Explore South Florida's Dreamiest Wedding Venues Where These Four Couples Tied The Knot
A Culturally Inspired Soirée
Wedding Date: Nov. 11, 2018
The Couple: Melissa Tamar Corcos, 31, is a speech-language pathologist at Ann Storck Center and St. Anthony's Rehabilitation Hospital, and Joseph Manuel Cobo Jr., 30, is an associate attorney at Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A.
While Melissa and Joseph attended the University of Central Florida and had mutual friends, they didn't officially meet until five years ago in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Melissa knew Joseph was special the day they met. “I always wanted him around, and we did everything together,” she says. The moment Joseph knew Melissa was the “one” came casually while they were watching TV together. “All of a sudden, I started thinking about how lucky I was to have such a beautiful, intelligent and kind woman in my life, and just like that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Melissa.” Once engaged, they began the search for a wedding venue that was trendy and modern—something they felt described them. “When The Conrad opened it just felt like it was meant to be,” Melissa says. “It was exactly what we dreamed of.” She and Joseph wed at sunset during a ceremony overlooking the ocean.
The Proposal: Melissa helped plan a Father's Day brunch for her and Joseph's families at her parents' house. Little did she know, she was setting up her own surprise engagement party. “When we were all outside Joey said, ‘Oh, look,' as he pointed to the sky, and there was a plane pulling a banner that said, ‘Melissa, the ❤ of my life will you marry me,' she remembers. Family and friends showed up after to celebrate. For Valentine's Day, Joseph had the 7-foot heart from the proposal banner framed, and it now hangs in their home.
The Decor: They chose white and neutral colors mixed with different flowers and greenery for the centerpieces, which varied in heights. Candles were placed all over to create a romantic feel. A greenery wall covered in a mix of flowers at the top was placed behind the sweetheart table as a backdrop. With the reception room's layout, Melissa and Joseph decided to also include a lounge area filled with white tufted furniture, a bar and a photo booth to add a fun touch.
The Dress: Melissa is Israeli and always dreamt of wearing an Inbal Dror wedding dress—the more dramatic the better. “Whenever we used to go to Israel we would drive by her store in Tel Aviv,” she says. “The second I put my dress on I knew that was it.”
The Cake: The couple's cake was designed to mimic their invitations, which had laser-cut flowers. The six-tier cake also featured a piped floral lace detail with cascading white flowers that matched their centerpieces.
Straying from Tradition: Melissa and Joseph opted to hold off on speeches at the reception, fearing they would halt the celebration. Instead, they took place at the rehearsal dinner, and at the reception, the couple honored Joseph's Cuban heritage with an “Hora Loca,” or “crazy hour,” with dancers on stilts who performed after dinner. They also had a percussionist who played his drum on the dance floor. Guests enjoyed a Cuban coffee bar and a Cuban-themed late-night menu as well.
Advice to other brides: “I had so many people tell me to enjoy every moment and to make sure to take a second to stop and look around and realize that everyone was in the room for you,” Melissa says. “I remember sitting at the sweetheart table with Joey next to me, looking around doing exactly what everyone told me to do. It was really special; I get teary-eyed thinking about that moment.”
Little Black Book:
Venue: Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach
Gown Designer: Inbal Dror
Event Planner: Kelly Doss Events
Cake Maker: Earth and Sugar
Music: Samba Entertainment, DJ EFI with a six-piece band
Photographer: Muñoz Photography
Videographer: Senderey Video Productions
Invitations: Peter the Printer Inc.
Flowers: Dalsimer Atlas Floral and Event Decorators
Hair and Makeup: VaVaVoom Artistry
Barber: His & Hers Parlour
Special Mention: Ashley Gorden, venue/event coordinator and catering director with The Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach
A Day of Dreamy Nuptials
Wedding Date: March 17, 2018
The Couple: Jaclyn Lee Rich, 28, is a finance and acquisition director with Richbuilt Construction, and Harris Stephen Tuchman, 32, works in private wealth management at Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.
Jaclyn and Harris met through work. And while Jaclyn eventually moved to a different company, that didn't stop the pair from falling in love. “I think I always knew deep down, but I didn't realize it until we both admitted to ourselves and each other that we were more than ‘best friends,'” Jaclyn says. Harris says he knew Jaclyn was his perfect match when he saw her beauty inside and out. “Jaclyn is tiny but carries a huge heart,” he says. “Her love for her family and close friends was just as attractive to me as her big beautiful eyes and cute button nose.” They wed at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in spring, complete with a professionally choreographed first dance to “My Kind of Girl” by Michael Bublé.
