Tamarinda & Miguel
Tamarinda and Miguel’s wedding day was filled with joy, love, and sorrow. They honored Miguel’s dying mother while promising to continue to stick together through life’s journey.
Story By Melanie Brooks
Photography by Kate Crabtree Photography
When Miguel Williams first laid eyes on Tamarinda Figueroa, she was crying. The freshman from Bryn Mawr College was visiting Skidmore College with her a capella group, The Extreme Keys. She was on the phone with her boyfriend at a small party, and hung up in tears. Within moments, Miguel had plopped down next to her with his guitar, and serenaded her to laughter. They initiated a seamless, immediate friendship.
For years they remained just that…friends. Miguel and Tamarinda’s friendship grew through stints living in Spain, Argentina, and California. Their relationship grew deeper through letters as they shared long-held secrets they would have refused to share with their closest friends. Tamarinda was overjoyed when Miguel announced he was moving back to the East Coast—to New York City—in 2010. They explored the city together and finally admitted to each other that they were in love.
For the next six years Tamarinda and Miguel each finished graduate school. They lived together, traveled, and planned for an eventual wedding. The proposal happened during a trip to Spain, which coincided with Tamarinda’s birthday. On a beautiful beach outside of Barcelona, Miguel presented Tamarinda with a beautiful vintage diamond ring that she secretly favored. “I kissed him a million times and started to cry, forgetting to say ‘Yes!’” Tamarinda says.
The couple thought about where they could hold their wedding ceremony, and Bar Harbor, Maine was at the top of the list. A young Tamarinda and her family spent time in the summers at the Family Nature Camp at College of the Atlantic on Mount Desert Island. Years later Miguel would take Tamarinda to Bar Harbor as a surprise on her 25th birthday, and they’ve continued the yearly visit ever since. They started planning their celebration at the Pot & Kettle Club in Hulls Cove.
One month before the wedding, Miguel’s mother, Raisa, experienced a significant and rapid relapse of ovarian cancer. The preparations for the wedding were intricately tied to Raisa’s demise, and, in the end, fueled by her bravery, strength, love, and persistence. Despite her incredible suffering, she was determined on doing everything she possibly could to be with Tamarinda and Miguel on their wedding day. Though she was able to travel to Bar Harbor in the days before the wedding, she spent the day of the wedding at MDI Hospital. The kind nurses worked to create a beautiful environment to have a mini-ceremony.
After Miguel and Tamarinda’s First Look overlooking Jordan Pond, they headed to see Raisa at the hospital. Dressed in her wedding outfit, Raisa was wheeled to a beautiful garden where Miguel and Tamarinda shared time with her. Walking away from Raisa on their wedding day was arguably the hardest thing that Tamarinda and Miguel have ever experienced. “Miguel’s mother’s absence from our ceremony had a profound impact on the way in which we experienced the act of becoming husband and wife,” Tamarinda says. “The vows we wrote were being lived before their sharing. For better or worse was alive in us—carried us through our wedding day.” One cherished friend thought ahead and organized a live-stream of the ceremony from the front row. The nurses at the hospital projected the video on a big screen in Raisa’s hospital room.
The couple had decided to honor their mothers by taking their two maiden names. At the end of their ceremony they were announced as Miguel and Tamarinda Barry Godin.
A cocktail hour and reception followed where creative speeches and dinner were served. Tamarinda’s mother and aunt had spent four days collecting vintage china in upstate New York for the reception. Tamarinda wowed the crowd by dancing a traditional salsa with her Puerto Rican father and she surprise serenaded the groom with a song she wrote herself. “Green Eyes” detailed the couple’s relationship and was lovingly performed by The Nat Osborn Band, close friends to both the bride and groom.
Tamarinda and Miguel took some time away from the crowd to soak it all in. “It truly was the best day of our lives,” Tamarinda says. “Not because it was perfect, far from it, but because in the midst of deep turmoil we stood in front of the people we love most in the world, exposed, and promised everything we already knew in our hearts. We felt our guests embracing us with their blessings for our future together, with their empathy and sorrow at our suffering. There are very few times in life where one is entitled to such immense feeling.”
Tamarinda and Miguel lost Raisa just five days later.
In Tamarinda’s Words
I’m so glad that…Miguel and I spent time indulging creative projects to make our wedding day feel like a production, reflecting our interests, tastes, humor, and personality. I highly recommend completing at least one or two DIY projects together to put your unique signature on the day!
I didn’t realize…how difficult it is to spend meaningful time with each of your guests. It is definitely best for the newlyweds to stick together. Having a sweetheart table, for example, enabled us to sit still, get a meal in, and still be approached by guests too eager to wait for our rounds!
I really liked…being able to share Maine with our closest family and friends. Marrying Miguel against the backdrop of such indescribable natural beauty was a dream come true. Seeing friends and family joyfully lined up against the rocky Atlantic coastline filled us with an overwhelming sense of calm, appreciation, and awe.
My advice to other brides is…to take a moment away from the crowd with your new husband. Walk to a far corner of the venue where you can see everyone and everything you’ve put together. And just soak it in. Hold each other close, say out loud, once or twice, “this is our wedding.” Everything everyone says is true...it goes by in a wink. Anytime I have trouble remembering an element of the day, I go back to that moment, and know and revel in the profound beauty of the day as a whole.
I wish…we could do it all over again in slow-motion!
Venue: Pot & Kettle Club, Hulls Cove
Dessert: Pies: Island Bound Pies, Southwest Harbor; Ice Cream: Morton’s Moo