How did you two meet? Tell us your story.
Luis: On January 6, 1994, Lily drove a friend to Coral Gables Senior High School where I worked part-time. We ran into each other and there was instant chemistry. As I went about my work in another office, she asked a staff member if I was single. Her question made it back to my ears after which I made sure to “bump” into her again. “Don’t I know you from somewhere?” she said. At that point, I was dying to get her to go out on a date with me.
Our first date took us to see Mrs. Doubtfire. 18 years later, we vacationed in San Francisco where we made sure to hunt down the Mrs. Doubtfire house to take pictures in front of the movie home, now with our daughters Leslie (5) and Lisette (11).
15 years of marriage have brought us many ups and downs, but certain things have always remained consistent; the love and attraction that we feel for each other. That same chemistry continues today as we “begin” our gray-hair years, bringing us to 19 ½ years since I laid eyes on her.
What do you love most about each other?
Luis: I love that she has always taken care of me and now, our girls. She’s a loving wife and mother.
Lily: I can always count on Luis. He truly is my best friend. He teaches me to be a better person, not to sweat the small stuff, and to let things go without resentment.
What have you learned over your years of marriage?
Luis: We are not the same people who married each other 15 years ago. We’ve learned so much from each other and continue to do so every day. Having each other has made us stronger and definitely wiser. We are who we are today because we are a combination of the two.
Lily: Luis and I make time for each other. We started out as a couple and, with the birth of our girls, became a family. The scary thing is that one day, our girls will leave the nest and we will once again be a couple. It’s kind of hard to wrap our heads around that sometimes, especially with such busy lives, but it’s waiting for us. I don’t want to wait until then to get to know my husband. It’s important to hold hands and pay each other compliments along the way.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a vow renewal?
Luis: Since this was to be a surprise for Lily, it made things a bit complicated. My coworker and friend, Jeanette Polynice, also happens to be an extremely talented photographer. I was able to consult her every step of the way and would’ve missed dozens (really) of important details without her help. What can I say? — I’m a guy.
She helped me select the right dress, shoes, hotel, picture spot, restaurant ….basically everything.
If you’re a guy planning a surprise like this, you definitely have to get help from a lady. There’s just no other way around it. Remember, they’re from Venus and we’re from Mars. Believe me; I’ve been to both planets, frequently against my will.
But the best advice I’ve got if you’re planning a surprise vow renewal is to keep it as simple as possible. Remember, substance is more important than form.
What was your most memorable moment about your vow renewal?
Lily: Having our daughters present and witnessing our renewal was unforgettable. They witnessed the love and commitment that Luis and I have for each other. Our girls will have a really nice memory of something their dad did for their mom. They weren’t there the first time we did it, but they were now. It means the world to me that my husband took the time and effort to put together such a romantic occasion for us; he never ceases to amaze me.
What was your inspiration in planning your vow renewal?
Luis: Actually, I can’t take full credit; Lily was my inspiration. She had talked about doing it a few times over the last couple of years. I will pat myself on the back though, because saying and doing are extremely different things.
On second thought, I think I will take all the credit.