The proposal: Harris came over after work, and Jaclyn was getting ready for dinner. Excited to show him the new eyeshadow she put on, she closed her eyes and to her surprise, she opened them to see Harris holding out a box. “He had a more elaborate plan for our proposal, but once he got the ring he couldn't wait the full week to propose and had to propose that night,” Jaclyn says. “He had caught me completely by surprise. In the most intimate, shocking way, he took my breath away.”
The Theme: Jaclyn grew up in Boca Raton and always found the Boca Raton Resort & Club to be a place of wonder, beauty and historic elegance. She and Harris chose to wed at the serene Cloister Garden for an outside ceremony at dusk, and later moved into the Cathedral room for the reception. Their decor was done in whites with an assortment of calla lilies and Asian orchids for a pop of fuschia. An acrylic huppah had orchids cascading down the pillars, and the “simple and sweet” buttercream-tiered cake also incorporated the fresh flowers down its sides.
The Dress: Jaclyn wore a fitted satin dress with lace trim that gathered into layers onto the side and had a sweetheart neckline. “My mom actually picked it out,” she says. After trying on more than 50 dresses, it was the last one in the fitting room. “I was exhausted and wanted to go home, but my mom insisted on this last dress that she had picked out,” she says. “I obliged and tried it on, and it was the dress.”
Special Moment: “There is just something about the speeches from my parents and our siblings (Harris has a brother and sister, and I have two brothers) that were so touching and loving,” Jaclyn says. It was also the perfect moment for Harris and Jaclyn to sit down, catch their breath and take in the reception.
Advice to other Brides: Jaclyn's advice comes from her mom. “At first it sounds absurd. But I promise it was the most valuable tip I had for my entire wedding: when walking down the aisle, pause,” she says. “Come to a complete stop in the middle of the aisle. Take it all in; look around. You will get chills. Take a mental snapshot of this moment. This way you can never forget it or feel that you rushed down the aisle in the midst of your nerves.”
Little Black Book:
Venue: Boca Raton Resort & Club
Gown Designer: Sophia Tolli
Event Planner: Your Special Day By Joni
Food and Cake: Boca Raton Resort & Club
Music: “Flavor” by Tropics Entertainment
Photographer: Adam Opris Photography
Videographer: Timeline Video Productions
Invitations: Creative Impressions
Flowers: Boca By Design
Bridal Hair: Sandra Grace Hair Studio
Bridal Makeup: Makeup Artistry by Nicole Greenhouse
An Elegant Affair
Wedding Date: Dec. 26, 2018
The Couple: Elizabeth Tatiana Pipko, 23, is a model, athlete and writer, and Darren James Centinello, 28, is a political operative.
There was something about the way Darren cracked jokes to others that caught Elizabeth's attention before they had ever spoken to one another. “His sense of humor and the way he was laughing reminded me of my dad and my brother, two of my favorite people, and I just knew,” she says. The two first crossed paths while they were working on the 2016 Trump Campaign in New York City. Once engaged, Elizabeth and Darren wanted to choose a venue that would sum up “the magical way” they met and decided the Mar-a-Lago Club would be the place to do so. For the reception, Waterstone Resort & Marina felt right to Elizabeth because it was the first place she and her family had lunch when they moved to Boca Raton nearly 10 years ago. “I knew that if I could incorporate it into the wedding somehow, it would be very special,” she says. They tied the knot in late December with an Orthodox Jewish ceremony then headed to Boca Raton for the reception.
The Proposal: Darren popped the question out of the blue in his apartment. “I spent months working on the ring, and when I finally got it, I couldn't wait any longer and just wanted to propose to her as soon as I could and in a way where she wouldn't expect it,” he recalls.
The DRESS: Soon after the engagement, Elizabeth went to a bridal store in Buffalo, New York, for a little fun with her now sister-in-law and mother-in-law. The woman at the store showed the three of them a gown they agreed wouldn't be right. “Somehow, the lady at the store convinced me to try it on, and all three of us knew right away it was the one,” Elizabeth says. “I also decided to try a veil on as well, and I looked over and saw my sister-in-law crying, and I knew it was perfect.”
The Cake: The couple hosted a small Champagne and cake gathering immediately following the ceremony before heading to Boca Raton the reception. Elizabeth and Darren cut into a vanilla cake with strawberry buttercream inside. It was covered in tiny white pearls and decorated with delicate white orchids.
