For years, Maria and Luis had just been friends and coworkers, but around Season 19, Sonia Manzano became pregnant, and it was decided to have the two characters fall in love, get married, and then have her become pregnant with Gabriela.
Previously, Maria and David had been seen as a couple. Both Street Gang and Sesame Street: A Celebration - 40 Years of Life on the Street give different explanations as to why Luis was chosen over David. According to 40 Years, David was considered to marry Maria first but, Northern Calloway declined so he could obtain treatment for a long-standing and debilitating illness, while Street Gang states that he was devastated over the fact that Maria wasn’t marrying David. As Dulcy Singer said, “I thought it would be better to do it with Luis because I didn’t want to open another kettle of fish. It was enough to get a wedding on the show and have a family without opening ourselves to more difficulties. And I thought it would be a good and helpful thing to show a stable Latino family.”
Several of the episodes were included in the Sesame Street Unpaved syndication page and others began streaming on HBO Max in 2020, with various clips from the wedding included on assorted DVD releases and specials over the years.
Maria and Luis celebrated their wedding anniversary in Episode 3362 (season 26) and Episode 4115 (season 37). The events were also featured in the A&E Biography: Sesame Street documentary, and the time-traveling anniversary special The Street We Live On.
Falling in love
When Gina and Big Bird find a stray kitten, they take it to Luis at the Fix-It Shop for shelter. Maria arrives while Luis is out seeking advice from the pet store, and upon his return, she watches with adoration as he cares for the helpless animal. Maria comes by to check in on them later that night and finds that Luis has structured a feeding schedule to help nurse the cat back to health, setting an alarm to wake himself up when it's feeding time. Unable to sleep herself, Maria sticks around late to keep them company.
The next morning, Maria checks in on Luis and the kitten who have spent the night in the Fix-It Shop. She begins to assume some of the burden in nurturing the animal, and takes it upon herself to acquire food that it may be strong enough to eat on its own. Big Bird questions the creativity in naming the cat "Gatita" — the Spanish word for "kitten" — until he's reminded his name is also fairly literal.
Now sharing in the responsibility of caring for Gatita, Maria and Luis separately share with Big Bird how impressed they've been with one another. After Luis asks Maria to have dinner with him, their friends begin to notice the special way in which they're paying attention to each other's mannerisms. The candlelit dinner that night includes a creative way of making guacamole together in song, and ends with dancing a tango. The night plays out so well, that they begin planning to go out on future dates.
After Maria and Luis begin their courtship, their social engagements increase beyond their work relationship at the Fix-It Shop. They're seen together in the yard having a lunch date in Episode 2395, making googly eyes at one another through the Fix-It Shop window in Episode 2400, and feeling incomplete in each other's absence in Episode 2401.
Their Sesame Street friends continue to notice the growing affection Maria and Luis have displayed for one another. Speaking separately — Maria with Big Bird, and Luis with Snuffy — they both come to the realization that they've fallen in love. After some supportive spectators witness their first kiss, Hoots the Owl sings about how their "like" turned into "love" and Big Bird places a bet that they'll now get married.
Maria and Luis confirm to the press — by way of Telly Monster, reporting for Monster on the Spot — that they plan to continue loving each other tomorrow, despite the weather forecast. Later, they recite poetry to one another in Spanish, and are overheard by Count von Count who encourages their romantic sonnet with a reading (and counting) of his own ways in which they love each other.
Grundgetta presents Maria and Luis with a scrapbook consisting of trash from several of their dates. She intends it to be an unpleasant gift, but the couple actually find the contents of the gift endearing, reminding them of how much they've enjoyed their time together so far.
Big Bird perceives Maria's reluctance to learn tai chi from Luis as a sign of their potential inability to continue loving each other, but Maria explains that they can have different interests and still be in love. Later, Big Bird spoils surprises Luis and Maria had for each other, and Oscar the Grouch is disgusted with the couple's sharing in Hooper's Store. When Big Bird and Snuffy attempt to console David because he used to date Maria, he explains that they will still always be friends. That night, Luis serenades Maria on Spanish guitar before they go out for pizza.
Beginning with the production of a pageant designed to relentlessly ask Maria and Luis when they're getting married, the residents of Sesame Street seem to be inciting a wedding proposal from the couple who are reluctant to commit. Big Bird plays "post office" delivering a letter with an engagement announcement, and Bob invites them over to his apartment to perform a song he hopes to sing for them should they decide to celebrate their nuptials one day.
Over the next couple of months, Maria and Luis were seen in several minor moments that added to their growing love affair, and Placido Flamingo even fought for Maria's affections in Episode 2415. Other moments include The Martians observing their lovesick behavior in episodes 2426 and 2435, inspiring a teaching moment about love between Olivia and Oscar in Episode 2427, getting relationship advice from The Count in Episode 2435, and having a couples portrait drawn by Snuffy in Episode 2446.
