Seven years after Dr. Richard Shillabeer and Mr. Freddy Lopez first met on the Caesars Palace Boardwalk in Atlantic City over Thanksgiving Weekend, they welcomed friends and family to their luxurious Los Angeles wedding, which took place on the same holiday weekend.
“We always knew we wanted to be married, [so] we discussed and planned how it would all unfold,” shares Freddy. First, Richard asked Freddy; then, they purchased their rings; and to come full circle, Freddy asked Richard. They spent the next year and a half enjoying their engagement and planning their dream celebration with a trusted team of wedding professionals.
Two days after Thanksgiving, the couple’s 250 guests gathered for the fall fête at a stunning venue in Downtown LA. “Vibiana was the first and only venue we visited. The history of the building and architecture spoke to us both,” shares Richard of the former cathedral. The grand event began with a picturesque ceremony uniting Richard and Freddy in marriage. The incredible marble altar of the venue was decorated with towering tree-like arrangements cascading with ivory blooms, which also adorned the base and marked the entrance to the aisle.
Following the ceremony, the grooms changed into white tuxedo jackets for the rest of the celebration. “Our hope was to create a ‘Night Out’ with Richard and Freddy,” explains the groom. They encouraged friends and family to get dressed up, enjoy a “pre-game” cocktail, have dinner, and end the night with dancing. And since a night out with the pair is never complete without a midnight snack, traditional authentic Mexican tacos were provided to keep guests’ energy up and send them home with full stomachs and hearts.
The design of the elegant soirée was dramatic and bold, just as the couple desired. The décor focused on gorgeous white florals and lush greens alongside strong jewel tones of sapphire, emerald, and ruby, which “led the way to these amazing photos captured by Fitz Carlile,” notes Freddy. “We remember walking into the venue and feeling like we were in a different world. The team at Vibiana was amazing. I wasn’t expecting the level of service they provided. They really took care of us in a very special way.”
While filled with delicious fare and wonderful conversation, the night was not without a few standout performances – one of which being especially important to Freddy. “Being Latino, having a mariachi was important to me,” he confirms. “When we found the first LGBTQ mariachi band in the U.S. – maybe even world – we knew we had to have them be a part of our special day.” The couple also partook in a memorable first dance to “Beautiful Trauma” by Pink, followed by a shared mother-son dance to “Flashlight” by Jessie J. The entertainment also included performances by famous RuPaul’s Drag Race contestants Derrick Barry (who impersonated Britney Spears at the celebration) and Morgan McMichaels, as well as circus performances from aerialists to ribbon dancers.
The couple shares one piece of advice: “It’s difficult, but do your best to take in the day; it goes by so fast,” Richard notes. Freddy agrees, “Time flies when you’re having fun… and fun we had!”