• Carolina Armas and Daniel Bustamante
  • Melanie Fernandez
  • Wedding Advice Series
Carolina Armas and Daniel Bustamante

April 21, 2012

Ceremony: Church of the Epiphany in Coral Gables, Florida

Reception: Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key, Florida

Photographer: Ray Santana Photography

Videographer: Merge Social

How you met your husband.

Neither of us can remember the exact day we met…we were two young kids that basically grew up along side each other but never hung out together. I was the annoying younger sister, always asking to play or partake and always getting shooed away by my older brother, Joey, and his friends, including Danny. We began to take notice of each other when he joined my family on vacation to Treasure Cay, Bahamas. Danny and I spoke about everything we could think about on that trip and quickly fell in love. We were officially a couple after my brother gave us his “blessing” a month later, stating he “better be the best man at our wedding”! That was a bit overwhelming at the time, but he was one of the best men along with Danny’s older brother, Gaby.



Tell us about the engagement.

A year and a half later, we took our first trip together to New Orleans and Savannah. While in Savannah, Danny rushed me through dinner (annoying me, of course) in order to make the scheduled horse and carriage ride to one of the city’s most beautiful squares, Whitefield Square. Since age 12, Danny knew he’d one day propose to his future wife there when his family witnessed a proposal under the gazebo while on a trip. It was said to be good luck for couples to kiss under the gazebo, promising a lifetime of love and happiness together. As we reached the spot he went down on one knee saying, “Will you marry me?” A shocked moment of silence preceded my excited, “Yes!”

Venue Shopping - what made you decide on your venue?

The Church where our ceremony took place was an easy choice, as it was the parish both of our families belonged to growing up. We both had a lot of memories there and were excited to make future memories there together.

We looked around at different venues for the reception and it was narrowed down to very few due to the amount of guests we hoped to invite. After it was narrowed down to a few, we looked for specific traits when “venue shopping”. We wanted a comfortable vibe, excellent service, delicious food, and ease of being able to wedding plan; the less stress, the better. The whole experience at the Mandarin oriental was impeccable. Everyone was so kind and truly went out of their way to accommodate to make everyone, including Danny, our parents, our guests and me, feel comfortable and happy. The view was also impressive.

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

I always had a love for Monique Lhuillier lace dresses. When I was welcomed with open arms (and several dresses to try on) at Chic Parisien, I knew I’d find my dress. I had done some research and saw that the “Catherine” Monique Lhuillier was going to be added to the new season. Chic Parisien had it at a trunk show and after trying on several dresses and thinking I had already found my dress, I fell in love with my a-line Princess Catherine and Grace Kelly inspired gown. I felt like a princess and knew I would never be able to wear a dress like that again. I altered the top of the dress, making the long sleeves ¾ sleeves and the neck-high neckline an off the shoulder removable “bolero”. I wanted my shoulders to be covered during the mass and wanted to feel “free” to dance with my new husband at the reception. It was the best of both worlds. I also added a beautiful Maria Elena belt to the dress for the reception. My earrings were borrowed from my grandmother who also lent them to my mother on her own wedding day. My tennis bracelet was a gift from my husband on our wedding day morning. I chose a headband-like “tiara” with pearls and diamonds by Paris by Deborah Moreland to give my overall look a down to earth, casual feeling. It was also easy for my hair transition from up to letting it into loose waves for the reception. My shoes were Christian Louboutin with the baby blue sole for my “something blue”; they were stunning but very uncomfortable. Maybe something I would have done differently.

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

My bridesmaid dresses were beautifully brought to life by Ever After. They are a brilliant team. My dresses were a champagne color. I wanted flowy and easy, but still elegant. After several drawings we chose a-line skirts, chiffon, and a braid accent placed in different areas for every girl. They had a fitted top and a neckline tailored to each of the girl’s liking. I wanted them to feel comfortable and beautiful. The maid of honor, my life long best friend, wore a mermaid silhouette with a sweet heart neckline. I wanted to gift them a dress that they could wear again to future events, and most of them have!

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?

