We met on the dating app, Hinge. Although Isabel had lost faith in dating and wasn’t keen on the idea of having to resort to a dating app, she eventually gave in. Her friend is actually the person who swiped right on me.
I had been on and off dating apps for years. However, I’d recently run into an acquaintance who was getting her life coaching certification and offered to coach me for free as part of her certification process – we decided to focus on my dating, and the acquaintance held me accountable to swiping weekly, engaging in conversation with anyone who messaged me first, saying yes to dates and focusing only on women.
Isabel was actually far outside of my max distance of 12 miles – she was 35 miles from Santa Monica, but we somehow matched. Isabel liked my responses about getting friends to join me in random outbursts of song (90s R&B), and I was drawn to her travels to less common places that I had also traveled to and in complete honesty, I was curious about what a Wilderness Medicine Doctor does – spoiler alert, it’s not about knowing what berries you can and cannot eat in the wild.
We quickly moved from communicating on the app to text. Three weeks later we went on our first date.
Tell us about your engagement!
Isabel planned a trip to Puerto Rico, where she is originally from, for my 40th birthday. As a surprise, my parents joined, but I thought this was because they recently announced semi-retirement, and my mom had recently learned of what could be a life-threatening health condition.
Isabel planned to propose to me the day before my birthday to make sure I felt like a wanted woman before turning 40 – that’s the kind of humor Isabel has. With seven people packed in her parents’ Montero in dreadful heat and humidity, we pulled up to the entrance of a lighthouse in Cabo Rojo, where Isabel wanted to propose. Unfortunately, we were told the lighthouse was temporarily closed, so we waited it out. I noticed Isabel, her mom, and cousin debating where to go, but they spoke in Spanish, and I wasn’t fluent enough to understand everything they were saying. Apparently, they were debating a plan B. We ended up going to Isabel’s favorite beach, Playa Buyé, which she described as beautiful, clear, and not as crowded as many other beaches.
When we arrived at Playa Buyé, the beach was full of people, music, and dancing, and the water was full of seaweed. Unbeknownst to me, we walked up the shoreline to find a less crowded spot. At one point, I told my parents they could wait under the shade, and we’d be back as I noticed them struggling to keep up in the heat and humidity. Isabel turned to my dad and said, I’m proposing now – don’t stop here!
As she often does, Isabel’s mom asked me to pose for pictures. Then I noticed Isabel walking toward me with her hand behind her back – in front of our parents, her cousin, and a bunch of strangers. She got down on one knee and asked me if I wanted her to be my wife. I was completely surprised and, of course, said yes. She designed the ring from start to finish, and I love that is uniquely ours.
Tell us about your wedding day.
We got married on May 14, 2022 at Museo Casa Blanca in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Over half of our 100 guests from California, Hawaii, and Colorado joined us. Guests arrived via Chinchorreo (a Puerto Rican party bus) and were dropped off in front of El Morro – a 500-year-old fort in Old San Juan. The ceremony was in the main garden of Museo Casa Blanca – Ponce de Leon’s family home, the very first structure built in Old San Juan, which has since been converted into a museum.
The garden is nothing short of magical – lush and shaded by large trees with a long fountain that created two aisles leading up to a beautiful fountain that served as the altar. Our officiant, Isabel’s sister (who translated the ceremony from English to Spanish), our parents, Isabel’s grandmother, who was our “flower abuela,” and my nephew, Caleb, who was our ring bearer, walked down the aisle to Bloom by The Paper Kites. And Canon in D played while we walked down the aisle – we decided I would walk down first. My eyes welled up with tears as I looked back at Isabel and then to all of our friends and family in the most gorgeous setting. Our ceremony was full of laughs, beautiful memories, and excitement for the future.
Following the traditional ceremony, we each changed into our respective qipaos for the Chinese Tea Ceremony, which was held under a giant tree at the beginning of the wedding aisle. Our décor person, Juan Jose Robledo, really nailed the setup for his first tea ceremony gig.
The reception was held outside, under the stars and near the full moon. We ate traditional Puerto Rican food and partied until midnight with the help of a DJ and bomba y plena!
What was your favorite part of your wedding and why?
Locking eyes with each other before walking down the aisle and then seeing our friends and family waiting for us in the garden – it was special to see our future and all of the people who helped us get to this moment all in one place.
Photography by Lucky You Weddings
Accessories Royal Accessories, Avigail Adam
Cake Boom’s Cake
Caterer Food Paradise
Chinese Attire (qipao) Brocade Apparel
DJ Gilberto Soler
Florals Juan Jose Robledo
Live Music Pura Plena
Hair & Makeup Nikole Denisse
Planner | Designer Alexandra Rodriguez Event Planner LLC
Venue Museo Casa Blanca
Wedding Dresses Pronovias, BHLDN