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Authentic Colorful Cuban Wedding Inspiration

Here at SMP we get pretty excited when fresh ideas come across our desks so when The Venue Report sent over images by Jose Villa and Joel Serrato from their recent Cuban inspired shoot, well, let’s just say the rest of our day wasn’t all that productive. Taking their cue from the romance of Cuban culture, The Venue Report created a celebratory scene that I’m aching to jump right into. From Found Vintage Rentals‘ colorful pieces and the most fabulous outfits – courtesy of Grey Likes Weddings’ styling talents – these pics are basically our summer wedding daydreams come to life.

From The Venue ReportWe produced a shoot inspired by Cuba right before the travel laws shifted! Photographers Jose Villa and Joel Serrato had been a few times and it topped our list of places we also wanted to visit. Going to Cuba you feel as if you have stepped back into a bygone era. The cars parked on the streets are still from the 1950’s.

With the recent travel laws changing we are sure we will see even more gatherings and homes inspired by the Cuban culture as it opens its doors for tourists to visit.

It was incredibly hard finding interior design inspiration from Cuba so we became instead inspired by the romantic touches of Cuba. Its colors, its food, its cocktails, cigars, cars, the Cuban cement tiles and the colorful macaws in the archipelago of Cuba.

We produced this gathering at the historic Lombardi House in a palette of mint, spring greens, mustard, poppy red. It’s a fresh palette and combination that you will find across Cuba in the homes, tiles, kitchens and cafes. Guests were served handcrafted mojitos.

One of our favorite design elements of Cuba is the Cuban cement tiles. We recreated these into cut wood tile placemats at each setting, adorned by tropical bird plates, hand calligraphed place cards and mojitos with raw sugar sticks.

Photography: Jose Villa Photography | Floral Design: Flowerwild | Cakes: Lele Patisserie | Rings: Trumpet & Horn | Makeup: 10.11 Makeup | Calligraphy: Designsgirl | Venue: The Lombardi House | Cocktails & Bar: Cocktail Academy | Dinnerware: The Ark | Event Styling & Production: The Venue Report | Invitations, Menus, Hand Illustrated Mural, Placemat Tiles: Momental Designs | Models: Newark Models | Photography - Assistance: Joel Serrato | Rentals: Found Vintage Rentals | Ring Boxes: The Mrs Box | Wardrobe Styling: Grey Likes Weddings

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Romantic Old World Havana Wedding

I have an ongoing wanderlust list but all those must-visit destinations just got pushed back, with Havana taking over the lead spot thanks to Brittrenephoto’s pics from her time there capturing her stunning sister’s wedding. I’m left enchanted by the beauty of this city and this celebration sparkles even more in its warm character. Get ready for one gorgeous gallery that I guarantee you won’t leave anytime soon.


From BrittenephotoOh my goodness! Talk about a wedding of the year! My baby sister got married in a city that holds so much history for our family: Havana, Cuba! I can go on and on about our week spent in a city virtually untouched by tourism, the amazing people and the fabulous time we had celebrating Suzie and Max, but I’ll let my sister do the talking and my pictures do the walking.

From the beautiful Bride… Our wedding felt like a dream from the minute my ladies arrived at our penthouse overlooking the Atlantic for our hair and make-up session. My Dad, looking dapper in a custom made tuxedo from Hong Kong, arrived shortly after to take me to the church in a 1955, Tiffany-blue, classic American car. My something blue! The church was built at the end of the sixteenth century and was the perfect setting for our ceremony.

The aisle for the walk to my groom – who looked very “1950s Havana” in his white tuxedo jacket – was decorated with rose petals and bunches of Baby’s Breath in tall glass vases for a mystical feel. We lit our unity candle from Lourdes, France and were blessed with holy water from the region as well, both of which my Grandmother gathered from her recent pilgrimage to France. The organist, soprano and harpist created the most captivating music throughout the ceremony and the most beautiful version of Ave Maria was sung, lifting our spirits!

