Marita Espinosa + Signo Uddenberg
Hacienda Cusin, Otavalo, Ecuador, July 1, 2017
SKEPTICS ABOUND ON the topic of fate, but it’s hard to argue against it when considering the story of Marita and Signo. Marita, a chef from Ecuador living in Paris, was visiting San Francisco for a three-month culinary course when she met Seattle native Signo at a friend’s barbecue just one week into her stay. The two connected instantly and quickly began exploring the city in search of the perfect meal and sailing around the bay in Signo’s boat, docked at the Sausalito harbor. “After our first date I knew I wanted someone like him in my life,” Marita says. For the groom it was mutual: “I remember she grabbed my hand and said, ‘I knew there were men like you that existed in this world.’ That’s when I knew.” Marita’s plans to return to France were put on hold, then canceled. Two years later, the couple tied the knot against the backdrop of the mountain Imbabura in Otavalo, Ecuador, a spot that held special meaning for the two avid climbers.
“We love mountains and wanted the energy of the mountain and nature around us for our wedding,” Marita says. For a celebration connected to her Ecuadorian roots, she and Signo chose the historic Hacienda Cusin as the wedding venue; a local 24-piece band played traditional Ecuadorian music while dancers performed in authentic and whimsical costumes. The event was an international celebration, with 125-plus guests from all over Ecuador as well as France and the United States. Her father’s speech was one of the bride’s favorite moments: “He made it in three languages. It was a bit long with all the translations, but so profound; it made me cry multiple times.” Another great memory: the custom-handcrafted castillo fireworks, with cutouts in the shape of a pineapple, a recurring symbol at the wedding. “We felt so much love from our friends and family, it made us feel like the two luckiest people on earth,” Marita says.
VENUE: Hacienda Cusin, Otavalo, Ecuador
EVENT PLANNING AND DESIGN: Lorena Fialo
PHOTOGRAPHY: Samuel Léon
FLORAL: Lorena Fialo
SIGNAGE: Lorena Fialo
GROOM’S SUIT: Paul Smith,
BRIDESMAID DRESSES: Essense of Australia
MUSIC: 24 de Mayo and DJ Ricky Serrano
Conor Flynn & Meredith Eves Flynn
Lake Como, Italy
Well before Conor Flynn and Meredith Eves were engaged, they toured the small village of Moltrasio on Lake Como, Italy, and the villa Meredith’s father had just bought. “We knew if and when we did get married, it had to be there,” Meredith says. Five years later the couple stood at the altar of Chiesa di Sant’Agata, an 11th-century church just down the road, as the priest performed the ceremony in Italian—thoughts of their chance introduction at a Vegas Halloween party and their future together no doubt swirling in their heads.
Once Meredith realized their authentic Italian experience came with an authentically Italian priest, she had the ceremony translated into English for their programs and had a translator on hand for the vows. Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata was another phrase everyone learned that day. It means wet bride, lucky bride. “We did not expect hail in June,” Meredith allows, “but it definitely added to the excitement.”
Mother Nature didn’t have to add anything to the reception. Hotel Villa d’Este, built in 1568 as the summer residence of Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio, has been winning awards since 1873 and was just named “world’s best hotel” by ForbesTraveler.com. Besides the sizable four-tiered cake the hotel manager bestowed as a gift, the biggest surprise was the father of the bride’s toast. He took to the stage and sang “Sunrise Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof. “From the moment he sang ‘Is this the little girl I carried,’ I was struck with emotion,” Meredith says. “I realized how much I’ve grown up and yet my dad and I are very close, so I will always be his little girl. And I still get chills when I think about how the whole room joined in on the chorus. It was magical.”
PHOTOGRAPHER: Flavio Bandiera
CATERER: Villa d’Este
INVITATIONS: Lobella, Daly City, 650.757.1403
DRESS: Anne Barge gown reworked by Rosie Nixon in Mill Valley, who made the veil and the bolero for the church by hand
HAIR/MAKEUP: Robert (mother-in-law’s hairdresser from Palm Beach, Florida)
MUSIC: Ceremony/cocktail hour, Quartetto d’Archi string quartet; dinner, Jumping Jive band; after dinner till 4 a.m., DJ at Villa d’Este’s club
FLOWERS: Rattiflora, Como, Italy
WEDDING FAVORS: Limoncello from Ravello, a small town in Amalfi
Chelsea Hardesty and Marc Ialeggio,
Marina Ixtapa, Mexico May 14, 2011
On September 24, 2010, Chelsea Hardesty switched her Facebook status from “single” to “engaged.” By the end of the day, she had over 100 comments and tons of phone calls. “It made me smile and feel thankful that I have so many fantastic people in my life that were really happy for me,” she says.
Chelsea met her future husband, Marc Ialeggio, in 1986 at Redwood High School; the two were in the same ceramics class. Twenty-three years later, after a first date at Marinitas, Chelsea knew Marc was the one. Marc says the feeling was mutual. After three hours of “catching up,” he knew he would ask Chelsea to marry him.
While his proposal atop Mount Tam continued their love-made-in-Marin story, their wedding took them south of the border to Mexico’s Capella Pedregal for an intimate celebration with about 70 guests, most of whom were from Marin. Highlights included fireworks that Chelsea’s mother, Karen, surprised the couple with after dinner. Another was the pint-size (all-kids) wedding party that included Lauryn, Marc’s 8-year-old daughter and Bella, Chelsea’s 9-year-old niece, who brought the crowd to tears with a speech she wrote. “It was the only time I couldn’t hold back the tears all day,” says Chelsea.
Another special moment involved their friend Bob Matousek, who performed the ceremony under a colorful strand of paper dragonflies made by their friend Colette Clowes. “Dragonflies are symbolic in our family and remind me of my grandparents,” recalls Chelsea. Chelsea and Marc agree: Good things are definitely worth waiting for.
VENUE: Capella Pedregal, capellahotels.com
PHOTOGRAPHER: Alec & T, alecandt.com
COORDINATOR: Cecilia Villanueva, Capella on-site wedding coordinator
CAKE: Jennifer Hatton, cabodessertdiva.com
MUSIC: Corcovado (a 10-piece mariachi band), Gaston Montaño, capellahotels.com
INVITATIONS: Paper Source, paper-source.com
DRESS: Novella Bridal, novellabridal.com
BRIDESMAIDS DRESSES: J. Crew, jcrew.com
HAIR: Suzanne Morel, suzannemorel.com