The bride and groom of today’s gorgeous oceanfront Miami wedding pulled off the day of their dreams against all odds. Three postponements laters, and just 90 days before their big day… their venue let them know they wouldn’t be open in time for their wedding date. Fortunately, the talented team at Events By Elle and Ever After Floral Design knew exactly what to do to transform and redesign the vision to perfectly fit their new location – the groom’s godparents’ waterfront home in Coral Gables, FL. Watch it all unfold at the full gallery, captured by Katie Lopez Photography!
From the Bride… Many people ask when we met, but my husband, Frankie and I, have known each other since elementary school in Miami, FL. While we were friends for most of our childhood, we started dating when we were 16 years old in July of 2010. After high school, he went to Dartmouth and I moved to Boston to attend Boston College. After 4 years of long distance, we decided to move together to New York City. In April 2019, after 9 years of being together- Frankie proposed on a rainy Friday night in our apartment and surprised me by flying our parents to NYC for the weekend. He had also planned a surprise rooftop party at Mr. Purple with all our friends & family the next day. After a year of wedding planning, we boarded a flight from New York City back home to Miami, FL five days before our wedding date of March 21, 2020. As we landed, we realized how severe the pandemic had become. We ultimately decided to postpone our wedding and have a civil ceremony performed by my aunt in my parents’ backyard with our immediate families, while my sister (and MOH) broadcasted the ceremony on Instagram live for friends & family. This was even before zoom weddings!
After three postponements throughout 2020, we finally had a new date for our religious ceremony and reception – May 1, 2021. However, three months before the new date our original venue called to let us know they would not open in time for our wedding. With less than 90 days, we moved venues to the groom’s godparents’ waterfront home in Coral Gables, FL. I could not have executed any of these obstacles without Elle Saade-Becerra and her team at Events by Elle. The team was able to completely redesign everything from top to bottom and execute a sophisticated, coastal, classic reception with blue & white décor that played off the native florals of South Florida. We added rattan lanterns and bamboo chairs to accent the oceanfront venue. After a long year of lockdowns, we wanted our guests to feel they were transported to a cozy coastal vacation where they could dance the night away in celebration. We chose a white dinner jacket attire to accent our décor and keep the men comfortable on a warm spring day in Miami. Luckily, the women showed up in beautiful patterns of all colors that really livened up the party! After 11 years of dating, we were married at Epiphany Catholic Church – the Church at the elementary school where we met 20 years ago.
Our out-of-town guests were greeted at the hotel with a welcome box full of classic Cuban goodies- Maria cookies, merenguitos and ingredients for a Cuba Libre cocktail (Bacardi, coke, and lime). Our custom logo was designed by Dogwood Hill and we attached it to our welcome gift bag. It was important for us to incorporate our Cuban heritage throughout the events. Our upbringing in Miami, FL was influenced greatly by our Cuban grandparents, and it was so special to share that piece of us with our guests.
The bride’s group got ready at my mother’s best friend’s home. She surprised me with custom cocktail napkins embroidered with our wedding logo that I still use to host friends and family at our home! Before I even started shopping for wedding dresses, I knew I would find my dream dress at Ever After bridal shop in Miami, FL. As I walked in, the owner, Camille, said she had picked out the perfect dress for me but she didn’t want to show me until I had tried everything on. I loved taking risks with my own style and was determined to find something unique and out of my comfort zone. At the end of the appointment, I finally tried on the long sleeve Zuhair Murad gown she had chosen. It was totally different from what I imagined I would wear, but something felt right about the delicate lace detail and off the shoulder silhouette. I booked a wonderful style team- Nicole Emano and Keshia Garnett- for my make-up and hair. After gathering some inspiration from Hailey Baldwin Bieber’s wedding day look, I decided upon an “effortless French girl” look that was sleek, simple, and chic to complement the dramatic gown. This beauty team got my vision perfectly! My jewelry was especially important- I wore the same earrings my aunt and grandmother had worn for their weddings, and an emerald (my birthstone) ring given to my mother by my grandfather the day I was born. Accompanying these items was a lace ring bearer pillow hand-stitched by my great-great grandmother in Cuba. It was so special to have family heirlooms to commemorate this day. My mother and mother-in-law were both wearing custom Victoria Lopez-Castro designs. I loved the way their one-shoulder red and halter powder blue gowns played off each other.
Styling my bridesmaids dresses was such a fun part of the process. In my spare time, I love helping friends find wedding guest outfits and this time I was able to do it for myself! I envisioned playful nude and pink patterns that felt fresh for Spring. Everyone looked gorgeous and unique in their different styles – especially my sister, Cristi, (and MOH) in her Galvan London rose gown. One of my bridesmaids, Vivian Grimes, founded the Florida-based startup, Henri Noël Fine Jewelry, and she brought diamond earrings and necklaces for each bridesmaid to wear. Funny enough, I began working with her full time after returning from my honeymoon. Although I wasn’t anticipating much for our first look, Frankie’s reaction to seeing me in my dress was incredible. I had never seen him speechless! As it was time to head to the church, my wedding planner alerted me that the car we rented couldn’t start that morning. The company had sent another classic car instead – a 1930 Ford Model A. This little hiccup turned out to be a blessing in disguise. This unique car was one of my favorite surprises of the day! Our wedding party and Frankie headed to the church in a white trolley – dancing together the whole way there. My father and I were the last ones to leave, and we decided to take a tequila shot together before heading to the ceremony. As we arrived at the church that I had gone to throughout my childhood, I began to get nervous! Nothing is as nerve-wrecking as waiting for the church doors to open, but the nerves quickly settled as I saw Frankie at the altar. We celebrated a traditional catholic wedding mass, including a Spanish “mantilla” that has been passed down through our family for generations. The “mantilla” is a lace veil placed over the bride and groom’s shoulder to represent the new union formed in through marriage.