A wedding in Havana wouldn’t be complete without a fleet of classic American cars to take you from the church to the reception. So off we went in 27 vintage cars to the San Carlos de la Cabaña Fortress, an eighteenth century fortress complex, located on the Eastern side of the harbor entrance of Havana. Chandeliers sparkled over white modern furniture on a grassy area by the water for the cocktail hour and salsa dancers started to teach the guests some dance moves. Mojitos, cava and Cuban-inspired canapés were enjoyed by our 103 guests from 39 different countries as the sun set over the dynamic city of Havana Vieja.

Skilled fire dancers then captured our attention before the guests collected their seating cards from cigar boxes filled with coffee beans. The dinner tables were decorated with candelabras of cascading white roses and glowed under strings of fairy lights brought from Hong Kong. Speeches were given, tears of joy were shed and we danced the night away to sounds from the incredibly talented Jazz Quintet, as well as Luna Manzanares, Cuba’s soul diva, and DjoydeCuba, Cuba’s best house DJ. We couldn’t have asked for more from the city that holds so much history for my family!

Photography: Brittrenephoto | Videography: Producciones Almendares | Floral Design: Aire De Fiesta Cuba | Wedding Dress: Annasuly | Cake: Kiro Cakes | Ceremony Venue: Iglesia De San Francisco De Asis El Nuevo In Old Havana | Reception Venue: La Divina Pastora, Havana, Cuba | Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Jewelry: Jenny Packhman | Entertainment: Giganteria Cuba | DJ: Luna Manzanares | Getting Ready Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Hair Accessory: BHLDN | Musicians: Serenata Cubana | Tea Set: Anthropologie | Veil: Parisienne Luxe

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Elegant Argentinian Wedding Inspiration

This elegant outdoor inspiration shoot features the perfect mix of sweetness (that adorable dress!), rusticity (that yummy tablescape!), and local flair (those gorgeous tiles!) that makes for an unforgettable shoot. Photographer Amy Fanton (who’s married to an Argentinian herself!) captured the old world charm of Buenos Aires so perfectly in this gallery, that we’re ready to say adios to the office and fly South right now!


From Amy Fanton PhotographyThe inspiration for this shoot was rooted in my fascination with the enchanting and sophisticated elegance of old world Argentina and the details that define it’s capital–grand 19th century classical colonial architecture, geometric patterned tilework, gilded gold furniture, and crystal chandeliers offset by more rustic “gaucho” Argentinian details and all set among the relaxed leafy cobblestone streets and open air patios of Buenos Aires. My husband happens to be Argentinian and while we had originally planned to do two weddings–one in the States and one closer to his family in B.A. our plans were put off when we found out a baby was on the way. This shoot was a wonderful way for me to play out some of the elements I would have incorporated into my own wedding if it had taken place in the Southern Hemisphere. It was also great to work with some local wedding vendors who were able to show me another side of Buenos Aires!

We selected a dress with an intricate beaded pattern that mirrored the geometric patterns found in traditional Argentinian textiles, mosaics and tilework. We wanted something free flowing and relaxed to reflect the easy going culture while remaining relatively conservative. Amazingly we found the perfect option at ASOS. A gorgeous handmade belt from Mood Swing Couture added glamor and sophistication to the entire look and also incorporated elements of geometry from the typical patterned tilework.

For the bride’s hair and makeup, Vicky created a natural look with a touch of glamor using primarily golds and browns to highlight the features of the bride. A relaxed braided side chignon kept the look fresh, young, and pretty.

Angie and Flor of HNAS Martin Martin styled two different tables for the shoot–one more formal, appropriate for an elegant sit down dinner, and the other a bit more rustic, perfect for a rehearsal dinner or a “day after” meal. For the formal setting we used a mixture of antique silver plates, brass candelabras and a mixture of copper and crystal vases, overflowing with bunches of hand picked native Argentinian flowers including lisianthus, tuberose, and crepe myrtal, all set upon a runner reminiscent of traditional Argentinian textiles.

