Lisa Jo + Michael
How did you meet? We met in Italy in November 2002. Michael was in culinary school in Italy and I was traveling, meeting friends across Europe. I had a friend in the same culinary school as Michael and she was the one who introduced us. We hit it off immediately, but I had to go back to California, which is where I lived at the time. I didn't hear from Michael again until February 2003. I really thought I would never see him again because of the distance and the fact that we were at different stages in our lives. When Michael finished his culinary certificate at Apicius Culinary School of Florence, Italy, he moved back to San Diego and called me. He was going to be out of town that weekend and I already had plans in Manhattan Beach with friends. He cut his trip short and showed up in LA on Saturday morning. We went out that night and the rest is history.
Tell us about the proposal. We dated for three years before Michael proposed. He planned a cruise from Long Beach, CA, to Ensenada, Mexico. It was a three-day cruise over the New Year of 2005/2006. Michael planned all of it and I had no idea a proposal was coming. We had talked about marriage, but nothing too in-depth. He had champagne and strawberries, and all kinds of surprises on the cruise ready for me. He proposed at midnight on the top deck of the cruise ship. Right as he asked me to marry him, the foghorn blew for the New Year, so I couldn't hear a word, but I said yes anyway. Michael presented a stunning three-carat, asscher-cut diamond with over 100 micro-pavé set diamonds, that he designed himself. It was very romantic and to this day I love my ring and the memory of the proposal—foghorn and all!
What inspired the design or theme of your wedding day? This was a 10-year anniversary wedding because we did not have a wedding 10 years ago when we got married, so it felt right to give our wedding the theme “I Do Re-Do”! The theme was Italian because of how we met in Italy and because of our love for international food. We also added Asian fusion. We incorporated a lot of sparkles for the celebration since it took place on New Year’s. The guests wore sequins and fun hats with feathers. The food was all the rage as The Veranda and Chef Mike did a fantastic job with the various food stations, representing Italian and Asian fare fusion. We also had a wedding cake piñata filled with custom candy and lottery tickets to celebrate the New Year and San Antonio where we have lived for the last 10 years!
Why did you choose the venue and vendors you did? We initially thought we would have our wedding at our house! Given our guest list, we soon realized the house option wasn’t going to work. We called Jess at The Veranda and got lucky that New Year’s was still available to book. Jess and Mike and the entire team at The Veranda made the whole process easy and stress-free. The venue accommodated all of our guests, the piñata had a beautiful tree to hang from, the C-Rock Band had plenty of space to perform wtih room leftover for a full dance floor, and everyone had a wonderful time celebrating the New Year!
What were some of the most unique elements of your wedding? Michael and I had all sorts of surprises for our guests. We had a wedding cake piñata with 150 lottery tickets and custom chocolates, caricature artists, a live painting (which was a wedding/10-year gift for Michael from Lisa Jo, and a complete surprise), custom champagne glasses as favors, gold sparklers and a photo booth. Michael’s uncle, Bruce, turned 80 that night, so we sang happy birthday to him at the reception and the band kept the music going well after midnight. We had over 25 children in attendance at our wedding and they all had a blast. The parents and friends enjoyed spending a carefree night out with all of their loved ones on New Year’s!
Did anything about your wedding exceed your expectations? All of our vendors did an amazing job. Everyone worked together to make this a truly magical night. Our big day turned out to be everything we had dreamed of and more. It was extra special because we were able to celebrate with our children and with our family, some of whom traveled from across the world to be there.
What advice do you have for couples planning a San Antonio wedding? Be flexible! I had a full list of the vendors’ phone numbers and e-mails that I sent out before the wedding, so everyone could coordinate with each other. Get flowers that are in season. Wear comfortable shoes. Let the photographer tell you where to stand and how to move and what time of day the light is best. Let the caterer make his favorite dishes. Have the planner make a timeline and just enjoy the day. In the end, it will all work out and be beautiful. Remember that you are spending a special day with the people you love—the vendors will make the details work.
Tell us about all of the creative and beautiful sweets you had at your wedding. The cake was done in a silver wrapping with crystals because it was New Year’s. Lynda at Sweet Traditions incorporated three flavors—Italian crème (for Italy), citrus (for Jamaica, which we love) and chocolate because, well you know, it's chocolate! They each had fillings that complemented them. Uncle Bruce’s birthday cake was German chocolate with strawberry filling—that's his favorite. The cupcakes, made for the kids, were white or chocolate and were all eaten before midnight. The cookies were from Karen Libby with Ivy Lane Bakery. She just so happens to live across the street from me, so she's not only a very talented artist, but she is also a friend and a neighbor. She did the ring cookies in gold for our anniversary and the plaque cookies with our names in purple. The cookies are a kid favorite, but the adults loved them, too!
Your bouquet is magical! Why did you choose the colors and flowers that you did? We choose purples, greens and whites because it represents the Italian countryside where we met. The flowers and fillers were done by Angie at Evember, and comprised silver brunea berries, three shades of purple roses, purple stock, purple anemone, delphinium, dusty millers, hydrangeas and different varieties of eucalyptus.
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