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  • Gabriella Armas & Jake Abrams
  • Melanie Fernandez
  • Wedding Advice Series
Gabriella Armas & Jake Abrams

November 9, 2013

Ceremony & Reception: Intercontinental Hotel, Miami

Photographer: Ambrosio Photography

Videographer: Merge Social

How you met your husband.

Jake and I met while we were at law school at Florida State. We were in the same section our 1L year, and I sat behind him in class. We started talking at one of our law school “socials” and quickly realized that we had a lot in common. We started dating on Halloween of 2009 and dated throughout law school.     

                                                                   

Tell us about the engagement.

Our last semester of law school, Jake and I made plans to go to dinner on a Thursday night. I had no idea that there was anything special about that night, so I started getting ready at my apartment as usual before realizing that I had left my hair iron and makeup at Jake’s apartment. I walked over half an hour earlier than he was expecting me so that I could finish getting ready there. When I knocked on the door, I could hear Jake screaming that I couldn’t come inside yet. I thought he was busy and couldn’t come to the door so I took out my key but could hear him yelling “Not yet! I’m cleaning the floor!” After about 2 minutes he opened the door and there were rose petals and candles all over, and he was down on one knee with the ring. It turns out none of that was ready when I knocked, so he had to rush and get everything done ASAP. As happy as I was that he was proposing, I couldn’t believe that my hair and makeup weren’t done for it! I think my response was, “Yes! But now let me hurry up and do my hair and makeup!” Still, it’s our engagement story, and I love it. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Venue Shopping - what made you decide on your venue?

Most of Jake’s guests were out-of-towners, so we really wanted the wedding to be at a hotel to simplify things for our guests. We looked at places on the beach but really wanted something a little more central so we focused on hotels in downtown Miami. Because we were doing the ceremony on-site as well, I really wanted a venue with a pretty outdoor space because I had my heart set on an outdoor ceremony. My friend’s apartment overlooks the InterContinental’s outdoor terrace, so she suggested I check it out. Jake and I visited the space and fell in love. The InterContinental was perfect for us—it was on the water, it had a great outdoor space that could accommodate all our guests, and they were about to undergo a massive renovation that would be done just in time for our wedding. We spoke with their wedding coordinator, and meeting her sealed the deal. She was a doll, and we couldn’t wait to move forward with wedding planning!

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?

After graduating law school, Jake and I moved to New York City, so I knew from the beginning that I would need a wedding planner to help me plan my wedding from afar. I met with a few planners, and after meeting with Yadi of Yadi Rose Events, I knew that she was the one. She just got me and my vision from the start, and she helped me really narrow in on what I wanted. I had been pinteresting quite a bit, but my wedding board had hundreds of pins, and I was feeling a little confused! Yadi helped me develop a clear vision. We were having an evening wedding, so I knew I wanted some glamour and drama, but nothing over-the-top. I also wanted to really bring the “Miami” for our out-of-town guests, so I wanted to incorporate some bright colors and a tropical feel. Yadi suggested that we use bright colors for the ceremony since it would be outdoors (although it ended up raining so we did the ceremony in a ballroom at the hotel) and stick to white and pale pink for the reception. I am so glad we did that, because it was beautiful and made for a very classic look.

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

Because I was in New York, I went dress shopping at Kleinfeld’s, which was everything you would imagine and more. I knew I wanted a lace dress, but I didn’t have a model, or even a designer, in mind. I was lucky enough to hit it off with my sales consultant right away. She let me and my mom go with her to the back room where they keep all the dresses and pick out the styles I wanted to try on. Once I saw my dress on the hanger, I knew right away that it was the one. We were done in an hour!

My mother-in-law was sick with cancer, but she came dress shopping with us, as did my husband’s sister, aunt, sister-in-law, and her mom. I still remember that day so fondly. My mother-in-law passed away right before our wedding, so I’m glad she got to see me in my dress before then.

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

 I chose Amsale dresses in a very vibrant fuchsia/purple color. I wanted the girls to be comfortable, so I let them choose their own style. I wanted a dress that they could truly wear after the wedding, and because I myself had worn an Amsale dress in this same color to a few different events when I was in college, I knew this would be versatile enough to get more use. I was right—at least three of my bridesmaids have worn their dress again, which makes me so happy! Even though neutral bridesmaids dresses are in style, I wanted them in a brighter color so that they’d stick out more in the crowd. My friends are all very extroverted and bubbly, so I think this fit their style better.

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 think the flowers were one of my favorite parts of the wedding. We used Petal Productions, and Raffi did an amazing job. For the ceremony, we did bright pink and purple flowers. We had a Jewish ceremony, so the focus was on the chuppah, and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! For the reception we stuck to white and light pink, and it was so romantic and classic. We alternated between tall arrangements and low, clustered vases, and I loved the end effect.

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

My mother-in-law got very sick before our wedding, and right before she passed, we decided to do the religious ceremony in her room so that she could be there for that. My brother-in-law is a rabbi, so he was there to perform the ceremony, and we went to Michael’s and got decorations and went to the mall for wedding bands. We pulled it together in a day. The challenge was honoring this ceremony during our wedding in November. Our brother-in-law officiated at this wedding too, so because he had been at the original ceremony as well, he was able to tie it together beautifully, and we had a table at the reception with all of the pictures from that first ceremony. It was so hard moving forward with the wedding even though we had just suffered such a big loss, but I am happy we were able to honor my mother-in-law while still celebrating our union.  

           

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

I’m pretty laid-back and I try to live day-by-day, so it was a little tough having to plan so far in advance. Usually I pull things together at the last minute, so I’m glad I had a wedding planner to keep me on track. It was also stressful to plan from afar. I felt like every time I visited Miami I had to handle a zillion wedding-related things and didn’t get to enjoy visiting my family as much. But after the wedding was over I missed all that planning! I had so much time again!

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

I would have had more faith in my wedding planner from the beginning. Wedding planning has periods that are really busy followed by long lulls. One year out, you’re busy booking your venue, photographers, and videographers. Then for 6 months there’s not a lot to do. Then 6 months before the big day there’s another wave of planning, and so on. I would get a little anxious in those in-between stages, worrying that we weren’t doing enough. Looking back now, I wish I had just enjoyed it and relaxed more!

Your favorite moment all day/night.

Definitely the first look! The look on my husband’s face when he first saw me in my dress is one I will always remember. I am glad that we got to have that moment before the wedding to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Another moment I loved was that after our ceremony, our wedding planner Yadi had us go to a little back room to spend some time alone before the craziness of the reception. She had set aside appetizers and champagne for us, so we got to eat and just bask in the amazingness of being married.

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

GET A WEDDING COORDINATOR, at least one for the day-of. I enjoyed my wedding so thoroughly and was so relaxed. Everything went so smoothly and I didn’t have to worry about a thing. I am so grateful to Yadi for everything that she did. She was really the VIP of my wedding. 

  • Melanie Fernandez
  • Wedding Advice Series

Comments on this post ( 1 )

  • Jun 09, 2015

    Of course, I teared up reading this and reliving such a beautiful day. I love you both, so much,.

    — ET

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