye in the house! Tears and smiles all night long. Laughter and rejoicing. It was so wonderful to see how love can overcome a global pandemic, even if just for an evening.