Fridays are usually when we celebrate the weekend. Sure, you might do a little cleaning, or run an errand or two, but there’s a reason “TGIF” is part of our language: it means you get time to relax.
This particular Friday, though? October 5th, 2018? This one was special. We talk about special days here a lot, but after having the pleasure of going to Monique’s bridal shower, well, we couldn’t wait for this one. It was Dominic and Monique’s wedding day!!
They went the whole nine yards, renting a weekend house to give the wedding party space to relax and get ready. While all the bridesmaids and Monique herself got ready in the master bedroom, Dominic and his groomsmen tied their ties, got dressed to the nines, and took the edge off with a few rounds of video games. Our favorite touches, though, were Momo’s: her bridesmaids helped tie silk ribbon bows, chosen by the bride herself, around each others’ waists. They made the perfect transition between the gorgeous skirts and lace tops that Monique chose for them to wear–only she could pick something so comfortable yet classy!
With weddings come time crunches, though, and so the groomsmen’s gaming time was cut short: everyone was ready, so it was time to shuffle the groom out! You can’t catch a glimpse of your bride on her wedding day, after all, not until it’s time for the big moment! Once we all had arrived at the venue, we managed to steal Dominic away for that moment, and what a moment it was.
Maybe we should clarify: when we mean “big moment”, that’s not necessarily the ceremony or the vows. Instead, Monique and Dominic chose to do a first look, to steal each other away for a few minutes of intimacy before the chaos that weddings bring. First looks don’t take away any of the uniqueness of the ceremony itself, though. They give the bride and groom a chance to breathe it all in, to stop and celebrate the union they share together with each other instead of with their loved ones. It’s a way to have a big moment all to themselves, something that they’ll carry with them forever.
And like we said, it was a great moment. Dominic faced out into the courtyard we’d chosen for their photos, and when Monique stepped in, their eyes lit up in unison and their smiles stretched from ear to ear just at the sight of one another. We’re glad we got to capture this singular moment. There’s nothing like it.
(Monique took a moment to acknowledge we were there. She did a few spins to show off her dress–as you can see, it was heavenly!)
It’s not every day that you meet a couple that truly radiate love and happiness. Each couple has their own energy, and some are more insular than others. We enjoy getting to know each of the couples we work with, but Dominic and Monique truly are unique with the light love that they radiate. The venue they chose, SoHo 63 in Downtown Chandler, is a perfect reflection of their fun, exuberant personalities, with a wall full of tea light candles, a cocktail room furnished with fine leather couches, and shelves covered in books and framed photos of the bride and groom. It has a way of feeling intimate without being heavy, romantic and whimsical without being bawdy. After going to Monique’s bridal party and feeling the dynamic she has with her friends, and then seeing the way her and Dominic experience life together, we knew the place was perfect for them. They said their vows in SoHo 63’s atrium, which was adorned with an enchanting fireplace, surrounded by more than a hundred friends and family members.
Here at Wander Back, we love seeing couples do their own take on wedding traditions, and these two definitely had something cool: instead of a first dance, they sung a duet to Jame’s Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go”. It was the first time we’ve seen a couple do a duet, and their voices weren’t only beautiful but rang out straight from the bottom of their hearts. It was truly an amazing moment that trumped any dance they could have done.
Dessert, too, was unique. There was no cake-cutting, no precariously-stacked sponges or pristine white fondant. These two opted instead for ice cream sundaes, custom-made for each guest! You could even say that the dessert was the perfect cherry on top of the wedding sundae, another touch that was special to Monique and Dominic.
Speeches came after, of course. The wedding party delivered such heartfelt and funny stories of their experience with the couple and their growing love that we definitely teared up a little, but it was the kind and honest words that Monique’s father shared that made the most impact on us. He gave a perfect view of the history that Monique and Dominic shared as their relationship grew, from meeting Dom to requiring him to pick up Momo at his door to the time that Dom visited their hometown of New Orleans and encountered his first crawfish dinner. Monique’s father used his endearing story to paint a picture not only of Monique and Dominic’s growing love, but also of the acceptance he holds for Dominic as a member of his family. This union was truly one of a family with a new loved one, that’s for sure. The best part of his speech, though, was when he talked about Monique’s mother: his heart.
Monique? His big heart.
He really pulled on our heartstrings, so much that we teared up as we put together this post. I know there wasn’t a dry eye or a face that wasn’t smiling in the room.
We’re pretty sure neither Dominic nor Monique could have asked for a better day; even their forgotten thank-you gifts (that took them hours to make!), it was a perfect wedding. From the decorations to the speeches to the love that filled the room, Monique and Dominic really did have a dream wedding. It’s not enough to thank them for letting us be a part of their day, because this wedding will stick with us, so we’ll leave it with this:
Monique and Dominic.
May you have nothing but good fortune, and many blessings in your future. We love you guys.
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