Monique, a United States Navy Aviation Structural Mechanic and Lisa, a student, waitress, and artist, had an absolutely gorgeous bohemian themed wedding, catering to Lisa’s affection for hippie chic after an intimate and awkwardly romantic proposal on a winery tour. After meeting through Lisa’s sister, the two hit it off and took their time getting to know each other before creating a love ballad of their own and taking it to the top of the breathtaking hills of California.
Wedding Location: Private Residence in Ojai, CA
First Dance Song: “Love Ballad” by L.T.D.
Favorite Item on the Wedding Menu: Lisa’s favorite item on the menu was the oxtail. “Delicious!” she says.
Monique and I met at the San Diego Airport. I flew into California to visit my sister who had been away for years in the military. Since Monique and my sister, Tania worked together and were close friends, she sent Monique to pick me up so I could wait for my sister by the pier as the ship pulled in. Monique and I hit it off right away. Her smile and her aura are what I’ve always wanted to see and feel, from the moment that I met her. I just wanted to be around her all of the time. She gave me a tour of SD and introduced me to all of her family and friends. She also introduced me to her girlfriend at the time. I was secretly jealous. I knew we liked each other. There was a chemistry but we both kept it to ourselves. Five days flew by fast and I had to fly back home to Florida. A lot of people kept in touch with me as well as Monique.
A couple of months later, she was back in the single pool and she texted me, telling me that if I ever ended up on the same coast as her, we should try us out. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was with my gay boyfriend, Edgar and we were having our girl talk when I received her text. I almost did a backflip off of the bed. I was jumping up and down like a crazed teenage girl because it was then that I knew for sure that she liked me.
Monique's plan was to propose at sun down so we were both shocked. We turned and looked at each other and she said to please hold on before she ran off to get the ring. I was awkwardly still, staring at the two strangers holding the banner, and they were awkwardly staring back at me. She ran back with the ring in hand and huge goofy smile on her face, got down on one knee and I said, “Yes.” It was perfectly imperfect.
My wife and I are both islanders but of different coasts. Monique is from Guam and I'm Haitian. We definitely wanted some island food for the wedding so we got Jamaican food from Kaboom Jamaican Flavor, a little restaurant in LA. We had mini Jamaican beef patties and veggie patties passed around for cocktail hour and for dinner we had Oxtail, Jerk Chicken, Curry Goat, rice and peas, plantains, and cabbage.
Lisa: My wedding planner, Roxanne Bellamy sent me some inspiration photos and I ended up getting a dress that was in one of the pictures. I drove to LA with my best friend, Arianne to "The White Dress" bridal boutique and tried on six dresses from the Katie May line. The first one that I tried on, Poipu Gown, was "the one." We popped a bottle of champagne in celebration! The shop had us write a wish or anything we wanted on the cork and they put it in a vase that they have on display full of corks with written wishes and love from other brides.
Monique: My original game plan was to wear a suit. Lisa and I must of been to every tuxedo shop in the San Diego and Los Angeles areas. The pressure was getting to me. Lisa and I went to Las Vegas to visit my family to get away because the wedding planning took a toll on us. It wasn't a surprise to me that my family was trying to convince me to wear a dress for the wedding. To entertain them, we went to David's Bridal for a one of a kind fashion show. I must have put on hundreds of dresses. I finally put on one more dress and when I came out of the dressing room, my mom and fiance had tears in their eyes. I rolled my eyes and walked back into the fitting room saying, "Fine I'll get the damn dress." My mom still to this day talks about the dress that her baby wore.
Monique: My best memories were dancing during the reception and the best man speech. When my dad passed away, I basically raised my younger siblings while my mom worked. I never felt such a recognition for this until Michael gave his speech. It made me feel like a really proud older sibling.
Lisa: My best memory was seeing my wife in her dress. She has such a tomboy like style normally so it was nice to see her soft, feminine side in that gown.
Lisa: My advice to all of you beautiful brides out there is to get a fabulous wedding planner. Planning any good event, let alone a wedding, is a lot of work and can be very stressful. If you can find a planner that just gets you, together you'll create a dream wedding. When you get the right wedding planner, you get to be treated like royalty, sit back and truly celebrate your union with your family and friends. My guests were entertained and everyone on the planner’s team was so pleasant. It was really nice having a super team cater to us and all of our guests on our special day.
Monique: My advice to newly engaged couples is to not have your wife/husband to be make all the decisions. Get involved. It does feel good to be a part of a beautiful vision.
Event Design & Planning: Roxanne Bellamy Events
Photography: To Love Photographie
Venue: Private Residence in Ojai, California
Wedding Gown: Katie May
Florist: Indigo & Plum
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals
Specialty Rentals: Otis + Pearl
Cake: Fantasy Frostings
Stationery/Artwork: Bride/Artist, Lisa Mendiola
Ceremony Musician: Jason Sulkin Music