After the ceremony, white trollies transported our guests to our reception. Our cocktail hour took place around the pool and boat dock at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. Guests were welcomed by a jazzy saxophone and our signature drinks- a spicy paloma and old fashioned. During quarantine I picked up a painting as a new hobby, so as our wedding started getting closer, I decided to order rattan fans and hand paint our initials in French blue to be passed out as the guests arrived. For our guest book, we chose a coffee table of Capri, Italy representing our honeymoon destination. Our guest book is now part of our coffee table décor to enjoy whenever we want! Our caterer, Style Catering, planned a menu that incorporated Cuban staples with modern dishes– spicy tuna tartare, vaca frita tostones, and crispy polenta croutons with pulled duck ragu. In a nod to our college years in the Northeast, I had this vision of guests enjoying my favorite appetizer- oysters- by the water. Our caterer was able to bring my vision to life with oysters in special wooden trays served throughout cocktail hour. These were definitely a crowd favorite!
Our guests entered the Sperry tent under a blooming bougainvillea entrance that added a pop of color to the blue, white and green décor. During wedding planning, there was a big debate about what color flooring we should have inside the tent. Should we do green to look like grass? Or a classic neutral? My wedding planner suggested white turf, but would it get dirty? I decided to trust her gut and go with the white turf floor. It was difficult to imagine how it would come together, but once we saw how bright and crisp the inside of the tent looked – I knew it was the perfect choice. Inside, the tent was filled with round and rectangular tables with two different linen prints of greens, blues, and whites. Ever After Florals created beautiful greenery accents that transformed the tent into a coastal gardenscape. My mother-in-law found gorgeous French blue and white ginger jars a month before the wedding, and our wonderful florist was able to incorporate them throughout the reception. We also chose a white-washed wood Sperry dance floor with white couches to create a quintessential coastal focal point for the tent. Our band, The Clique, got the party started and got our guests dancing immediately. After a few speeches and dances, we opened the buffet-style dinner for our guests. It was important for us to keep a party-like atmosphere and have our guests feel free to mingle, hit the bar, and fill their plate at their own pace. Our food stations were inspired by our favorite foods – Spanish tapas with seafood paella, “Little Italy” with Branzino and a red wine braised short rib risotto, and a meat carving station with NY strip and slow roasted pork “lechon”. Our wedding cake was designed by a renown Miami bakery- Edda’s Cake Designs. We chose a classic rum cake- our favorite childhood cake.
Inspired by our shared Cuban heritage, the “hora loca” (Spanish for “the crazy hour, a Hispanic wedding tradition that is meant to kick off the later hours of the party) started with a pop of white confetti that filled the tent like snow. Our wedding planner passed out “tropical space cowboy” themed accessories – 40 gallon cowboy hats, astronaut hats, disco headbands and flower crowns. I wore a custom orchid headpiece and my husband wore a custom captain’s hat with his initials. One of our favorite memories was when the band performed the groom’s family’s favorite song “Friends in Low Places”. Our families got on the stage and sang every word together. After such a long year of postponements, it felt wonderful seeing the whole night come together and finally celebrating with our friends and family. We ended the night on the stage singing Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” with our guests, a nod our favorite city where we lived together and got engaged two years prior. So much has changed since our April 2019 engagement, and we were thrilled to host such a joyful day with everyone we love.
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Photography: Katie Lopez Photography | Cinematography: Ps Photography | Event Planning: Events By Elle | Floral Design: Ever After Floral Design | Wedding Dress: Zuhair Murad | Cake: Edda’s Cake Designs | Invitations: Dogwood Hill | Ceremony Venue: Epiphany Catholic Church | Reception Venue: Private Home | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Catering: STYLE Catering, Inc. | Lighting: Celebrations by Kathy | DJ: The Clique Band, Tropics Entertainment | Band: The Clique Band, Tropics Entertainment | Groom's Attire: The Black Tux | Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux | Transportation: Rumba Tours | White Trolley | Transportation: Florians Classics | Beauty: Junkie Bride | Beauty: Clique Miami | Bridesmaid Accessories: Henri Noel Fine Jewelry | Chair Rentals: Imperial Event Rentals | Confetti: Liquid Sky Laser Shows | Custom Bars: Elements & Accents | Custom Napkins: For Your Party | Dress Vendor: Ever After Miami | Flooring: Elegant Parties | Logo: Dogwood Hill | MOB Purse: Pamela Munson | MOG Purse: Asha - TALLULAH STUD | Maid of Honor Dress: Galvan London | Mother of Bride & Groom Dresses: Victoria Lopez Castro | Photography - Assistance: Lara Rios | Rentals: Nuage Designs | Rentals: Bubble | Rentals: BBJ La Tavola | Table, Chairs, and Lounge Area Rentals: Elements & Accents | Tent & Dancefloor: Sperry Tents Southeast | Weddings Rings: Henri Noel Fine Jewelry
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