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Jen Karetnick | Photo: Enrique Cañizalez Photography and Matt Horton/Artist Group Photography | December 13, 2012
Curious cultural commingling, wedding crashers and a last-minute rainstorm make for an affair to remember at Turnberry Isle.
Picture this: A trendy lounge, complete with couches, ottomans, lamps and architectural drapes. The Manolo Puerto Band, a 23-piece outfit, churning out an energetic mix of Spanish, English and Hebrew tunes. A crowd of 500-plus Venezuelans, Mexicans and Americans, all hoisting cocktails, wearing masks and hats, blowing whistles, and dancing in flip-flops until 5am. Must be the World Cup finals, right?
Nope. It was the wedding reception of Myriam Ifrah and Marcos Sandler, held at the supremely elegant Turnberry Isle Miami.
Myriam and Marcos had no trouble at all choosing the locale for their wedding. As she recalls, “Our venue search started and ended on the very same day.” But, “One of the things we were concerned about was the mix of people and different backgrounds, even though we’re all Latins,” Myriam recalls. A Venezuela native, Myriam was raised in Miami; Marcos, of Mexican descent, was born in Chicago and reared in northern New Jersey. “And then you add the Americans… we didn’t know what would happen,” she says.
Indeed, a crowd can make or break a party, and in Venezuela it’s customary to crash weddings. So while 450 invitations went out, the pair expected—and received—at least 50 additional guests. “My wife and I [were] standing on the band’s stage during ‘La Hora Loca’ (The Crazy Hour), when the party gets the most intense, and I remember looking down at the party and seeing a massive mix of Mexicans, Venezuelans and Americans dancing and having the time of their lives,” Marcos enthuses. “For the first time in my life, I had everyone I knew and cared about in the same room. It was a pretty awesome thing to see.”
In the end, the event was perfectly controlled thanks to several additional factors, all of which were overseen by wedding planner Fortuna Ludmir of Design 42. “The wedding planner was insanely amazing,” Myriam says. “She came up with all the ideas and we fell in love [with her].”
Ludmir suggested that the couple employ a half-and-half approach: reserve one side of the venue for planned seating; use the other side for more casual, come-and-go lounge seating for the younger guests. Those seated received a plated, multicourse kosher dinner; those in the lounge were offered the same items, but in smaller portions.
In addition to classic movies playing as a black-and-white background montage during the cocktail hour, the ceremony backdrop created out of 9,000 white roses almost challenged the bride for beauty. And when the ceremony had to be moved indoors at the last moment because of rain, the wall had to be cut and rearranged quickly.
Regardless, it was “the fairy-tale wedding [I’d] always dreamed of,” Myriam says—even with a lot of wedding crashers in the mix.