STAMFORD -- The streets of Stamford were snowy and sleepy Saturday morning, with sidewalks crowded with feet of snow rather than foot traffic in the wake of a Friday storm that dropped between 12 to 14 inches downtown.
But as most of the city hibernated at home or played in yards, a family of three made their way to Stamford Florist to mark a new beginning in their lives together.
Omar and Amy Velez, along with Amy's 4-year-old son Justin, entered the flower shop shortly after 11 a.m. as three people who loved each other, and after exchanging promises of forever, they left about an hour later as a husband, wife and son.
"We've been dating for eight months. I fell in love with her and I proposed. Why waste time?" Omar said before the ceremony, which lasted about eight minutes.
The couple had originally planned on being married in Waterbury, closer to Omar's family. When they searched for the perfect spot in the Brass City, a justice of the peace pointed out a local flower shop. After their plan was relocated to Stamford where the couple lives, they decided to keep the idea of being married at a florist.
"The idea just stuck with me. I was like, why not? They have so many flowers, and it's beautiful," Amy said. "So one day we were driving by and we saw this tree in the window, and I said, `Look. We should get married here.'
"And I came in and they were more than happy to have it here."
With only five days to go until Valentine's Day, the shop was in full bloom Saturday morning, boasting beautiful colors and the sweet smell of fresh flowers as employees began preparing dozens of bouquets of red roses. Owner James Ferraro said the store will go through about 8,000 roses for the romantic holiday next week. But Amy was most impressed with the dozens of orchids -- her favorite flower -- piled up around the base of a tree in the front of the shop. She and Omar chose to stand beneath the tree, trimmed with red ribbon and hearts, and surrounded by orchids to tie the knot.
While the couple promised to have, hold and cherish each other, those were not the only vows taken Saturday morning.
Omar also vowed to take care of Justin as his own son, solidifying the trio as a family.
"Justin, I promise to accept and love you as my own son, and to protect and love you all of my life," Omar said. "I promise to do my best to guide and support you and to respect you enough to allow you to see the world through your own eyes."
The snow posed a few problems for Omar and Amy. While the original ceremony time was originally scheduled for 10:30 a.m., the justice of the peace, who lives in Norwalk, was unable to make it to Stamford due to the snowfall. Luckily, Stamford Florist Owner James Ferraro knew of a local florist who is a justice of the peace, and performs weddings at her shop, Nobu on Washington Boulevard. She made it to the flower shop on Bedford Street by 11:30 to save the day.
But in the end, the white blanket of snow was a beautiful reminder of fresh beginnings and a pure path. They followed the flakes to Vermont, where they are spending their honeymoon skiing in Stratton this weekend, celebrating the winter wonderland that surrounded them on their wedding day.
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