A boxer and his bride throw a knockout bash with a Mexican theme

As a professional boxer and two-time world champ, Fernando Vargas clearly knows how to put on a show. His public proposal during a television interview brought down the house—and left his high school sweetheart, Martha Lopez, "in a state of shock." After making a quick recovery, she began planning a party that would be an elaborate celebration of their 10-year courtship. "Fernando's nickname for me has always been 'Queen,' so we decided to have a royal fairy-tale wedding that would also have elements of our Mexican culture," recalls Martha.

On August 5, St. Brendan's Catholic Church in Los Angeles provided the perfect setting for a 42-member bridal party, which included the couple's three sons and honorary godparents, called padrinos. The 350 guests were treated to a sartorial feast, as Martha floated down the aisle followed by a two-foot train and Fernando stood at the altar in a festive charro suit, customarily worn by Mexican grooms.

After the mass, the couple and their crowd headed to the lavish Millennium Biltmore Hotel, where a mariachi band set the mood during the cocktail hour, starring a glacially glam ice bar with martinis and tequila shots. Dinner featured a few of Fernando's favorites—filet mignon, jumbo prawns, chive mashed potatoes. But for sheer drama, nothing compared to the newlyweds' first dance, a sexy tango-waltz they pulled off with perfection, like true champs. —Terrie Collymore

Our Favorite Things

VIP Credentials: At the church, guests presented gold tickets and got chic lapel pins in return.

Celebrity Makeover: "Fernando is a great dancer, but I needed help," admits Martha. Enter So You Think You Can Dance contestant and instructor Artem Chigvintsev, who put the twosome through their paces. "We spent three days working on our first dance—but in the end, our tango was perfect."

Breaking Training: Like most athletes, Fernando sticks to a strict diet when preparing for a fight, but his wedding day was an opportunity to indulge. "The food was his department," says Martha. "He really got into it and made sure we served the comfort foods and sweets he loves."

Vendors

WEDDING DRESS

Amalia Carrara, eveofmiladybridals.com

CEREMONY SITE

St. Brendan's Catholic Church, stbrendanchurch.org

RECEPTION SITE

Millennium Biltmore Hotel, milleniumhotels.com

WEDDING PLANNER

Leah Lowery, Sasha Souza Events, sashasouzaevents.com

DANCE INSTRUCTOR

Artem Chigvintsev, artemchigvintsev@yahoo.com

ICE SCULPTURE

Clear Memories Innovations in Ice, clearmemories.com

CAKE

Fleur de Lisa Cakes, fleurdelisacakes.com

LIGHTING

Got Light?, got-light.com

MUSIC

Mariachi Estrellas de Oro y Plata, 909-841-3572

PHOTOGRAPHER

Elizabeth Messina, elizabethmessina.com

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