(Photography by Cindi Stephan)

Wedding Inspiration: A Colombian couple shares a Carnaval-style bash at Jack London Square

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Friends before they lovers, Carol Dueñas and Juan Arenas had a connection for years before officially becoming an item.

After professing their love, they joined their families—creating a sort of Oakland Brady Bunch comprised of Dueñas' two daughters and Arenas' two sons. Then, one morning in bed, Arenas popped the question, following it with a formal proposal on a trip to Cabo San Lucas, sweeping her off her feet amid warm sands and splashing waves.


Bringing a bit of their shared native Colombia to their chosen home of Oakland, the lovebirds transformed their Rosenblum Cellars, their favorite local tasting room, into a lush landscape reminiscent of tropical climes. Crimson, lavender, blush, and ivory florals bloomed on the wedding arch, along the aisle, and in draperies and on dinner tables at the reception; the groom dressed to match in a fun pink and blue suit. The floral theme was adapted from a New Year's Eve party at SF's Palace of Fine Arts that their event planner and friend, Donovan Friedman, had also organized. Adding to the forested decor were ruby mushrooms placed outside the venue as an outdoor lounge.

Though there was live music all day long, from the ceremony through dinner, the party really began during La Hora Loca. After noshing on traditional Colombian eats, guests hit the dance floor and the Carnaval-style festivities took over. Percussion and gaita instruments flooded the space with traditional sounds from the Caribbean coast of the country, while traditional hats (sombrero vueltiao) and masks (marimonda) were passed around. As a special token, their good friends wore traditional long cumbiamberas dresses that open and flutter like butterfly wings. Confetti fell from the skies, and the crowd was ready to rumba!

Venue: Rosenblum Cellars

Dress: Janene's Bridal Boutique

Hair and makeup: Omar & Cristian Hair Salon

Bridesmaids dresses: Anthropologie and Davis's Bridal

Decor: Studio Bloom by Alvaro Duenas, Donovan Friedman, and Props2c

Cake: Michelle Palacios

Wedding planner: A Touch of Light

Ceremony singers: Diana Trujillo singer of La Misa Negra and Carlos del Sol

Photographer: Cindi Stephan

DJ: Jhon Roldan

Band: Tambores de Colombia

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