Cory and Steven tied the knot in the beautiful state of Colorado before heading down to Rincon, Puerto Rico for an amazing party with their family and friends. They chose the beautiful seaside venue 8th and Ocean as the location for their party. We had a chance to do some photographs on the beach and in a nearby bougainvillea garden before heading back to the party. These are their wedding photographs and a Q&A with the Groom and Groom.
When did the two of you first meet?
Cory – Thanks to the marvels of technology, Steven came across an old Yahoo personals page that I had honestly forgotten all about. I was working one day when I received an email and then we proceeded to IM daily until we were ready to meet for the first time.
Steven – 10 years ago, I was 22 and new to the dating scene. I was living and working in a small town more than an hour south of Houston. Knowing that it would be nearly impossible to find and connect with a like minded individual in my little conservative Texas town, I took to the Internet to explore the newly created World of online dating. I stumbled across Cory’s profile picture and although our profiles didn’t “match up”, I saw this lively individual that I knew could open my eyes and introduce me to a life in which I could be true to myself.
Tell us about your first date…
Cory – Steven joined me and about 8 other friends of mine at a Buffalo Wild Wings for cheap chicken drumsticks and tall glasses of beer. He was in real estate then and showed up in his khaki pants and short sleeve button down shirt. I thought he was adorable. We hit it off great and everyone thought he was just the cutest. At 22 then, he was definitely the youngest at the table. We had a great first date and then just a few days later, he joined me at a wild house party. We’ve been attached at the hip every day since…for the last 10 years!
Steven – I was having a tough day at the office when an elderly coworker of mine offered to set me up with her granddaughter. I politely declined and immediately contacted Cory to see if he would be available to meet me that evening for a much needed drink. He extended an invite to meet him and a “few friends” for wings and beer at a sports bar in the city. Being an introverted and shy country boy who had never been on a date with another man, I was shocked to hear myself respond with “I’ll be there in just over an hour.” The shock continued when I walked through the restaurant doors and was greeted by an overwhelming group 8 of Cory’s closest friends. Though not a typical date, it was the perfect first date for me. I was hooked once I saw the love and compassion that all at the table had for each other.
When did you know you were in love?
Cory – My love for Steven grew and developed into something greater than I ever knew possible. Every single day our love for each other has become bigger and bigger. I literally fall in love with him every single day.
Steven – it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment I fell in love. There was a type of love that I had felt even before we had met in person. Then there was a new love and connection on our first date. It must have been love at first sight for me, because the next week I was driving an hour and fifteen minutes to be with him everyday after work and then waking up and driving another hour and fifteen minutes back every morning.
Who popped the question and how did it happen?
Cory – Steven and I, along with our close friend Sara, all rented a little house on a river out in the Texas hill country for a weekend. Sara was expecting her first daughter soon and wanted to shop at some local outlet stores for baby furniture. Before we left for an afternoon of shopping, Steven and I walked down to the river. There was a long, and very skinny bridge of sorts that we were standing on at the edge of the water. I wanted to get on one knee, but knowing how clumsy I am, I surely would’ve fallen in the water and definitely would’ve dropped the ring! I asked Steven if he had any plans for the rest of his life and asked if he would marry me. Naturally, he said yes! He was so surprised!
Steven – We had rented a rustic cabin on a river in the Texas hill country for a weekend to celebrate my birthday. My grandmother had just passed away a couple weeks earlier and we weren’t sure whether we were up for a vacation. Cory convinced me that the trip was just the type of relaxation the we needed to cope with the loss. The morning of his proposal I could definitely feel his excitement and anxiety, but I had no idea what for. He walked me to the end of a rickety pier that extended over the San Marcus river, took my hands, and asked me if I had plans for the rest of my life and would I marry him. Of course I said yes.
Cory, what are you most excited about when you think of spending the rest of your life with your partner?
There are so many things to be excited about that it’s hard to choose just one! In the last 10 years, we’ve put together such a great and happy family. We have our fur babies (2 dogs, 2 cats…and our turtle) and we have each other. I love coming home to that. I’m so excited about what our future holds. We’ve had plenty of challenges like any couple would and we just keep getting stronger, together.
Steven, what are you most excited about when you think of spending the rest of your life with your partner?
Everyday is a new adventure. I couldn’t ask for a better companion to experience all the thrills that life has to offer. I look forward to strengthening our bond more and more and continuing to learn and grow from each other.
Cory, what does true love mean to you?
True love, for me, means having that one special person that sees you. Really sees you, with your strengths and your faults and continues to love you unconditionally. They push you to be the best of version of yourself that you can be. Steven has made me a better person. I never knew that love could be this way. I absolutely love every minute of it.
Steven, what does true love mean to you?
True love is knowing that there will always be someone standing in my corner of the ring, cheering me on through life. We will always and forever be there for each other, no matter what life may throw at us. We are better people thanks to each other.
Why did you choose to have your wedding celebration in Puerto Rico?
Cory- We had vacationed in Puerto Rico a few years back on the east end of the island in Luquillo. It was breathtaking! We knew we had to come back again!
Steven- I have a personal connection and love of Puerto Rico. My grandfather worked for Pan American Airlines and he and my grandmother raised my father and 2 aunts in Puerto Rico and Panama. I grew up hearing stories of my dad diving for lobster and fishing with my grandfather for dinner… Iguanas chasing them out from under the car they were working on together. I wanted to pay tribute to my grandmothers lavish weekly dinners and dancing on the rooftop terrace my grandfather built overlooking San Juan.
