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The Bride Revamped Her Mother’s Wedding Dress for Her Sophisticated Yet Down to Earth Wedding in Bogota

By Cathleen Freedman | Photography by 

Adriana Rivera

|Planning by 

Johanna Abushihab

Cristina María Álvarez and Pablo Jiménez Zapata met while attending Tufts University. “Pablo’s roommate was my next-door neighbor growing up, and he brought him along to a party at my apartment where he introduced us,” Cristina remembers. “The rest is history!”

Over their seven-year courtship, Cristina and Pablo wrote each other letters. In 2020, Pablo presented Cristina with one of those letters from 2013. As she read it, he said that he knew while writing that letter, “this day” would come. He then proposed with their friends and her sisters in attendance.

The two old souls planned their wedding with a flair for the nostalgic. “The vision for our wedding was a juxtaposition of new and old, rustic but elegant, sophisticated but down to earth,” Cristina elaborates. A vintage peignoir set to get ready in, Cristina’s aunt’s Chantilly lace wedding veil from Cuba, her grandmother’s blue topaz ring, and her mother’s reworked wedding dress were a few of the key elements to achieve this. They also found a venue on the outskirts of Bogota, Colombia, that was more than two hundred years old “with the perfect patina,” she notes. “As a designer, I wanted to make sure that every element, even the fashion, followed the overarching narrative. It was important to me that everything makes sense in the space.” She and Pablo enlisted Johanna Abushihab to actualize their dream wedding, Adriana Rivera beautifully photographed the day’s many memories and Paperie Bakery created a vintage-inspired invitation suite.

To formally introduce guests to Colombia, Cristina and Pablo threw an asado, a barbecue, on the grounds of La Picaderia with picnic-style blankets and ambiance. Friends and family wore their best “Cowboy Chic” ensembles, per the dress code. Cristina notes, “Hats were highly encouraged!” The bride-to-be was stylish in Brock Collection. Pablo even sported a suede Goorin Brothers hat for the occasion.

For her bridal gown, Cristina wanted something interesting but timeless. A visit to Danielle Frankel’s atelier delivered exactly that. She found a dress with architectural pleating—”the perfect contrast to the organic landscape,” she notes. The bodice was reminiscent of a bygone era but still unlike anything she’d ever seen before. Cristina paired the piece with silk Manolo Blahnik heels, begat from the brand’s collaboration with Frankel; a mini ascot bag from The Row; and vintage earrings.

Serendipity played a part in Cristina’s second look. The bride’s parents also met at Tufts University and later married in 1985. Her mother’s gown was sealed after the wedding but reopened when Cristina’s aunt got married and used the crown for her own outfit. Between passing hands, Cristina’s mother lost the dress. But, around the time Cristina and Pablo got engaged, her mother found it. During the pandemic, they cleaned the swallowed fabric with vinegar, Oxyclean, and hydrogen peroxide for five whole days to restore the silk taffeta’s ivory color. She revamped the silhouette, modernizing the “very ’80s” elements. She cut it into a minidress, fitted the bodice, bubbled the hem, and lowered the neckline. Lastly, to top off the piece, Cristina put on Simone Rocha pearl drop earrings. The Clyque applied her glamorous yet effortless makeup.

Cristina created a Regency-inspired mood board for her bridesmaids to find outfits that were comfortable and true to their unique style. They looked resplendent in an array of Brock Collection, Rodarte, Markarian, Johanna Ortiz, and Ulla Johnson gowns.

On February 19, 2022, Cristina and Pablo’s immediate families congregated for a Catholic mass. “There were dozens of candles lighting the space, and we exchanged ‘arras’ or ‘gold coins,’ that have been in my family for generations,” Cristina says of the intimate gathering. “It is a Spanish tradition that comes from the idea of promising to share with each other all of the spiritual and material gifts bestowed on one another.”

Then, guests joined the couple for the outdoor ceremony. Luckily, it did not rain that day. “The sun even came out, which is not typical in Bogota!” Cristina cheers. Andrés Cortés‘s florals were rampant as if they had always existed on the property. Cristina’s sisters presented a joint speech. Then, Cristina and Pablo recited their vows to each other for the first time. They had many of the same promises in common—a funny but touching surprise. After being declared husband and wife, they recessed to Ray LaMontagne’s “You Are The Best Thing” while friends and family tossed rice. The bride laughs as she remembers the state of her hair afterward, “It took three friends and our wedding planner to get it all out!”

The newlyweds entered the reception while Disclosure’s “Latch,” a musical memento from their college days, played. To ensure the night would be filled with continuous dancing, their fathers delivered speeches at the very beginning of the evening. The couple followed with their first dance to “Simples Corzones” by Fonseca. They cut into their Éclat Pastelería confection, and guests ate a Grupo Takami-catered meal.

The space was adorned with antique pottery and romantic arrangements atop linen tablecloths. “I wanted to add a vintage element to the tablescapes, so we included brushed gold compote bowls filled with pomegranates and nuts that guests could graze on all night,” Cristina explains. There was also an espresso bar—the couple loves coffee—strategically placed to the left of the dance floor.

When guests needed a break from the high-intensity setlist or the caffeine, they could slip outside to recline on one of the sofas or roast s’mores over the open bonfire. If their feet were sore, they could change into custom slippers with the couple’s initials.

No Latin wedding would be complete without the hora loca. “We made ours Colombian-themed and played ‘Colombia mi Encanto’ while we handed out sombreros, ponchos, maracas, and flower crowns. Waiters passed around shots of aguardiente, a typical Colombian liquor,” Cristina recalls. At some point, they even limbo-ed. Late-night bites kept the party going until four in the morning. She adds, “We were told to leave, but we kept begging DJ Gabriel Odin for more!”