Real Wedding: Karen & Rogelio
As early as their second date, Karen Gargiulo and Rogelio Martinez knew they were meant to be together. They were at Coney Island, riding the Cyclone roller coaster in the hazy summer heat, still getting to know each other but sensing there was something there. "Before we knew it, feelings that this person could be my soulmate began to overcome both of us - probably much sooner then either of us thought possible," says Karen. Their compatibility was uncanny, especially considering that, on paper, they were total opposites. As a playwright, Rogelio enjoyed spending his days writing, seeing plays, and drinking coffee, whereas Karen loved spending time outdoors, snowboarding, and camping. Their differences worked in their favor, however. Rogelio brought Karen to see his favorite plays, and Karen took Rogelio camping. Every day they discovered something new to love about each other.
Eight months after they first met, the couple enjoyed a crisp April day at Cordwood Beach in Long Island. "It was there that I first saw a special side of her: playful, gentle, full of all the joy that is this life," says Rogelio of his bride. In the midst of the crashing waves and chilly sea breeze, Rogelio got down on one knee and asked Karen to marry him. "I don't remember the first time she said yes, but she definitely said it several times - Yes. Yes. Yes." It wasn't until a moment later that they noticed an older woman sitting in a car on the shore line. She had come to admire the waves and witnessed Rogelio's proposal. Walking up to the newly engaged couple, the woman congratulated them and took their picture. "She'd been there to look at the sea; instead, she'd seen the start of a new life," he says.
Karen has always been fond of the Hamptons region. She had visited often as a child and even worked on an organic farm in Amagansett for a summer. Though Rogelio was less familiar with the area, it wasn't long before he fell in love with it as well. "He quickly grew to love the East End, the peaceful feeling that overcomes you when surrounded by all that natural beauty," says Karen. They knew there was no better place for them to be married, and settled on Halloween for their wedding day. The bride and groom's vision for their wedding involved a lot of unique flowers and plants. "I love plants and envisioned transforming the space with flowers, creating a feeling of being in a conservatory," she says. They chose to have an elegant tent wedding with natural elements. The décor included a variety of mosses, maidenhair ferns, and flowers.
Karen wrapped her bouquet with her grandmother's rosary beads to remember her as she walked down the aisle. Later, her Uncle Larry sang Frank Sinatra's "My Way" in memory of her great-uncle, who had passed away a few weeks before. As the bride and groom made their way out of the church, they were showered with lavender by their guests, Karen's favorite herb. Because their wedding was on Halloween, children could be seen trick-or-treating outside. "I stepped outside and a little boy in a Superman costume asked if I was in costume too," says Karen. In keeping with the elegance of the evening, guests were served a meal of amazing French cuisine, and the newlyweds enjoyed a delicious cake personally made by a few good friends. Before Karen and Rogelio knew it, the night had flown by. As the band played their final song, the couple sat at their table for the first time that night, big smiles on their faces. "We watched the guests slowly filter back inside to the music room for a final hour of cordials and cigars," says Karen. "And there we sat, blissfully married."