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Wedding: Sandra and Tito Gutierrez

For most of the guests attending the nuptials of Tito and Sandra Gutierrez, theirs was a destination wedding in San Diego. But the couple has lived in Bonita for the last year and a half.

“We only had three people from San Diego,” said Sandra, who was born and raised in Calexico. “It was a nice getaway for our guests, who came from Imperial Valley, San Francisco, New York City, Mexico and Europe. We have family and friends in all those places. We’re glad they came to celebrate with us.

“I was worried about the weather, because people were saying February’s a rainy month in San Diego. But we had really nice weather. No rain. Perfect.”


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Tito, who is from El Centro, and Sandra met in Calexico. They moved to San Diego for his job, Private Client Advisor at J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. Sandra quickly secured a position as an administrative clerk at the Charter School of San Diego.

“We wanted an intimate wedding,” Tito said. “We both come from big families and wanted everything to be more personal than most big, formal weddings. We only chose 100 people — people we truly communicate with, not just Facebook friends.”

Tito also wanted his proposal to Sandra to be intimate. In late December 2014, the couple planned to spend the holidays with family in Imperial Valley. Instead of popping the question then, he arranged a gondola ride in Coronado right before their trip.

“Sandra is very analytical and likes to know about everything that’s going on,” Tito explained.” I had to kind of misguide her. She thought she would be meeting my boss. She got all dolled up. I told her we’d won a gondola ride so we’d do that before going to dinner. On the gondola, we had a violinist, and I gave her roses. She figured it out then.

“I got down on one knee — kind of — because I didn’t want to fall in the water. I still tease her that she didn’t say yes until she saw the ring.”

Sandra admitted hesitating, but she had a good reason.

“He’s making me sound bad!” she exclaimed with a laugh. “I didn’t respond fast because I was actually scared he’d fall into the water.”

Because of the elaborate proposal’s location, the couple chose Coronado Community Center on the peninsula’s Glorietta Bay for the wedding. For another romantic touch, they picked Valentine’s Day. The ceremony and cocktail hour were held outside, but the reception was in the center’s event room. San Diego Linens decorated the venue.

“It was beautiful,” Sandra said. “My cousin did the flowers. We had hydrangeas, roses and orchids. Because it was Valentine’s Day, I used purple, red and hot pink for the wedding colors.

“I had worried about the bridesmaid dresses being different colors and styles. I had seen it on Pinterest, but translating a Pinterest idea to reality sometimes doesn’t work. I told them any style as long as the dress was floor-length, and I gave them each an exact color of dress. When they came together, it created a beautiful color palette.”

During the cocktail hour on the patio, Mariachi Real de San Diego performed while guests munched on bruschetta. The reception was catered by Bekker’s Catering, which offered a buffet of southwestern cuisine. To save money on the cake-cutting fee, they asked Daisy Manzanero Cakes to provide individual cake-cups, arranged in tiers.

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