Carlye and Efren's Love Story:
Efren and I met on the first day of orientation during our MBA program at the University of Tampa. I met him in the elevator and we ended taking six out of six classes together our first semester. We started out as close friends and spent a lot of time studying together and hanging out during school events. One night, we were studying for one of our final exams, and he kissed me. After that everything changed.
Efren is such an amazing person and since we started out as friends, I wasn’t afraid to be myself around him. The day I knew I wanted to marry him was the day that I suddenly became very ill. I was sick for months, and he never left my side. He was only 25-years-old at the time, and he was completely selfless. Efren believed in the true essence of the vow “in sickness and in health,” even before we got married. He has unprecedented loyalty to his friends and family. I knew I that I would be the luckiest person on earth if he married me.
The Proposal – From the Bride:
My proposal was out of a fairytale. I am a total beach girl at heart, so Efren knew that the proposal needed to be by water. He said that we were going to Miami, and he suggested that I wear all white so that our wardrobes were coordinated for dinner. I thought he was crazy, so I wore a black shirt. We ended up driving the opposite direction, and before I knew it, we were driving up to a sailboat that was awaiting our arrival. He said that he wanted to spoil me one last time before the New Year. Efren chartered a sailboat and planned a picnic for us on the boat. He even brought my favorite Death Cab cd, which was playing in the background the whole time.
When we got to the private island, we started walking and I began collecting sea shells. Eventually, I stumbled upon a message in a bottle and I asked him if we should open it. His response was “Yes!” I didn’t know it at the time, but the captain was in on it and was actually the one who hid the bottle. He was standing behind me the whole time taking pictures, so we have the whole proposal on camera.
In the bottle was a scroll which he gave a vintage look by burning the edges, using calligraphy and tying a ribbon around it. When I opened the scroll, I found the most beautiful letter and at the end of it he wrote – “Will you marry me?” When I looked up, he was on one knee. I started crying immediately, and my response was an enthusiastic “YES!” The bottle sits on my mantle, so I can be reminded of it every day when I look at it.
The Proposal – From the Groom:
I worried about this for months; I knew it was happening, but I just never imagined how. I needed to have a good story for my grandkids when they asked me how I convinced grandma to spend the rest of her life with me.
It was definitely not an easy task, but it was nothing that a lot of research and imagination couldn’t solve. If I knew only one thing when it came to my baby, it was that there had to be water involved. So I started brainstorming and came with up different ideas, but nothing seemed to click. Until all of a sudden, one day God illuminated to me this heavenly tool called Google. That’s how I found the idea of the sailboat; however, this was a major gamble because my baby gets seasick every time she gets on a boat. The last thing that I wanted was to have her puking in the middle of nowhere or even worse, throwing me off the boat. In any case, I took the gamble and went with it. (To improve my odds, I brought some Dramamine just in case seasickness was an issue.)
When the day came, I told her to wear white because I was taking her to Miami. It only took her 30 minutes after I started driving north for her to realize I was definitely driving somewhere else. Little did she know, that I had a plan to lock her in for life that day.
We finally arrived at a marina in the middle of nowhere, and my baby was thinking I drove all the way there to go kayaking. We stepped onto a sailboat, drank wine and ate while listening to Death Cab until we arrived at a sandbar. We got off the boat and began adventuring through this island. My baby was collecting shells while I was drinking (I admit it I was getting kind of nervous). As she was looking for shells, she stumbled onto a bottle with a message inside. She opened it and started reading the message, and when she looked up there I was, down on my knees popping the big question followed by teary eyes of joy and the magic word that would change our lives forever.
Carlye and Efren held a tropical waterfront wedding, but decided to forgo the sand and seashells for a more formal affair.
“I always wanted an outdoor wedding by the water and that is something that I would not budge on, but my husband asked if we could make it a little more dressier than a beach-style wedding, as that is what they are accustomed to in his home country of Venezuela,” Carlye explained. “Once we saw the Davis Islands Garden Club, we knew it was perfect for the both of us. Also, our wedding guests were a boisterous group, so we really loved that it was a standalone venue and we not surrounded by restaurant or hotel guests that were not in the wedding.”
