(Photos provided by Landen and Richard Santos)
Landen and Richard Santos first connected on Bumble in June of 2018. At the time, Richard was living in the Orlando area, in the Winter Park neighborhood, while Landen called Tampa home. With a bit of a distance between them, they didn’t meet in person immediately.
“We talked a lot on that app for quite a while,” Richard says. But when they finally met face to face, “it just kept going and going.”
The distance also helped their relationship grow, forcing them to communicate with each other.
“During our entire relationship, we’ve had the most trusting, open communication and affectionate relationship ever,” Richard says.
Landen adds, “It’s a relationship like I’ve never experienced before.”
The couple got serious quickly. Within a year, Richard knew that he wanted to spend his life with Landen and began planning a secret proposal.
As they planned a cruise for September 2019, just a short getaway, he knew that would be the ideal time to pop the question. The best part was that Landen had no idea.
Without his future husband realizing it, he managed to pack everything he needed to make their big moment special. He was able to get all the decorative items for his plan in his suitcase without Landen noticing.
While still enjoying the time away together, Richard secretly set up their cabin exactly as he had pictured it for their proposal — twinkle lights decorating the entire ceiling of the room, about 30 pictures of the couple hanging from the light display and, at the center of it all, folded book art that read, “Marry Me?” Directly in front of the book, the engagement ring sat on the table.
Landen “was very surprised” by the gesture and, of course, said “yes.”
They continued to live apart, long distance, between the two cities for a while longer as they planned their wedding.
During this time, “communication and trust was key to keep our relationship going,” Richard notes.
The couple was excited to book their wedding and start their lives together. Then, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, their big day was delayed.
“I wasn’t too upset about that,” Landen says, noting that it gave them more time to plan.
Over time, their wedding plans “got bigger and bigger,” Richard adds.
For their venue, they booked The Howey Mansion, the nearly 100-year-old Mediterranean Revival-style home-turned-event venue in Howey-in-the-Hills, Florida.
“It’s a really beautiful historic mansion,” Landen explains. “We knew it would be perfect.”
The couple was drawn to the Old Florida feel of the venue and tried to incorporate that throughout their wedding. To complete the vibe, they had a handful of vintage MG cars from the 1950s lined up in front of the mansion.
The classic cars were “just different” and added to the whole look of the day, Richard says.
Landen says the wedding itself, surrounded by friends and family, “was beautiful.”
For Richard, one of the most special moments came when his mother-in-law, Lisa, told him that she accepted and loved him and welcomed him into their family as another son.
“That was such a meaningful moment,” he remembers.
Their first dance to Jill Scott’s “He Loves Me” is another moment etched in both of their minds.
“Those were our first moments as a married couple,” Landen says warmly.
Engagement Date: Sept. 23, 2019
Wedding Date: Feb. 20, 2022
Officiant: Rosie Bernal-Tickermeian
Venue: The Howey Mansion
Colors: Sage green, gold, ivory
First Dance: “He Loves Me” by Jill Scott
Florist: Sweet Williams Floral
Bakery: Bakers Cottage Cakes
Photo/Video: Uptown Selfies
DJ/Entertainment: Shelby Dressel of the Dairy Daughters
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