Domingo and Erika’s Church Wedding

How They Met

The night before Christmas Eve in 2015, Erika and Domingo received what would prove to be a wonderful gift from some of their mutual friends: an introduction to each other. “We were introduced by mutual friends who thought we’d make a great couple,” says Erika. “They were right.” How right their friends were would become crystal clear on the couple’s wonderful wedding day less than five years later.

The Proposal

On “a perfect Saturday afternoon,” on July 13, 2019, Domingo took Erika to a hot air balloon festival. The mutual friends who’d introduced them came, too. Domingo told Erika that while they didn’t have passes to ride any hot air balloons, they could watch them float and fly in the sky. But then, later, Domingo shocked Erika by telling her he had managed to get passes to ride a hot air balloon as a surprise birthday gift. The pair climbed aboard a balloon and rode into the glorious sunset. 

The magic of the day didn’t end with a hot air balloon ride, though. Once the balloon reached 1,000 feet, Domingo dropped to one knee and proposed in the light of the setting sun. In this perfect setting, Erika said yes, of course!

The Wedding

Domingo and Erika say that their wedding was inspired by the relationships of their own parents, who have been together since they were young. Erika’s parents have been together for thirty years, while Domingo’s parents have been married for 39! 

Erika and Domingo chose to have their wedding ceremony in St. Jude Church in New York. It is the parish where Domingo was born, raised, and has served his entire life. Erika has also served there for years, and it is where they both attend services every week. 

El Lazo

During the wedding ceremony, Domingo and Erika chose to participate in the Hispanic tradition of el lazo, or the lasso. In this tradition, a lasso typically made of flowers and/or beads is placed on the shoulders of first the bride, and then the groom, in the shape of a figure eight. The officiant then blesses the lasso and with it, the marriage of the bride and groom. In the Bible, the figure eight represents new beginnings. The lasso itself often looks like an oversized rosary, which is a set of Catholic prayers that traditionally are marked and numbered with knots or beads on a string that resembles a necklace. Erika and Domingo’s beautiful lasso was made of beads that shimmered and sparkled like cut crystal in the light.

After their religious ceremony, Domingo and Erika held a small and intimate reception with their closest family and friends in attendance. They danced, looking blissful in each other’s arms.

Favorite Memories from the Wedding

Erika’s favorite memory of her wedding day was seeing Domingo for the first time as she entered St. Jude Church. The pair chose not to do a “first look,” which is when the couple sees one another and can have pictures taken before the wedding ceremony. So, when Erika came through the church doors, that moment was the first one that Domingo and Erika had seen each other that day. “Seeing each other and knowing that we finally made it to that moment was magical.” Erika said. I’m sure seeing Domingo in his wonderful Ted Baker designer tux and Erika in her gorgeous Essence of Australia dress were magical moments, too!

Domingo’s favorite part of his wedding day was seeing his mostly-grown nieces and nephews walk down the aisle. He remembers when they were born, and seeing them grown up and participating in his wedding was a stirring sight.

On Wedding Planning

“Our wedding planning experience was turbulent,” Erika says. The couple truly began their wedding planning process in November 2019, just months before the worldwide pandemic would affect everyone and everything it could. Because of their decision to postpone their reception until a later date, Erika and Domingo changed their wedding ceremony location four months before the date their wedding ended up taking place.

The couple has an important and brief piece of advice for couples planning their own weddings: don’t overthink anything – or everything. “Don’t overthink your theme, don’t overthink your colors, the season or the type of dress you’ll wear. The less options you look at the less puzzled you’ll be.” Erika says. This is awesome advice, especially for those who suffer from FOMO, or the “fear of missing out.” It seems to say that if you love something, choose it, and don’t keep looking if you’re happy with what you have. That will only bring confusion and with it, stress. Go with – and trust – your gut!

Erika and Domingo also recommend hiring a budget-friendly planner, to prevent couples planning their weddings from getting too overwhelmed in the process. Planners can help take some of the planning that goes into a wedding off a couple’s plate, leaving them free to focus on other things, like work, school, family, or other important priorities.

The couple cautioned other couples who are also planning weddings to go through their vendor contracts with a fine-tooth comb. However, Domingo and Erika also insist that their vendors were professional and flexible, even with some day-of timing changes. Though they altered their plans more than once following the advent of the pandemic, the vendors with whom they had signed contracts were accommodating of the changes they needed to make. It seems to me like Erika and Domingo chose their vendors well!

Best Wishes for the Future!

Domingo and Erika not only had a stunning wedding, but also a magical engagement and adorable meeting story. Who knew that being introduced to a stranger through mutual friends during the holidays could lead to such a fantastic happily ever after? This story is truly the stuff Hallmark movie dreams are made of. We can’t wait to see what their big reception will look like in the future!

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