by Jim Boyle
Andrea Wilson and Rodrigo Vasquez became husband and wife July 28 at the Lake Harriet Rose Garden in Minneapolis.
That’s where the two went on their first date seven years ago. This non-traditional American girl from Maple Grove with a passion for learning about languages and cultures from a very young age, and this man from Mexico City, Mexico who has always been driven to learn and is a quick study of other languages, spent six hours walking around the park and talking.
Despite their differences they found striking similarities between themselves and an intriguing number of shared interests.
It was bilingual wedding vows that brought these two kindred spirits together forever last month, and it was two Rogers shops that helped accentuate their passions for each other and their cultural heritage. One was the Antique Mall of Rogers. The other was Vintage Jewelry Connection.
“We wanted a vintage theme, and the people at these places were both so helpful to us,” said newlywed Andrea Wilson Vasquez, who just returned from her honeymoon in Bayfield, Wis. “They helped us find the look and feel we were looking for.”
Among Andrea’s finds were bracelets that she wore.
Lorinda Judge-Ims, the owner of Vintage Jewelry Connection, even helped with the accessories that were not purchased at one of the specialty shops.
“She helped with pearl necklaces I got from my mother and grandmother,” Andrea said.
Andrea and her mother had numerous finds at the Antique Mall of Rogers.
They included antique film cameras that were combined with props to be used at the wedding reception to create memories for those in attendance.
There were also postcards from Minnesota and Mexico, glass votive candles and a pink and gold polka-dotted dress Andrea wore at her rehearsal dinner.
Andrea and her mother got the idea to hit the Rogers antique shop after spotting some votive candles at an antique store in Kentucky they were visiting while attending a wedding there.
“My mom said ‘I know just the antique store we have to go to,’” Andrea recalled of her mother, Cynthia. “She has such a good eye for antiques.”
Rodrigo came to the United States in 2004 to connect with his brother. He has been driven ever since to get an education here. He graduated from high school in Mexico, so he took the classes he needed to enroll in college here. He’s working to become a certified public accountant.
“I have never known such a hard worker and someone so driven,” Cynthia said.
He proposed to Andrea last year in August while the couple was staying at a bed and breakfast in Lanesboro. He popped the question while the couple was kayaking on the Root River.
Their engagement did not come as a surprise to Cynthia. She knew that marrying a man from another culture would pose obstacles but not necessarily barriers.
“(Andrea) has always been her own person,” Cynthia said. “She always has been. She has not been the traditional American girl. I knew she wasn’t going to fit in some mold.”
Andrea grew up in Maple Grove. Her love of foreign languages started in elementary school. She took Spanish in junior high school and high school. By her senior year she had completed all of the classes she could, so she started taking Spanish as a PSEO student.
Her family travelled to resorts towns in Mexico. She went with friends on volunteer missions trips. In college, she studied abroad at Ecuador and helped out at an orphanage in Tijuana.
She majored in Spanish and global studies at the University of Minnesota. From there, she got a teaching degree from Hamline.
She now teaches English as a second language at a Maple Grove elementary school.
She and Rodrigo clicked from the start.
“It seems like we were (destined),” she said. “The passions I had growing up, and the passions he had (seem to suggest it). But we match up on so many other things, too.”
Planning a wedding when family take up residence in two countries was difficult but not impossible. The wedding part was easy, as they made everything bilingual — from the table settings to the music and their vows.
The reception included performances by a mariachi band. Their first dance was a bilingual version of “Stand by Me.” An acoustic guitarist performed “Ave Maria” during the lighting of the unity candle.
So as Andrea and Rodrigo came together as one flame, so did two cultures. Antique Mall of Rogers and Vintage Jewelry Collection in Rogers helped blend it all together.