While it took a dating site for Cece Gonzales and John Kemnitzer to meet, it’s not hard to imagine that they would have become a part of each other’s lives without intervention. “We lived across the street from each other, we go to the same health club, and we also have common friends – but we had never met before!” Cece exclaims. 

After dating for some time, Cece brought John to her hometown of Lima, Peru. Her beau had practiced his Spanish and took his opportunity when he was alone with Cece’s father to ask for her hand in marriage. Six months later, on a weekend getaway to New York City, John was rowing his beloved in a boat on a Central Park pond. Once he reached the middle of the body of water, he got on one knee and proposed.

The next eight months were spent planning their Chicago nuptials, which were captured by Carasco Photography. As Cece is a professional event planner, she worked with her business partner to make the day happen. Growing up in Peru, the bride had missed out on having a traditional Quinceañera to celebrate her 15th birthday, as she was born on Christmas Eve. Having always dreamed of having the celebration filled with shades of pink, she transferred this color scheme to her wedding day. “It was my wedding and Quinceañera dream at the same time,” muses the bride. The romantic hue would come across most clearly with the florals. “Kesh Events took my '50 Shades of Pink' vision and brought it to life using roses, hydrangeas, and orchids with cascading crystals and plentiful candles around the base,” Cece gushes.

Cece and John were wed in a traditional Catholic ceremony, where they lit a unity candle to represent their commitment to one another. The bride wore a tiered, ruffled ball gown with an elaborate beaded belt. Her bridesmaids matched the theme in vibrant pink dresses with a one-shoulder neckline and ruffle down the center, while the men stayed classic in black tuxedos. The nephews of the groom preceded Cece down the aisle, carrying a banner that proclaimed: “Uncle John, Here Comes Your Peruvian Princess.” In order to match Peruvian custom, the couple made sure to get a red aisle runner for the church. 

The reception was similarly filled with elements that honored the bride’s home country. Close friends of Cece participated in a “ring pull” with the wedding cake, where 12 ribbons are placed in the confection with one attached to a ring. Whichever woman pulls the ribbon with the ring is said to be the next to marry. Guests also took part in an hora loca – a “crazy hour” where every attendee is on the dance floor enjoying the music. The sister of the bride was able to surprised the newlyweds with another sample of Peru: a Peruvian Folk Dance Collage, which is a sample of the different varieties of music, dance, and clothing from each region of the South American nation. “It was such a wonderful surprise that my sister organized,” Cece affirms. “She said since the wedding could not be in Peru she would bring Peru to the wedding and she did!”