Mason McCollough had a crush on her friend Bianca’s cousin, Michael Martinez, for years, just by seeing family photos. When they finally met at Bianca’s New Year’s Eve party, the connection was instantaneous. The pair continued their relationship and planned a backpacking trip through Europe together. Before leaving for their vacation, Michael took Mason’s family out to dinner, asking her parents for their blessing to propose. Though he knew he would pop the question on their journey, he wasn’t sure exactly where. Then, at the behest of his beloved, the couple sojourned to visit the Neuschwanstein Castle near Füssen, Germany, known as the inspiration for the castle in Sleeping Beauty. Mason and Michael toured the building and rode in a horse-drawn carriage before making their way to the nearby lake, featuring crystal-clear water and swans. “We sat and talked for almost an hour,” shares Mason. Her sweetheart then said he had a surprise for her, and presented a stunning engagement ring. “It could not have been more fairy tale-like or romantic.” 

The mother of the bride proved very useful during the planning experience. “My mom has worked as a wedding florist for a long time and she has always had an amazing talent for design and planning; she really guided me through the whole process,” Mason explains. The ceremony featured white and soft blush florals, while the reception popped with brighter shades of coral, peach, purple, and pink – with some tables adorned with verdant green garlands. “The style was romantic-traditional, with lots of texture,” notes the bride. 

Though the alfresco reception was absolutely stunning, the lovebirds put the most effort into planning the vow exchange. “It’s the reason for the whole evening to take place,” Mason muses. They included a unity candle ceremony with their mothers, and a unity veil with their cousins. Younger cousins of the groom read from scripture and a close friend officiated. “To us it was the most important part of the whole day and putting in the extra time and details into the ceremony made it feel like just that,” she adds. 

The father of the bride planned much of the live music for the celebration, and the newlyweds had one of their favorite DJs perform for the reception. In honor of the groom’s Cuban and Colombian heritage, they made sure to have a blend of Salsa and Latin tunes played throughout the night. As lovely as the first dance to “Pools” by Glass Animals was, a different dance proved to be more memorable. At the end of the evening, a final song by Al Green was played for just Mason and Michael, with no one else in the ballroom. “It was such a sweet moment to be alone together in this beautiful room, that had been filled with all of our closest friends and family all night, and to pause and soak up everything that had happened before making our exit,” reflects the bride.