When you’re a two-time World Series champion and three-time All Star, you have access to some pretty clever options when it comes to planning an unforgettable proposal. While on a trip to Disney World, Hunter Pence – outfielder for the San Francisco Giants – told his girlfriend, YouTube personality Alexis Cozombolidis, that he had to do an interview for the theme park. “What’s your favorite moment so far?” the “interviewer” asked Hunter. “Right now,” he replied as he got down on one knee. Alexis was overcome with emotion as fireworks went off in the distance. Fitting with the bride’s career, the whole proposal was caught on camera.
“It was a dream of mine to get married in the Greek Islands, but when you marry a baseball player, that’s just not going to happen,” Alexis admits. “It’s freezing in Santorini in November!” Though she hails from Southern California and Hunter grew up in Houston, Texas, the happy couple decided to wed in San Francisco. “It’s where we met and fell in love,” the bride muses. In a move much appreciated by Alexis’ father, Hunter took Greek dancing lessons during the planning process. “My dad has only asked me for two things in my whole life: 1. Get married in a Greek church; and 2. If I have kids, to baptize them in a Greek church,” the bride explains. So, the vow exchange was held in a lovely Greek Orthodox church in Oakland.
Alexis wore an Art Deco-inspired Monique Lhuillier gown featuring beautiful silver details. Instead of a traditional veil, the dress was paired with a sheer, hooded cape, tying in the fantasy element that would emerge at the reception. Hunter teared up as his bride walked down the greenery-lined aisle with her father. “I will never forget how happy I felt in that moment and how much I loved seeing my best friend,” he shares.
The newlyweds didn’t let rain dampen their spirits as they enjoyed a cocktail hour inspired by Mamma Mia! After smashing plates, Alexis and Hunter joined their guests for traditional Greek dancing. A Mykonos-blue color palette, windmills, lemons, and olive trees helped to create the Mediterranean aesthetic the bride desired.
Entering the reception was like walking into a fantasy world, which was exactly what the couple had envisioned. As big fans of both Game of Thrones and the Harry Potter franchise, Alexis and Hunter made sure the décor embraced their interests. After all, “Marrying your best friend feels like a fantasy,” the groom adds. The tables were even named after sets of Magic: The Gathering, a trading card game that Hunter loves to play. A moss runner paired with magnifying glasses, vials, terrariums, books, and more were set on the long king’s tables.
Floating candles that alluded to the Great Hall of Hogwarts were also a favorite of the groom. In addition to magical realms, the pair is also intrigued by the concept of spirit animals. Guests sent in self-portraits before the wedding and a spirit animal reader analyzed each attendee. Everyone’s unique result was revealed on their place card, and the description was denoted on the menu.
The newlyweds took special consideration when selecting their opening dances. Close friend and fellow YouTube personality Melvin Gutierrez performed while the bride and groom shared their first dance. Hunter had suggested they take dance classes before the wedding, and though Alexis first thought it was unnecessary, she reflects, “It ended up being the best decision.”
The bride knew she’d cry if she chose a slow song for the father-daughter dance. Instead, she selected “I Wanna Be Like You” to reflect her childhood habit of singing numbers from The Jungle Book with her father. “I just melted watching her dance with her dad,” Hunter confides. “I was overwhelmed with joy to see her shine.” The groom also steered away from ballads for his moment in the spotlight with his mom. Self-described goofy, outgoing people, mother and son had a blast with “I Got It From My Mama” by will.i.am.
The joy spread by music choices didn’t stop there. A highlight of the reception was undoubtedly the surprise Hunter and his groomsmen bestowed upon the bride: a choreographed dance to “Baby” – the hit song by Justin Bieber. “I got the idea from a YouTube video,” the groom admits. However, that wasn’t the last performance of the night. The guest list not only included some current and former teammates of Hunter, but also singer-songwriter Taylor Dayne. When the DJ played her first hit, “Tell It to My Heart,” the songstress grabbed a microphone and started singing – delighting revelers. Reflects the groom, “You hear people say their wedding was the best day of their life, but you don’t understand it until going through it yourself.”