The bride chose her favorite color, red, to be a standout in her wedding decor.
“We incorporated red in our engagement pictures, Save the Dates and wedding invitations, so it just made sense to continue the color scheme,” Carlye said. “Besides red, I used every color under the sun (or sunset to be more specific). I wanted our wedding to feel very tropical like I was in Hawaii.”
Since she had a very specific vision, Carlye looked for a Tampa wedding florist to help create the tropical mood for her wedding.
“My wedding would not have been what it was if it weren't for the flowers. It really set the tone and ambience that we were going for. Kathy [of Northside Florist] and her team are the most kind and professional people out there. She really understood my vision from the beginning which may not have been the easiest concept to relay: elegant, yet relaxed tropical vibe, without the use beach decorations – sand, shells, etc.,” the bride explained. “The arrangements were stunning and added to the elegance of the room. Kathy was amazing to work with, and you can feel that she truly loves what she does.”
As part of Venezuelan tradition, Carlye and Efren celebrated with La Hora Loca (Crazy Hour).
“It is basically a huge party for one hour where you forget that you are at a wedding, as the traditional ideas of a wedding go right out the door. Instead, you feel like you are at a nightclub or Mardi Gras in our case. We chose to do a masquerade theme where everyone was wearing different masks that Efren’s mom had handmade in Venezuela and Argentina,” the bride shared. “I know this was more common among my Latin guests, but my American guests had no idea what was going on. A guy friend came up to me at the end of the night and actually said ‘If I don’t end up marrying a Venezuelan girl, I'd still have a Venezuelan wedding just so that I can have crazy hour!'”
Looking back Carlye said one of her most memorable moments was during her walk down the aisle..
“When I saw my husband for the first time in my wedding dress – I lost it. It was just such an emotional day.”
“Our wedding was bilingual. There are a lot of members of Efren’s family who do not speak English, so it was really important to us to have an officiant and DJ that were bilingual. Efren said parts in Spanish, and I repeated parts in English. I really felt that both our Spanish speaking family and English family felt included and a part of the moment.” – The Bride
“My wedding would not have been what it was if it weren't for the flowers. It really set the tone and ambience that we were going for. Kathy [of Northside Florist] really understood my vision from the beginning which may not have been the easiest concept to relay. The arrangements were stunning and added to the elegance of the room.” – The Bride
“The wedding was over so quickly and I was so thankful that Joe [of Roberts Imagery] was able to capture every moment. Joe is an incredibly gifted photographer and the pictures he took were unbelievable and we will cherish them forever.” – The Bride
“La Hora Loca (Crazy Hour) is a huge party they do primarily in Venezuela where you forget that you are at a wedding, as the traditional ideas of a wedding go right out the door. Instead, you feel like you are at a nightclub or Mardi Gras in our case. We chose to do a masquerade theme where everyone was wearing different masks that Efren’s mom had handmade in Venezuela and Argentina,” The Bride
What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay Brides?
Breath deep and remember what your wedding day truly represents. You put countless hours in planning and preparing, and on the day of your wedding you should just enjoy it! At that point, what’s done is done and if you let go and be present in the moment, it will end up being the best day of your life and will make all of the planning and stress worth it!
Tampa Wedding Venue: Davis Islands Garden Club
Tampa Wedding Photographer: Roberts Imagery
Tampa Wedding Planner: Sassy Soiree Event Planners
Tampa Wedding Florist: Northside Florist
Tampa Wedding Cake: Don Pan Bakery
Tampa Wedding DJ: JAM Entertainment
Tampa Wedding Dress: Brides by Demetrios
Tampa Wedding Hair: The Michele Renee Hair & Makeup Artist Group
Tampa Wedding Transportation: Blue One Transportation
Tampa Wedding Transportation: Tampa Water Taxi
We are proud to have Northside Florist as a Marry Me Tampa Bay sponsor!