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yosemite-national-park-wedding-proposal-brooklyn-bridge-same-sex-couple

Yosemite National park wedding | Proposal on Brooklyn Bridge

We have loved interviewing Francesco and Joseph all about their love story. This gorgeous gay couple met when they moved to the Caribbean and were introduced by friends. The rest was history.

Who Francesco Laterza and Joseph Hinojosa
Where Yosemite national park and San Francisco botanical gardens
Guests 40

Budget

Initial was $40,000 but it ended up being closer to $75,000

How did you meet?

Joseph and I both met in medical school. Joseph grew up in Texas and I grew up in New Jersey. It took us both to move to the Caribbean to cross paths. It was the second day of my arrival when we met at one of the two local bars on the island. My first impression of Joe was that he was this cute boy from across the bar who was very outgoing and seemed to be very fun. A friend of mine that I met that day saw me looking at him and she introduced us. He and his friends were already planning a beach party that he invited me to and from then we started off as friends. Our relationship quickly grew stronger as we spent every waking hour together (mostly studying). We learned more about each other very quickly (spending 12-16 hours with someone will do that) and after just a few short months together, it felt like we’ve known each other our entire lives. We’ve been together for 8 years now and haven’t looked back.

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How did he propose? 

Joseph and I were discussing purchasing rings together around 4 years into our relationship. We both knew we wanted matching bands with plenty of diamonds. We never truly discussed who would propose to whom, but I just knew he wanted to be proposed to. I started brainstorming ideas of how to propose. He mentioned multiple times how the Brooklyn Bridge was one of his favorite architectural bridges in the world. We also both moved around a lot throughout medical school and I wanted our proposal to have elements of our 5 years together. When we unexpectedly moved to Philadelphia in 2018, and I took advantage of our proximity to NYC to include the Brooklyn Bridge in the proposal. Our first joint apartment was in Miami and we lived in a building with a restaurant called Sugarcane. Joe recently
visited Brooklyn and told me that Sugarcane opened up a second location in Dumbo, overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge. With this new information, I was able to formulate a plan.

His birthday is in December and I luckily had a rare weekend off during residency. I purchased us tickets to see a Broadway play for his birthday so we would have an excuse to visit NYC. A college friend of mine works as a stage manager throughout the city and I asked her if she knew any freelance photographers. Miraculously, her current boss, Lloyd, was a freelance photographer! He was incredible, and even scoped out the perfect spot on the bridge to include the NYC skyline in our proposal photos. We shared locations that evening so I would know exactly where he was and he could follow our progression over the bridge.

I booked us a hotel right at the entrance of the bridge on the Manhattan side. I told Joe I had a plan for us to walk the bridge over to Dumbo so we could have dinner at Sugarcane for his birthday since we’ve missed the food since our move from Miami. I asked Joe to bring his camera (he loves photography) so he could take a picture of the NYC skyline at our walk. Little did he know, the spot I planned to have him turn around to take the picture was exactly the spot where Lloyd was waiting for us.

When Joe turned back around, I was down on one knee with his ring. Despite having the rings already, I still caught him by surprise. To this day we both have no idea what I said but we know he said yes! Lloyd captured the entire moment, and Joe was quite confused as to why some “stranger” was taking pictures of us.

We proceeded to complete our walk across the bridge and arrived at Sugarcane for dinner. Joe thought I made a reservation for just the two of us, but waiting there, were our friends to celebrate the night with us. We spent the remainder of that night eating, drinking, and dancing with those we loved in celebration.

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What was important to you when you started planning your wedding?

We both knew that we wanted to keep the wedding small due to the pandemic and Joe wanted
beautiful and dramatic pictures. His vision came to fruition with our wedding photos in Yosemite,
the similarly natural ceremony at the botanical gardens, and beautiful flower arrangements to
complement our tablespace.

In three words describe your wedding style

Elegant, Boho, intimate

Was there anything that you did that was a little different to the ‘norm’ for your wedding?

Well having two grooms would be considered “different” (though hopefully not for too much
longer).

In all seriousness, our entire wedding itinerary strays from the wedding norm. Rather than
having a one day event, we spent 2 days in Yosemite national park with just ourselves, our
photographer, and our officiant to take dramatic photographs. The ceremony was outside at the
San Francisco botanical gardens under a large sequoia tree. We had our small and intimate
dinner reception at Foreign Cinema and we ended the night with a Drag show. Also, my suit was
pink!

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How did you personalise your wedding day?

