Real Weddings: Laura Edwards and Michael Wood

Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz

Hello lovies! The recent stunning NY bridal fashion week shows had us gushing over the latest dresses, and today’s love story is no different! So grab a cup of something pumpkin spiced - it is Fall after all! – and let’s get started:

Our story begins as a classic tale with a twist – boy goes out one night with his friend. Girl goes out on the same night with her friends. The boy’s friends know the girl’s friends and so boy meets girl. However, girl takes immediate dislike to boy and he is quickly discarded as a potential love interest. As time goes on, boy realizes that what he thought was irritation was in fact, infatuation. Of course, as fate would have it, boy and girl would later resolve their differences, fall madly in love and get married in one of their favorite places in the world.

To say that this proposal was pretty perfect would be an understatement; just a few days before Christmas 2013, Michael decided it was time to propose to Laura. He chose the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and its annual Christmas lights festival, Zoo Lights, as a magical backdrop to his romantic nighttime proposal. The Zoo also held sentimental value as it was the place the couple first met all those years ago. Right there, under a thousand twinkling lights in the central gazebo, Michael proposed to Laura and their magical journey to being husband and wife began.

The happy couple soon threw themselves into planning the perfect wedding. They had already decided that they wanted a destination wedding, and chose our local San Juan in Puerto Rico as it was a location very dear to their hearts; Laura’s parents had lived there for a year when they first married and Laura had already fallen in love with Hotel El Convento, her chosen venue, when visiting years prior.

They enlisted the help of the decorators at Dreamers, to bring their wedding to life. Choosing to hold their wedding in Old San Juan added an element of authenticity and local culture to their chosen destination, something which they tried their best to incorporate into the rest of their wedding. Guests were transported to an old San Juan Plaza which included lots of Laura’s own DIY projects, such as authentically inspired table names and numbers hand-painted onto tiles which resembled the very same street signs that can still be found around the old city of San Juan today. The hotel’s courtyards and the use of artisanal crafts, from the table signs to the escort cards, really helped to amplify the feeling of authenticity that they wished to create for all of their guests. They even added some personal touches to the their wedding stationary; their invitations featured vintage postage stamps from Puerto Rico and their hometown of Chicago, while their menus and programs featured hand-drawn images by the bride’s sister.

Laura and Michael’s imaginative touches combined with Luis Alberto and the Dreamers team’s vision created the perfect intimate ambiance in the heart of Old San Juan. Their stunning reception even featured a real water fountain and live cigar roller, and guests were transported to an Old San Juan Plaza thanks to the lights and music of DJ Rockhand. As Michael puts it: “I felt like we had stepped back into history when we walked the halls and strolled the courtyards. It touched on our love of history. I knew that our wedding would be magical.”

For Laura, it was important to carry this theme throughout her celebrations:

I also tried to incorporate other elements of Puerto Rican culture into our wedding. We were married in Plazuela de la Rogativa, a famous plaza in Old San Juan featuring a sculpture representing how the city was saved from an English invasion. We also had a classical Spanish guitarist for our ceremony and cocktail hour, and brought in a plena band for a surprise at the end of the night! Finally, we made sure our food selection included local flavors, including green plantain soup and guanabana sorbet. Everything was so delicious!”

The day went something like a dream and guests raved for weeks afterwards. For the bride, her most memorable moment took place during a moment of calm; having stepped away from the craziness of the day and with a few moments to herself, she realized she did not care if her dress were wrinkled, if her feet hurt or if anything went wrong. For her, the day would be perfect in its entirety, as she was marrying the man she loved.

For some beautiful snaps of the day which showcase all of the couple’s hard work, take a look below:

Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz
Photography by: Jose Ruiz

Photographer: Jose Ruiz Photography / Videographer: Ferrer Video Productions / Planner: Maria Lugo / Decor: Dreamers by Luis Alberto / Dress: Junko Yoshioka / Shoes: Angela Nuran / Hair and Makeup: Didi Saldana / Ceremony Venue: Plazuela de la Rogativa / Ceremony Music: Pancho Irizarry / Reception Venue: Hotel El Convento / Reception Music and Lighting: DJ Rockhand / Entertainment: Yuvi Plena / Cigar Roller: Don Antonio / Cake: D'Lights Cakes