From the Bride, Karen
Mario and I met in 2004 at an event held by the university for international students (my first week at university). Mario along with a few of his friends suggested that I join them for their weekly parties at their apartment. It took a few weeks for me to hang out with them, but after that I formed a strong friendship with Mario and his friends. A few people had suggested to me that Mario liked me but I always brushed it off since I wasn’t interested in being in a relationship.
Several months later, Mario was visiting me in the Bahamas during our summer break, nothing official but anyone who knew me knew that this was something special, as none of my family or friends had ever seen me show affection towards a guy before. I eventually asked Mario if he wanted to make it official and that was 3 months before he was graduating and moving back to Bolivia. We then started our (what felt like endless) years of a long distance relationship that involved a lot of teary airport goodbyes, heartache, exciting reunions, countdowns, Skype phone calls, MSN messenger nudges…it became like second nature to always have the webcam on.
When I graduated from university, after 3 years of long distance, I moved to Bolivia to be with Mario- after 6 months I moved back to The Bahamas and we did our best to end our relationship, the last thing I felt like doing was dealing with a long distance relationship again. I blocked Mario a few times, deleted him from Facebook, but somehow he always found a way back into my life, and I guess I always let him. After four years of long distance not being together, I visited him in Bolivia where we decided to give our love another real shot. A year later I decided to move to Bolivia again, but before that we did a 3 weeklong trip to Italy. Before I left I had a few friends ask me if I thought Mario would propose during the trip and I said there was no way, that we needed to be/live together a little bit before Mario would even think about proposing.
We were having an amazing time in Italy, we were getting along so well and within the second week we were in Positano, the most picturesque seaside Italian town on the Amalfi coast. We were leaving the beach, walking back to our hotel to get ready for dinner and I sneezed and instead of saying “bless you” Mario said something not so polite, and for some reason, that day, it really offended me and I even said something along the lines “if my sneeze is already bothering you so much now after only a few weeks together, then imagine 20 years from now” and I went on a long rant and basically both of us were in a bad mood afterwards.
We almost canceled the dinner, but slowly we started to get into a better mood. We went along with our dinner plans but once we arrived I was not impressed- although the restaurant was beautiful- the whole menu was seafood, which I don’t eat, and the people were all 60 years or above- the atmosphere just wasn’t something I was in the mood for that night. It didn’t click to me once that I was in one of the nicest restaurants in the world and maybe I should be in a better mood and have more fun because, possibly Mario was going to propose, no, not once did the thought go through my mind. After dinner, Mario asked the waiter to take us to a terrace, once I was out there (it was really dark) I saw the hugest bouquet of roses ever sitting on a table, I thought it was just a prop that the hotel always left out, so I ran over to them and picked them up sort of just admiring them, but still not having any clue they were actually for me, in the confusion of it all I think Mario got super nervous and next thing I knew, I had turned around and he was just standing there right behind me with his arm outstretched, holding out a box with the ring inside and all he said was “I want to marry you” and in my mind I was like “that’s nothing new” as he had told me that so many times before. I still tease him that he never really asked me. Once I realize what was happening I immediately said yes, to the unasked but obvious question and started shaking, crying, butterflies.
I couldn’t believe it. We called my parents right away, they had no clue! Then we called Mario’s parents who were waiting in anticipation to find out how the night had gone. The rest of the trip I felt like I was walking on cloud nine and couldn’t stop looking at (and checking to make sure it was still there) my ring. Although Mario tried his best to give me a very romantic engagement, I almost prefer that the whole day sort of went wrong, to me, it makes for a better and more unique story.
The Engagement Session
Mario and I did our engagement session 2 and half years after our engagement (two weeks before our wedding), so at that point we were no longer used to people telling us congratulations or making a fuss over our engagement. We knew we wanted the beauty of the Bahamas’ water to be in the background of the photos, but we felt the beach just wasn’t our style- we both like to dress up and just couldn’t imagine getting sand in our shoes and on our hands and faces and in our hair, so we thought of places on the waterfront that could work and Mario suggested a marina. I loved the idea, since I really love boats as well and felt it was a comfortable setting for us and kind of unique at the same time. We did not have a theme, but I knew it was best I let Mario get dressed first and then decide my outfit from there!
We love to travel and we both have the same priorities and style of traveling as well, we don’t insist on putting on alarms every day to line up for museums or historical monument tours, we prefer to see the place more as a local would see it- we always seek out restaurants that are more off the beaten path, recommended by people who live there…..but, we somehow always manage to get sucked into tourist traps as well.
The wedding planning for me has been a lot of fun. Since I don’t have a full time job I am able to focus on it a lot, and it is also something I could enjoy doing all day (Pinterest makes it very easy to be consumed for hours on end ), so I have let it take up as much time of my life as it needed to, and then some! Since it was in the Bahamas, Mario was not able to do as much of the work as I had to, but he always (always) had his own opinion and input, which was nice, but there were probably times that I shouldn’t have even asked for it. Also, since I wasn’t in the Bahamas until a month before the wedding day there was only so much I could do from Bolivia, so I had a lot of people in Nassau (especially my mom) doing the heavy lifting there.