For the reception, I chose a white, blush and green color palette with blush lighting. The ambiance was a modern take on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. I wanted something lightweight, airy and romantic. My wedding planner, Lourdes Milian, florist, Karla Dascal, and of course my mom were very influential in my decision to add a punch of color with natural green foliage. They felt all white was not “enough” for my April wedding. They suggested incorporating color to match Spring flora. Four beautiful pillars of lush foliage with white flowers dispersed throughout it beautifully complemented the all white look I always loved. Long nights of Pinterest board organizing and searching through wedding magazines also helped me reach my ultimate “look”.


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 had interesting flower arrangements, and I wouldn’t change a thing about them! I found some on Pinterest and Karla beautifully replicated them with the color scheme that she suggested and I approved. They were Pave of rose covered vases with white Phalaenopsis coming out of the top. We also incorporated tall installations of Cherry Blossoms as the hint of “blush” (along with the lighting), throughout the room. Finally, I let her be creative as long as it kept the garden feeling in tact. She created a piece with gold painted iron rods that had moss running along them with perched pave balls of roses and votive candles hanging from them. They were very different but still fit into the design perfectly. She also designed the columns of lush green foliage with Phalaenopsis details throughout them placed on each corner of the dance floor. There were also lower, understated centerpieces at some tables consisting of square or round vases at different heights. The long tables had a table runner of manicured flowers with glass candleholders and square pillar candles. The room was stunning; I was in awe and lost my breath when I saw it for the first time. Guests mentioned that the room smelled of roses the moment you walked in.

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

We chose to incorporate lace throughout the wedding. The invitations had a lace overlay, the Chivari chairs had a lace sleeve on the back of them, the menus and programs had lace accents. My dress, train and veil were lace and the flower girls had lace details on their adorable dresses. I found this feature to be lovely and it captured the elegance that I hoped would compliment the garden “look”.

We were also inspired by and wanted to incorporate the Southern charm we fell in love with after visiting Savannah when we got engaged. We then chose the garden-like, whimsical feeling for the arrangements and chose Southern inspired foods for the “after-party” snacks, consisting of mac and cheese and pork sliders.

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

I think the hardest part of wedding planning is choosing from all the different options. There are so many beautiful elements that comprise an wedding and it’s hard to decide which will best represent the vision you have. I have been to several other weddings that used unique elements and they were all gorgeous! It’s hard to make decisions and stick with them. Including with the wedding dress! There are too many options.

It was also hard to choose my bridal party.

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

While the custom bridesmaids dresses were gorgeous it was too complicated and not worth the expense of getting bridesmaids dresses made. Now that I have been a bridesmaid in other weddings and saw how seamless (no pun intended) and beautiful their wedding party dresses came together, I would have done it that way. It is less stress to get everyone together to make it to their dress fittings. Everyone has their own schedule and it’s a lot to ask of somebody.

I also would have likely chosen less bridesmaids- family only. I still wish some other friends were bridesmaids though it was too difficult because they lived in different cities. Therefore, I feel that it was unfair to choose some friends and not others. Family only would have been fair and easy.

The shoes. I wish I had chosen comfortable shoes for the reception so that I could dance all night with no pain! My feet were very swollen the next day.

Your favorite moment all day/night.

 Absolutely the moment I locked eyes with my now husband and I was walking down the aisle. Once we did, we both became teary eyed and didn’t look anywhere else. He claims he didn’t realize I was going down the aisle and once he heard the Bridal March ran to the altar. I didn’t notice! He was definitely at the altar by the time I could see him. It’s that moment I had always dreamed of on my wedding day.

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

Remember that this day is about you and your husband. It’s about the bond you are committing to for the rest of your lives. All the little details most often go unnoticed, so don’t sweat it or focus on them. Also, do NOT worry about greeting all of your guests; they will all understand if you didn’t get around to conversing with them. People will constantly be going up to you so just dance with your husband, enjoy the moment and soak it all in!




  • Melanie Fernandez
  • Wedding Advice Series

Comments on this post ( 1 )

  • May 04, 2015

    Wow! Perfect couple. Perfect place. Perfect shots. I love the dress. Gorgeous!

    — Jessica Matthews

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