As described above, the days leading up to the wedding and the ceremony itself was
quintessentially us. We both love nature, hiking, and a flare for the dramatic. When choosing our
vendors, we consciously chose to employ female owned companies since we’ve both avid
believers of equality. Since our guest list was small and only composed of our closest friends and
immediate family, in our wedding invite we included a color palate and images for suggested
styles for everyone to wear. We wanted our pictures to show a cohesive color and style theme.
We had our suits custom made as well. We wrote our own vows and our officiant was our first and
one of the closest friends we met in medical school so her words were also specific to us. Lastly,
for the reception, we chose two tequila based signature cocktails names after our pets and our
wedding cake looked more like art than a cake (but still tasted amazing, something I was unwilling
to compromise on).

What were your save and splurge items for your wedding?

  • Splurge – The photographs, dinner, and tablescape
  • Save – We made our invites and welcome boxes (yes boxes, not bags) ourselves. The welcome
    boxes were made while we were in Yosemite between shooting pictures. We couldn’t fit 25 fully
    made boxes in our two suitcases and the large shipping box we brought with us on the plane.

What was the most difficult part of planning your wedding? And the most fun? 

The most difficult was definitely the final tiny details within the two weeks leading up to the
wedding and navigating the ever changing pandemic restrictions. San Francisco was one of the strictest cities in terms of mandates. Thankfully all of our guests were fully vaccinated and it eased our stress a bit. We are both doctors, so on top of finalizing the details of a cross country we both were working almost 2 weeks straight in the hospital due to the pandemic.

The most fun for me was definitely traveling to San Francisco for food and cake tasting. Joe loved sketching the design of the alter, choosing the flowers, and picking out the rentals for our tables and alter.

What did you use to plan your wedding?

We hired our amazing and wonderfully competent wedding planner, Carrie with Boheme Events.
Our wedding would NOT have happened without her! She took away so much of our stress and
we always available if we needed her. We are so blessed to have had her, and lucky to have
made a new lasting friendship.

Did you DIY anything, or have family and friends help?

We made our own wedding invites, which were mailed out to each guest in a box. We have a
video that would explain how they look much better than I can describe them. We also made our
wedding gift boxes – Joe wanted to keep the same theme. Inside, we included a SF tote, a
postcard, a bottle of wine, bottled waters, ibuprofen, and Pedialyte. Lastly, my cousin is very
skilled with a Cricut and she created our wedding sign lettering. Joe and my mom finished up our
wedding sign the evening before our ceremony.

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yosemite-national-park-wedding-proposal-brooklyn-bridge-same-sex-couple

Did lockdowns have any effect on your plans, did you have to postpone, change any of your plans
or reduce your guest list?

We did initially have to postpone our wedding for a year. We were engaged in December 2018
and planned for our wedding in spring 2020, but clearly that had to be delayed due to COVID.
While the pandemic was improving, San Francisco still had very strict mandates, such as proof of
full vaccination to enter hotels, restaurants, and any building. We also dropped our guest list of
around 200 to 40. We invited the other 160+ people via Zoom so they could at least watch from
afar.

yosemite-national-park-wedding-proposal-brooklyn-bridge-same-sex-couple

What advice would you share with others planning their Big Day? 

When creating a plan, do not make it concrete because things can change frequently. Staying
open minded and adapting with changes while keeping your stress down is imperative.
EVERYONE should have a wedding planner. It was completely necessary for us. Carrie made the
days leading up to our wedding as stress free as she could and our wedding day ran smoothly. She
made sure we always had a drink in hand and that we had our dinner and cake.

Do you have any regrets, what would you change, if anything?

The day was absolutely perfect, so despite going over budget immensely, we regret nothing. The
only thing we would change would be the welcome reception we held for our guests at the hotel. It
was great getting everyone we love the most together (some people we haven’t seen for over 2
years) but the passed food was much smaller than we had thought. Many people were still hungry
afterwards and ordered or went out for food afterwards.

yosemite-national-park-wedding-proposal-brooklyn-bridge-same-sex-couple

Where did you go for your honeymoon?

We have not gone on our honeymoon yet, but are planning to either go on a USA national park
tour or fly to an island (such as Seychelles) to do absolutely nothing besides spending time with
one another on a beach. We’re very aware that these are two wildly opposite ideas but we think it
sums us up perfectly.

If you enjoyed this blog, we would love to see yours too, just submit your details through this form. We love to feature all weddings including same sex weddings, elopements and civil unions, and would love to hear what makes yours unique!

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CREDITS
Photographer Rylee and Co
Venue San Francisco botanical gardens and Foreign Cinema in the West Gallery

Wedding planner Boheme Events
Catering & Event Planning Foreign Cinema
Makeup Raven Reed Makeup
Attire Ravi Sehgal
Rings Zales
Flowers Enchantment Floral
Wedding Cake Danielle M Estrella
Rentals Theoni and Casa de Perrin

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