She thought it was just a photo shoot. They’d dress up in western wear and take pictures together in the countryside, both romantic and whimsical. The couple was helping put a sample photo book for clients together for a photographer Ava knew. However, Bruno had bigger plans in mind. He called the photographer ahead of time and asked if he could use the opportunity to pop the question while the photos were being captured. The photographer was delighted to be involved. Ava had no idea, of course. They got dressed up and drove to a serene farm in Muskogee for the shoot. “I probably checked the ring in my pocket 15 times that day making sure it was still there. I was so excited to ask her,” Bruno says. While they kissed and held hands with wide open spaces as the background, the photographer snapped photo after photo of the adorable couple. Then, Bruno, who was very nervous, reached into his pocket and pulled out the beautiful engagement ring he’d bought for Ava and asked her to spend the rest of her life with him. With an excited “yes!” from Ava, the two finished the photo shoot with huge smiles on their faces. Then they drove back to Bartlesville, where their school was, to celebrate.
Ava Yeabower and Bruno Cairo met in September 2013 while attending Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Right away Bruno was attracted to Ava’s beauty and kind heart. “I like how passionate she is in everything she does. I admire that,” Bruno says. Ava loved getting to know Bruno and learning about his upbringing. Being from Brazil where people are very affectionate, he was always giving her hugs and holding her hand. “My favorite thing about Bruno is the way nothing upsets him, and he can have a good time wherever he is. He’s also so personable. He makes friends wherever he goes,” Ava says. The couple even had fun taking part in an old Oklahoma Wesleyan legend, where if they walked around the fountain by the library three times, they’d end up getting married. Sometimes superstitions do hold some truth!
The venue was the top priority for the couple in planning their wedding. “The setting really makes or breaks the event,” Ava says. They knew they wanted the wedding to be in Tulsa because it was a central location for both of their families. Ava wanted it to have a French countryside, rustic feel. Vive Le Ranch with its green pastures and charming barn was perfect.
The week of the wedding, friends and family flew in to Tulsa for the festivities surrounding the big day. As Ava and the team at Ever Something finished the final details for the wedding, everyone enjoyed seeing each other for such a special occasion. The rehearsal dinner was fun and laid back sharing savory Italian food at Joe Mama’s in Tulsa. The day of the wedding was relaxed for both the bride and groom, although Bruno did have to make a quick trip to the dry cleaners because he forgot his shirt! Ava rented out a little cottage on the property where she and her bridesmaids got ready.
At half past six on May 15, 2015, friends and family took their seats on the grounds of Vive Le Ranch. The white wooden chairs all faced an archway of branches and greenery where the couple exchanged vows. Each of the bridesmaids wore varying dresses. Ava wanted each of her friends to wear a gown that reflected her personality. The result was a pretty palate of blush pinks, powder blues and even gold sequins. The groomsmen wore white shirts and dark pants, while the groom wore a blue suit.
Escorted down the aisle by her father, the bride wore an ivory gown with a gorgeous lace long-sleeved overlay with a scalloped sweetheart neckline by Maggie Sottero. The overlay had romantic buttons on the back, a jeweled belt accentuated her waist. “My dress had that rustic romantic feeling I fell in love with. I really felt like royalty wearing it. The tiny details on the cuff of the sleeve and around the waist definitely caught my eye,” Ava says. The ceremony was full of family traditions. For starters, Ava’s grandfather officiated the wedding, and the couple exchanged the same vows her grandparents said on their wedding day back in the 1950s. Ava also carried the same handkerchief that her grandmother and mother carried down the aisle on each of their wedding days. Ava and Bruno exchanged vows and rings under the archway made by Ava’s mother. Finally, the couple was pronounced husband and wife, and Bruno kissed his beautiful bride.
The reception captured that fairytale setting Ava had desired. String lights glowed among gorgeous flowers and rustic furniture. Kids and grownups alike wore paper crowns and savored delicious Brazilian desserts. Ava’s mother made the wedding cake herself from an old family recipe. It looked decadent and fit the scene setting on top of a cake platter made out of a tree trunk. One of the biggest hits of the reception was the music and dancing. “During the reception, dancing was my favorite for sure. My friends from Brazil were there, so it was really fun leading our guests in the popular dances from back home. Everyone was really into it,” Bruno says. It seemed like everyone was in a remote setting, surrounded by nothing but green landscape, smiling faces and tranquility. For the bride and groom, they were ecstatic to unite their unique cultures, celebrating with family from near and far. After hours of dancing and chatting about their upcoming honeymoon to Italy, it was time for the couple to make their big exit. With an SUV decorated with a “Just Married” sign and wedding bells waiting to whisk them away, Bruno and Ava waved to their loved ones and said goodnight. “All I could think of was how much I loved this man and how I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend,” Ava remembers. Like the photo shoot when they got engaged, the couple celebrated another milestone in their lives in a beautiful, rustic atmosphere, all captured by photographs to forever show the happiest moments of their lives.