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A Dance Party Under Puerto Rican Palm Trees

A Dance Party Under Puerto Rican Palm Trees

The couple on their wedding day. When we ask newlyweds to think back on what they wanted most for their big day — and we’ve interviewed hundreds of them over the years — the most common response is “For it not to feel like a wedding!” But in a monsoon of flower crowns and macaron towers, how do you see beyond the usual tropes and actually pull off a non-cookie-cutter affair? For the answer, we decided to interrogate the cool couples whose weddings we would actually want to steal — right down to the tiger-shaped cake toppers. Though we’re living in a moment in which group celebrations are either being called off or adapting to extreme social distancing, in many ways these pre-quarantine parties are just the escape we need right now.

Here, we spoke with Laia Garcia-Furtado, the features director at Garage magazine, and Jack Furtado, a filmmaker and director of facilities for the communications department at Adelphi University. Last July, they invited their friends and family to gather in a remote, southwestern town in Laia’s native Puerto Rico for their wedding. Bright, tropical flowers and floral prints set the mood, while tamarind- and guava-flavored pitorro flowed and Bad Bunny blasted. The evening ended with a bonfire and a leap into the Caribbean Sea.

Jack: We met on Tinder, and it fucking worked out, which is shocking. This was in 2015. For our first date, we went to Soda Bar on Vanderbilt and spoke until two in the morning. It felt like I had just met somebody who I had been friends with for a very long time.

Laia: We went on the second date the next day and our third date the day after that. It was just so natural. Everything is better when he’s around. We got engaged a couple of days after our third anniversary in 2018.

Jack: We went to one of our favorite places, Barboncino , and had pizza and wine. Then we walked to Grand Army Plaza, just as we had on our first date.

Laia: When we turned right onto Eastern Parkway, I knew that it was going to happen. He dropped on one knee underneath the arch . I was still carrying leftover pizza, and he started crying.

Jack: It was deserted at 11:30 p.m. It was just us, and it was really nice.

Laia: We knew from the beginning that we were going to get married in Puerto Rico, and we knew it needed to be on the beach. Puerto Rican weddings are party time, and I just wanted that.

Jack: A wedding is a six-hour party, and I wanted to keep that as central to our planning as possible — not get too caught up in the details. We wanted to be there to have fun and make sure our guests had fun.

Laia: I grew up in San Juan. Overall, I was really excited to have everyone come to the place where I grew up […]

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