Tell us your love story!
Stana: We met at work. It was first job out of college. It was June 2008 and I was just an innocent 22-year-old, certainly not looking for trouble…or love for that matter. I came into the office to interview and she would say that she could “hear me before she saw me” and that she was praying they weren’t planning to hire me. I would say that I looked at her and said “oh sweet 7lb baby Jesus, please don’t sit me next to her. She looks terrifying.” She invited me to go to happy hour several times and after turning every her down numerous times, I finally said yes. Well, 11 cape cods and an order of fried mushrooms later, I thought we were certainly getting to know each other quite well. At the end of the night, I received a delightful “see you later” and a high five. This would be a chase …well, Challenge accepted! She made me work for it but she is worth it.
What about the proposal?
I (Stana) knew I wanted to propose to her in Central Park. NYC has always been a very special place to us. I planned it for about a year and a half, working one on one with the oldest and most renown jeweler in New Orleans to build a beautiful ring that was truly unique.
I flew her up to NYC on the tail end of a conference that I was in town for. Biggest mistake: Telling a few women at this conference that I was planning to propose in Central Park. Keep in mind this conference was for CREW, commercial real estate for women, so to think spilling the beans to a few women about such an exciting and romantic life event was a good way to keep the news contained was a big mistake! Hehe.
Thankfully, my wife did not hear the news but it made for some very nerve-wracking elevator rides! I told her we had breakfast plans at 8:30am at Café Boulud. After getting fussed at for making such an early reservation, she actually was dressed and ready to leave timely! “Ooo… let’s make a special detour through Central Park.” She obliged and off we went.
Meanwhile I hired a photographer through Flytographers to just blend in with the only group hanging out in Central park that early in the morning – other photographers!
Now, the plan was to get her to walk down to the Gapstow Bridge to capture a beautiful backdrop…I walked down towards the water and call for her to come along. She looked down at me and said, “Yeah, I am good up here. No thanks.” Seeing as my intention was to actually successfully get married here, I figured it best not to argue here but nervously said, “Come on, just trust me.” Reluctant but boldly, she followed me down to the water.
The photographer who was among many in the park that early in the day was posing as just a random photographer. I asked him if he could snap a photo of us with my camera. He did and also asked if he could snap one with his professional camera. As he lined up for the shot, I leaned over to her and said, “hey babe, do you think you can put up with me for another 50 years?” "What are you talking about? Yes, I guess I can.” Then, ta-dah… I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me.
She cried, I breathed a sigh of relief, and the photographer captured all of the magic in the process. “Were you surprised?” I asked her. Her answer? Priceless. “Honestly, I figured if it hadn’t happened by now, it was never going to happen.” Now that is love, people.
When did you know that you were meant to be with each other?
Stana: Ha. Well, I would say the Pitbull concert had me sold when I saw her salsa and shake it like a saltshaker to every song, even the slow ones! But then there was also that magical night in the back of the Navigator (sorry, kids). Okay, seriously, I knew she was “the one” the first time she left my place because I never wanted to hear her say goodbye and feel the way I did when she left me.
Going into the wedding planning, what did you definitely know?
We are simple and like to have a good time. That is what we wanted with our wedding. We have heard so many couples talk about picking colors, scrutinizing over the guest list, sweating over the expenses, fighting over budgets, the mega to-do list to secure the venue, photographer, flowers, caterer, etc etc… ahhh! We wanted it to be a day we would relive in a heartbeat with no stress and no regrets. That is why we eloped with our kids to NYC, customized Converse with them to hit the streets of Bushwick (our daughter is quite the artist).
What surprised you during planning? What was easy, what was difficult?
Not too much…we made the process simple to eliminate surprises. It was pretty easy. The only surprise was the weather. The day before it showed 100% chance of rain. The day of, the chance of rain dropped all the way down to 0%. The big man made it special for us!
Any advice for couples planning weddings now? Anything you would have done differently or anything you’d like to add?
It is YOUR day, so make it yours and do what you want to do to make it truly special. There is no rule or a set way to do it. If you don’t care about showboating and don’t want to stress out over planning, flying folks across the country and a huge bill that you end up paying off for the next few years, then don’t! Leave Nana and the 17 other friends you hardly have time to see at home and do it your way to enjoy every moment and make it special for the two of you. When I look at our pictures from the big day, I instantly feel a rush of all of the excitement, laughter and absolute joy of that day. That is what it is all about. I would relive that day over and over and don’t feel like “I wish I would have done….”
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
The photos were an absolute blast. From the shenanigans riding the ponies at Jane’s Carousel to waltzing down Washington in Dumbo to get the classic Manhattan Bridge shot to the incredible folks at Gleason’s allowing us to step into the ring and make some awesome memories to strolling through the amazing artwork of Bushwick. Jenny with Eloping is Fun did a phenomenal job of capturing the moments and our daughter gave her a run for her money with her old school Polaroid and also our Canon DSLR.