The wedding industry is great because it is made of people with different stories. Different stories about how people got started. Different stories about how they celebrate weddings. Different stories about where they came from and what their businesses mean to them. The sights, sounds, and range of traditions we all get to help tell bring us together and closer as a community. And today, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we wanted to bring the WeddingPro community a little closer together as we celebrate the LatinX stories. Read on to learn more about these stories of past, present, and future—and how they make our industry a more joyful place.
Mercedes Ibarra from Rev. Mercy Ceremonies
I’m most proud of being the daughter of hard-working Latinx immigrants. My parents each left everything and everyone they knew behind in Cuba in order to make a better life for themselves and their families. They both worked hard at blue collar factory jobs in order to make sure my brother and I had everything we needed to succeed. Within their means, they put us both through college—even supporting my brother through his doctorate.
One of the major ways I infuse my brand and my business with my heritage is through the Spanish language. I write custom ceremonies for my clients, in both English and Spanish. This is another thing I’m proud of—my parents insisted that we only speak Spanish at home. Thanks to this, I’m able to create beautiful ceremonies that flow easily between the two languages.
One of the things I love most when performing ceremonies for my Latinx clients is seeing the look of recognition, relief, and joy in their parents and grandparents eyes the moment I start speaking Spanish and they realize that they are going to be able to understand their child’s wedding ceremony. I know what that’s like. I’ve spent my whole life translating for my parents. For parents and grandparents to be able to understand everything being said during such an important milestone is priceless.
My heart is also happy when, because of my personal experience and my Interfaith seminary training, I’m able to bridge the gap between a couples’ more modern spirituality and their parents’ religious traditions. I love when parents are pleasantly surprised by how meaningful a non-church wedding can be.
Fun fact—I’m a professional Flamenco dancer and teacher. I currently teach at an arts high school and as a guest teacher in elementary schools.
Osiris Rojas from Modern Love Productions
Hispanic Heritage month is a beautiful time to stop and think about how far we’ve come as Latinx people in the U.S and celebrate our stories and culture. As a company co-founded by an immigrant from Venezuela, we are proud that our company ethos is centered on inclusivity and highlighting diverse and often underrepresented love stories. Being based in Miami, we get to capture the beautiful and diverse wedding traditions of Latin America on film. Whether it’s an Hora Loca, a Mariachi, or a special song, we love incorporating these elements into our films to highlight our beautiful Latin American culture. Many times, the weddings we film are entirely in Spanish, and we are so happy our couples trust us to tell their stories meaningfully. While we are grateful for Hispanic Heritage month and the celebration of our stories and contributions, we must continue to shine a light on Latinx people throughout the year.
Karin Webster from Blue Bonsai Printing
Many people think I am not Hispanic because I don’t “look” Hispanic. But I am a proud Puerto Rican woman. My mother was the first member of her family not born in Puerto Rico. We are a feisty bunch! All of the women in my family taught me that a strong woman was to be celebrated and that “tenacity” is a good word. I truly would not be the woman I am today without all the proud and strong Puerto Rican women in my family. My heritage is in my business because it is in me. I have also been able to connect with couples on a different level because I understand some of the traditions firsthand.
Personally, I am most proud of my children. They are the reason I was put on this planet, and they are my everything—my husband and I are blessed. Professionally, I am most proud of the fact that I went from side hustle to full time in my business in under 2 years. I have poured blood, sweat, and a lot of tears into it and having it give me an income (but also the freedom to be a very present mom) is the best gift ever.
My heritage is one of the reasons I love weddings so much. With family all over the country, usually the only times we got together with the entire family was for a wedding. I always looked forward to a cousin’s wedding as a kid because I knew they were going to be fun, and we would be seeing lots of family. We celebrated love, the love of the couple but also the love of all those in attendance. The weddings were always full of laughter, and it really made my heart happy. I take those wonderful feelings and it makes me so excited for every couple I work with knowing I have a part in their lovely day, and I wish for all of them to truly have the best day ever.
Karla Solórzano from Kiss and Say I Do Events
I am proud of a few things. I am proud to be a female Venezuelan entrepreneur and I am so grateful to this country for allowing me to make my dreams come true. I am also proud to have helped hundreds of couples bring their dreams to life and be the witness to a once-in-a-lifetime moment. I love to see all my favorite things in one room: love, family togetherness, cultures, and traditions when it comes to weddings.
I specialize in the modern and fun couple that wants to incorporate important traditional elements from their culture into their wedding with a modern twist. Those small details are the ones that will make a wedding unique and really meaningful. To me, it is very important to serve and help couples that are first, second, or even third-generation LatinX because I understand and appreciate what it is like to protect your culture and to share it with others.
In my day to day, eating Venezuelan food and listening to our music brings me back home—and fills my heart with joy!
Oyuki Segura from Milly’s Custom Gifts
Starting a business was never in my plan. Being a first generation American, all I ever thought about was going to school, getting good grades, starting a career, and living that American dream. I didn’t realize how much owning my own business would allow me to infuse my heritage. So, what I am most proud of is starting. A lot of times we forget how hard it is to start something and how scary that first step is because we want to be perfect. I want others to know you don’t have to be perfect just start, and it’s okay if you have bumps in the road—we all do. One day you’ll look back at it and love that you did the process your way, whatever that looks like.
People often say I’m extra because of my Latin background and that’s okay—I like being extra and my customers want their event to be extra too. My family always had big parties with lots of decorations and people so it’s normal to me and I want to bring that to others at their events.
One last thing—my name, Oyuki, came from a novel (a Cuban Soap Opera), so my heritage is in everything I do because once I introduce myself everyone is always expecting someone of Asian descent, and I get to tell them about my unique name.
José Rolón of José Rolón Events
As a Latino (or Latinx) who grew up in the projects in a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood, I’m proud to have worked hard against adversity and created not only a successful business, but one that’s very rooted in my culture—which is celebration. Whether you’re walking into your local bodega or heading to an underground club in East Harlem, everything is filled with color, music that makes you move, and food that makes your mouth water!
Whether it’s my event I’m producing or attending as a guest, the dance floor is my happy place. The goal is to always feel the music in my bones. And if it’s a live Salsa or Meregue band, it’s a wrap and you’ll have to drag me off until the very last song! So, it should come as no surprise that I want all of my events to end on a high note. I will always plan a La Hora Loca (the Crazy Hour) which is really a party-within-the-party. I like to dim the lights and bring out more color, noise-makers, confetti, lights, and performers to keep the energy up and end on a high note.
My proudest career moment to date was being able to plan and design an Afro-Latin themed event for the 10th annual NYC Wish Upon a Wedding which was one of the last great industry parties before COVID hit us all.
Photo Credit: EkaterinaSid/Shutterstock.com