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  • Melanie Fernandez
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Colleen & Chris Maranges

January 3, 2015

Ceremony & ReceptionThe Deering Estate, Coral Gables, Florida

Photographer: Merari Photography

Videographer: Pabelona Studio

How you met your husband.

We went to undergrad and law school together so we knew of each other, but the first time we formally met was when he interviewed me during an on campus interview! I got the job and we worked together for over a year before we started dating.

Tell us about the engagement.

Chris coaxed me into meeting him at this park near our house by telling me that his car broke down. It seemed kind of odd given that his car was less than a year old, but I rushed over completely oblivious to what was happening-- only to find him sitting by the river all dressed up in this cute little outfit with a fresh haircut. I was still completely confused and peppering him with questions about why he was dressed up, why he was even driving near this park, and what happened to his car when he got down on one knee proposed.   Obviously I called my parents and my brother immediately afterwards, but no one would pick up.   As it turns out, Chris had coordinated for them to fly in from Connecticut and had planned an amazing dinner with both families. It was a perfect night.

Venue Shopping - what made you decide on your venue?

The number one consideration for us was a venue that would allow us to bring in our own vendors and really customize our wedding. In retrospect, a package deal would have been way easier, but it was worth it to be able to add all the personal touches. 

Describe your wedding look and how you came to the “look” decision.

Our wedding look was pretty eclectic. The goal was to create something romantic, elegant, and little bit moody without being overly stuffy.  

 

How did you pull it off? (venue, inspirations, items, etc.).

Our venue is a 1920’s style estate and we wanted black tie, so we went with a formal color scheme (black and gold). I didn’t want to be overly “Gatsby” though, so we softened it with a lot of rustic and vintage pieces and blush accents. Ultimately I think we achieved a look that was elegant, but still easy and somewhat effortless looking.

What sources or people helped you, including wedding planners, pinterest, etc., and what was their advice?

Our planner, (Danielle South - Flutter Fete) was awesome. She listened to my rambling explanation of my vision, met with me and Chris countless times, and analyzed the hundreds of pins I would send her. She then created a super detailed design plan with curated inspiration photos for everything from florals to bar set up. It was a really helpful tool that allowed us to visualize how everything would look the day of.

 

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

My dress shopping experience was super easy. I went to Chic Parisien and bough the 3rd or 4th dress that I tried on. Its Inbal Dror. I liked it because it was simple, a little sexy, but still pretty. For accessories, I wore gold Christian Louboutin shoes, simple diamond studs and a vintage bracelet my mother-in-law lent me (my something borrowed). Saying yes to the dress was a group effort. My mom, mother-in-law and sister-in-law were universally sold, so I went for it.

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

The bridesmaid dresses are by Jenny Yoo. I went with them because the tulle overlay fit the romantic/ethereal theme I was going for. Also, the pragmatist in me liked that they were universally flattering, convertible to different styles, and readily available from BHLDN and Nordstrom.

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.

The florals are by Ever After Floral Design. Helen is so talented that I never even saw a mock up—I just told her the types of flowers I liked and let her run with it. My bouquet was very loose and organic. The bouquets and centerpieces were primarily dahlias, peonies, white anemones, and silver dollar eucalyptus.

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

Our goal was to make everyone at our wedding to feel like they were at an intimate family party rather than a generic wedding.   To do that, we tried to incorporate a lot of personal details. For a signature drink, we did an Old Cuban (rum, muddled mint, lime, Angostura bitters, prosecco, mint garnish) as a nod to Chris’s Cuban background. We also made sure our beer selection included local craft beers we both like. For dinner, we had a family style menu with a good mix our favorite Cuban and Italian dishes. For dessert, we had a wedding cake, but also cannoli and pasteles.

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

The hardest part by far was narrowing down the guest list. We knew we wanted a small(ish) wedding, but that meant cutting our initial list in half and breaking the news to our parents that they needed to cut their lists. It was not fun.  

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

Not sure there is anything we could have done, but our wedding day was unseasonably hot and humid. The Deering Estate is beautiful but the AC is not well equipped to handle hot weather.   I guess I could have worn my hair up—that would have helped!

Your favorite moment all day/night.

It was actually after the wedding was over. The whole day was wonderful, but in the whirlwind of it all, you almost forget that the day is about the two of you. When we got back to our hotel, the elevator doors opened and the inside was completely mirrored. There is this fraction of a second sometimes, before you realize you are looking at your own reflection, where you get to see yourself as everyone else sees you. In that moment, I think we both saw ourselves standing together as a bride and groom and we almost surprised ourselves. The significance of the day hit us both at the same time and it was a really special and unexpectedly romantic moment.

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

don’t stress—it really will all come together and most of the things you think are a big deal will go completely unnoticed by your guests. Also, if you can work it into the budget, get a planner! They really do make the process less stressful and more fun.

 

  • Melanie Fernandez
  • Wedding Advice Series

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