How did you meet?

Manny and I met through mutual friends on a Group 2016 New Years’ trip to Punta Del Este, Uruguay.


First Date: Manny was living in Chicago and I was living in New York at the time that we met. Three weeks following the Uruguay trip, Manny called me and asked me if he could come to New York the following weekend and take me to dinner and a show. I admired his persistence and was flattered that he would want to fly out to New York just to take me on a date, so I naturally accepted. The date had to be pushed back a week due to a big snow storm in New York, but two weeks later, Manny flew to New York and took me to see The Color Purple on Broadway and then dinner at Buddakan restaurant. We had such a great evening together that Manny decided to fly back to New York for the next two consecutive weekends to see me and the rest is history.

How was the romantic proposal?

After 18 months of a long-distance relationship between Chicago and NYC, I was able to get a transfer from Chicago to my company’s corporate headquarters in Northern New Jersey. After 6 months of being in the NYC metro area together, I realized one of the most important decisions I had to make in my life was now upon me. I knew in my heart that Sonya was the one true love for me, and as such, without hesitation, I decided to move ahead and make preparations to propose to Sonya. I worked secretly with a jeweler to design the perfect ring and unbeknownst to Sonya, had visited her parents to ask for their daughter’s hand in marriage. I had initially envisioned taking Sonya on a mini-getaway to San Francisco (where we took our first trip together) over Easter weekend to propose. But, Sonya, being the lawyer that she is, was overly inquisitive about the trip and wanted to be close to her family for the holiday, making it impossible for me to surprise her with a trip. So, I decided on Plan B. I made arrangements with one of our favorite restaurants in the city, BONDST. The restaurant arranged a semi-private table for us and during a very romantic dinner, I nervously proposed to Sonya and she said yes. Despite being in a public restaurant, we both managed to share a very intimate moments and did not create a scene. So much so, that the waiters missed their cue to bring the champagne and the sparklers. Manny even arranged for the celebration to continue at The Aviary at the Mandarin Orientel.


What was your inspiration for you wedding theme/colors?

Manny used to live and work in orange County several years ago, so he always had a fondness for Southern California. When we were considering wedding venues, we both fell in love with the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel and wanted to give our friends and family a fabulous destination wedding experience. We both wanted an elegant and romantic black-tie affair with a chic and modern twist. I opted for a clean color palette: bridesmaids wore sleek black gowns (my favorite color) with all white florals with metallic accents. It was great working with my planner and floral designer on the creation of my vision and bringing it to life. They were such a pleasure to work with. Since they were very familiar with the venue, they were able to create arrangements of lush white florals  with greenery and the use of gold metallic accents and acrylic stands throughout the ceremony backdrop to enhance and capture the beauty of the outdoor/ocean backdrop. They were able to transform the reception ballroom with the mix of classic and modern high and low floral arrangements and candles. Everything was beautiful and stunning. Simply perfect! I still remember getting goosebumps when Manny and I walked into the ballroom for the first time


How was the planning process?

Living in New York and planning a wedding in California was very stressful and overwhelming at times. Thankfully, I had an amazing planner located in Orange County. Ashley and her team were on top of every detail and kept me on track and well informed at all stages of the process. They were such a pleasure to work with and helped me have fun through it all. I woke up on my wedding day not worrying about a thing, because I knew Ashley and her team had it all under control


Do you have any special or memorable moments from your wedding day you’d like to share?

Our wedding day went by sooo quickly, but we enjoyed every second of it. Our most memorable moment was the first time we saw each other during our “first look” pictures. It was such an emotional moment and we are both so glad we did it.