Proposals & I Dos

Mrs. September: This BOLI’s Perfect Wedding Vision Is Brought to Life

In Brides of Long Island’s Monthly “Mrs.” series, we profile some of our members’ unforgettable weddings. This month, we spoke with Ivanna Valdes about why getting her vision perfect was so important to her.

(Photo courtesy of Bee Serene Photography)

BOLI Ivanna Valdes will be the first one to tell you that having the right wedding coordinator/event planner was the key to having the most beautiful, romantic wedding. The perfect weather on June 2, 2023 helped a little bit too.

Blast From the Past

Ivanna says her husband Chris was a friend of her best friend in high school, but they never even thought about dating. A few years ago, he slid into her DMs on Instagram and “the next thing you know we’re talking every day, we start dating, and here we are!” she says.

When she got pregnant with their daughter, her mother wanted them to get married right away. But Chris said they were going to wait because he wanted to give her the special day she deserved. “I had always known we were going to get married after Penelope was born,” she explains. “But he completely surprised me by proposing in December of 2022 at the Rockefeller Center tree!”

(Photo courtesy of Bee Serene Photography)

The Perfect Vision

Even though they were going to wait until after the holidays to start planning, Ivanna says she started getting ideas of what she envisioned for their big day. Picking the venue was the easy part, as Ivanna says she always wanted to get married in her mother’s backyard. “My dad’s ashes are back there, we have a tree for him,” she says. “It was very sentimental and important for me to be near him on our wedding day.”

Once they planned the ceremony in her mother’s backyard, they found a venue close by – The Factory in Freeport. “It’s not your typical, traditional wedding venue. I wanted a more intimate and party vibe. And The Factory is a blank canvas that I could do whatever I wanted with it.” And when she walked in and saw the hardwood floors and beautiful staircase, she knew it was the perfect place to bring her romantic, boho wedding vision to life.

MORE: 6 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Wedding Planner

(Photo courtesy of Bee Serene Photography)

The Perfect Planner

The most important vendor to Ivanna was her wedding planner! “It was so important for my vision to come true with the décor – I wanted tons of greenery and to be surrounded by candles.” To bring that vision to life, she immediately reached out to Sand & Tee Events, a BOLI Preferred Vendor. “Tina went above and beyond. She decorated both my backyard ceremony and the venue. I could see how hard she was working that day, but she didn’t miss a beat. And everything came out perfect. Exactly the way I envisioned it.”

Other important vendors to Ivanna and Chris were the DJ and photographer. “It was sort of stressful finding a photographer! I didn’t know there were so many styles. But when I found Brianna at Bee Serene Photography, I knew I’d be in great hands.” Ivanna says that Brianna went with the flow the entire day, even when they were pressed for time.

And as far as the DJ? Ivanna believes having the perfect DJ can make or break your wedding. “If you want a party and everyone to stay on the dance floor, then finding the perfect DJ is going to be important.” And her DJ, with All Out Entertainment, kept their party going on all night and made sure no one was sitting down.

When it came to the rest of her vendors, Ivanna utilized that search bar on the BOLI page to get recommendations. She says all of the photos and ideas from other brides helped her throughout the planning process.

MORE: I’m a Shy Bride – How Do I Handle Being the Center of Attention?

(Photo courtesy of Bee Serene Photography)

The Perfect Day

Throughout planning, Ivanna says she and Chris couldn’t wait for the big day. “We were so ready. And as we practiced our first dance, our daughter would start humming the song along with us. It was just fantastic.”

Despite a few hiccups (getting a call the morning-of about catering was not something she was planning on!), Ivanna and Chris’ wedding day went off without a hitch. The weather was beautiful for their outdoor ceremony. And Ivanna’s sister/maid of honor took care of the catering hiccup early on, so the rest of the day was perfect.

They included their daughter as the flower girl, and as the inspiration for their signature drinks – Penelope’s Punch and Henny on the Penny. And for their table numbers, they had pictures of their favorite memories printed in black and white to share with their guests. “I wanted an elegant, classy and timeless vibe for the table numbers.”

Something that really stands out to her was when they said their own written vows. “I don’t like being the center of attention, but I knew it was important to him to write our own vows. And when we did it, it was so intimate and special. We were laughing, we were crying.” And adding their own special twist to their vows? They incorporated tequila shots! “We’re party people. We love tequila shots!”

(Photo courtesy of Bee Serene Photography)

Don’t Sweat It

As Ivana explains, there were hiccups on her big day, but she took it in stride as she knew everything would work out. “Honestly, do not stress on your wedding day! Things might not go as planned, but don’t worry about it!” She wants other brides to know that their days are going to be great. “It’s going to be your own form of perfection – so don’t sweat it!”

MORE: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

(Photo courtesy of Bee Serene Photography)

Reception Venue: The Factory in Freeport
Photographer: Brianna at Bee Serene Photography
DJ: All Out Entertainment
Photo Booth: Senso Events
Bouquets: Flowers by Mike
Hair and Makeup: Natasha at @tashathemua
Officiant: Lauren at Pop Up Vows, a BOLI Preferred Vendor
Dress: Lotus Bridal – Mineola
Wedding Coordinator/Event Planner/Stylist: Tina at Sand & Tee Events, a BOLI Preferred Vendor 

(Photo courtesy of Bee Serene Photography)