A Modern Black-and-White Destination Wedding in Miami
Gracia and Dan
Nearly the second Brooklyn natives Gracia Walker and Daniel Dickson got engaged, they booked The Raleigh Hotel, a Miami landmark where they'd stayed on their very first trip together. Inspired by the property's Baroque-style pool, they created punchy black-and-white patterns, borders, and emblems for everything from the invitations to cushions for the alfresco reception.
On April 16, 2011, guests gathered in the balmy Florida air to watch the radiant couple tie the knot and celebrate with delicious fare and dancing under palm trees.
Daniel, a TV art director and graphic designer, relied on both his heart and his designer's eye for the invitations. With the flourished lettering, he aimed to capture the couple's bold style and shared sense of fun. He also included a typeface used in the work of one of their favorite artists, Lawrence Weiner. "I love how it turned out -- masculine, but romantic," says Gracia.
The Bridal Party
Gracia, in a Bottega Veneta gown, and her bridesmaids, clad in LBDs of their choosing, squeezed in for a pretty portrait. "I wanted them to feel comfortable and be able to wear their dresses again," says Gracia.
Groomsmen (and Woman)
Several guys and one very stylish gal made up the groom's party. The groomswoman is "famous for wearing jumpsuits," says Gracia, and true to form, she rocked a tuxedo-style design for the big event.
Wedding Party Gifts
Members of the wedding party received personalized note cards and monogrammed handkerchiefs from Ful Studio.
The Stylish Groom
Daniel donned a hard-to-find Giorgio Armani tie. He'd seen it in black but wanted it in navy, a color that proved elusive until Gracia stumbled across one in an outlet mall. As a nod to their oceanfront locale, his orchid boutonniere was twisted with sea grass.
Mother of the Bride
A great sense of fashion obviously runs in the family: The bride embraces her mother, who donned a gray dress by Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique. Since Gracia bought her own gown on the spur of the moment, her mom wasn't with her, but "she thought the story was hilarious!" recalls Gracia.
Gracia"s "all-white" bouquet was actually dotted with pink thanks to the rosy centers of the cymbidium orchids. The bride also wore flowers in her hair, pinning in a few cattleya orchid blossoms.
The huppa's bamboo poles and sea-grape foliage fit seamlessly into the setting. Candles atop glass columns filled with monstera leaves flanked the aisle.
The Youngest Attendants
Two flower girls and two ring bearers, all clad in Crewcuts by J.Crew, paraded down the petal-covered aisle. Ring bearers carried pillows also made by the bride and groom.
Flower Girl Bouquets
Paper blossoms bound with ribbon comprised the flower girls' sweet bouquets.
The Ring Pillow
The cushion that held the couple's white-gold bands by Amanda Keidan Jewelry was a smaller version of the pillows they gave away as favors, right down to its Daniel-designed black border.
A friend officiated, blending Gracia's Jewish and Episcopal background with Daniel's Baptist roots.
The Relaxed Reception
The Raleigh Hotel's iconic pool provided a splashy backdrop for the couple's modern Miami reception.
Guests' goody bags were filled with toiletries and a beloved children's book. Daniel contributed postcards, too, which everyone mailed back to the newlyweds.
Comfy Custom Decor
Pillows plumped up lounge chairs near the pool and doubled as favors for guests to tote home. Daniel created the striped pattern to symbolize how the different paths he and Gracia had taken "still led up to the same moment." The "2" represented the two of them, and the "D" stood for Dickson. He and a friend silk-screened all 60 linen and cotton shams in one sitting. "We were pushing the boundaries of our skill sets," he says. "That was a great day."
Lounging Little One
This tyke had the right idea -- lounging is exactly what Gracia and Daniel had in mind when they silk-screened and sewed all those pillows.
Mini lump-crab cakes dabbed with piquillo-pepper aioli were passed during cocktail hour.
Another pre-reception hors d'oeuvre: tuna tartare heaped on delicate slices of lotus root.
Comfort Food and Drink
In addition to Gracia's must-have raw bar, food stations offered casual-chic bites like sliders served up on pretty-paper covered trays. And for their signature drink? Daniel's all-time favorite: Miller High Life, "the Champagne of beers!" he says, enthusiastically agreeing with the company's well-known slogan.
When dinnertime rolled around, guests found themselves in small-plate heaven, surrounded by different food stations that turned out bites like salt-and-pepper shrimp.
And for dessert? Rather than a cake, the bride and groom opted for classic Florida desserts, such as Key lime tarts topped with meringue.
In addition to the Key lime tarts, chocolate mousse, and fresh-fruit kebabs, everyone loved The Raleigh's signature cheesecake-in-a-jar, topped with rhubarb.
Friends and family sipped drinks poolside until late in the evening, then ended the night partying in a penthouse Gracia and Dan had reserved for the occasion.
Location and Catering: The Raleigh Hotel
Event Planning: Alexandra Kovach of Alexandra & Company
Event Design, Production, and Flowers: E Squared Concepts
Music: DJ Lindsey
Wedding Photography: Karen Kristian Photography
Gown: Bottega Veneta
Bride's Shoes: Dolce & Gabbana
Flower Girls’ and Ring Bearers' Attire: Crewcuts by J.Crew
Wedding Bands: Amanda Keidan Jewelry
Hair and Makeup: Makara Baker
Officiants: Renee Cantave and Lacey Schwartz
"Lacquer” Trays: West Elm
Handkerchiefs: Ful Studio
Pillow Inserts: United Pillow