• Cecilia Balocco and Tyler House
  • Melanie Fernandez
  • Wedding Advice Series
Cecilia Balocco and Tyler House

November 22, 2014

Ceremony: First Presbyterian Church of Miami

Reception: The Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove

Photographer: Martha Ramirez with UDS Photography

How you met your husband.

We met the first day of medical school at Nova in August 2010 while out in the bars in Las Olas. We would both agree that the attraction was immediate, however, we didn’t start officially dating until March 2012.

Tell us about the engagement.

We were doing a month long “interview rotation” at residency programs in Southern Virginia when he surprised me with a weekend trip to Washington DC. He got us a suite at the Mandarin Oriental overlooking the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial. When I walked into the room there were flowers, champagne, and chocolate covered strawberries. Within a few minutes he was down on one knee. It was October 4th, 2013.

Venue Shopping - what made you decide on your venue?

I had very little free time to actually visit venues, so I sat down with my wedding planner, Yadi Rose, at the beginning of December and asked her for advice based on my vision. I ended up visiting 4 different venues and ultimately fell in love with the Ritz-Carlton Coconut Grove because it was grandiose and exclusive at the same time. Other venues I saw could host up to 3 weddings on the same day, and I didn’t want my guests to go through that. Their ballroom was also the perfect size for us, not too large and not too crammed. Finally, cherry on top of the cake, they didn’t have a time to shut down the music and when the catering director told me they had a wedding end at 5am the previous weekend, I was SOLD!

Describe your wedding look and how you came to the “look” decision. How did you pull it off? (venue, inspirations, items, etc.). What sources or people helped you, including wedding planners, pinterest, etc., and what was their advice?

I would have never been able to pull off my wedding without 2 people: my mom, who kept me financially grounded while always being there for me, and my wedding planner, Yadi Rose, who helped me not only develop a vision, but then make it come to life. I am one of those “science” people with zero artistic inclination so I knew from the beginning I needed help. I met Yadi at a good friend of mine’s bridal shower and, after asking around about her, decided she would be perfect for me! All I knew from the get-go was that I wanted something on the modern side, mostly white as it truly is a timeless color, with touches of gold and blue to match my husband’s US Navy uniform.

Your dress and accessories: describe the dress shopping experience a little and the accessories you wore. What made you say yes to the dress?  

When I first started dress shopping I had more of an idea of what I DIDN’T want than what I wanted. I have the tendency of looking very “plain Jane” with strapless because I have fine, straight, light hair so I wanted to stay away from that. I had randomly found a picture of a long sleeve dress on Instagram that I loved, but could not trace it back to a designer, so I mostly went around asking for similar looks. I tried on all kinds of dresses for 48 hours straight when finally I tried one on at Chic Parisien by an Israeli designer, Yaki Ravid, and as soon as the zipper was up I knew this one was IT. My sister bought me the gold Valentino peep-toe bow pumps as a wedding present, which, to be completely honest, I knew were going to be my wedding shoes since before I even had a boyfriend! My hair piece was from the Miami Merchandise Mart (yes, ladies, the Miami Mart doesn’t only sell Chinese slippers and oversized hoops) and only cost $14!

Your bridesmaid dresses. Where were they from? What inspired you to choose the certain style(s)?

I knew from the beginning I wanted navy blue as the color since it is universally flattering on all skin tones and blue is both my my and my husband's favorite color. I went to Daisy Tarsi with my sister and made her try on countless dresses. Finally, we both decided on a simple Jim Hjelm dress which was strapless for the maids and with delicate lace sleeves for my sister, the maid of honor.

 Flowers: Tell us a little bit about your arrangements, types of flowers you used, how they fit with your “look”, and if and how your florist contributed to the design.  

I chose all white flower arrangements for everything, from the church to the bouquets to the table arrangements. I just love how clean and fresh white looks. The flower arrangements were from Nevot Flower Designs and Jorge, the owner, is the one who sat down with me and walked me through every single flower detail. My all time favorite creation he did for us are the rose balls floating over calla lilies under water. I encouraged all my guests to take them home at the end of the night!


Details: Talk about any special details you incorporated throughout the wedding.

Tyler is an officer in the US Navy so we wanted to incorporate part of that tradition in our wedding. He got married in his formal whites, and when we walked out of the church we were welcomed by a “saber arch” formed by cadets. The funny part is, at the end of it the last cadet slapped my butt with a sword and said “welcome to the family!”.

What you found most overwhelming and difficult about the wedding planning process.

I moved to Virginia in June 2014 to start my residency so the last 5 months I was planning a destination wedding while working 80 hours a week. Luckily, I had an amazing wedding planner and parents who lived down the street from the venue.

Looking back, you would have done this differently (in general).

Overall, I am extremely happy with how it all came together. However, if I had to do something different it would be book the church before the venue. Unfortunately, I had signed the contract with the Ritz when I found out all of the Catholic churches in the area had no availability for my date and time.

Your favorite moment all day/night.

Am I allowed to say everything?? My two favorite things would have to be the smile on my husband’s face and watching my family who had flown all the way from Italy just for my wedding have such a great time.

Your advice to any bride planning a wedding is...

Keep an open mind, even if you don’t think planning a wedding is “your thing” you’ll be surprised at how much you will enjoy it and how proud of yourself you will feel when it all comes together. Also, let go of the little things, something WILL go wrong but you know what? Your guests will most likely not even notice it and still have all eyes on the gorgeous couple.

  • Melanie Fernandez
  • Wedding Advice Series

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