For the rustic table we used traditional materials that would be used for a typical Argentinian meal called an Asado (delicious grilled meats and cheeses! dieters beware! ;) ). Rustic wooden plates, seltzer bottles typical of San Telmo, ceramic, and a touch of native Argentinian ribbon added a laid back element to the shoot. The pattern found on the ribbon is typical of indigenous Argentinian tribes and said to symbolize mountains reflecting on a lake. Bunches of daisies and wildflowers were set on the table and woven through the back of the wrought iron chairs to contributed a bit of whimsy to the free-spirited look.

The relaxed bouquet was made using lisianthus, wildflowers, and a cedar rose tied together using the same indigenous patterned ribbon.

Lou from Beyond Vintage designed gorgeous stationery also mimicking the geometry of a traditional Spanish tile pattern, using fiery tones of red to pull together the theme and add a bit of color to the shoot.

For the cake we wanted to go with something simple, yet elegant while tying together the traditional Argentinian elements. It was prepared using a white fondant and wrapped with the same ribbon in the rustic table setting. To finish off the design, cedar roses were rested between tiers and on the top to add a touch of elegance.

Four traditional desserts were prepared by Copetin for the shoot including Alfajores–dulce de leche sandwiched between two shortbread-like cookies, torta de coco–a cookie consisting of layers of coconut and dolce de leche atop a shortbread crust, frola–a crust covered with a fruty paste called dulce de guayaba and a lattice pastry crust, and my absolute favorite, rogel–dulce de leche layered between a thin pastry and topped with delicious merengue.

And all the treats were as amazing tasting as they looked!

Photography: Amy Fanton Photography | Styling: Hnas. Martin Martin | Floral Design: Hnas. Martin Martin | Dress: ASOS | Cake: Hnas. Martín Martin | Stationery: Beyond Vintage | Accessories: MoodSwing Couture | Decor: Hnas. Martin Martin | Desserts: Copetin | Makeup & Hair: Vicky Ray Studio

Oceanfront Wedding in Ilhabela Brazil

Feeling a bit in a rut this Thursday?? Well, I’m prescribing you a pop of color and this romantic waterfront wedding is just the medicine you need. Photographed by Flavia Valsani and planned by Small Weddings, it’s a brightly and sunny outdoor celebration that will have you feeling better in no time… you can see the rest of this beautiful Brazilian wedding right here.


From The Bride…Chris and I got engaged on October 2012 and in November moved back to Brazil to wait for a fiancée visa. The following December Chris came to Brazil for my best friend’s wedding and we took a little beach vacation to my favorite spots in my state. We were recently engaged and had not yet decided on when we would get married or where it would be. Although we knew that the bigger ceremony would take place in Brazil, my home country.

In January we decided to think about dates and I started looking for a wedding planner and venues near where my parents lived. I knew a wedding planner would be essential for us because we did not know how long I would stay in Brazil and be able to plan the wedding up close, I would need someone to represent us with vendors when I was not able to go to meetings.

The wedding planner was the first person we hired for the wedding and she was essential for everything to work. Around that same time we realized that we wanted to do the wedding somewhere that people would enjoy as a little vacation, so we picked an island Chris and I visited together called Ilhabela.

In Ilhabela I realized that it was important to consider the expertise of the people that worked in the wedding business in the area, because the island is small pretty much everyone has worked with each other. I put together an inspirational booklet for the wedding that showed the colors, decorations, flowers, bridal party attire and cakes I wanted and took it to every meeting with every vendor. That was vital to get a feeling of who would be suited for the wedding or not according to their reactions to it. I have to say go with your guts and the energy you get from people.

