As she walked toward the counter, Elsie quickly turned the common rental car process into a flight of flirtation. After thinking about him her entire birthday, she was anxious to see Tony the next day. Elsie took advantage of Enterprise's policy that offers to drive its customers home and demanded Tony take her; the compliment-filled ride ended in an exchange of phone numbers. "I knew the second I walked in through those doors Tony was perfect for me," she said.
After 1 1/2 years of dating, Tony finally popped the question during a vacation with his family on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. While sitting on a hotel bench, Tony turned to Elsie as the sun set and nervously asked her to marry him. Once she saw the princess-cut diamond ring — one she pointed out during an earlier stroll along the Waikiki Markets — the happy bride-to-be finally said, "Yes!"
While 3 1/2 years passed before making wedding plans, Tony gave Elsie an ultimatum: to take the most important trip of their lives — a trip down the aisle. With the help of future sister-in-law Cheriette Murphy, the wedding process began for the March 21, 2010 wedding.
Although Elsie's mother was in Puerto Rico, Ivy Prosser, her "fairy godmother," filled in as her mother figure and enjoyed dress shopping so much, she suggested Elsie try on just about every dress she looked at. In the end, she chose a divine A-line wedding dress, designed by Destiny, with a cinched bodice accented with beautiful beading along the empire waistline.
One hundred guests attended the afternoon spring-themed wedding at Spring Hill Event Center. The bridal party included a maid of honor and best man; Denise Portes, Elsie's younger sister, looked chic in a long strapless, bright fuchsia dress, while Joshua Barnes, Tony's older brother, looked sharp in a sleek, classic-cut tux. The couple's fairy tale moment occurred when Tony's father, Joe Barnes, released doves as they were pronounced husband and wife.
Bright, bold colors of greens and fuchsias decorated the ceremony and reception areas. The simple, three-layer fondant white wedding cake was lined at the bottom of each layer with green ribbon and included an alstroemeria flower cake topper and the couple's initials placed on the second layer.
When looking back on their wedding, the bride attributes their first dance as their most personal moment of the night. "It was so intimate and romantic," she remembers. "It was as if we were the only ones in the room." DJ Jesse dazzled the crowd with music for every culture and age group, which allowed Tony to entertain guests by busting his Michael Jackson moves on the dance floor.
The dynamic duo of Patterson Photography, Cedric and Samantha Patterson, captured the small details and memories of the special day. "They are great listeners and are extremely professional. They were able to execute every promise they made and in a timely manner," complements Elsie.
After Elsie and Tony walked through a cloud of bubbles blown by their guests, the newlyweds shared their honeymoon night at the Hilton Resort and Spa and extended their honeymoon with adventurous travels in Texas for their first year of marriage, with plans to visit Puerto Rico and Italy.
With words of wisdom for other brides, Elsie advises, "Don't compare your wedding to anyone else's. Make sure your wedding describes and oozes who you and your partner really are." Working with Vicky Sharp from Spring Hill Event Center provided options for creating a wedding as unique as the couple. "Vicky reassured me that everything would be taken care of, and it was," said Elsie. "When it came to the big day, we were treated like royalty. The bride gets spoiled 100 percent from beginning to end. Our glasses were always full and the service was spectacular!"
Currently, Elsie works toward a degree in the medical field and is a medical assistant for a large OB/GYN practice in San Antonio, while Tony continues his profession at Enterprise Rent-A-Car as an account executive. Today, the couple continues their road trip romance by getting to know the areas around them and getting to know each other. "It's what solidified our relationship, and now it keeps it going," said Elsie.