RANDY HAGANS & MAYO ALANEN
MAY 9, 2015 | BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
t’s not every couple that takes 28 years to get from first kiss to wedding day. But designer Randy Hagans and ballroom dancer Mayo Alanen aren’t just any couple. In 1987, after planting one on Mayo in their kindergarten class in El Paso, Texas, “I told my mom I was going to marry him,” says Randy. At that point, no one was setting a date for anything other than snack time, and it seemed as if Randy’s prediction had little chance of coming true, especially after she and her family moved to Australia.
Fast forward to 2008: Randy had moved back to El Paso, and the pair met again when Mayo, who now lived on the East Coast, was visiting family. She wasn’t interested in a long-distance relationship, but he changed her mind over the course of an all-night chat as they sat on park swings. After four years of flying between Texas and New York, the two moved in together in Brooklyn, where, Randy says, “we fell in love with New York City as much as with each other.” A year after Randy arrived, Mayo gave her a handmade book that told their life stories, ending in a proposal.
Wanting to show guests their beloved city, Randy and Mayo planned a daylong, multistop party full of urban adventures. They scheduled their big day for spring in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, envisioning a ceremony beneath flowering cherry blossom trees. “We knew it was a long shot, because they only bloom two weeks a year,” says Mayo. But their timing was impeccable—during their self-penned vows before 68 loved ones, petals floated down in what the Japanese call hanafubuki, or “flower snowstorm.” Then everyone boarded trolleys to the NoMad Hotel in Manhattan for a rooftop brunch with views of the city, before walking across the street to a photo studio–turned–1930s dance club with a five-piece jazz band. After cocktails and plenty of swing dancing, partygoers were back on the trolleys, which took them downtown to Cienfuegos, a Hemingway-style bar with a Cuba-meets-Texas vibe. The entire day was a nod to the couple’s past and a celebration of their future—and absolute proof that everything Randy needed to know, she learned in kindergarten. — Jennifer Tzeses