What is your favorite memory from your trip to Puerto Rico?
Cory-The best part of the entire trip was seeing how amazed all of our friends and family were from vacationing there. We continue to hear how thankful everyone is for inviting them and giving them one of the best and most memorable vacations they’ve ever had!
Steven- watching most of our guests experience Puerto Rico for the first time was priceless. The comments on how friendly the locals are, how stunning the beaches are, how amazing the food is… I will never forget this trip!
How did you find Rincon Images?
Thanks to Wilson Rios, he and the owner of the villa at 8th and Ocean, had Rincon Images listed as a direct referral for outstanding photography. We browsed through your fun photos and knew that you were a good fit. We’re so happy that we were able to capture our perfect day this way!
Why did you choose 8th and Ocean as your venue?
Cory- Little known fact about Steven…the man can research! He spent quite some time looking all over the island for the perfect location for our trip and it needed to house a lot of people! After some searching, he found Rincon. There were only a few locations in the area that could hold our guest list and 8th and Ocean was perfect for our needs.
Steven- I fell in love with the location of the 8th & Ocean and instantly knew that our reception was meant to be held on their back veranda. I wanted a beachfront venue that would allow everyone to relax and feel as if they were at their own private Caribbean villa. I wanted our guests to see a side of Puerto Rico that they would not normally be exposed to. Many in our group thought I was crazy for asking them to drive several hours away from San Juan, but I wanted to see and share with them what Puerto Rico means to me.
What was your favorite thing about your party in Puerto Rico?
Cory- The ENTIRE reception! It was absolutely perfect. We couldn’t have asked for a better guest list. The staff was superb. The DJ was awesome! Food and drinks, outstanding. We set the bar pretty high that night!
Steven- watching so many people that we love and appreciate fall in love with the island life that Puerto Rico offers. Dancing to Latin music, eating amazing island food, rum drinks in hand. I believe our guests will always remember how easy it was to slip in to the island way of life the night of our reception.
Tell us a little bit about what you did after the party, did you take any special day trips or explore any beautiful places?
Cory-To be honest, we were pretty busy from start to finish. Our favorite was our trip to La Parguera. We took a snorkeling trip and had such an amazing time! Afterwards, we finished with a trip to the bioluminescent bay. Incredible! Everyone was blown away! Steven- we had brunch at a little inn on Sandy Beach while watching several professional surfers, then laughed as 2 of our group attempted to tackle the waves. Several of our guests went on a half day fishing excursion and brought back tuna that we grilled up that night for everyone. A few zip lined, repelled, and hiked the caves while others of us toured the light house in Rincon and ventured out to the waterfall. We ended our trip with all of our guests snorkeling in la parguera and enjoying a memorable sparkling swim in the bio bay that evening.
What do you think makes for a good, life long marriage?
Communication and patience. Knowing that everyday won’t be a honeymoon and to take advantage of the little things in life. Let each other know daily how much they mean to you and let the love continue to grow and evolve.
What about your wedding party was unique and different?
We didn’t really have a traditional wedding party. We kept it, for the most part, a bit more untraditional. We really just wanted a big, catered party! Every person at our reception brought their own distinct personality and together it turned out better than we could’ve ever imagined.
Steven- we skipped many of the typical wedding traditions… The first dance, cake cutting, best man speech, etc. Our reception was more of a celebration of the joining of our family and friends rather than a celebration of just us. There were no stresses of worrying what music needs to be played when, or what time should dinner be served. We allowed the night to flow on it’s own and everything happened exactly the way we had wanted.
What advice do you have for brides and grooms having professional pictures taken for the first time?
Relax! I was a little shy at first about the whole experience. It was our first professional photography session. But after a little time, and with the coaching from Frances, it worked out just fine!
As an LGBT couple did you experience any discrimination while planning your event? Do you have any advice for LGBT friendly wedding vendors?
We actually didn’t experience any discrimination. Everyone was extremely helpful through the entire process. We did make sure that all of our vendors knew that we were a same sex couple up front, just to make sure we wouldn’t come across any issues at our event. That didn’t seem to phase any one we worked with.
When planning your wedding party what were your favorite places to look for inspiration? (you had so many fun details, I loved the insta-camera! Who came up with that idea?)
Cory-Steven handled the majority of details when it came to the planning. He wanted to make sure that we kept with the beach motif, but also to keep things simple. And lighting was key for the dinner table!
Steven- Pinterest, of course, was a go to for great ideas! I wanted something more memorable than just a guest book for everyone to sign and I thought a scrapbook of sorts would be a great idea. With a little help from Pinterest, I fell in love with the idea of taking instant photos and having our guests write personal messages to commemorate the evening. I also wanted a few momentos that people could take home, so we decorated frames with shells for each guests instant photo along with personalized do not disturb door hangers.
Looking back is there anything you would have done differently?
Absolutely not a single detail would’ve been changed. It was simply perfect.
Is there any party of your day that you wouldn’t change for the world?
We feel truly blessed that everything went so perfectly. We couldn’t have asked for a better event, location, weather, group of people, or better vendors who we now consider to be friends. Many thanks and much love to all who were involved!