¡Hola y bienvenidos!

Welcome to Richie and Vilmarie's wedding page. We can't wait to celebrate the big day with you all, our loved ones. Get excited! We are celebrating in the mountains of the Dominican Republic on Saturday, June 21, 2014.


 

About Us.

 
IMG_0642.JPG

Richard Mark Lokay

An intelligent, inquisitive fellow forging his own path, Richie enjoys fixing things, building things, computers, coming up with fantastic dance moves, learning, bicycling, hiking and camping, and renovating his newly purchased home. He was grown in Gibsonia on the north hills of Pittsburgh, PA, and went to Kent State University for Visual Communications before moving to New York. 

Fast forward to the summer of 2013, he finds himself in the Dominican Republic, dancing with the girl of his dreams, wanting to share that place and time with the people most special to him. 

He currently works as the Head of User Experience for a fledgling downtown New York startup company. 

 
IMG_5075.JPG

Vilmarie Estrella

A smiley Dominican girl always on the search for adventure, Vilmarie enjoys traveling, camping, word games, cooking and photographing food, foreign languages and Brooklyn. After graduating from the University of Florida (GO GATORS!) with a degree in Journalism, French and Translation Studies, she moved to France to teach English abroad, where she had the opportunity to travel throughout Europe. She got bit by the travel bug — BAD. But after a year, she moved back home to Florida to save up money and spend time with her family.

In 2009, after spending ten months in snoozy Central Florida with family, Vilmarie booked a one-way ticket and exchanged the surrounding orange groves for the Big Apple. She had big dreams to become a journalist, and during the recession, New York City was the best bet to make it happen. But life doesn't always pan out the way it's planned. Instead of her ideal job as a magazine writer, she ended up working at a restaurant, which led to an amazing opportunity: working at a hip downtown hotel as a concierge. Little did she know that this job would also lead her to the man she loves, her future husband.


How They Met.

Vilmarie's friend and co-worker Cesarina hosted a fabulous Christmas party at her Brooklyn apartment back in December 2010. It was a jacket-and-tie affair, and all the glitzy attendees were dressed to impress. Vilmarie wore a vibrant red dress. Matt, Cesarina's boyfriend and Vilmarie's co-worker, invited his best friend Richie to the party. After mingling with the crowd and having a few glasses of champagne, Vilmarie felt a shove from Matt. He was shoving her toward his buddy, Richie. After introductions and a little chat, Richie took Vilmarie by surprise with his limber dance moves and ability to dance merengue (a dance from her native Dominican Republic). She was super impressed. He said he just followed the movement of her hips. They got to talkin' and some more dancin' and exchanged phone numbers. 

Richie and Vilmarie meet on the dance floor at a Christmas party in 2010.

Fast forward to September 2011. Not having seen each other since that Christmas party nine months prior, Richie and Vilmarie did not know that their paths would cross again on this day. Another one of Vilmarie's co-workers, Elly, invited her over for her housewarming party. Vilmarie was working late that night had decided to skip the party and go home after work as she was tired. But throughout the night, she received several text messages from her friends who were at the party, encouraging her to come. At the last minute, she changed her mind, put on some red lipstick and hopped into a cab to head over to Elly's. The moment she swung the apartment door open, the first person she saw was Richie. 

He said, "Hi Vilmarie! You look beautiful tonight." 

Their first date was the very next day, September 11, 2011. 


The Proposal.

Richie joined Vilmarie and her family on a  summer family vacation to the Dominican Republic. Richie wanted to get to know Vilmarie's family better, including her grandparents, who reside in a quaint mountain town called Jarabacoa. On June 21, 2013, Vilmarie and Richie were sitting on the white wicker chairs in the balcony of her grandparents' house enjoying the everlasting breeze. Richie told Vilmarie that he wanted to give a little speech before lunch to thank her family for having him on this trip. He requested that she translate into Spanish everything he was saying so that her grandparents would understand. She thought it was a sweet gesture and agreed to be his translator.

Richie proposed to Vilmarie at her grandparents' house in the Dominican Republic in June 2013.

Moments later, abuela called everyone to the table immediately before the food got cold, "Vengan a comer que se enfria la comida!" She said grace, and encouraged everyone to sit down to eat. Richie announced that he had some words of gratitude for the family first. He thanked Vilmarie's grandparents, Miguel and Dinorah, for opening their home and their hearts to him. Vilmarie translated. Grandma responded in Spanish, "Thank you. Ok, now let's eat before it gets cold!" But Vilmarie explained that Richie wasn't done, and this was important. He thanked Vilma, Vilmarie's mom, for being so welcoming and for always caring for him since their first meeting. Vilmarie translated. He thanked Jose, Vilmarie's dad, for his incredible spirit and treating him like a son. Vilmarie had trouble translating at this point. A knot had formed in her throat seeing her sisters and mom beginning to get overwhelmed with emotion. After a brief pause, Richie continued. He gave Vilmarie's sisters--Melissa, Anais and Madeleine--a few compliments and thanked them for being his friend, adding that he is looking forward to being their brother. 

Then he took Vilmarie's hands, and started by saying in Spanish, "Te amo mi morena."  He continued noting the things he loves about her, the things she has taught him and how he loves how his hearts races at the thought of their future together and long-term happiness. They took a few steps back and were now in the balcony again, and he asked her to take a seat. He recited his favorite excerpt from Romeo & Juliet, then got down on one knee. In Spanish, he asked for her hand in marriage so that everyone in the room would understand, "Quieres casarte conmigo?"

She responded, "Si! Si! Yes!"

They will be married exactly one year later in the same charming town.