Unique and Unforgettable

By Angela Caraway-Carlton

When Andrea and Jeff envisioned their April destination wedding, they pictured a venue that mixed tropical luxury with eclectic details that would make their special day unlike any other. The couple, who recently moved to Florida from upstate New York, desired a breathtaking beach setting that would continue to transform from day to night, as well as unconventional decor and entertainment that flaunted South Florida’s unique Latin flavor. Their event producers from Chris Weinberg Events, Sam Barredo and Sheryl Vainstein, pointed them to Acqualina Resort’s exclusive locale on idyllic Sunny Isles Beach. “Acqualina is the one place that you can get married on the beach with unobstructed views of the ocean and also not be in the sand. It’s very unique and there’s no other venue like it in Miami,” says Barredo.

The tone for the elevated tropical wedding was immediately set, from the save-the-dates that replicated airline boarding passes and a map of Florida, to the stunning acrylic watercolor invitations that imbued Miami’s blue waters and arrived nestled in a coordinating box with custom luggage tags, all created by Boxed Wedding Invitations. “We curated welcome gifts for the guests upon arrival that included the couple’s favorite things, as well as items tailored to the activities planned throughout the weekend,” Barredo says of the special gifts that included cookies from the couple’s first date place to sunglasses and custom towels by IDitAll for a boat day.

Wow-worthy moments were sprinkled throughout the al fresco affair thanks to production and decor by Petal Productions. Set on Acqualina’s picturesque beachfront lawn, the couple’s aisle style included entering the ceremony on an eye-catching mercury-glass walkway edged with candles, as a steel drummer played island tunes. Even the guests were seated in avant-garde fashion. “They didn’t want traditional seating. It was important to them that their close friends and family were placed in an intimate seating environment, so we utilized a mixture of curved sofas and chairs,” Vainstein says. Tropical florals and decor wrapped around the couple as they said their vows on the lawn, while the beach and ocean purposely remained the central backdrop.

Another standout detail of the event was a green and gold bar inspired by the bar at the couple’s favorite restaurant. “We tried to weave neutral hues throughout the space, but the bar added a pop of color,” Barredo says. Once guests were seated for dinner, they each had distinct place settings that included different cutlery, plates, chargers, and glassware. “When the bride first said that she wanted every single place setting to be different, we were nervous. But it was gorgeous and the tablescape was tied together by the wooden printed menus which were all the same,” Barredo says.

The couple’s wedding was also the first time that the event producers had planned a wedding with a completely gluten-free menu to accommodate the bride’s allergies and dietary lifestyle. “Acqualina was able to make everything on its current menu gluten-free, so the bride’s selections were not limited by her dietary restrictions. Everything was delicious,” Vainstein says of the multi-course surf and turf dinner that left even the event planners wanting more. “The gluten-free spring rolls were the best we’ve ever had, and we’re still talking about them.”

Entertainment was ever-changing throughout the night, from Tropics Entertainment’s dynamic 10-piece band to vibrant salsa dancers provided by Black & Wine Events, who greeted and danced with guests upon entry to the reception. “There was never a dull moment. The guests never knew what surprises were coming next,” Barredo says. After the cake was cut and the bride and groom changed into secondary party outfits, the night escalated with a “la hora loca,” a party within a party that is known as “the crazy hour.” The music turned up, the lighting changed, and a procession of costumed dancers energized the celebration taking place under the stars and palm trees. “The couple was blow away by Acqualina. From the staff’s service upon arrival to the food and the breathtaking setting, it was better than they ever imagined,” Vainstein says. “They can’t wait to return.”