In a champagne-color dress, a white veil on her hair and holding a white flower bouquet in her hands, 80-year-old Maria Teresa Cobar walked down the aisle for the first time in her life, to join her 95-year-old groom, Carlos Victor Suarez.
The couple met less than a year ago when Suarez came to live at the Aventura Plaza Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. His room was across from hers.
“It was love at first sight,” Suarez said. “When I saw her my heart filled with joy.”
Suarez and Cobar began spending time together every day, and fell in love.
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Just eight months after that day, the couple said “I do” in the Aventura Plaza’s ballroom accompanied by their family, friends and all the staff that has cared for them. Corbar has lived at Aventura Plaza since 2009.
Aventura Plaza’s activities coordinator, Allison Almirola, helped organized the wedding.
“Maria has never been married, I just think back to when I got married and that’s what motivated me to make everything possible for them,” Almirola said. “I wanted her to experience the beautiful feeling of marrying your soul mate.”
Cobar moved to the United States from Guatemala as a single mother at the age of 26. She worked as a nanny and housekeeper to support her daughter, Ana Cobar.
“My mom never worried about looking for a husband, I was her priority her entire life,” Ana Cobar said. “The day finally has come and I’m so happy for her, she deserves this.”
Originally from Cuba, Suarez moved to Miami 56 years ago. He spent 46 years in the jewelry business in downtown Miami.
Suarez was married at a young age and had one son. Ten years ago, he became a widower.
His granddaughter, Katrina Suarez, supported his decision to remarry.
“When he told me he wanted to get married, I was so happy. Maria cares about him and they’re so cute together,” Katrina Suarez said.
Instead of separate rooms, the newlyweds will now share the honeymoon suite at Aventura Plaza, where they can continue to share their day-to-day activities.
“This is the first wedding we have had at our facilities, we feel blessed that they chose to have the ceremony here to share with all of us who care for them so much,” said Elaine Bloom, president and CEO of Plaza Health Network. Aventura Plaza is one of their seven rehabilitation and nursing facilities.
The ceremony was conducted by Deacon Margarita Rodriguez of Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale. She was ordained last summer.
“Love cures all things,” Rodriguez said. “It’s an honor to perform this ceremony. It’s my first one actually.”
After the vows, a champagne toast and mariachi band followed. Suarez rose from his wheelchair to share the first dance with his new bride.
“I’ve been lonely for many years, this is a great blessing from God,” said Cobar, as she hugged her new husband. “It feels wonderful. I feel butterflies in my stomach.
“It is never too late to find love,” she said.