In honor of the holiday, we wanted to pay tribute to the red, white, and blue and those who continue to serve. We couldn't think of a better way to do that then to show Felix and Rachel's military wedding. Since Felix was deploying less than two weeks after their wedding, the couple embraced the true meaning of marriage and cherished every moment of the day even more so. As Felix is still deployed, these beautiful photos captured by Billie-Shaye Style help Rachel through their time apart. Keep scrolling to see our favorite moments of their amazing day!
Tell us about your engagement!
Rachel: It was November 9th and I was preparing for a Military ball that my then-boyfriend, Felix had asked me to. I was nervous because I would get to meet all of his co-workers and I wanted them to like me. Felix seemed oddly nervous, but he was looking super cute in his uniform. My mom and I had gone to the White Room and bought the most beautiful red, Sherri Hill dress. I felt beautiful, but showing Felix my entire look made me feel like I was floating on cloud nine. Felix had made sure that I had my nails done and that a hair stylist had done my hair in an up-do. When I walked out onto the porch to see Felix, he immediately grabbed my hand and told me that I looked very beautiful. He then proceeded to walk me around my parents yard for pictures. He was so concerned with making sure we had enough pictures.
I (being the brat I am) started to get antsy and wanted to go inside. Just when I turned to go inside, Felix dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him. Then he proceeded to put the ring on my right hand, before I even had a chance to answer (he is so cute). I guess he was confident in getting the answer he wanted, but he had a reason to be- he is my best friend and I don't want to live a day without him by my side. I said yes a thousand times over and couldn't stop smiling or showing my ring off the entire night. Our engagement was "storybook material" or a "fairytale", but it was perfect for me. We didn't have a helicopter or a hot air balloon, but I had the man of my dreams on one knee. For the rest of the night, Felix introduced me as his fiancé and the way his face let up every time he said it made my heart glow with love.
What was your vision for your wedding?
Rachel: Our vision for the wedding was centered around our love for each other and our families. Felix comes from a Spanish background and I come from a "country" background. We wanted our wedding to set the example for the rest of our lives by combing the two cultures into one beautiful mesh. Our reception was filled with both Spanish music and "American" style music. It was important for Felix and I to embrace each other's background and culture. Our rehearsal dinner was Dominican-style food and my entire family (50+ people) LOVED the food. It brought us all together and set the tone for the most perfect day. Another aspect that we wanted to incorporate was Felix's military background. Felix's dad had recently retired from the US Army and both Felix and his brother, Omar, were enlisted in the Army as well. Some our favorite pictures are of Felix and his Dad's medals and patches. Felix would be leaving for a deployment less than two weeks after our wedding, so the entire day was centered around embracing each other for as long as we could with the military theme in the background.
What was your theme and what inspired it?
Rachel: Felix and I went antiquing almost every single weekend from the day we started dating. We love looking at vintage and antique items. This love for antiques incorporated into our wedding theme. We wanted our wedding to be characterized as "vintage, classy". We spent months going from state to state, antique store to antique store looking for brass candlesticks, trinkets and candleholders.
Can you share any special moments or highlights from your wedding day?
Rachel: There are so many special moments from our wedding day. Mainly because we both agree that it is by far the best day of our lives. Three huge moments stick out to me that keep me going from day to day. My grandfather, aka "Gaga", is a man who I have always admired. He is kind, gentle and wise. But one thing most people don't know is that he loves to dance. A week before the wedding I called him to see what kind of music he would like for us to play. He immediately said that he would love to hear Fats Domino play. You best believe we played Fats Domino. When the song came on, he started dancing immediately. When I noticed what was going on, I ran to him. My grandfather and I danced to the song throughout its entirety. My grandfather smiled ear to ear the entire song and I had the time of my life dancing with him. That memory means the absolute world to me. Billie Shaye, being the awesome woman she is, and my videographers caught it all on video and camera. I now have the picture framed on my desk at work.
The second memory that we love is Felix's family teaching my family and friends how to dance to Latino music. Felix's aunt and Mom danced with my brother Austin and uncle Ted. The bridal party and families formed a huge circle and we had the best time dancing with teach other and showing our dance moves. There was not a frown in the entire room. I remember taking a quick second to look around the circle at my friends and family. In that moment, I couldn't help but think that I was truly the luckiest girl in the world. The theme of the dancing began the phrase, "one more song" as Felix and his groomsmen yelled it over and over until almost 1 am. Our amazing DJ, Barry Appling stayed the entire time and kept the dance floor hot.
One thing my photographer, Billie-Shaye, is great at is listening to what the couple wants (among about a million other great things). One thing Felix and I had said we wanted was to have a few moments to enjoy each other's presence without the chaos of the day. Billie-Shaye took it a step farther and brought us to a serene hill top after our ceremony so that we could embrace each other and enjoy the small moments of the day. She snapped a few pictures along the way and they are absolutely beautiful. When we reached the hill top, Felix squeezed my hand and said, "We did it baby girl."I remember looking into his big brown eyes and being so thankful that he felt I was worthy of his love. I will forever be thankful for Billie-Shaye for giving us those few minutes to take a deep breath together and be happy in our bliss.
What are some tips you can share with other brides planning their weddings?
Rachel: My biggest piece of advice is to never lose sight of what a wedding is about. While all of the activities and events are great, the wedding day is about marrying your soul mate. I made sure to remind myself of that daily. One of my famous phrases was, "at the end of the day, we will be married even if the details are perfect". This helped me keep calm and not be a "bridezilla". On the wedding day, we had several things go wrong. My wedding vows got lost, Felix left his vows, a groomsmen didn't have a tie and a few other small things. My biggest piece of advice is having someone to ward those wedding day worries/mishaps off for you.
I had communicated with my photographer and some of my bridesmaids that I didn't want to know of anything that went wrong. I didn't know about any of the mishaps until after we were already married. My day was absolutely perfect and my wedding team made sure to keep it that way. Some brides struggle with the question of whether or not they should get a videographer. My personal opinion is that my wedding day would not be the same without it. My videographer, Glacier Point Weddings, were absolutely amazing. They captured every moment perfectly and went above and beyond to make the most perfect video. They even contacted my husband months after the wedding, while he was deployed, to get footage of him to insert into our video. Felix has been overseas for five months and I watch our wedding video at least three or four times a week. It keeps me going on the hardest day. I simply can't say enough about both my videographer and photographer.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about your wedding?
Rachel: As mentioned above, I had an absolutely amazing videographer. Also, Felix and I did not do a "traditional" first dance. Instead we did a mashup of his favorite Latino song and my favorite slow song. It was so much fun and people loved it!
We'd be lying if we said these wedding photos weren't pulling at our heart strings. Such a gorgeous day! Thank you so much, Felix for being courageous and serving our country. Thank you, Rachel for being a strong woman and for sharing more about your day. And thank you to Billie-Shaye Style for sharing this military wedding with us!