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Fort Greene Park an Unusual Backdrop for Couple's Nuptials

By Janet Upadhye | November 21, 2012 11:44am

FORT GREENE — When BethAnn Bonner and Maria Fuenmayor planned their wedding, the venue needed no thought.

The pair have spent their their weekend mornings walking their rescue pups in Fort Greene Park for years. They've picnicked with friends in the summer, enjoyed snow in the winter and marveled at the fall colors.

So having the park as a backdrop to their nuptials was, though an unusual choice, an easy one to make.

“There is nothing more beautiful than a fall day in Fort Greene Park,” Bonner, 31, said.

Bonner, originally from Oklahoma, and Fuenmayor, 32, from Spain, met and fell in love in Brooklyn. Bonner first spotted Fuenmayor from across a “hipster-filled” bar and “swooned.” But it took two more meetings and two years for Fuenmayor to ask Bonner on their first date.

And when the night finally arrived, Fuenmayor was hit by a cab on her bicycle and had to cancel.

“She texted the photos of her injuries so I knew she wasn’t standing me up,” Bonner said. “That was Maria’s first unprompted gesture of consideration for my feelings that has now become a beautiful habit.”

The date was a success, lasting 48 hours and involved “talking, laughing, incessant kissing, and falling madly in love with one another's dogs.”

And over the next three years the two fell madly in love with each other, too.

On the eve of Bonner’s 30th birthday, while walking down a cobblestoned SoHo street, Fuenmayor got down on one knee and proposed. A sobbing Bonner said, “yes.”

“We couldn't be happier to be engaged and in love in our beautiful state which thankfully now recognizes our commitment to each other as well,” said Bonner.

And according to Bonner, the wedding day on October 20 was like something out of a fairy tale.

“Is it weird to say I miss my wedding?” Bonner asked a month after the date.

Wearing a whimsical white dress with full tulle skirt with cowboy boots underneath and a crown full of fall flowers, Bonner paraded though her neighborhood, holding her niece’s hand  and her little Chihuahua mix, Lulu.

Fuenmayor waited for her at the bottom of the Fort Green Park stairs in a fitted black leather jacket and tuxedo pants, surrounded by friends, family and Bruce Wayner, her pug mix.

“We got nothing but love from our neighborhood,” said Bonner. “People shouted out congratulations, waved and clapped as I walked by.”

“Little girls called me a princess,” she added.

Bonner stopped to say hi to the owner of Mirai Wellness Spa where she gets her nails done, and to give some Swedish tourists directions. But the whole way she told passersby, “I’m going to go marry this girl named Maria.”

The ceremony took place on the steps, with 38 guests and several locals who sat to watch.

“It was such a New York moment,” she said. “With people happening upon this scene in the park, and compelled to stay and be a part of it.”

The Bonner-Fuenmayor wedding had Fort Greene written all over it with the reception at nearby iCi, a converted brownstone that serves farm-to-table cuisine and the photographers, local company, Unusually Fine, capturing the day.

“We adore this neighborhood,” Bonner said. “And now it is the backdrop to the best day of our lives.”