Merissa Dzau and John Goodson couldn't tell you how they met if they tried — their roots go that deep. They'd known each other for years growing up in Newton, MA, first meeting in high school, when Merissa knew him only as her best friend's hunky older brother. Years later, they were reunited at John's sisters' wedding, then finally became an item after a trip to Merissa's family's home on Cape Cod.
When it was time to make it official, John kept things simple. "We've always called each other 'peach,'" says Merissa. "So when I came home from a business trip one evening, I found a bowl of peaches on the kitchen counter — with a ring in the middle. It was so us."
As they started planning, the couple had a hard time nailing down what they wanted for their wedding day. "We looked at Mexico, Cape Cod, and Miami, it was so hard to choose! So we poked fun at our indecisiveness with a scratch-off save the date," says the bride. The card revealed a weekend-long celebration in South Beach
"I was convinced I wouldn't wear a veil, and that I'd pick something super-modern," says Merissa. But when she tried on her strapless Ines di Santo mermaid gown, she changed her tune. "I realized I wanted something soft and romantic, which isn't my usual style, but was perfect for our wedding." She combined the delicate pleated ivory tulle and lace appliques with low-cut sapphire glittered pumps by Christian Louboutin. John wore a custom navy blue tuxedo from Indochino.
Merissa kept with the nude color palette, carrying a bouquet of white, cream, and blush ranunculus, garden roses, and peonies edged with gilded leaves. She tied her mother's original wedding band to the bouquet for good luck.
The bridesmaids carried complementary bouquets, with a larger version for her sister, who was also her maid of honor.
The bridesmaids wore Twobirds gowns with two rows of rosettes at the bottom, giving the brides the flexibility to style the dress in a way that they felt comfortable — as well as get down on the dance floor! Four bridesmaids wore the gown in a rosewater hue, while Merissa's sister (and maid of honor) wore the same design in black to stand out.
Upon arriving at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, John and Merissa's guests walked through the villa and grounds to get to the open courtyard where the couple said "I do" in a ceremony performed by John's brother-in-law.
The reception took place on the East Terrace, with views of Biscayne Bay. They set a glamorous scene with a mix of long wooden tables, set with linen-upholstered chairs, and round linen-topped tables with gold Chiavari chairs.
Since Merissa manages major events as a part of her job, she has an eye for detail. The textured centerpieces included candlesticks, vases, and votive holders in various sizes and heights, all with antique metal and mirror finishes for some extra shine.
Their wedding cake had quite a journey — it was flown in from Momofuku Milk Bar in the couple's hometown of New York City! Merissa explains, "We absolutely love their birthday cake flavor. The unfinished aesthetic of the tiered cake with the crumble on top was so fun!"
Merissa found Michelle Bernstein Catering through a co-worker and was blown away when she tasted Michelle's food for the first time. The bride and groom both love donuts, so Michelle created a special selection to pass late-night.
Everyone danced the night away to the sounds of DJ Hesta Prynn. "We're big music people, and she did a great mix of indie music and music to get everyone dancing," Merissa says.
The newlyweds jetted to Paris, Abu Dhabi, and the Maldives for their honeymoon. "Our wedding was amazing. We made sure to identify our priorities and make the day exactly what we wanted (and none of what we didn't want!), and our vendors nailed it."
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Vizcaya Museum and Gardens || Wedding Planner: Annie Lee of Daughter of Design || Bride's Wedding Dress & Veil: Ines di Santo || Shoes: Christian Louboutin || Hair: Vanessa Mitchell || Makeup: Josie Miller || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Twobirds || Groom's Attire: Indochino || Florist: A Joy Wallace || Invitations & Paper Goods: The O Group || Calligraphy: Kathryn Murray || Music: Hesta Prynn || Catering: Michelle Bernstein Catering || Cake & Favors: Momofuku Milk Bar || Rentals: Luxe Event Rentals, Panache || Photography: Angelica Glass