Patricio (“Pato”) Moschcovich and Alyson Bowman love to travel, and in the five-plus years they’ve been dating have journeyed together everywhere from Paris to Prague, Athens to Amsterdam. The trip they had planned for October 2020 was a bit of a last-minute vacation. Pato, who is a software engineer, had vacation days he needed to use before the end of the year, and Alyson (whose name you might recognize from the masthead of a certain magazine) was more than happy to escape the stress of life in 2020 here in Connecticut, if only for a brief while.
Pato was put in charge of the planning, but where to go when so many of the places they’d longed to visit (like Dublin and London) were off the table due to everyone’s least-favorite virus? And then he saw the flamingos. “Alyson loves birds,” Pato explains. All kinds of birds — and always has. And here glowing pink on the computer screen in front of him were flamingos strutting their stuff on a beach in Aruba, pausing occasionally to delicately nibble treats right out of people’s hands. It was Flamingo Beach, a “secluded paradise” on private, 40-acre Renaissance Island, the travel info read. There were even photos of a wedding taking place right there. Hmm … Aruba it would be.
The airfare and hotel were booked, and Pato began looking into activities reservations when one day in early September he turned to Alyson with a thought. “If we’re going to paradise, why don’t we get married?” Wait … what? “It was very unexpected,” Alyson admits. In fact, although the couple was living together, they weren’t even engaged. And yet, “how perfect it would be to get married to the love of my life on a tropical beach in the middle of a group of flamingos,” says Alyson, who, as you can imagine, also said to Pato, “I’m in.”
Now, here’s where things begin to get complicated, and, if you are considering planning your own destination wedding, where you should pay close attention.
Alyson knew what a “memory maker,” this trip would be, and as a designer her priority was getting quality photos. Finding a top photographer on the island was the first goal, and in John Zimmerman from Colosal Visual Studio, she scored not just a photographer but someone intimately acquainted with Aruba, who was willing to walk them through the planning process. Someone with sandals on the ground, so to speak. One of the first things Zimmerman did was to send Pato a list of the paperwork he and Alyson would need in order to be legally married in Aruba. Tying the knot, after all, even via an elopement to a tropical isle, is not just about romance; it’s about red tape.
Aruba would require a copy of their birth certificates and proof that they were single. This would be a second marriage for both Alyson and Pato, and they would thus need what is known as a “Certificate of No Record of Marriage,” which was easily arranged. Aly, who grew up in New Milford, had a copy of her birth certificate. Pato, on the other hand, who was born in Mar del Plata, Argentina, did not. And, as they soon found out, obtaining even a digital copy of his birth certificate, a tricky process made all the more challenging by COVID-19, “would take at least seven months — and we had just a few weeks,” Pato says. Uh-oh. It was time for …
“We started the process, but it was going nowhere,” Pato says, “and Aly was starting to panic. Don’t worry, I told her. There are always alternatives.” A challenge,” Pato says, “can be a bad thing, but it can also be a great thing. It all depends on your attitude.” Aly and Pato’s “alternative” was to call Connecticut wedding officiant Bridget Caviness and arrange to get married. They would make it official right here in Connecticut on Oct. 12, and then fly to Aruba to “renew” their vows a week later.
Did we mention that this was an elopement? “Everyone else, even our four kids, thought we were just going on vacation,” Alyson says — and that took some maneuvering. When deciding on who you will invite to your destination wedding, there are lots of needs that need to be taken into consideration. “We kept it a secret because there was too much involved and lots of room for disappointment, especially for our kids, if we had to change plans,” Alyson says. Plans were made with the Caviness for Oct. 12, when both Pato’s and Alyson’s children would be at school. Except, guess what: schools were closed on Oct. 12 for Columbus Day. They had forgotten about that. And so it came to be that on that fated Monday, Alyson and Pato told the kids, “we’ll be right back,” and legally became man and wife at the end of a cul-de-sac near their Cheshire home. Truth be told, “I was not expecting much out of that two-minute ceremony,” Pato says, “but Bridget made it very special.” Pato even admits to having had tears in his eyes.
As much as we’d like to say that crisis averted and marriage certificate in hand, Alyson and Pato flew off to Aruba with nary a care in the world, this is, well, 2020. Aly and Pato were told that they would need to have a PCR test for COVID-19 upon their arrival in Aruba. Not a problem. They even paid for their tests ahead of time. And then they went to check in at LaGuardia at 4:30 a.m. and the airline agent asked for proof of a negative test result in order to fly. Proof that they would be tested in Aruba was not good enough. Again, uh-oh. We will spare you the anxiety, the pleading, the frantic running from one end of LaGuardia looking for someone who could help. Suffice it to say, “lesson learned,” Alyson says. “Airlines have their own rules and during COVID they can change daily. No matter what you’re told by those in your final destination, “just get the test ahead of time.”
And now, the happily ever after
So, as you can guess, Alyson and Pato did, in fact, catch their flight to Aruba that day. In fact, as a splurge, they even flew first class, “because you only get married twice,” Pato laughs. And on Oct. 19 they stood beneath the bright Aruba sun and renewed their vows, with several extremely elegant feathered-pink witnesses standing by their sides. Sure, the road they traveled to get there was not without its bumps, and the year 2020 was certainly a rough one, but as Pato says, “Life is what you make of it, and for the Moschcovich family, 2020 [was] the most amazing year ever.️”
Vendors for Connecticut ceremony
Wedding officiant: Bridget Caviness
Headpiece: DA Couture Jewelry Bouquets and Accessories
Rings: Libero Jewelers, North Haven
Hat: Tenth Street Hats
Vendors for Aruba ceremony
Location: Flamingo Beach, Renaissance Island + Oranjestad, Aruba
Photographer and wedding coordinator: John Zimmerman, Colosal Visual Studio
Hair: Marieta Wanopa, Marietta’s Unisex Beauty Salon
Makeup: Jennyree Geerman, Unisex Beauty Salon
Barber: Alpha Barbershop
Nail artist: Sherrill J. Perrotte
Florist: Greta Koolman, Flowers & Events by Greta