Living in the moment is hard. Especially on your wedding day, when everything is going by so fast, there’s a schedule to keep, and concerns creep in about everything going right (or wrong). For Jen and Cesar, whose cinematic wedding at the Catedral de Leon in Nicaragua your eyes are about to feast on, it was no different. For us, Jen’s advice to “capture it in your heart forever” struck every romantic, do-this-immediately chord we have!
Our wise bride had other great tips to share (she was sick the morning of her wedding, got stuck in traffic, and it poured), but there are other pressing matters to discuss. Like the fact that these two were wed at a drop dead gorgeous UNESCO World Heritage site, got engaged in Iceland, infused their celebration with colorful Nicaraguan elements, and honeymooned in Bali. Also, the custom all-lace Lea-Ann Belter gown and edged veil Jen chose was so perfect for her and their day we just can’t even.
How did your sweetie propose?
“Cesar had a work trip to Iceland with Under30Experiences and I had gone with him. We had been staying on a farm near a volcano and when we returned for the evening, Cesar asked me if I wanted to go on a walk around the farm. Courtney, his co-worker, joined us. We were coming up on our one-year anniversary in a couple of days and was in no way prepared for what was about to happen.
Courtney soon ran after some geese to photograph and Cesar and I were walking. He began to tell me how much this past year meant to him and how much he loved me and how he had a small gift for me. I immediately thought anniversary gift. He then said our first chapter had begun in Iceland and how our next chapter should start here, too. Again thinking anniversary. He then pulled out a ring box and I immediately knew what was happening. He got on one knee and asked me to marry him!
I was in complete shock and started crying and saying yes over and over. I never realized that Courtney captured the special moment or even looked at the ring! I later found out he had been carrying the ring in his backpack the entire week!”
How did you choose your gown?
“My parents live in NYC and I had all my bridal appointments set for there. My mom came to visit me in Raleigh and we went dress shopping, but only to look. I told her to promise me we wouldn’t get a dress.
We went to our appointment at Traditions by Anna, and after talking to Susan about my dream veil and lace dress, she put me in the dress of my dreams. I cried as soon as I put it on and my mom cried as soon as she saw me in it. I tried on the veil and we all cried together. It was exactly what I had envisioned. We talked about making some custom changes to ensure the veil and dress were exactly what I wanted. Yet I still had FOMO about the dresses in NYC.
I went home that night and dreamt about the dress for a few nights and the following weekend I went back and said yes to the dress!
I knew I had the perfect dress when my dad saw me and teared up – he never does that.“
Tell us about your day! Did you have a theme or style in mind?
“My vision for our wedding was love and romance – lots of soft colors and candles. But being that we had a destination wedding, we wanted people to have a true Nicaraguan experience. Despite the bride suffering from a stomach virus, a traffic jam on the way to the church, and massive thunderstorms, our day was perfect.
Cesar and I decided on a traditional Catholic ceremony and were married at the Catedral de Leon in Nicaragua, which is an UNESCO World Heritage site. I wanted a grand entrance, which I did to a live choir, candles, and my handsome groom at the end of the aisle. As soon as I saw him, I began to cry.
Our reception was open air on top of a mountain overlooking Managua and included a sit-down dinner with 90 of our closest friends and family. Our flowers were soft and we had lots of candles as well as the city lights from below as our backdrop.
After dinner, we got the party started with fireworks, music, cigar rollers, and dancers. We danced and drank tequila and had desserts and tostones on the dance floor.
Our last dance of the night was “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. Cesar and I danced as we were surrounded by all our loved ones holding sparklers.
As Cesar says, it was the night that he was a ‘billionaire of love.’”
Five words that best describe your sweetie:
Jen on Cesar: Patient, Happiness, Supportive, Caring, Love
Cesar on Jen: “5 words are not enough to describe how amazing you are – love, foodie, empower, kind, compassionate, funny, nerd, giver, inspirational, trustworthy, honest, diligent, beautiful, strong, loyal, Shiva, leader”
Any advice for future brides/grooms?
“The best advice we got was to step away from everything and together soak it all in. Whatever went wrong in the planning or even the day of doesn’t compare to the beautiful moments you’ll share on your wedding day. Focus on all the love and beauty. Soak it in. Capture it in your heart forever. It goes by way too fast.
Also, as our photographer told us, “Walk down the aisle slow and make sure your first kiss is a Hollywood glam kiss.”