Rustic Chic Wedding in Miami, Florida
Warning signs of a bridezilla? Childlike tantrums, narcissistic tendencies, obsessive behaviors...this is not that bride. Describing herself as a "bridechilla," Paola Villanueva cared more about the feeling of her wedding than what it looked like. And the feeling was nothing but love.
Paola, the founder of La Nueva Communications, met Joseph Ortega, an Investor/Realtor at a New Year's trip to Bimini (a Bahamanian island just 50 miles from the couple's hometown of Miami). The duo decided to make it official in September 2015, after some finagling on Joseph's part.Paola admits, "I was being a pain in the butt. He was rushing me to walk on the beach and then go to brunch. I was bitter about it the whole time." After finally convincing Paola to stroll on the sand, Joseph got down on one knee. Paola says, "I looked at the ring, jumped on him, and gave him a hug." He went home with a new fiancée and a belly full of brunch.
While it might have been difficult for Paola to follow the proposal plan, it was much easier for the pair to select the venue. The Cooper Estate, known for its rustic elegance, was their only contender for the 160-person event in February of 2017. Paola explains, "I didn't want a ballroom or generic space. I wanted it to feel like a backyard wedding."
The ceremony was far from generic, set in a sunken grotto, canopied by mature Oak trees and surrounded by rocks and cascading waterfalls. For the reception, Paola complemented the barn-like space with soft pink and cream florals, candlelight, and gold brass accents. She explains, "I didn't have a full vision. I wanted it to feel intimate and easy," which she conveyed through lounge seating and hanging lights.
A "lover of all things DIY," Paola kept the planning close to home, calling on the support of friends, family, and her creative strengths. Her aunt, Mariella Adrian, designed and crafted her two-piece silk gown with beads, pearls, and tulle. Paola explains, "She made all the important dresses in my life. She knows me. She knows my body. She knows my style," Weaving the work of loved ones throughout the experience, the couple coordinated wedding day cameos that featured live music from her stepfather's Cuban band and a reading from the groom's sister. Paola also collaborated with her cousin, a graphic designer, on the invitations, sourcing the envelopes and lining herself, and assembling with Joseph, which she says "was intense." Other DIY projects included chalkboard signage and bridal party gifts.
Keeping in mind that this was a celebration of love, the two stuck to their own formula, altering the traditional wedding timeline to fit their personalities. They started the party immediately after dinner and turned it up with a surprise guest appearance in the form of a robot, named David Drummer.
Paola hired an event company, Events by Nicky, so she could enjoy the process and not take it too seriously. She says, "I just pulled things together that I liked, and it all worked out. If something didn’t fall in place, it wasn’t the most important thing."
Word to the wise? "Take it lightly. At the end of the day, you’re planning a party. Although it’s symbolic and beautiful, your marriage is more important than your wedding so don’t put added stress on the relationship and just have fun with it."
Serious bride goals...
Planner: Events by Nicky || Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Cooper Estate || Wedding Dress: Mariella Adrian || Groom's Attire: Hugo Boss || Florist: Ever After Floral Design || Band: Orestes Esteves || Entertainment: David Drummer || Cake: Ana Paz Cakes || Furniture: The Salvage Snob || Photographer: Christian Arevalo