I couldn’t be happier with my vendors, the food was great, pictures amazing, cake delicious, decoration out of this world, hair and make up artist great and the wedding planner made us all feel comfortable throughout the entire experience, she was on top of her game and treated everyone with respect. The day of the wedding was very emotional even though Chris and I had already eloped in the US in the presence of a few of his friends and family members. During our one-year engagement we lived ten months apart and the wedding in Brazil was the fulfillment of our relationship after such enduring times.

Photography: Flavia Valsani | Wedding Planner: Small Weddings | Wedding Gown: Alvina Valenta | Bridesmaid's Dresses: Cavalera | Catering: Marakuthai | Cake And Sweets: Ana Luiza | Decoration: Isaias Ribeiro

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Romantic Argentinian Elopement

When it comes right down to it, a wedding shouldn’t follow any rules. Because when you throw the ‘traditional’ mind set out the window, you’re bound to be surprised how meaningful and true-to-you your wedding day can really be. I’m talking about this sweet duo, who threw caution to the wind when they decided to elope in Buenos Aires with a little bit of help from Carmela Hartman and Clari Firmat. One look at Sarah Kate‘s images of the day and you’ll see why this was the best. idea. ever.


From the beautiful Bride…I’ve always known that I wanted to get married abroad. My love of travel and adventure has taken me around the world, even leading me to Florence, Italy, where I lived for six months of my life. I met Jordan soon after moving to Austin, TX, and I realized very quickly that I had found the thrill-seeking and passionate person that I had always been looking for; on our first date, we talked so long that we ended up closing down the restaurant! After dating a little over two years, Jordan proposed and I said YES! Now the biggest question was figuring out where to go.

Throwing caution to the wind, we decided to elope in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Jordan lived there after college and was yearning to go back, and it was a destination that I had always wanted to visit. Being a wedding photographer myself, it was very important that I immediately found an amazing photographer to capture our day, and it was such an easy decision once I spotted photos taken by the uber-talented and incredibly lovely Sarah Kate. By happenstance, we were also introduced to Clari Firmat of Tepeino Puntocom who is a native of Buenos Aires. While she started out simply as my hair and makeup artist, our friendship quickly grew over e-mail, and soon she was helping us pick our hotel and shooting locations, offering to drive us around the widespread city and we even decided to have her officiate our wedding. We could not have done this without her.

Our “weddingmoon,” as we came to lovingly call it, was more than we could have ever imagined. Among the bustling cobblestone streets, the Paraje de Almas hotel provided a gorgeous backdrop for both getting ready and our ceremony. Although I was an emotional wreck getting through the vows I had written, I knew at least that the blooming jasmine and whitewashed walls would look great for the photos! Alongside Sarah Kate, we had the honor of wedding videography by Ohana Producciones, capturing our story to perfection. After the ceremony, as we were posing for some of the last photos of the day, we heard music across the street. On a whim, Jordan and Sarah Kate pulled me over to the open auditorium where street musicians were performing and we had our first dance right then and there in front of a hundred San Isidro locals. It was a moment I will never forget. The next day, we all piled into Clari’s car and went zipping around Buenos Aires, using the city as our backdrop. Traveling in our wedding attire from La Boca all the way to Palermo and Puerto Madero, we felt so fortunate being able to immerse ourselves in the city and its culture.

We knew that planning a wedding halfway across the world would bring unexpected and spontaneous moments, but we didn’t realize just how sweet this time would truly be. From the incredible people we met to the rich events we experienced, Jordan and I are so happy we took the leap. While it wasn’t traditional, our celebration completely reflected who we are as a couple… a perfect way to invest in our memories and lifelong love.

Photography: Sarah Kate | Event Planning: Carmela Hartman Of In Style Weddings & Destinations | Wedding Dress: Moonlight Bridal | Invitations: Méldeen | Shoes: Louis Vuitton | Rings: Rodger Kadet, Ltd. | Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss | Bride's Belt: My Little Bride, Israel | Earrings: Emma Stine | Hotel/Ceremony: Paraje De Almas, San Isidro, Buenos Aires | Makeup & Hair: Clari Firmat | Video: Matias Firmat

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