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Alexis Rivera & Isadore “Izzy” Havenick. 

The religious outdoor ceremony.


The couple’s ketubah, or marriage contract.

The bride’s stunning pear-shaped diamond ring and accompanying bands.

Calla lilies climbed up the cake.

Dynamic floral arrangements scaled the heights.


Menus nestled into sparkly trimmed textiles.


A kiss to remember.

A Sure Bet

Alexis Rivera & Isadore Havenick December 17, 2011 

A casino magnate and his TV journalist bride say “I do” in the town where they discovered a magical romance.

Though Isadore “Izzy” Havenick, vice president of political affairs at Magic City Casino, and Alexis Rivera, a news anchor for WSVN-7, both have roots deep in Miami soil, when it came time to plan their winter wedding they toyed with the idea of holding the event in a far-flung locale. “We considered having a destination wedding,” she explains. “I tried to pick far and inconvenient places so that only the people who really cared about us would attend,” asserts Havenick, whose family owns the aforementioned casino. But in the end, the Magic City won out. “Every milestone in our life has been in Miami so it made sense that another one be here as well,” he says. One such milestone was their meeting two years ago, an event orchestrated by two matchmaking friends.

They chose the tony Mandarin Oriental, a getaway slightly removed from downtown, as the setting for their momentous occasion. Rivera says it’s her favorite hotel in the city partly for its glittering water views and the flickering skyline in the distance. She eventually enlisted the help of Sara Renee Lowell of Sara Renee Events to tie up loose ends and take control of the wedding day.

The ceremony was held outdoors on the hotel’s waterfront patio which, at the time, seemed like the ideal spot for a December celebration. “I always wanted a winter wedding in Miami because it’s such a beautiful time of year,” Rivera says. But Mother Nature had other plans: “Ironically it ended up being one of the warmest weekends of the winter!” Add to that the raucous boat parade that made its way down the Miami River as the couple was walking down the aisle. “Luckily it ended midway through, but it was honking horns and blaring Christmas music,” she laughs. Two rabbis, one from each family’s respective congregation (Rivera is Cuban-Jewish), married the couple since, as she explains, “This wedding was about two longtime Miami families coming together.”

The reception was held in one of the Mandarin’s vast ballrooms, with tables for more than 400 guests festooned with hydrangeas and black calla lilies. “I never had a picture in my mind. I just knew I wanted a wow factor and I knew I wanted a lot of flowers,” Rivera recalls. To create a floral spectacular, she enlisted the help of Karla Dascal, a longtime friend and owner of Karla Conceptual Event Experiences. “Karla was able to execute my vision, but it was a team effort with me, my mom and Karla’s team.”

And as anyone who’s familiar with Cuban tradition knows, food played a prominent role in the celebration. The groom’s must-haves for passed appetizers: mini Reuben sandwiches, mini lamb chops, mac and cheese, and truffle fries. “We both love truffles, so we had as much truffle as possible,” she adds. They danced to Keith Urban’s “Only You Can Love Me This Way” for their first dance and the party lasted until 3am, with a DJ keeping everyone moving and a late-night buffet of more comfort food and desserts to keep guests satiated.

Rivera says her best memory occurred between the ceremony and the reception. “The moment I realized we were actually married was at a set of stairs prior to going into the cocktail hour, before people swarmed us, and we looked at each other and we said ‘this is the moment we’ll always remember.’” As for the groom: “It was the end of the night. She looked at me and said, ‘This was the wedding I always wanted, and you are the guy I always wanted to marry.’”