Lin & Jirsa Photography
Teresa Michelle Lee & Nicholas Panarella
March 11, 2017. Newport Beach, California
“We met when neither one of us were really looking for a relationship,” Nicholas says about his first encounter with Teresa Michelle. “Teresa was leaving for Asia in a few days after we first met, and I had to convince her to go out with me before she left. I remember feeling nervous before our first date, which was odd because I was usually blasé when it came to going out with someone for the first time. We had a great first date. After she left, we spoke every day on the phone throughout her monthlong trip. I think having all that distance between us made us focus on mental and emotional, rather than the physical, and resulted in us knowing each other on a much deeper level than we might otherwise. I asked her to be my girlfriend shortly after she got back stateside, and we’ve been together ever since.”
Nicholas knew almost instantly that Teresa Michelle was “the one.” When it came time to propose, he decided to pop the question in Palm Springs, where they had spent so many wonderful weekends together. He also reserved the courtyard at the Avalon Hotel, which features incredible views of the nearby mountains and the famous sunsets of Palm Springs.
“As the sun was setting over the mountains, I led her down a path of rose petals to the main cabana, where I had tons of flowers and candles set up,” Nicholas recalls. “I got down on one knee, cried, and asked her to be my wife. We then popped a bottle of champagne, had a private dinner with the whole courtyard to ourselves, and danced the night away under the stars.”
The bride and groom’s wedding day was greeted by glorious Southern California spring weather as a slight mist over the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean complemented the soft pinks and purple pastels of the flowers filling their enchanted garden themed wedding. Adding to the already perfect ambiance of the ceremony, the sun started shining as soon as the bride said, “I do.” Another unforgettable moment took place during the reception, when Teresa Michelle’s father surprised the newlyweds with an a cappella rendition of a song sung in French. To this day, the couple hears about how incredible that performance was.
“After six months of intense wedding planning, we definitely needed some R&R, so we decided to honeymoon in the South Pacific,” says Nicholas. “We traveled to Bora Bora, New Zealand, and Australia over the span of three weeks. It was the most incredible vacation with lots of relaxation but lots of adventure, too. I think our most memorable moment was scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It is the most incredible place that is literally like another world.”
>Written by: Lauren Malamala