Mariachi and More

May 2024 View more

A celebration in the heart of their hometown was just right for these longtime sweethearts

Esmeralda Valdovinos and Eisy Cervantes posing with their wedding party

Esmeralda Valdovinos and Eisy Cervantes first formed a friendship as sophomores at West Aurora High School. “I like to say he was the naughty boy—he skipped school—and I was the bookworm,” says Valdovinos, 34, who works as a clerical assistant at O’Donnell Elementary School in Aurora. “We were just very opposite. But we didn’t date or anything; we were just friends.” After going their separate ways in 2007, they reconnected via social media in 2013 and started dating.

Though their love was always in the forefront, planning a wedding wasn’t. “We talked a lot about getting married in the beginning … but I really did not like renting, and we thought: Let’s buy a house first and then focus on the wedding,” says Cervantes, 35, who works for the City of Aurora as an equipment technician. “Then our son Eisy came along, and we had a dog, and we were like, ‘This house is kind of small—weddings are really expensive and that money could be a down payment for our next house.’ ” They set their sights on upgrading to their forever home in Montgomery and had their second son, Emilio, soon after. “I liked to joke that everyone in the house, including the dog, had his last name except for me,” Valdovinos says.

A mariachi band playing

In April 2022, Cervantes proposed, and they started planning a wedding for September 2023 at Paramount’s Meyer Ballroom and Atrium, right on the Fox River in downtown Aurora. “We were both born in Aurora and grew up in Aurora and we have family on both sides of town,” Valdovinos says. “We thought: Why not meet right in the middle?” They honored their Mexican roots with mariachi music and involved their two sons with a unity sand ceremony. Valdovinos adorned her bouquet with memorial photo charms of beloved family members, including her father, who died when she was a baby. “My mom and brother walked me down the aisle, and instead of doing a father-daughter dance, we did a brother-sister dance,” she says. “But while we were dancing, the DJ pretended his equipment was malfunctioning, and my brother went behind him and put on a T-shirt with my dad’s picture on it and returned to the dance floor. I just bawled my eyes out. Everybody in the room was crying.”

Wedding Details

Paramount’s Meyer Ballroom and Atrium, Aurora

Esmeralda Valdovinos and Eisy Cervantes at their wedding ceremony

Bride’s attire
Avery Austin Natalie gown from House of Brides, Lombard

Bridesmaids’ attire
Celebrate DB Studio from David’s Bridal, Naperville

Hair & makeup
Ami Ingram, Blushed! Bridal and Beauty, Naperville

Groom’s attire
Pronto Uomo suit from Men’s Wearhouse, Aurora

Groomsmen’s attire
Formally Modern Tuxedo, Aurora

Rogers & Hollands Jewelers, Aurora

My Chef Catering, Naperville

Cake from Sam’s Club; bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes; candies and cookies from Costco

The wedding cake

Gran Mariachi Monterrey, Chicago; DJ Raul Lopez of A Positive Image, Aurora

Katie Velasquez of Windy City Production, Aurora


Photos: Katie Velasquez/Windy City Production