Sophia + Sébastien by Leandra Creative Co

We loved having the opportunity to elope privately before having a larger wedding celebration with family (which we are still planning!) Eloping took a lot of the pressure off of planning the perfect wedding, and it allowed us to focus completely on each other and on our relationship

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…

Sophia: I work in post-production for film and TV in New York City. I’m passionate about connecting with people through storytelling. I love writing and fashion, and I enjoy going on walks when the weather is nice. I’m a terrible dancer, but I also love dancing, and one of my goals for the year is to get better at it. I love travelling, meeting new friends, and seeing new places. I’ve lived in a few different countries and am fascinated by language. I speak English and Spanish and have studied Arabic, French, and Japanese. I’m very interested in learning new things. I also love playing music. I grew up playing the piano, cello, and guitar, although I much prefer playing for myself over other people. All that said, my favourite thing to do is to spend time with Sébastien and our families and friends.

Sébastien: I am a Visual Artist from Mexico. I love painting and cooking. I find it very relaxing after a long day, and I love experimenting and creating new recipes. Sometimes they’re delicious, and sometimes not (I think Sophia will agree with me on that), but they’re always fun. I always try to live in the moment. I think many of life’s most special moments happen when you’re least expecting. I credit my French father for instilling in me the quality of good living. He taught me the importance of enjoying life’s simple pleasures, like good food, good wine, and spending quality time with loved ones. My mother is a fashion designer, so growing up, I spent a lot of time watching her work and being around creativity. She has always had a strong “live in the moment” mentality. These ideas have really influenced my approach toward my art and my personal life, and I just try to enjoy each moment as it comes, having dinner, going on a walk, etc.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?
Sophia: Sébastien and I were introduced by my grandmother, Eva, and his mother, Erica. We were both university students at the time. We met in Cancun while I was visiting over the holidays with my grandmother. Sébastien’s mother is an amazing fashion and bridal designer based in Cancun, and my grandmother is her biggest fan! Erica had introduced Sébastien to my grandmother earlier that year. I received a text from her saying she was going out with Erica, and she was bringing her “handsome son who is an Artist and a student in France,” followed by, “I want you to meet him just sayin’.” She called me after they went out and told me all about Sébastien and how wonderful he was. That winter, she brought me with her to visit Cancun, and we went out for dinner with Sébastien and his parents, as well as his grandmother, who also happened to be visiting from France. We met at a beautiful restaurant on the lagoon and spent the whole night talking and laughing. We spent the next two days together, just me and him, exploring, eating, and talking. Then I left. I had to go home to start the spring semester, but we stayed in touch. Talking every day and Facetiming every night. We did that for a year, visiting each other only a few times.

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?
Sophia: There was not a specific moment I remember thinking that Sébastien was the one I wanted to spend my life with, but I do remember that when we met, I stopped picturing life without him.

 Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it… 

Sophia: Sébastien proposed to me while we were visiting his family in Mexico. His grandmother and cousins were visiting from France, along with one of my closest friends from Spain. I had gone out for the evening with my friend and his cousin. When we came home, his cousin covered my eyes before we went inside. The whole room was lit with candles on the floor and decorated with flower petals. Everyone was dressed in white, and Erica had me change into a beautiful dress she had made and saved years ago. They made flower crowns for everyone, and even the dogs were dressed up with little hand-made hearts attached to their collars. Sébastien’s best friend was there to take pictures and celebrate with us. At the end of the room, Sébastien was waiting with the ring and a beautiful bouquet of flowers. He played our favourite song as I walked towards him and then got down on one knee. The ring was gold with a turquoise stone. His grandmother had brought it with her from France. It was a gift from her mother years ago. He asked me to marry him, and I said yes! His parents gave me a big hug. My parents and my grandmother celebrated with us over Facetime. They were also dressed up in white with their own pink flower crowns, and they made little flowered collars for their dogs and our cat. We popped some champagne and danced all night. Sébastien and I had been talking about getting married and getting engaged for a long time, but I was so surprised walking in the door that night. I never imagined such a beautiful proposal. 

Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding… 

Sophia: We were inspired by Sébastien’s parents and their love story. Like us, they are both from different countries, France and Mexico, and they met while his mom was vacationing with her family in France. They also only had a few days together when they met, and they continued their relationship for months through long-distance phone calls and writing letters. Eventually, Sébastien’s father, Emmanuel, came to Mexico to be with Erica. They moved to Cancun to start Erica’s brand, Erica Flores Designer. Not too long after, they eloped at city hall and then had a wedding six months later to celebrate with their families. I always loved their story and thought it was so romantic. 

What was one element you were happy to splurge on? 

I would say my dress, but I was so lucky to have a fashion designer for a mother-in-law I didn’t have to worry about it! The other element we were happy to splurge on was the photography. Leandra, our photographer, has a very narrative and poetic style. I loved seeing her galleries for other clients leading up to our wedding. The love that her clients shared for each other was so apparent in their photos. They all looked cool and fun, and the weddings looked effortless (although they probably weren’t). It was important to us to find someone capable of capturing that kind of love and authenticity, and I knew when I came across Leandra’s work that her style matched what Sébastien and I envisioned for our day. I love looking back on our gallery and reliving everything all over again. 

Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful  at the time)? 

Sophia: The entire day went by so much faster than I expected. I spent so much time trying to plan out the day, but some of my favourite memories came from unexpected moments. When we were leaving the park after our ceremony, we passed by an open waltzing class and had our First Dance. And, of course, the actual ceremony at the Bethesda Terrace in Central Park is a truly magical memory. There was music playing and echoing through the terrace. It was a perfect summer evening. The park was filled with people from all over the world just enjoying nature and being there together. We had a wonderful officiant, Andrea Ramos, who performed our ceremony, half in Spanish and half in English. Sébastien and I said our vows. We hugged and kissed. Then we ran around the park, taking photos and climbing up the giant rocks to watch the sunset behind the city skyline.

Sébastien: I love to think about this question whenever I look back on our special day. I had the idea that wedding days were stressful and chaotic, but ours was so perfect and stress-free. From the moment we woke up, we were so happy and excited. We played music while we were getting ready. We went to a nice brunch with Sophia’s uncles, who were also our witnesses at the ceremony. We got set up in the hotel and copied our vows onto nice paper together before heading to the park. The whole day felt fun and exciting. One of my favourite parts was running through the park with Sophia to get to our ceremony on time. The entire way through the park, people were extremely nice in congratulating us and cheering us. I felt like I was in a romantic movie. Everything was so perfect. Another favourite moment, a little cliché, but exchanging vows and watching Sophia say, “I do.” I mean, who doesn’t love exchanging vows with your favourite person and seeing their reaction as you read what you feel for them, followed by their “I do.” Last but not least, as if our day wasn’t perfect enough when we went back to the hotel, they allowed us to go to one of their private rooftops, and we were able to have an amazing view of the skyline and open a  bottle of champagne to close our day. That is something I will never forget. 

Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story? 

Sophia: I have so many favourite details! Three really special details are the wedding dress that Erica designed and made for me as well as the headband that his grandmother, Elena, made and the engagement ring from his other grandmother, Annick, which was a gift from her mother. These details were not only beautiful, but they made me feel so welcome in Sébastien’s family. Another really special detail was that I had two dresses and got to have two wedding dress fittings, one with Erica and one with my mother, Christine. She wasn’t able to go with me to fit my dress with Erica over the summer, but while I was visiting her, we went to a bridal shop to look for earrings to match my dress and stumbled upon a super cute short dress to wear after the ceremony. We had so much fun trying it on and playing with all the different jewellery and accessories. Now when I look back at my wedding photos, I remember both of those fittings and the fun we had trying on my dresses. Lastly, my uncle, Stephen Knoll, came to do my hair before the wedding and the photoshoot and was also one of our witnesses. He is a very talented hair stylist here in New York, and it was so special for me to have him do my hair for the wedding.  

The second dress that I wore at night, after the ceremony, was from the Anthropologie bridal collection, BHLDN, as well as the veil and the earrings. The shoes were from Kate Spade. 

Sébastien: When Sophia’s uncle arrived to do her hair, I went out on a quest to build the perfect flower bouquet. I enjoyed running around to various shops in the neighbourhood and buying different bouquets with the perfect flowers to match Sophia’s dress. I crafted a small bouquet which I wrapped with a white ribbon.

From Erica Flores (mother of the groom and designer of the wedding dress) about designing the dress for Sophia: Whenever I design a dress, it has to be linked to the style of the woman who will wear it. Sophie has always had, without realizing it, a style that combines femininity, elegance, and romance. It’s a dress that completely reflects her, without leaving aside the sensuality in the lace transparencies, where flowers were subtly applied. This dress was chosen for their civil ceremony, and I hope to see Sophie wearing a very glamorous, sexy, and feminine dress, as Sophie is herself, in their celebration with our families.

Sophia: If you’re considering eloping or eloping before your wedding, do it! I loved having the opportunity to elope privately before having a larger wedding celebration with family (which we are still planning!) Eloping took a lot of the pressure off of planning the perfect wedding, and it allowed us to focus completely on each other and on our relationship. Another thing to remember is that it’s important to try and enjoy the process of planning the wedding. The months leading up to our ceremony were really exciting, and I love being reminded of that time through the details of our wedding. It’s also really important to find a photographer that you connect with and value their work. We had so much fun with Leandra as our photographer because we got along really well, and she made the whole photoshoot feel fun and natural. Our wedding day went by so quickly, but having such an amazing album of photos reminds me of each moment and what an amazing day we had together.

Photographer Leandra Creative Co. Photography, @leandracreativecophoto / Celebrant Andrea Ramos with Officiant NYC, @officiantnyc / Hotel Public Hotel @publichotels / Bride’s Dress Erica Flores Designer, @ericaflores_designer / Bride’s Second Dress Anthropologie, @anthropologie / Makeup Charlotte Bourgeois, @charivariandco / Hair Stephen Knoll, @skny_usa