Love is an undeniable force. I feel like I’ve always known that, but it was during the process of working with Fiona and Tony that Whit and I both learned how much that sentiment rings true. It breaks down barriers. From the moment Fiona and Tony reached out, we knew that we had to be a part of their wedding day. Their story hit us right in the heart and we could see just how much these two had been working to overcome. Their story alone is remarkable. To better illuminate their challenges as a couple, below is an excerpt from Fiona’s initial inquiry:
“Antonio and I met when I was studying abroad in the Dominican Republic. He was friends with the professor who ran my program, and we were both invited to a party at my professor’s house. When I first saw Tony, I thought he was the most beautiful thing ever. When he opened his mouth and said that he was a law student who specialized in women’s rights and family violence law, I fell in love. I went up to talk to him immediately and offered him a drink, which was very unusual for a woman to do in the Dominican Republic. We started dating immediately, and after a year, we decided to get married.
However, just before we started to apply for a visa for Tony to come to the United States, the Constitutional Court of his government passed a ruling that denationalized 210,000 children of Haitians who were Dominican citizens, which meant that Tony was now stateless. This became a challenge for us to overcome. Over the next few months, we did everything we could. We even paid bribes. Finally, Tony was able to apply for Haitian citizenship and succeeded. This afforded him the passport he would need to come to the United States. Then we began the very long US visa process which is only now coming to an end. Tony is finally coming to the United States.”
As you can see, it’s been a long and hard process for these two. The important thing is that with love and resilience, they refused to let anything keep them apart. Love can overcome anything. From adversity, to cultural differences, nationalities, race, geographic location, sex, and so much more – If we believe in love and allow it to work, great things are possible.
Their wedding was incredible, too. To see how their family and friends came together to make all of this happen was so special to witness. Fiona’s aunt, an Eastern Mennonite, brought along her daughters who joined in with the wedding party to not only create, but set everything up. For months, she even grew grass in individual pots for table placements. And, as you can see from the details, the focus was on the destinations of North America and the Caribbean.
When I say everything was done in house, I mean that. From the food/catering, which was performed by a close friend from the family’s church, to the florals that were put together right on location by a lifelong friend of the family, all that we witnessed blew our minds. And the home itself? Oh my! There’s so much history to this home. The interior walls are actually the original exterior walls of a Gettysburg barn built during the Civil War era. And to think this is where Fiona and her siblings enjoyed their childhood? Ahh! It would make anyone who’s a kid at heart just a little envious. From the ladders that go all the way from the first floor to the third, to the hideaway beds built into the walls, and more, this place is truly magical. Add in the vast woods and private pond, it’s a dream land.
Another really neat aspect about the wedding was the ceremony. It was held in a meadow on the property, which was a short five minute walk from the house. This is the meadow where both Fiona’s father and grandmother are buried. So, in essence, they were still there with Fiona and Tony. Pretty cool, right? We know!
One of the sweetest aspects of the day happened after the ceremony ended when Fiona and Tony, along with their wedding party, led all the guests back to the house in a parade of song. 75 people marching through the woods, being led by the newlyweds singing “Siyahamba”. Absolute magic!
Last, even though Tony’s family wasn’t able to make it to the US for the event, he was surprised with a very special video of his loved ones sending their well-wishes and congratulations. To see how this struck him, I don’t think there was a dry eye around. This man, he has a lot of love in his heart. It’s so evident, too. And, really, the whole bunch – From Fiona and Tony, to Fiona’s mother, siblings, and all of their friends and family – These people live and thrive off love. We felt it the entire time we were with them. It was just special. That’s the best way to put it at the end of the day. It was… special!
We could very literally go on for hours about how great this day was and what an honor it was to be a part of it, but we know y’all are eager to see the photos, so we will let them take it from here. Thanks again to Fiona, Tony, their friends and family, for a weekend that we will never, ever forget. Congrats you two!
Be sure to leave Fiona and Tony some love in the comments/LIKES section below!
Take care and talk soon!
-Aaron & Whit