Brenda & Oliver's Intro Blog

It was late in the afternoon at the store. I was working at Nordstrom to pay for school and it was slow like retail usually is during the week. I did the usual—escaped my post and talked to friends throughout the store, trading stories of boredom, organizing and reorganizing clothing that needed no such work. Far off I heard something familiar - that tone and note typical of our Spanish. Two women wandering the men’s departments spoke in this familiar tongue, and quickly, I made my way over to get a better look at Bren. She was with her mom, and when I came closer, I felt a need to get her to talk to me. Bren was breathtaking: her hair was gorgeous, her eyes bright and inviting and her demeanor quiet, strong and dignified. Yet there was so much more to her. Her mother made sure I knew everything she did—a brilliant student, studying both biology and psychology! What are the odds we could already have so much in common having known each other for such little time?! What are the odds of meeting a girl with the same cultural background as me?! You see, I grew up in two cultures, that of my Argentinean parents and that of a typical southern Californian kid. I have always had a strong love for the Spanish language, Argentinean cuisine and the stories of my parents’ youth in Argentina. To find someone who has these same loves, but is also just as American as me, always seemed impossible—but it was happening!

I have never been much of a bold person, but I knew if I didn’t act now I would miss my chance at knowing her, at being some part of her life. Somehow I got her phone number. Somehow I got the courage to call her. I called, and she answered; I asked something like “if she would ever like to study and grab coffee together—we have so much in common and studying the same things, why not?” It all seemed so logical, so right. How could she say no? She giggled and I swear I could hear her smile across the phone. Then came that long pause, the one we all know means that what’s next is not what you want, and you begin to flex, waiting for the impact. Then it came to me—she must have a boyfriend! People like her attract other people easily. They’re magnets, and they draw everyone to them. “Oh, let me guess—you have a boyfriend, right?” I asked in what I’m sure was an annoyed tone. “Ya I do,” and as she continued she giggled some more, “and he would probably mind…”

VIDEO: Check out the preview of this Argentinean Affair!

Those months afterwards were hard. I thought of her incessantly because I had been so convinced that she was what I needed: so much in common, beautiful, intelligent. Weezer sings a line that captures my mood and my illusion during this time perfectly: we were good as married in my mind, but married in my mind’s no good. I remember it as years, but Bren says it was only seven months. Whatever the time between that phone call and what came next doesn’t matter; what matters is that she came back into my world.

I had a second home for a good two years. The UCR Science Library was where I spent the better part of my week. In the computer room was where I spent most of my time and I was checking my Facebook. Without warning, my heart exploded from my chest and did a little dance on the desk much like the Warner Brothers cartoon frog and it sang “hello my baby, hello my darling!” On the screen was a “poke” and a message from Bren! She had come back.
We went for coffee; we went for dinner; we went and went many places together. And now we have arrived here, and we no longer want to go anywhere without the other. No more time apart, no more you and me, just us.

PHOTOS: Meet all the couples from sTORIbook Wedding here!

After dating for three years, Bren and I got engaged in Laguna Beach on December 20th, 2008. During winter, southern Californian beaches are gloomy and the skies are cloudy, but on that day, the sun was bright, the skies clear and the weather perfect. I proposed to Bren under a warm sun, with the sound of the sea in the background and seagulls overhead—I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day! She knew what I was doing half way through my speech and stopped me short with a big “Yes!”

Although really cliché, the truth is, Bren and I were made for each other. Early on in our relationship, we learned just how much we shared in common—cooking, eating, family, soccer, art, dogs, sun and sand, education and the list goes on. But what truly forms the foundation of our compatibility is our biculturalism. We both grew up in southern California, but we both grew up in Argentinean homes. What’s more, we had both made a committed and strong effort to not let the traditions, language and values of our Argentinean parents get lost with our generation, and having found a life partner in each other makes that effort so much easier.

PHOTOS: Check out Brenda & Oliver's candid photo gallery!

We wanted our wedding to reflect our strongest connection: our biculturalism. We wanted a wedding with elegance and grandeur, and a wedding where American and Argentinean traditions could also be married. We had dreamt of having a cocktail hour filled with bite-sized, chic, Argentinean delicacies: morsels of asado (i.e., barbeque Argentinean style), chimichurri, and empanadas. At the pinnacle of our wedding must-have list was a professional tango show during dinner (and maybe even learning some tango moves ourselves to incorporate into our first dance).

For some time, we had been trying to get our wedding planning off the ground, but this was no small task. I am a full-time doctoral student at Caltech, and am only halfway through my studies. Being a doctoral student in general is no easy feat, but being one at Caltech is even harder. I am working in a biology research laboratory and spend anywhere from 10 to 12 hours a day working and studying there. I often work on the weekends too, and the little free time I have during the week, I try to spend with Bren. It’s hard being a research scientist, but I absolutely love doing it. Bren’s weeks are also jam-packed with visits to the homes of autistic children, where she spends one to two hours helping these special kids learn basic motor, language, and social interaction skills. When she’s not working with these children, she’s helping her parents with their small businesses. Bren has also returned to school to take some prerequisite courses for the occupational therapy masters program that she wants to start in the summer of 2011.

We had always dreamt of having a grand and elegant wedding to celebrate our marriage, and our parents have always wanted this for us, too. We were incredibly excited to begin our life together and knew that the perfect wedding would be the first stepping stone into a bright future. But, being young people trying to lay the foundations for our careers and financial futures, planning a wedding had proven very difficult to do because it was hard to make the necessary time to plan that perfect wedding. We needed someone who could work with us, and especially, someone who has the attention to detail and “type A” personality that both Bren and I have—not to mention the “know-how” and experience. Bren and I wanted someone who is a professional perfectionist, creative and spectacular, and someone who could work with and help us get through the obstacle course that is wedding planning. We didn’t want our wedding to be half-effort because we had a full-hearted dream wedding in mind.

Bren, being an avid fan of Tori Spelling, had heard that Tori and Dean were getting into the wedding planning business. She made it her mission to make sure we had a chance at getting Tori and Dean to plan our dream wedding. We sent our bios and our “love story” to a casting producer hoping that our dreams could be realized. We were both ecstatic to learn that Tori and Dean were willing to take on our wedding challenge. They had agreed to help in planning our bicultural, grand and elegant dream wedding!
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