From fireworks to Forever

October 2020 View more

Summer flings fizzle out for most, but not for Aurora residents Cathy Diaz and Xavier Garcia, both 27. They had briefly crossed paths as sophomores at Waubonsie Valley High School before Garcia transferred to Naperville North. Years later, they met at a mutual friend’s Fourth of July barbecue, and it wasn’t long before their summer romance blossomed into a serious relationship.

Garcia, a writer, and Diaz, a service coordinator at Lisle nonprofit DayOne PACT, bonded over their shared love of gaming and spent their early dates playing Mario Kart and other Nintendo 64 faves from their childhood. “Instead of being forced to stare at each other across a table, [our conversation] flowed naturally, and that’s how we’ve been ever since,” Garcia says. “We can do nothing together, we can do anything together, and it’ll lead into a conversation or complete silence and we will both be comfortable throughout.”

After they discussed marriage as their next step, Diaz predicted a summertime proposal on their anniversary in 2019. So when Garcia proposed months earlier in January, she was caught completely off-guard. Garcia brought Diaz to her family’s church, Our Lady of Mercy in Aurora, under the guise of picking up her mother, and then popped the question right in the center aisle. “I let her walk in front of me and told her to stop and turn around and I was on one knee,” Garcia says.

And so, they planned to return to the church to marry on July 3, 2020. “We had a family friend offer their beautiful house and backyard in Oswego [for the reception],” Diaz says. “We thought about it, but eventually said no because we didn’t want to impose.” Instead, they fell in love with Elements at Water Street in Naperville and booked a 100-person reception. But when forced to cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they had to make some tough decisions.

“We had a conversation about what is important to us. It’s getting married in our church. As long as it’s on July 3, we are getting married, even if it’s just the two of us and our parents,” Garcia says. “The party part was just extra. We had set our hearts on not doing anything [for a reception] because it just wasn’t worth the headache.”

When the state’s reopening plan began to allow small gatherings, they decided to plan an intimate reception for 30 with about a month to spare. Luckily, their friends’ offer to host in their backyard was still on the table. Their DJ was still available, and their florist reworked her designs to suit a casual outdoor soiree. Diaz booked a taco bar, ordered cupcakes, and mined her forgotten “Backyard Wedding” Pinterest board for decor ideas. “It was everything I’ve ever wanted and ever imagined for my wedding, even though we had other plans,” she says.


Venue Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church, Aurora; private residence, Oswego
Bride’s attire Maggie Sottero gown from Wolsfelt’s Bridal, Aurora
Bride’s accessories Badgley Mischka shoes from Macy’s; Olive + Piper earrings; headband from A Goddess Divine on
Hair and makeup Sophia Bella Bridal
Bridesmaids’ dresses Jasmine Galleria, Lombard
Groom’s and groomsmen’s attire The Black Tux
Catering Carmen Macho/Machos Tacos, Aurora
Cake Sweet Temptations Dessert Company, Yorkville
Florist Jasmine Galleria, Lombard
Entertainment DJ Jesse El Grandote
Rings Hers from Brilliant Earth; his from Jens Hansen

Photos by Candace Sims Photography