**update – Danielle & Sergio’s wedding has a 2 page feature in Real Weddings Magazine!
I don’t even know where to start with this wedding. Every single thing about it was amazing. Danielle and Sergio are an amazing couple and have been through more than some people ever will. This made for one emotional wedding day. They chose to have their ceremony and reception at the Grand Island Mansion in Courtland. This was my first time photographing a wedding there and I can not say enough good things about this venue. It is exquisit. Simply stunning. It’s 24,000 square feet & 4 stories of detailed goodness. Oh my! We had full run of the place and during the reception the guests were dancing, playing pool and hanging out in the bar. The kids were in the movie theatre. Talk about fun! You also have the option of hiring a life guard should you choose to let the guests swim in the pool which is right off the lower ball room. If you are still in the venue planning mode I highly suggest that you check out Grand Island Mansion. You will not be disappointed!!!
I mentioned above that this was an emotional day. This was the first wedding I had photographed where walking down the isle had an entirely new meaning. I felt that this couples story would be best told from them so here it is:
“In January 2004 I laid eyes on my future husband, Sergio Perez II, for the first time. I worked in sales, he worked in support, and we quickly embarked on a friendship built on quirky humor and good ol’ fashioned attraction. We were simultaneously polar opposites and matching puzzle pieces. In following with the classic cliché, we entered into our “friendship” looking only for that. A casual date here and there turned into a committed relationship without either of us even noticing. I was the social butterfly, he was the quiet observer. He was my biggest fan, my most loyal supporter. We took our relationship slow, waiting five years before taking it to the next level and moving into our first apartment together. On October 2, 2009 Sergio made me the happiest woman in the world when he got down on one knee and asked me to be his forever. I had always dreamed of an October wedding. I envisioned crimson bridesmaid dresses with splashes of orange flowers, and a crisp fall day. I spent my days tearing apart bridal magazines and piecing together my vision of our perfect wedding day. I was on cloud nine, and it would’ve taken an unseen force of enormous proportions to knock me off. And an unseen force is exactly what we were hit with.
In January 2010, I came down with the flu. Except the “flu” was only the beginning; unbeknownst to me, my body was undergoing a terrible transformation inside. Over the course of eleven terrifying days, my body became progressively weaker and numb. On January 26, 2010 I was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. For completely unknown reasons (still unknown to this day), my immune system had attacked nerve pathways throughout my body, paralyzing my body from my chest down. I was hospitalized and put through a rigorous intravenous treatment of medications. This syndrome had reached into our lives and pressed the pause button.
In those first hours of my hospitalization, a stunned disbelief held us captive. My blissful dreams of walking down the aisle suddenly turned into frantic prayer that I would ever walk again, period. Instead of “What will my wedding dress look like?” and “How will I wear my hair?” I spent my waking hours wondering “When will I be able to wiggle my toes again?” and “When will I be able to write my own name?” These questions only scratched the surface of the pool of despair I was desperately avoiding sinking into; “How could this shell of my former self ever make a good wife?”
Sergio took my hand during those first frightening moments, and never let go. He took away my fears and uncertainties, and replaced them instead with his quiet strength and never-ending belief in “us”. We didn’t know it at the time, but that first night in the hospital was only the beginning of what would turn into a nearly two month hospital stay. I was transferred to a rehabilitation hospital, where I would relearn basic functions and skills. I had to relearn so many things that I’d taken for granted. I had to relearn how to brush my own hair and tie my own shoes, how to hold my own fork and take my first steps. We had an incredible hard, long road ahead of us and the entire picture of our future was unbelievable daunting. Yet somehow, this long, hard road became an inspiring and uplifting journey for us both. I found in myself a strength and perseverance I wasn’t aware even existed. We found in each other a dedication and loyalty that was tested and found to be strong and unbreakable. Sergio’s incredible humor and positivity kept my spirits happy and my motivation to heal high. Side by side we fought to conquer the tremendous battle that had halted us in our tracks.
With our spirits high and our resolve strong, my healing followed suit. Together we experienced the deliriously happy moment that I wiggled my toes for the first time. We cheered like maniacs at my therapy graduation. We rode in awe on the drive home from the hospital, as if we were seeing sunlight for the first time. We felt as if we’d been given a second chance at happiness, and my hopes to “one day walk again” turned back into excitement at the idea of “WALKING down the aisle”.
After an incredible and overwhelming 2010, our struggles and triumphs culminated into an undeniably magical April 16, 2011. As I stood at the start of the aisle, and saw the unbelievably strong and courageous man waiting for me at the altar, I experienced a sense of serenity and peace. Here was a man who I was about to exchange vows with, who had already proven to me a willingness to stand by my side through it all, sickness and health, good times and bad. I cannot even say I walked down the aisle, it most surely felt more like floating. On April 16th, I married my best friend, my soul mate, my champion. I vowed to be for him what he has been to me, a constant source of strength and happiness. While the road to our wedding day was paved with its share of struggles and trials, the path to our future is filled with promise and love!”
Now wipe those tears away! 🙂 There are tons of amazing photos that are even better to look at now that you know the history! (credits are at the end of the post)
I can not thank my second shooter Katie enough for all of her help! This day would not have been possible with you!!!!
Photography by – White Daisy Photography
Second shooter – Katie Elmer Photography
Venue: Grand Island Mansion
Food: Grand Island Mansion
DJ: Sonny Gallardo w/ Exquisite Entertainment
Flowers: Jackie’s Flowers
Hair: Carolyn Zamorano — Sergio’s cousin
Makeup: Stacey Hinchman — MAC Cosmetics
Wedding Dress: & Bridesmaids dresses (jade) — David’s Bridal
Tuxes: Men’s Warehouse
Dress Hanger: Etsy — rockabuycreations
I Do Stickers: Etsy — yourhappilyeverafter (seller)
Rings: Mine — Fred Meyer, Serg’s — Kay Jewelers
Cake: Grand Island Mansion