An Elegant Poolside Rehearsal Dinner Designed to Celebrate the Couple's Shared Puerto Rican Heritage

bride and groom to be walking in to rehearsal dinner
Jose Villa

Francisco Lindor, the shortstop for the New York Mets, and Katia Reguero, a social justice advocate and mom, met on Instagram, after the athlete sent her a message in February 2019. Nearly two years later, on December 27, 2020, Francisco got down on one knee and proposed. "We became engaged in our backyard after coming home from brunch," says the bride. "He surprised me with sunflowers and a sign that said 'Marry Me.'"

Almost a year to the date, the pair was gearing up for their nuptials, which kicked off with a poolside rehearsal dinner at the Four Seasons Miami. "My vision for the rehearsal dinner was pretty much in accord with the general theme of our wedding weekend: a combination of tropical, elegant, and rustic elements coupled with our Puerto Rican roots," shares Katia, noting that the planning process was "enjoyable and exciting," thanks to Brooke Keegan of Brooke Keegan Special Events.

Using a custom wallpaper, emblazoned with a series of tropical, Miami-appropriate motifs, as the jumping off point, Katia (who donned a fabulous Balmain blazer over her A.L.C. dress for the occasion) and Francisco (the groom-to-be was resplendent in a Tom James ensemble) honed a vision that prioritized their surroundings—and, through a menu of traditional Puerto Rican foods and upbeat live music, paid homage to their shared culture. When they arrived fashionably late to the party, they knew their dream had been realized: They found their loved ones already seated at dinner, digging into a comforting meal, ready to celebrate their upcoming union. There's simply nothing like that "awe-striking" feeling, they say.

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Wallpaper Motifs

bird design wallpaper
Jose Villa

A custom wallpaper by Carolina K—featuring a myriad of tropical elements, from orchids and palm fronds to exotic birds—drove the entirety of the event's design, notes Katia.

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Raising the Bar

champagne glasses on serving tray bar area
Jose Villa

The print was splashed across the bar, where terra-cotta vessels filled with native plants and cane-wrapped candles offered plenty of visual intrigue.

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bird design on serving tray
Jose Villa

It also reappeared on the trays used to serve Champagne and cocktails. "We then complemented the print via the tabletops, using natural, tropical elements," says the bride.

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Lounging Around

rehearsal dinner outdoor lounge area
Jose Villa

Logistics informed Katia and Francisco's initial decision to host their rehearsal dinner at the Four Seasons Miami (the couple and the majority of their guests resided there over the weekend)—but they also fell in love with the property's pool area and spacious terrace, which allowed them to create a layout punctuated with lounge stations.

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All Aglow

round linen covered rehearsal dinner tables outside
Jose Villa

Dinner unfolded poolside: Round tables were placed around the water's edge, underneath a swath of string lights. The pool was also decorated with oversized floating light orbs, which added yet another layer of light to the romantic scene.

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Organic Arrangements

tropical greenery and floral arrangement centerpieces
Jose Villa

Centerpieces, courtesy of Sarah Winward, were composed of both floral and foliage elements; thistles and seed pods, left on branches, added dimension to the organic arrangements. Jute-wrapped votive candles (and tiny tea lights, placed in miniature terra-cotta holders) cast a warm glow on the unique varieties.

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Textural Settings

rehearsal dinner place settings with blue plates
Jose Villa

The pair's elegant-meets-tropical theme was punctuated with a few rustic pieces, including cutlery with worn-wood handles and textural blue table linens.

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Traditional Cuisine

rehearsal dinner food buffet spread
Jose Villa

"We included an array of traditional Puerto Rican food that is especially common during the holiday season—our favorite season of the year," explains Katia. Passed hors d'oeuvres included alcapurrias, sorullitos de maíz, marinated ahi tuna with pickled jicama and lime mint aioli, and chipotle beef empanada with pico de gallo. Food stations served up a wide array of options, from pork shoulder with mojo jalapeño sauce to red snapper cooked whole in plantain leaves.

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cellist playing at rehearsal dinner
Jose Villa

A quartet of Puerto Rican musicians (from Martirena Music), on the bass, piano, cuatro, and bongo, filled the night with music.

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Making an Entrance

bride and groom walking with baby during rehearsal dinner
Jose Villa

"We arrived—unintentionally, but fashionably—late to our own party, but it was great because all our guests had already mingled, grabbed drinks, and begun eating," says Katia. "Entering the scene with the ambience already at its almost-peak (we were the missing ingredient!) was an awe-striking and exciting feeling."

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Mixing and Mingling

rehearsal dinner guests seated at round tables outside
Jose Villa

The couple notes that going from table to table, greeting friends and family they hadn't seen in years, was a particularly memorable part of the evening.

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Perfect Pout

man with baby at rehearsal dinner
Jose Villa

"This was also the first time many of our friends and family were able to meet our daughter," says Katia, "so that was very special and heartwarming."

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Dessert Time

rehearsal dinner dessert menu displayed on table
Jose Villa

When the group was ready for something sweet, guests visited the dessert station, which served up flan, mazamorra, and tembleque.

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What a Night

rehearsal dinner space outdoor pool area
Jose Villa

As for Katia's best advice for couples currently planning their own rehearsal dinners? "Mingle as much as you can with your family and friends because it will be harder to do so on the day of the wedding," she says. Make choosing foods that make you feel good a priority, too: "This is your chance to select the comfort food you need before a big day. Make sure the rehearsal dinner has a menu you will truly enjoy."

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bride and groom kissing baby on head
Jose Villa

Photography, Jose Villa
Four Seasons Miami
Wedding Planning and Event Design,
Brooke Keegan Special Events
Floral Design,
Sarah Winward
East West
Studio Luzance
Bride's Attire, A.L.C. (dress); Balmain (blazer); Gianvito Rossi (heels)
Groom's Attire, Tom James (suit); Christian Louboutin (mules)
Hair and Makeup,
Daniela Gozlan
Martirena Music
Custom Wallpaper,
Carolina K
Nuage Designs; Pialisa; Lavish Event Rentals
2R Creative
Everlast Productions
ARPI Group
Empire CLS
Pool Globe Lights,

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