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Daniela & Justin
Riki Altman-Yee | Photo: Maloman Studios | June 20, 2014
After meeting in Las Vegas, a Miami couple hosts a Vizcaya wedding of Sin City proportions.
Despite what those commercials say, sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay there; it moves to Miami. At least that was the case for attorneys Daniela Fontecilla and Justin Drexler, who met in Sin City four years ago.
She was part of a bachelorette party, and Justin was vacationing with some friends, when the two locked eyes at an Encore Beach Club Labor Day event. “It was a very natural union,” she recalls. “We come from different places and different cultures, but there are a lot of similarities that we immediately connected on. All of our friends thought, how did this happen here, of all places?”
Since Daniela’s home was in Miami and Justin was based in California, they dated long distance for a few years. Then, one November weekend in 2012, Justin planned a romantic rendezvous at Shore Club South Beach, where he proposed on the balcony of their oceanfront suite. He soon moved across the nation, and the wedding planning commenced.
They first considered a private estate on Miami’s luxe Star Island, but eventually decided on a more expansive and lush venue originally suggested by Daniela’s parents: Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, a Gilded Age estate with elaborately landscaped gardens. “We didn’t want it to be stuffy and in a ballroom setting. It was important to us [for it] to be open-air and outdoors, fun and carefree. It’s such a breathtaking place. It takes you out of Miami and makes you feel like you’re in Europe!”
Though Daniela said both families were “great” when it came to helping out with the preparations, it was the planner, Joan Love of Love.Style.Events, who made the couple’s nuptial dreams come to life. “She definitely executed my vision and helped facilitate the whole process,” says the bride. Love called on Parrish Designs to help transform one of Miami’s most Mediterranean venues into a modern and glamorous South Beach scene, incorporating lots of glass, mirror-topped tables, candles, white flowers and arching orchids.
“I wanted a fun party—that was most important,” Daniela explains. To honor the groom’s Jewish roots, the guests danced the hora. Then they participated in la hora loca, a Latin tradition involving music and props, which was a tip of the hat to the bride’s Venezuelan background. “I had huge angel-feather wings, and he had a tribal Indian [headdress] thing,” recalls the bride. Other quirky additions to the event included a waterfront hookah smoking area, a sculpture of a naked man with a lamp as his head sitting on a couch, and musical selections ranging from Bob Marley
Then there was that truly unforgettable moment: “Toward the end of the reception, I saw Justin running downstairs and jumping into the bay, and I followed him,” recalls the bride, who claims she is still picking seaweed out from the layers of her Monique Lhuillier gown. “Keeping true to our personalities, that’s how we spontaneously ended the night. I think we created amazing memories for everyone that came.”
Ceremony & Reception Venue Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Miami
Catering A Joy Wallace
Decor Bubble Miami; Uplyte
Lighting & Staging Uplyte
Planner Joan Love, Love.Style.Events
Rentals Bubble Miami
Calligraphy Invitations by Leston
Florals Parrish Designs
Accommodations Grove Isle Hotel & Spa; Sonesta Coconut Grove
Entertainment Capricho-Xavier Gonzalez; DJ Stern; UTP entertainment (bongo man)
Gown Monique Lhuillier
Headpiece & Veil Chic Parisien, Coral Gables
Shoes Jimmy Choo
Ring Designer Jewelry by Marsha
Groom’s Suit Dolce & Gabbana
Hair & Makeup Gina Simone
Transportation Ocean Drive Limousine