As unwitting participants in "The Love Game" hosted by Sonny Friendly, Maria and Luis are quizzed on their love for each other. Later, when Maria is late for their date at Birdland, Placido Flamingo uses opera to guess how he's feeling about her eventual arrival. During her performance of "Lovebirds" for the club's avian patrons, Olivia makes special mention of the human lovebirds in the crowd.
Despite their insistence that they're not ready yet, everyone is still dead set on Maria and Luis getting married. Big Bird is learning how to say "congratulations" in other languages, Oscar is practicing throwing rice, and Telly is trying to decide what tie he'll wear to the wedding. At dinner that night, Big Bird picks up the hint again and asserts the idea to the point that Maria and Luis finally realize that they are ready. On the stoop of 123 Sesame Street, they announce to all their friends that they will be tying the knot.
After sending out invitations in Episode 2471, and considering a wedding song in Episode 2481, the marriage of Luis and Maria is now only two days away. In preparation, some of their family members who live far away begin to arrive so that they may attend the ceremony. Luis' uncle, Tío José, and Maria's mother, Mrs. Figueroa, arrive at the airport together, having never met one another. After getting off on the wrong foot, they soon become friends and enjoy a pre-wedding dinner party where they each recount their day.
On the eve of the wedding, Maria is excited to show off her custom-made wedding dress, while Luis recounts his labors in renting a tuxedo. Meanwhile, The Honkers practice playing the "Bridal Chorus" by Richard Wagner on their noses, and Oscar and Grundgetta's excitement over the promise of the newlyweds arguing all the time is deflated when they learn that Maria and Luis plan on working out their differences and look forward to making up when they fight.
The day of the wedding is spent making final preparations: Gina arranges the seating chart for dinner, Big Bird looks for his formal tie, and Elmo readies his pillow to serve as the ring bearer. The ceremony is held on the rooftop with Linda in attendance as the bride's maid, and Bob as the best man. Luis and Maria are announced man and wife, and the entire wedding party attends a reception where Linda catches the bouquet.
Maria and Luis have planned to spend their honeymoon in the Adirondacks, so everyone spends the day helping them prepare for their trip. Oscar recruits the Grouchketeers to make a "Just Married" sign, Big Bird, Snuffy, and Alice make an attempt to join them, and Luis's cousin's van breaks down, leaving the honeymooners without a ride. Susan's car is too small for their gear, so they opt to take the Sloppy Jalopy... but not until Oscar's pet pig Spot is found.
On their way up north, the Sloppy Jalopy breaks down, so Maria and Luis hitch a ride with another pair of newlyweds who just so happen to be camping in the same spot. They're looking forward to spending some time together alone, but find it difficult getting some privacy from their new neighbors. On their own at last, Maria and Luis sing about how nice it is to find some peace and quiet, but their serenade attracts the local wildlife, scaring them into their tent.
As they continue to seek some peace and quiet, Maria and Luis are disturbed by their neighbors watching movies on a television set in the woods, and a traveling game show hosted by Sonny Friendly who injects some unwanted calamity into their planned rest and relaxation. Back home on Sesame Street, Big Bird has a pretend honeymoon of his own, and Gordon watches a broadcast of Maria and Luis on the game show.
Missing his friends on their honeymoon, Big Bird decides to write a letter for Maria and Luis to fill them in on everything they've missed out on. He starts very specifically with the moment he waved goodbye to them as they left for the Adirondacks and details encounters he had with Bob, Linda, and Barkley, as well as a play he attended featuring Placido Flamingo and Meryl Sheep.
To keep in touch with their neighbors, Maria and Luis take the creative approach of writing to each of them in a series of postcards that serve as one piece of a bigger story. Upon learning that they're scheduled to arrive home today, Gina, Telly, and Juliet prepare a welcome home banner, and Elmo writes a book about the exciting week he's had. After some car trouble, Maria and Luis finally make it back; late enough that Gina wakes Elmo upon their arrival.
Moving in together
Their marriage vows complete and their honeymoon over, it's now time for Luis to move in with Maria at 123 Sesame Street. Everyone cooperates to move in his furniture, and Telly helps Luis unpack his things. As the married couple figure out how best to share their space, Telly worries that each tough decision means they'll be unable to stay married. That evening, the Rodriguezes field their first phone call as husband and wife; it's Big Bird, calling to announce the episode's sponsors.
Soon after moving in together, Maria and Luis are adapting to their new living situation, learning how to compromise. Maria has decided that some of their things have to go for lack of room, particularly Luis's favorite chair. He reluctantly agrees, but through several attempts to get rid of it, he finds himself reminiscing about happy memories with the chair and keeps slipping into a comfy snooze. Ultimately, Maria sees how much the chair means to him and lets him keep it.
Now a happily married couple, living together in the same home, Maria and Luis reminisce on their wedding some months before by looking through a photo album. Sonny Friendly tries to get them to play a game show, Forgetful Jones has to be reminded that he already attended the wedding, and The Amazing Mumford attempts to improve their wedding photo.
- Gikow, Louise Sesame Street: A Celebration - 40 Years of Life on the Street, page 78
- Street Gang, page 293