The Special Details: Elizabeth and Darren's ceremony featured a gorgeous cascading floral huppah. The ceremony was performed by the rabbi who married Elizabeth's parents 28 years ago in New York City, along with the couple's rabbi in Florida. While they didn't have a “first look,” they did share a moment with the rabbis and their parents before the ceremony.
Stand out Moment: “The entire ceremony was extremely special to me, and something I will always remember,” Elizabeth says. But at the reception, Darren surprised her by grabbing a microphone and sang Frank Sinatra's “The Way You Look Tonight.” “[It's] something I'll never ever forget.”
Little Black Book:
Ceremony venue: Mar-a-Lago Club
Reception venue: Waterstone Resort & Marina
Gown Designer: Casablanca Bridal
Food: Shaike's Kosher Catering
Cake Maker: Earth and Sugar
Ceremony Music: Velveteen Ensemble
Singer: Panda Ross
DJ: DJ David Edry
Rabbis: Harold Einsidler and Ruvi New
Photographer/Videographer: Miami Wedding Center
Flowers: New York Floral Design
Hair and Makeup: Katie McCaskill Beauty On Location
A New Year's Day Celebration of Love
Wedding Date: Jan. 1, 2018
The Couple: Sarah Brooke Varda, 31, is the wedding and special events manager at The Addison, and Dean Edward Statler Jr., 28, is president and owner of Core Fitness Training.
Sarah and Dean met when they both worked at Equinox Fitness in Miami. Four years later, Sarah received a Facebook message from Dean asking if she wanted to meet up. The two agreed to grab drinks in Fort Lauderdale and have been inseparable since. “Dean is a true gentleman and would always open all doors for me, including the car door,” Sarah says. “For most guys, this wears off after a few weeks or months, but not with Dean.” She also adds, “We both had a very clear vision of the future on relationship, family and career.” For Dean, he found Sarah to be the kindest, most loving and strongest person he knew, and he loved her family. “I knew she was the one I wanted to spend my life with not only as my wife but as my best friend.” The two planned a New Year's Day wedding at The Addison in Boca Raton, which Sarah says was an easy decision since she's worked in the event industry for many years.
The Proposal: One evening after Sarah returned from work, Dean told her he wanted to take her out to dinner. The location was a surprise and the only clue he gave was for her to wear a nice dress. They drove south to Hollywood then east toward the beach. Dean told Sarah he needed to stop at the gym his company managed inside Hyde Resort & Residences in Hollywood to make sure everything was in order for the next morning's class. They made their way to the pool deck, outside the gym, where there was a bottle of wine and a dozen roses. “Instead of us just sitting down and starting to enjoy the wine, he asked me to stand in a certain spot and began to get down on one knee,” Sarah remembers. After saying “yes,” 30 of their closest family members and friends came out from their hiding place to congratulate them and spend the evening celebrating.
The Decor: They wanted a rustic, elegant theme that incorporated their favorite colors of burgundy and navy. When Sarah first met with her flower designer, Benny Ofer from Daniel Events, he told her they had purchased lanterns from an old castle. “Once we saw them, we were in awe and decided all decor would be focused around these beautiful lanterns,” Sarah says. The lanterns were lined down the aisle during the ceremony and were later used at the reception as part of the table centerpieces.
The First Dance: Guests held sparklers as the couple danced to their favorite song “Happy Birthday” by Kygo featuring John Legend, with one little tweak—their band changed the lyrics and sang, “Happy Wedding Day.”
The Cake: Sarah and Dean chose a naked style cake for the special day. It was a three-tier vanilla cake with Nutella mousse filling and vanilla buttercream. A beautiful drizzling of salted caramel topped it off. The couple also had a doughnut bar for guests to enjoy.
Stand out Moments: Sarah says the “first look” was one of the most memorable moments of her wedding day. She and Dean took time to exchange wedding day gifts and read personal vows to one another before the ceremony to avoid bursting into tears in front of everyone at the ceremony. “Not only being in complete shock at how beautiful Sarah was at our first look but seeing her when the doors opened for her to walk down the aisle was the most breathtaking, nerve-wracking experience of my life knowing that I get the privilege of marrying my best friend and calling her my wife,” Dean says.
Little Black Book:
Venue/event planner: The Addison
Gown Designer: Allure Bridals
Bridal Bouquet: Bellissima Bride
Cake Maker: Earth and Sugar
Band: Bay Kings Band
DJ: Custom DJs
Photographer: Muñoz Photography
Flowers: Daniel Events
Jeweler: Raymond Lee Jewelers
Transportation: Molly's Trolleys