FATE & FAIRY TALES – Simone’s Love Story


Orange County Beach Weddings owner Simone Goertzen spends many hours with each of her brides, listening to their love stories. So it’s only fitting for her to share her love story with you.

Being Latin, (Brazilian) I’ve always been a very passionate person. I believe in fate and fairy tales. My story involved both.

It was in 1997 in St. Petersburg, Florida. I wasn’t scheduled to work that day at the Hilton Hotel, but my colleague called in sick and they needed someone to fill in for her at the bar that Sunday afternoon. As I was cleaning some glasses behind the bar, I looked up and saw him walk towards me. He was in his gym clothes all sweaty from a workout. That blond hair and those blue eyes were paralyzing. I thought that if Brad Pitt had a brother, this was him.

He smiled and asked for a Coke with ice and we exchanged nervous talk. His name was Jeff and was a native Californian living in Dallas. Noticing my accent, he asked where I was from. When I told him I was from Brazil, he was so excited and started speaking to me in Portuguese with practically no accent!
Here’s where it get’s unbelievable…

Jeff goes on to tell me that he’s an international consultant in design for news media and did a lot of work in Brazil. In fact, he said he was recently in Porto Alegre, Brazil where he worked with the newspaper Zero Hora. My jaw was on the floor, because I’m from Porto Alegre and my mother’s condo is right across the street from Zero Hora where Jeff was working.

I was in Porto Alegre the same time as Jeff and remembered that I had read about his visit to Zero Hora in the newspaper. When I told him this, we were in disbelief. What were the chances! What neither of us realized was that we were falling in love with each other. Jeff was there at the hotel for only two days, and would leave so quickly, just like all the other hotel guests. I never thought I would hear from him again.

A few weeks later I received a phone call at my work. It was Jeff! He was calling me from Brazil. From that moment on, we communicated every day via fax….nearly 400 of them which we have saved to this day. Finally, he invited me for a date to his home base in Dallas for Easter. I accepted the invite. When I checked in at the ticket counter, he had bought me first class tickets and had a bouquet of roses waiting for me. My heart pounded so hard during that 3-hour flight.

We had an amazing weekend. He took me to his church Easter Sunday and he showed me around Dallas. I knew I could marry him! Our second date the following weekend, he flew out to see me and bought me diamonds. Our third date he flew me to California to meet his parents in Bakersfield for Mother’s Day. That weekend, Jeff decided to buy an engagement ring. He proposed to me that same week in San Francisco on a very romantic candle-light dinner on the 57th floor of the Hilton Hotel. It was magical, just like in the movies. I said “yes!”

We married six months later in Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Hilton. Being the creative artist that Jeff is, he designed our wedding invitation that illustrated our love story. Unfortunately, Jeff’s father passed away a month before and never saw our wedding.

Today, we celebrate 16 incredible years of marriage and have two teenage kids, Yasmin and Gabriel. Our passion for each other is as strong as the day we met. The secret to our successful marriage is that we put our love for each other and God first.

We believe that marriage is an investment for a lifetime. I love being a part of the beginning of an incredible journey for every bride and groom. And what better way to start your fairy tale adventure than with a destination wedding on the beach!