When it comes to vacationing in Rio de Janeiro, nightlife clubbing is a must, and that’s what Brazilian-born Celio De Almeida was doing when he spotted Argentinian Edgardo Zamora from across the dance floor. “I just liked the way he looked,” says Celio, “so I got a little closer and caught his eye.” The pair ended up talking the night away. But living so far from each other, Celio was sure that there would be nothing more. Edgardo, however, had different plans.
Three weeks later, he tracked Celio down and they made plans to see each other again. Edgardo astounded Celio by chartering a boat with a captain and chef and hosting him for five days of island hopping. When Edgardo returned to his home in Los Angeles, the two began a longdistance relationship. Their separations were punctuated by globe-trotting interludes to meet in Argentina, Berlin, Barcelona and Paris. A year later, Celio moved to California.
“WHILE WALKING DOWN THE AISLE, I REALIZED THAT THIS WAS THE START OF A NEW, EVEN BETTER LIFE.”
On a November morning, Edgardo asked Celio to join him at church. As they knelt at the altar in a small side chapel of the Beverly Hills Church of the Good Shepherd, Edgardo turned to Celio. “Here, in front of God, I want to ask if you will marry me,” he said. A surprised Celio answered, “Yes!”
Edgardo, the founder of Revelry Event Designers, gave his partner Celio, of Celio’s Design, carte blanche in putting together the event. “I wanted it to be beautiful,” he says.
To touchingly commemorate the day their paths first crossed, the couple officially wed in a civil ceremony on their eight-year anniversary. Four days later, they reconfirmed those vows in Beverly Hills at the Hotel Bel-Air in front of 75 international friends and family members. “The Hotel Bel-Air is like a second home to me,” says Edgardo.
“We have worked there a lot and love the staff, the food and the location.” The intimate ceremony was held under a roseadorned gazebo next to Swan Lake and officiated by a close friend. “Even though we had been together for eight years, I was so nervous,” says Celio. “While walking down the aisle, I realized that this was the start of a new, even better life.” As the two left the bower, guests raised sparklers in the night. “It was a magical and very emotional moment for me,” says Edgardo.
For the reception, Celio and friends created a luxurious white-themed ballroom twinkling with crystal and accented in gold and silver. Custom white pillows, with the Spanish words Beso and Amor, meaning kiss and love, added a touch of whimsy to the décor.
The couple entered and kicked off the festivities to the Black Eyed Peas’ song, “I Gotta Feeling.” Vibrantly costumed professional samba dancers, sensual tango dancers, a DJ and a Brazilian percussive batucada samba band entertained the gathering. In surprise performances, two of their friends dedicated songs to the newlyweds.
Keeping with the motif of the night, an all white wedding cake was crowned with a spire of cream profiteroles, and a coffee and sweets station provided ample fuel for the after-party. Boarding a bus with a bar, music, disco balls and dancing, the late-night revelers toured Hollywood and Mulholland Drive, and drove along the coast with a stop on the beach. They returned to the Bel-Air exhausted and happy. Too busy creating perfect events for others, Edgardo and Celio have tabled the honeymoon or right now, but dreams of Bora Bora or the Maldives are high on their list for when the time is right.
Celio’s parting advice for making one’s wedding day the best it can be is to try not to worry. “I decided not to be picky about things that might go wrong. If I did not stress out this would be the happiest day of my life, and that’s exactly what happened.”