Vows: Cece Wedel and Mauricio Perez: After a Clumsy First Kiss, Making Out Just Fine

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Vows: Cece Wedel and Mauricio Perez: After a Clumsy First Kiss, Making Out Just Fine

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Vows

By LINDA MARX

When she broke up with her longtime boyfriend in 2009, Cecilie Wedel was left with trust issues and a feeling of emptiness. “I wasn’t myself in that relationship,” she said. “I never let my walls down.”

Ms. Wedel, 32, who was born in Denmark, attended high school in Boston and graduated from the University of Virginia, went without romance for several years.

Things began to change in July 2013. While working as an account supervisor at the MullenLowe advertising agency in Boston, she was introduced to the agency’s new art director, Mauricio Perez.

Mr. Perez, whose family had moved from Venezuela to Florida in 1998 and who has degrees from the University of Miami and Virginia Commonwealth University, made a good first impression.

“He was nice and asked questions about me and my family,” said Ms. Wedel, who goes by Cece. “I thought he was cute, but he didn’t have the jock type of looks I usually like.”

He was also impressed, finding her pleasant, smart and “well put-together.”

“Cece looked like a European tennis player,” said Mr. Perez, 32. But, he added, “I heard from people at the office that she only dated all-American-type guys.”

After working with him on several projects, Ms. Wedel learned through the office buzz that he had a girlfriend, so romance seemed out of the question.

By then she was returning to the dating pool and had met a few men on Tinder, though nothing had clicked.

About a month after meeting Mr. Perez, she was surprised to see him pop up on Tinder. She “liked” Mr. Perez, and he “liked” her, meaning they were a match.

But Ms. Wedel was hardly inviting to him the next day at work, instead gently scolding him for him for being on Tinder while he had a girlfriend: “When he told me his relationship had ended, I said, ‘I am so sorry,’ but it was an icebreaker.”

Mr. Perez walked Ms. Wedel home from work all five evenings that week. He asked her out to dinner for Friday night, and they were both surprised that the conversation didn’t feel awkward.

“We talked about where we grew up, school, ex-lovers, hurts,” she said. “It was all natural, like I was out with my best friend.”

During their conversations, she had mentioned that she loved the song “Beneath Your Beautiful,” by Labrinth and Emeli Sandé. Mr. Perez quickly learned how to play it and performed it on the piano for Ms. Wedel.

The next Friday night, they went out to dinner and watched a scary movie in downtown Boston. After leaving the theater, Mr. Perez asked for a hug and she looked in his eyes, hoping for a kiss, but one was not forthcoming just yet. Instead, he told her that he wanted to go to a special place, where they could return to as a couple, time and time again.

So they walked to Boston Common, the nation’s oldest public park. It was there that the couple had their first kiss — but not without some difficulty.

They both may have been a little too eager, because not only did their lips meet, but their teeth clunked together too. “But the second kiss was perfect,” Ms. Wedel said.

Mr. Perez and Ms. Wedel soon found that they both liked to experiment with different kinds of food and that they both loved traveling and playing sports. Mr. Perez pretended to have never played squash when Ms. Wedel, who is quite experienced at the sport, invited him to play, and he irritated her to no end when he beat her.

“I was so upset that I broke my racket,” she said, before he confessed that he was far from a novice.

Within a few weeks, Ms. Wedel revealed her true feelings to him.

“We were getting ready to meet some of my friends, and I was helping him finish straightening his shirt,” she said, “and I quickly said, ‘I love you,’ then corrected myself to say, ‘I love your style.’ It was too early to talk about love.”

From Mr. Perez: silence.

Some weeks later, in the living room of his apartment, she again blurted out, “I love you.” This time, he said, “I love you” back.

Mr. Perez said: “While I was cautious because of my last relationship, I was developing feelings for Cece and learning that she was a self-starter with a wonderful work ethic and big heart.”

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Their first challenge emerged after both of their apartment leases ended in October and each had found a new place. His landlord called and told him that a water heater had burst on the floor above his apartment, ruining the kitchen and preventing Mr. Perez from moving in for two months.

The couple visited the flooded apartment, and the relationship, already moving pretty quickly, went to warp speed.

“Mauricio needed to find a place to live right then, and I told him, ‘Let’s live together,’” Ms. Wedel recalled. “He said, ‘Are you sure?’ and I said, ‘Totally fine.’

“We both knew if it didn’t work out, he could move back in to the renovated apartment in a couple of months.”

The two months passed, and the apartment with the new kitchen went to someone else.

Another challenge arose because Mr. Perez had continued a friendly phone relationship with his former girlfriend, and that didn’t sit right with Ms. Wedel.

“We fought about it, and I wanted him to quit talking to her,” she said.

Mr. Perez did not want to hurt his former girlfriend’s feelings, preferring that the relationship fade away naturally, and it did.

By talking through any issues and hanging out together during their free time, the couple settled into domestic life.

They divided the household duties: Mr. Perez does the grocery shopping and cooks all of the meals, while Ms. Wedel cleans and does the laundry.

To keep the romance fresh, Mr. Perez surprises Ms. Wedel with breakfast in bed whether or not it is a special occasion.

“He does the extra and unexpected like making me eggs, bacon, avocado and toast, then serves me in bed just to be nice,” Ms. Wedel said.

Michelle Hillman, Ms. Wedel’s boss and a bridesmaid, said: “Cece is playful and funny with Mauricio. I have never seen her act that way with a guy. Together, they are goofy, silly and romantic.”

In December 2013, Mr. Perez noticed a spot on her back and pushed her to see a doctor; she was told that she had an early stage of skin cancer.

“Mauricio was persistent, and finally, to appease him, I had it checked and removed,” she said. No other treatment was required.

Ms. Wedel added, “Without him, I doubt I would have done anything, and who knows what could have happened.”

When she complained of being depressed and bored in her agency job, Mr. Perez encouraged her to find something more fulfilling. So she began working remotely for the Ad Council in Washington, D.C., as vice president for campaign development. (She had worked as campaign manager for the Ad Council before moving to Boston in 2013.)

After their first year together, the relationship had become so solid that Ms. Wedel began making some not-so-subtle hints about marriage. “We would go into a store looking for watches, and I would just happen to try on rings,” Ms. Wedel said. “We didn’t go into stores looking for rings. He either said nothing or once he said, ‘We can discuss this in five years.’”

But Mr. Perez wanted more time so he would feel sure.

“I was being more logical than emotional,” he said. “I just needed a little more time.”

Ms. Wedel said: “I am constantly focused on the end goal, where Mauricio is creative and slower to make decisions. I want to get through them and say, ‘Let’s go!’”

By June 2015, Mr. Perez was sure. When he learned they were going to Denmark to celebrate her parents’ anniversary in late July, he asked her father for permission to marry.

After the anniversary celebration, the couple decided to visit Paris. During a stroll on Pont de Bir-Hakeim, the bridge that crosses the Seine River with views of the Eiffel Tower, Mr. Perez dropped to one knee and pulled out a small box. As he produced a platinum diamond ring, she shouted, “Yes!”

On Nov. 5, 180 guests gathered in the grand ballroom of the Mar-a-Lago Club, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s oceanfront estate in Palm Beach, Fla. The bride wore a strapless silk taffeta ball gown with beaded bodice created by Reem Acra.

At the reception, Mr. Perez serenaded his bride with a song called “Cecilie” that he wrote for her:

And you changed my life forever

After kissing in the park

’Cause everything that we are together

You are the light in the dark

He left out the part about the clunking teeth.

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