After going on her fair share of forgettable blind dates, Maria Becker began to wonder if her Prince Charming would ever come along. Then she met Lonnie, a man who shared the same core values as her father; he was smart, masculine and a jack-of-all-trades. The two became fast friends.
Soon after that, love blossomed.
“He’s patient, kind, soft-spoken, and in touch with his emotions,” Maria says. “We got into a lot of in-depth conversations about life, love and relationships.”
Lonnie knew early in the relationship that he’d like to blend their lives. He decided to pop the question outside the church they attend, where there is a statue of Mary with a seating area and flowers. It’s a great place to pray, and since Lonnie knew just how important Maria’s faith was to her, it was also a great place to propose.
“It was perfect!” Maria says.
After getting engaged, the couple met with Maria Gossard of Maria Gossard Designs.
“She was like our Fairy Godmother. We’d tell her what we liked, and she created something beyond our expectations,” Maria says.
For starters, Gossard designed a monogram using the letters of both of their first names, making the L sturdy and strong and the M whimsical with loops through it to represent their personalities.
The couple invited their guests to don formal attire for their evening nuptials. At first, some people were apprehensive about stepping out of the sweats they’d been wearing during the pandemic! But the guests were soon sporting new dresses and even tuxes.
The pair, who live in Loveland, tied the knot on June 26, 2021, at St. Rose Church in downtown Cincinnati. When Maria arrived for the ceremony, the church bells rang to let Lonnie know that his bride-to-be was just moments from walking down the aisle. It would be the first time the couple laid eyes on each other that day, despite the urgings of the photographer to take a few shots before the ceremony. But the couple were insistent on not doing a first look.
“We weren’t so much worried about capturing the moment as we were about living the moment,” Lonnie says.
Adds Maria, “It was important to me to be married in the Catholic church and have a mass. When the ceremony was over, the priest commented that it was beautiful. Coming from him, that meant so much.”
The reception was held downtown at the historic Cincinnati Club in an ornate, baby blue and gold painted room with pillars. The floral arrangements, white tablecloths, black napkins, and gold chargers beneath each plate brought the room to life. When Lonnie and Maria entered the reception hall, Maria had tears in her eyes. The room’s elegance was exquisite, but her emotional response was about more than the space’s jaw-dropping décor.
“I’d waited so long to find the right person. I couldn’t believe this was actually happening!” she says.
The pair danced their way into the room to Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly with Me.”
“That was unplanned, unchoreographed, unscripted,” Lonnie says. Since her mom is from Colombia, South America, they had a live Spanish band play classical Colombian music during the hors d’oeuvres and cocktail hour. One of their friends said hearing live music made him emotional because it was the first time in more than a year that he had experienced it.
The couple had a bourbon bar, and Maria and Lonnie crafted a specialty drink menu that included a cocktail they made up called “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” a blue liquor mixed with champagne.
It was a unique wedding for many reasons. For starters, the couple opted not to have a wedding party.
“We just felt like the day was about us becoming one,” Maria says.
They also switched things up by sharing two special dances. Following Lonnie’s heartfelt speech, the groom took his bride onto the dance floor, where they swayed to Ed Sheeran and Andrea Bocelli’s “Perfect Symphony.” Later in the evening, they danced cheek-to-cheek to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra.
The father-daughter dance was also special.
“I’d been waiting for that day my whole life. I’d always envisioned it, and I am a big believer that if you hold a thought in your mind, it will come to be,” Maria says. She chose Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” because, for years, she had always penned that statement in cards to her father, thanking him for being her unwavering support system.
“My parents are the most incredible people on the planet,” Maria says. “They deserved that day as much as I did.”
Their guests spanned the generations, from children under 10 to Maria’s 90-year-old grandmother. After the special dances, the DJ played Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” and everybody took to the dance floor.
“People never sat down!” Lonnie says. Everyone stayed until the last song, when guests formed a circle around the happy couple as they hooked elbows and danced to “New York, New York.”
“It was a cool ending to the best day,” Lonnie says.
The 150 guests left with a 200 ml bottle of bourbon and a glass engraved with the bride and groom’s names, along with the word “salud,” which is Spanish for “cheers.”
“Everyone had a phenomenal time,” Maria says. Her parents even received thank-you cards from guests, expressing gratitude for including them.
When they started making plans for the big day, Gossard had asked Maria to describe the kind of day she wanted to create in three words. She responded, “Sophisticated, elegant, and magical.”
“It was absolutely all of those things,” Maria says. “It was an unbelievably perfect day!”
Venue: Cincinnati Club
Photographer: Daniel Michael Photography
DJ: McFadden Music
Designer: Maria Gossard Designs
Lights: Clear Lighting
Del Gardo’s Cannolis