An Intentional Wedding Celebration

Ensuring every detail echoed love and purpose, Arianna Cruz’s journey towards a dream wedding was paved with cultural traditions, ethical choices, and personalized touches.
Arianna & Andrew's Wedding Day

When I thought about the life I wanted to live with the person I loved the most, I wanted it to start with intentionality. As we prepared for our engagement and the start of a new chapter together, my partner and I looked for ways to be as intentional as possible in everything we did. 

You’ll quickly notice a theme with our vendors. As I am a small business owner, we both wanted to be sure we were supporting other small businesses as we built our dream day together. 

The Rings

The rings we wear every day signify a promise. We made vows and every time I look at my hand, I think of the love we have for one another, and I think about how I can continue growing to be someone who cares as deeply as I promised to. When picking out my ring, I half-jokingly told my soon-to-be fiancé, “If you don’t propose with intentionality that starts with a ring built with integrity, we won’t start at all.” In 2019, we took a trip to a design shop I had been ogling for quite some time. Women-owned with sustainability and ethical business front of mind, Mineralogy was a business I knew I would be proud to share every time someone asked about my ring. With ethically sourced stones (in addition to family stones), recycled metals, and a tree planted for our purchase, my morganite-centered ring continues to make me so proud every day. 

The Dress

One of my favorite people, Lei Bretón, owns The House of Bretón. I have had the pleasure of seeing this business grow from gorgeous gowns to inclusive design for all who love. Once upon a time, I even had the honor of modeling for their beautiful work (you might still find a portrait of me in their studio). My wedding day fit was designed with the ability to be worn again. The top can be worn on its own, and my dancing pants will have many a chance to see the disco lights again. It was important to me to have a vendor who not only was a friend but someone I knew would advocate for me—even against myself if they heard me bending over backward for other people on a day that was meant to be about me. Lei beautifully makes and saves space for those preparing to marry and reminds them who and what our wedding day is about. And the answer is not what flowers we have or if Auntie Lou gets to sit with Auntie May.

The Ceremony

If you remember me from a piece I wrote about my cultural identity, you’ll remember it’s a journey. A journey I am so delighted to be taking and now taking with my husband. As we truly bring our two lives together, we brought in special pieces from our now, household culture. 

Floral headpieces with sun rays are a beautiful piece of inspiration from my Mexican side. As I dreamed of who I wanted my husband to see for the first time as his wife, I knew I wanted all of me to be as present as possible. With the help of Becky Ruby-Wojtowicz at Lilly Lane, we curated a beautifully vibrant array of flowers for me to hold and wear as I lived my best day yet. 

Because the Philippines have a lot of overlap with Spanish culture, as we added a Cord ceremony to our full ceremony, a lot of our Mexican family was as excited as our Filipino side. The Cord ceremony (also known as a Lasso ceremony) includes three parts: a veil that goes around both of us, signifying our lives being lived together as one; a cord (or lasso) that loops around both of us, signifying the unbreaking bond we are committing to each other; and arras, 13 coins that represent the prosperity we will grow and nurture together. This was a ceremony I had not seen before, but the more we learned about it, and as we searched for our veil, cord/lasso, and arras together, our excitement of making these promises even deeper through such a tangible ceremony felt even more real on our dream day. These pieces still sit in sight at our home and serve to remind us of all the life we will live together. 

We know that it takes a village and as we curated our perfect day with some of the most important folks in our lives, we wanted to bring them into our day in special ways. My Godparents from my Baptism became our Godparents through the sacrament of Marriage on our wedding day. To have the two people who have chosen to be sounding boards for me, to love on me as their own daughter, and to be support for me outside of my family now chose to be the same lights of guidance for my husband was one of the most special ways we had people stand and show up for us. These Godparents were part of our Cord/Lasso ceremony, and they placed the cord on us, standing with us in our commitment to one another. 

Another set of our Godparents presented the arras to us and guided us as we passed them back and forth, promising a shared life of prosperity. We also chose to bring one of each of our grandparents in for the beginning of the ceremony. His fraternal grandmother and my maternal grandfather walked arm in arm down the aisle with our blessed veil in hand and draped the veil over each of our shoulders, bringing us together as one. It was one of the most special moments in our ceremony because of how genuine and whole our relationships are with our grandparents and the ways we have both invested in one another’s grandparents and families. My heart absolutely swells when I think of the ways I get to see my husband and my Buelo (my grandfather) come closer and closer every time they see each other. And my love for his grandmother continues to grow every time I see her. Having her step up with us on our special day is something I will cherish forever.

For our ceremony, my husband asked if I would be open to his dad officiating. His father has always been a guiding light in his faith journey, and as we have grown closer, I found myself asking his dad for similar insights in my walk with God. It was such an honor to be with them both as we asked him to lead our ceremony on our wedding day. From our selected Bible verses (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 and 2 Corinthians 9:6-9) to me walking down the aisle on my own, our ceremony brought together a plethora of pieces that make us who we are as individuals and as a couple. 

The Reception

One of our favorite shared memories is the first time my husband joined me for a quinceañera. My grandfather gave him a song request for the Mariachi as they made their rounds, not knowing that when you make that request, you must dance for the whole song. For our happy hour following the ceremony, we had Mariachi Sol Jalisciense bring light and excitement to the night. 

A labor of love that spoke to my love language in particular was our seating chart. Not only had we plotted to coordinate the people we were excited to help meet one another, but I also wanted to share something special with each person. Weddings are beautiful, but they are hard. You never get enough time with every single person, and every single person there is usually someone wildly significant to you (depending on how you curate your list, and truly, to each their own). For our seating chart, I found these sweet, seed paper hearts that allowed me to share the words I knew I might not get ample time to verbally share with everyone there. As we got photos back from our photographer and have seen people since it fills me to my very brim hearing and knowing that so many people I love know how much they mean to me. 

Though time is often quite fleeting on the day of, I took special care to find ways to help the day move as rightly as possible. What does that mean? It meant I didn’t want to be rushing every second of the day. We had a happy hour that lasted an hour and a half (with heavy hors d’oeuvres) and a slightly longer dinner “hour” to allow us to say hello and sit and chat with our guests. I also hired more makeup artists so that my GIRL GANG™️ and I were able to have breakfast at our house, make our bouquets, and arrive at the venue around 11 a.m. instead of at daybreak. That morning was everything to me. It was the start of this next chapter, and I had time to thank and celebrate the women who have and continue to support me and love me without condition. These women have chosen to love the person that loves me most, and part of our day included a first look with the groom and the bridesmaid. I am forever grateful for the way our chosen families have also chosen both of us. 

The weekend was full of small and big moments. We bit off a lot (hosting an open welcome at our house the day of the rehearsal starting at 10 a.m. until we had to leave for the venue and hosting a brunch the day after the wedding – starting at the kick-off for the Liverpool game), but the time we chose to make with everyone made everything worth it. Though the wedding itself is a short event in the scheme of things, the memories and moments we shared and made will last us our lifetime together – just as our vows will.

bride attire: @thehouseofbreton | behind the camera: @justjessphotography | bouts, headpiece, and floral direction: @homebylillylane | bridal MUA: @loriboykinmua with support by @baebarindy | band: @bluewaterkingsband | dream venue: @thebalmoralhouse | groom getup: @brooksbrothers | GIRL GANG attire: @shoprevelry | for the boys: @menswearhouse | rings of promises: @mineralogy | Filipino veil and cord/lasso: @sinta_co

Arianna Cruz is a Maven board member.

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