Although intent on living the single life in the Big Apple, it was only two months after moving to New York City for business school that Brenda Li met Patrick Ball. A chance encounter through mutual friends one night changed those single-in-the-city plans. “It was truly like we had known each other for years and had been waiting all of this time to find each other,” recalls Brenda. “I knew she was the one on our first date,” Patrick adds. “There was just something so special about her.”
A year and a half later on New Year’s Eve—also Patrick’s thirtieth birthday—he asked Brenda to head back to their apartment following dinner with family andfriends. After switching on the light, she saw that she was surrounded by flowers and candles and Patrick was down on one knee. “It was there, in the place we call home, overlooking the city that brought us together, that he proposed to me,” Brenda says. “I was the happiest girl in the world.” “I will never forget the joy I felt when she said yes,” Patrick adds.
“I WILL NEVER FORGET THE JOY I FELT WHEN SHE SAID YES.”
With most of Brenda’s family in L.A. and Patrick’s in New York, the couple eventually settled on a destination wedding. With beautiful beaches, wonderful food and a passionate nightlife, they chose San Juan, Puerto Rico. Two days before the big day, guests who had arrived were treated to dinner at Budatai in Condado. A bridesmaid tea, rehearsal dinner and welcome soiree took place the following day.
The couple held their ceremony at La Santa Catedral de San Juan Bautista—providing the perfect mix of drama and romanticism. While Brenda utilized a day-of coordinator, the bride largely took charge of the entire planning process, ensuring her sleek, modern mood in a vintage setting would come to life. “Patrick and I are all about mixed aesthetics and balancing the high/low,” she explains, “so creating this feeling in an effortless way took a significant time to plan and map out.”
Cocktail hour kicked into high energy with a Batucada (street-style performance ensemble), Mofongo station where guests could choose their choice of stuffing for the fried plantains, and a rum tasting bar. At the reception, mini wooden maracas served as escort cards—when Patrick helped her hand paint all ninety Brenda says she knew he was in it for the long haul—at the long family-style tables. In lieu of a guest book, family and friends wrote their wishes on small wooden hearts. Now mounted and hung in the couple’s home, the messages are a daily reminder of all the love shared during their wedding weekend.
While the newlyweds enjoyed a “mini moon” in Puerto Rico, they look forward to this summer’s honeymoon to the Greek Islands. In the meantime, the couple is soaking up married life. “Coming home to Patrick makes every day worth it,” says Brenda. “No matter what happens in our lives,” adds Patrick, “I know I can come home to her and everything will always be ok.”
Ceremony Location: La Santa Catedral de San Juan, Bautista, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Reception Location and Caterer: Hotel El Convento, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Cake: C+M cakes Contemporary Cake Designers, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Floral and Event Design, Linen, Rentals and Lighting: Flora by Arquetipo, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Stationery: Bella Figura; Wedding Dress: Oscar de la Renta; Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo; Photography: Alucinarte Films Photography & Cinematography, San Juan, Puerto Rico