Watermark’s Wedding Bells: Eduardo Montiel and Eric Mathis

eric-and-ed-wedding-bells“I love that he sees me to my very core. He understands me as a person, and it’s really the first time I’ve ever felt someone truly get me,” Eric says. “I can be so vulnerable and authentic with someone — that’s true love.”

Eric Mathis, who is in the insurance sales industry and is the current vice president of the Tampa Bay Diversity Chamber of Commerce, and Eduardo Montiel, who is in the pharmaceutical sales industry, met four years ago at a birthday party. Eric wasn’t even originally going to attend. Toward the end of the evening, Eduardo arrived and caught his eye. He had his friend who knew Eduardo introduce them.

“I liked him, but as I got to know him more throughout the evening, I just really enjoyed talking to him. It was really easy to talk to him,” Eduardo says.

When they originally met Eric lived in Sarasota and Eduardo lived in Tampa, so they started off doing a long distance relationship. Only a few weeks after dating, Eduardo invited Eric on a trip to Vancouver he had planned. Even though it had only been a couple of weeks, Eric accepted and figured it would help him figure out pretty quickly if the two were compatible.

As their relationship blossomed over the years, they realized that they were not only compatible but helped each other be and love their true, authentic selves.

“We had very similar paths, and I think that’s what created a very strong connection with us,” Eduardo says. “We helped each other grow in the last four years as two men who kind of came out late in life and always kind of wondered if we’re going to be able to find the right person – find true love.”

Eric says one of the things Eduardo has helped him with was encouraging him to “walk to that personal acceptance” of realizing he was “worthy of love and respect.” It was because of this that Eric felt he wanted to take the next step with Eduardo, especially since same-sex marriage eventually became legal in all 50 states.

He planned on proposing on New Year’s Eve and throwing a party with their friends to share in the moment. Eric had his son helped him create a video that had a song playing that mattered to him and had him think of Eduardo. In addition, the video showed a timeline of their time together, from their first trip to Vancouver to pictures of them from recently taken. At the end of the video, it said “Will you marry me?” It wasn’t until then did Eduardo realize what was going on and said yes.

They both agreed that for their wedding, they wanted something that was very intimate with closer friends, and they wanted to make it feel like an outdoor lounge, because that was something they both liked for the feel of their wedding. They decided to hold the wedding at their home that they remodeled together.

Eduardo says they want the wedding to be simple but still incorporate something personal into it. The couple have written love letters over the years to each other that “tell each other what we feel and what’s special and what we love about each other.”

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