We are so thrilled that Stephanie, this crazy chic #realchicbride, sent in these photos of her wedding day by Black & Hue. The very talented photo team really captured the beauty of Stephanie, her family and her Berta Bridal stunning dress.
Everything about this wedding is so swoony and unique. We are obsessed with her bouquet, his wardrobe and that heart-stopping picture of Stephanie shedding a tear as her dad and now-husband embrace after he walked her down the aisle. The light is perfect. The couple looks so in love. And that dress! Oh Berta, you’ve done it again!
Stephanie took some time to chat with us about what made this day special, how she fell in love (with her now-husband and her dress!):
How did you two meet?
We found each other by pure serendipity.
January 18, 2008, the day we met. Both of us attended the annual Belen Jesuit (the school Kiko went to) vs Columbus basketball game. This was a game that was talked about all year. Kiko was there because all of the seniors from Belen go dressed up as characters. His character of choice: the leprechaun from Lucky Charms. Our mutual friend would always mention him in our conversations, but I never met him until that night. After the game, my friend and I were talking about our plans after the game (where we were going to eat, which after party we were going to, etc.) and all of a sudden I notice a guy decked out in a green outfit (I vividly remember he was wearing a huge bow tie) approaching us. All of a sudden he turned to me mid conversation and said, “Hi, I’m Kiko”. Our lives changed from that day forward.
When and how did you get engaged?
New Year’s Eve, the last day of 2014, is when our lives would change forever. That year, we celebrated New Year’s with Kiko’s family in Gatlinburg, TN. We’ve been to Gatlinburg many times (it was our first vacation together), but this time would be the most memorable trip there.
Everyone knows I take an eternity to get ready, but that day in particular I took even longer. My luggage looked like it exploded. As I was curling my hair, Kiko came into the room and said, “Babe, make sure to look nice today because we’re going to take a lot of pictures”. At that moment, I KNEW Kiko had something up his sleeve. At that moment we were already dating for over five years, so it’s hard to hide things from each other.
Kiko was acting normal that day. He didn’t look nervous at all, so I started to think I was probably crazy for thinking he was going to propose. After shopping at the outlet mall and eating dinner in Pigeon Forge, we decided to go to Gatlinburg (which was about 10-15 minutes away) to wait until the ball drops. We decided to walk around until we found an open spot to watch the ball drop at 12. We found a CVS Pharmacy that was not as packed and close to the ball. Then, as we’re patiently waiting to start the New Year, I noticed Kiko looking at me differently. I didn’t really think much of it. Then, while we were counting down to 3,2,1, Kiko got down on one knee. At that very moment, everything went silent. I didn’t even feel like thousands of people were around us; I only felt like it was just him and I at that moment. I even forgot exactly what he said, but tears of happiness streamed down my cheeks. I hugged and kissed him while he was still on one knee. He then stood up and asked, “Babe, is that a yes?” I, without hesitation said OF COURSE!! I wish I could relive the engagement over again.
How did you decide to come shop at Chic Parisien?
From the moment I got engaged, I knew exactly which designers I liked and the style of dress I wanted for our wedding. I made sure to do my research and saw that Chic Parisien carried several of my favorite designers (Berta being one of them). After reading all of the good reviews Chic had, I went ahead and called to make an appointment. I attended a Berta trunk show they had and that’s when I found my dream dress: A long sleeve, open-back, one-of-a-kind Berta dress. The service was superb from the first phone call to book my appointment, to the moment I went to see the dresses, to the day I picked my dress up.
How did you know that was the dress for you?
I never truly believed I would know which dress would be the “perfect dress” because I didn’t think it was true. I thought it would be like every other shopping experience. I took my mom, mother in law, bridesmaid, and family friend to my appointment. I died when I saw all of the Berta dresses hanging. Each of them are spectacular. I started grabbing all the ones I loved. Once they put all of the dresses in the room, I started picking the first dress to try on. I knew I which dress I wanted to try on first (the dress I ultimately chose). Angie, my bridesmaid, told me I was shaking when I put on that dress. I honestly can tell you that I fell in love with it. It was exactly what I was looking for, but I still wanted to try the other Berta dresses I picked. None of the other dresses gave me that wow factor I was looking for. They looked nice, and everyone in the room liked them, but no one was shocked like they were when I put that first dress on. Then after trying all of them on, I decided to try on the first dress again. As I looked at myself in the mirror, I knew at that moment that the dress I was wearing was “the one”. I felt an indescribable emotion, one I didn’t feel with the other dresses. At that moment, Alana asked, “Are we saying yes to the dress?” and that’s when I yelled, “I’m saying yes to the dress!”
Tell me a bit about your wedding day!
Our wedding was at Bella Collina in Montverde, FL on December 27, 2015. The day was beautiful; not a cloud in the sky, 0% chance of raining; everything I was praying for. I was pretty overwhelmed the days leading to the big day because I planned and designed my own wedding. I wasn’t nervous, but was worried about how my vision was going to look the day of.The bridesmaids and I started getting ready early because we were staying in Orlando (about 30-45 minutes away from the venue). The time seemed like it was slow in the morning, but once my makeup/hair artist started on me the time flew by. Before I know it, I’m at the venue waiting to walk down the aisle.
Kiko and I decided to do a first touch instead of a first look. It was a nice alternative, and was nice to hold his hand and talk to him before walking down the aisle. I headed back to the locker room to change quickly into my wedding dress to do a dad dress reveal. My dad had no idea which dress I chose because I wanted to surprise him the day of the wedding. My bridesmaids all lined up in front of me as my dad patiently waited to see me. That moment when my dad saw me for the first time in my dress was so magical. Definitely something I would recommend to other brides to do!
The time came to walk down the aisle. I was so excited! I was looking forward to this moment for almost a year and I was finally able to show Kiko my dress (hardest secret to keep away from him). I walked down to the acoustic version of Latch by Sam Smith. My eyes were locked onto his the whole walk down the aisle with a huge smile on my face. After the ceremony, we took some pictures with our family and bridal party and then headed to take pictures of just us two. After cocktail hour, we headed back and were welcomed as Mr. and Mrs. Cruz as we walked through all of our guests holding sparklers. We then danced our first dance while they lit the dance floor. After dinner, we started dancing all night hoping the night would never end.
Our wedding was in no way traditional. We wanted to have a unique wedding from the beginning to the end. When it was time to do a bouquet toss, everyone was expecting a bouquet toss. Instead, I decided to surprise my mom with my bouquet and dance Mama’s Song by Carrie Underwood with her. She was so helpful during the planning stage that I wanted to acknowledge her.
We couldn’t believe the night ended so fast! Before exiting, we started saying bye to our guests. It would be the last time that we would see them in a long time because we moved to Texas after our honeymoon. After we said our goodbyes, we exited while snow was falling all over us (I love the snow so much that my DJ had a snow machine and made it happen). It was the perfect ending to our amazing wedding day. Our wedding was exactly what we dreamed it would be.