Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Mark & Ricky Celaya-Renaud

By : Aaron Drake
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“I proposed to Mark – we are both Eagle Scouts and have a shared affinity for the outdoors and nature, so I planned out a camping trip to the Florida Caverns State Park,” Ricky Celaya-Renaud shares. “We did a flashlight tour of the main caverns, and at the last possible chance before leaving the cave, I gathered my courage, got down on one knee and asked him to marry me.”

“Ricky decided to sign us up for a cave tour in the woods – I’m terrified of bats, by the way – where he decided to ask me to marry him at the very end,” Mark Celaya-Renaud adds. “At that point, I would’ve done anything to get out of that cave! Luckily, I didn’t have to do anything I didn’t already want to, so not only did I get to get out of the home of winged-monsters, but I came out of it engaged to the love of my life.”Ricky, a property manager and native of St. Petersburg, currently lives with his husband Mark, a senior analyst and transplant from Granada Hills, Calif., in Tampa.

The couple first met supporting friends at a karaoke competition in Plant City. “We met the weekend before my 28th birthday,” Ricky recalls.

“It went on for a full weekend and there was a lot of downtime in between performances by the people we were there for,” Mark says.“Ricky came plenty prepared to be waiting around and had everything from extra phone chargers to Sharpies in his bag. Anytime someone needed something, he was on it, and I really liked that about him. I knew I had to talk to him, and I’m glad I did!”

The more time each shared with the other, the more they realized they had found “the one.”

“My youngest sister gave birth to our nephew over the summer of 2017,” Ricky says. “I knew when I got that phone call that she was in labor, that I wanted him to be there with me for that moment and all moments after that.”

“Six months into our relationship, I knew that we were a good match because of not only how much we had in common, but by how we could work through our differences,” Mark says. “I knew I needed to show him how much our relationship meant to me. We were planning a trip to Orlando, so I hid a surprise for him in the glove box of the car. I told him I’d drive, thinking that would make it easier to have him enjoy the moment of finding the gift, but he decided to clean out the car for the first 45 minutes of the trip, keeping me on edge and nervous much longer than necessary.”

Mark continues. “Finally, after the car was to his satisfaction, I told him to open the glove box, where he opened the promise ring I picked out for him, and promised to be his for as long as he would have me.”

The rest is history. The two married on the Yacht Starship II in November. They walked down the aisle to “A Thousand Years,” sung by local musician Jordan Zentz. The couple’s first dance was to the song “Something New” by Julia Zahra.

“There was so much happening and what they say is true – the day is over in a blink of an eye,” Ricky says. “But the moment that was truly special was seeing my husband-to-be make his way up the aisle to stand next to me. A lot of things blurred in the rush of the day, but that moment of bliss will stick with me for a lifetime.”

Mark shares his most special moment of the day. “My favorite moment was during the sand ceremony. We merged Los Angeles sand from the West Coast and St. Pete Beach sand from the East Coast. This not only symbolized the merging of our homes, but also the merging of our families together. It was amazing to see our parents so happy and excited to accept another son into their lives.”

Engagement date: Dec. 7, 2017

Wedding date: Nov. 11, 2018

Venue: Yacht StarShip II

Colors: Teal and Seafoam

Wedding Song/Artist: “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri

Live Musicians: Jordan Zentz and Jessica Renaud

DJ Service: Provided by Yacht StarShip

Caterer: Provided by Yacht StarShip

Officiant: Tammy Morath

Cake Bakery:Publix

Cake Flavors: Funfetti!

Theme: “A New Adventure Awaits”

Photographer: Josh Shipp, J. Bryan Photography

Planning a wedding? Check out our 2018 LGBTQ Wedding Guide to use as a great resource to find several LGBTQ wedding resources for your special day!

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