A Cuban-and-Texan-Inspired Wedding Weekend in Miami
Natalie and Jamey
Natalie Mencio, a Cuban-American Miami native, and Jamey Steen, a born-and-raised Texan, met as first-year students at the University of Virginia. She was 17, he was 18, and neither of them knew that they'd be husband and wife in ten years. Fast-forward eight years after their first meeting: The now Houston-based post-grads were spending a long weekend with both of their families in Maine. On the first night of their vacation, Jamey's sister and brother-in-law made dinner at home, and, just before dessert, Jamey took Natalie to the backyard, where candles and champagne awaited. He got down on one knee and gave Natalie an even sweeter treat: a Kwiat emerald-cut diamond engagement ring. Although they forgot champagne glasses and the sparklers had died down by the time their families reached them, the moment was still perfect.
A little over a year later, the couple made it official with three days of parties. They kicked things off with a smaller church ceremony on November 10, 2016, then hosted an elegant rehearsal dinner, and ended the weekend with a larger ceremony and reception on November 12. Natalie and Jamey put on a personal, detail-oriented weekend extravaganza that symbolized the coming together of her Cuban heritage and Miami background with his deeply-rooted Texan history.
The couple used their wedding crest designed by Stephanie Fishwick—which featured swords, peacocks, palm trees, and other elements that reflect Natalie and Jamey's love story—as inspiration for the rest of their stationery by Paradise Design Co. Sage green envelopes were sealed with peacock wax seals and postmarked with vintage stamps depicting Florida, Texas, cowboys, and oranges.
Welcome to Miami
The "Bienvenido to Miami"-themed bags included treats like Guayabera shirt-shaped cookies, Cuban coffee, and plantain chips. The couple also added a "prevention kit" made of Advil and mosquito repellent.
A Family Affair
Natalie and Jamey officially wed on Thursday, November 10, surrounded by 21 immediate family members at Epiphany Catholic Church, the bride's childhood parish. "Doing it this way, without the chaos that accompanies a big wedding, made our vows feel more meaningful and special to us," she said of their smaller ceremony. "It also made our big wedding on Saturday less stressful and more fun."
Jamey gifted Natalie this personalized pearlescent Edie Parker clutch, which she carried on the night of the smaller ceremony.
The Rehearsal Dinner
The following evening, the couple hosted a larger Cuban cocktail-themed rehearsal dinner at the Coral Gables Biltmore Hotel with 140 of their loved ones.
The Escort Cards
Dressed to the Nines
To match the rehearsal dinner's tropical dress code, Natalie paired a freshwater pearl headpiece by Twig & Honey with a red silk organza Monique Lhullier bandeau top and an embroidered Temperley London skirt. Jamey donned a light green Ramón Puig Guayabera to match his Stubbs & Wootton loafers, which were embroidered with palm trees.
Read All About It
At Natalie's bridal luncheon earlier in the day, Jamey's mom and sister gifted her a book clutch emblazoned with "Natalie and Jamey's Love Story" and an embroidered version of their wedding crest.
A Tropical Table
Jackson Durham Events designed three 40-foot-long tables, set with assorted glass bottle vases filled with all-white orchid varietals and candles under strings of bulb lights for an intimate evening in the coastal air.
For the Saturday celebration, the bride wore an open-back Mira Zwillinger sheath dress made of guipure lace. "I think it was the second dress I tried on," Natalie says of her gown. "Once I saw the lace I knew there was no turning back."
The groom wore a Brooks Brothers tuxedo with his grandfather's suspenders and a handkerchief embroidered with "N&J" in the corner—an old gift from Natalie.
Her Beautiful Veil
Natalie used an old black-and-white photo of her great-grandmother's wedding in Cuba as inspiration for her bouquet. She took the picture to Sara Fay of Jackson Durham Events, who recreated the look. The outcome was a clutch of white stephanotis with matching leis. "I love how simple yet different my bouquet was—but even more so how it made me feel like I had a part of her with me on my wedding," the bride says.
Jamey wore a Brooks Brothers tux, while the rest of his men sported their own dapper attire for the black-tie occasion.
The Big Day
Natalie and Jamey's larger ceremony took place at Granada Presbyterian Church, with 261 of their loved ones in attendance. "If I had to pick a favorite moment, it would have to be when we were announced as husband and wife at the church in front of all of our family and friends," the groom says.
A Wagon Down the Aisle
Some of the littlest members of the wedding party were too young to walk down the aisle, so the older ones, clad in lilac Carolina Herrera dresses, pulled them in a decorated wagon made by Sara Fay of Jackson Durham Events. "I still remember hearing a roar of laughter when they emerged while I hid in the bridal room at the church," the bride says.
"I will never forget the way my grandmother looked at me when I walked down the aisle," the bride says of her favorite moment of the day. She was accompanied by her father to "Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want" by The Smiths, played by a string quartet.
Growing up, Natalie always dreamed of celebrating her wedding at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. With this in mind, Jamey called to inquire about the first available opening before proposing. "Moments after proposing, he casually told me, 'By the way, our wedding date is November 12—hope that's okay with you,'" the bride says of her husband's antics.
Different areas were set up around the museum—like a photobooth, food stations, and multiple bars—so guests could explore the oceanfront property and enjoy the festivities. By not having a plated, coursed meal, it also meant more time on the dance floor!
Meet Me in the Photobooth
Tables were adorned with vases of roses, ranunculus, hydrangeas, lilacs, and assorted greenery, arranged by Jackson Durham Events.
The Cat's Meow
Since the couple's two beloved cats couldn't make it to the wedding, Natalie and Jamey decided to incorporate them by featuring their likeness on flip-flops given out on the dance floor. "This was definitely the moment when my planning may have gotten out of hand—but our guests loved them!" the bride says of the feline footwear.
The First Dance
Jamey and Natalie made their first moves as husband and wife to Al Green's "Love and Happiness."
Living La Hora Loca
Natalie ushered in the hora loca—a time set aside at Hispanic weddings where the party picks up—with a Junkanoo band (a traditional Caribbean dance troupe) and an outfit change. She swapped her floor-length gown for a short, pale-pink GEM Official dress embellished with the word "love" and silver Jimmy Choo pumps. Another extra fun part of the night? When the crowd danced the limbo on the stage!
Peacocks and clementines carry special meaning for the couple—the vibrant blue foul represent Jamey's mother's hometown of Kingsville, Texas, and the citrus represents Natalie's home state of Florida. To combine these, they placed a Herend porcelain figure of two peacocks atop their wedding cake (a pale lavender Funfetti confection), with Murano glass oranges on each tier.
A Safe Sendoff
Guests tossed rose petals at the happy couple as they skipped down the driveway, where their car was waiting.