Helena and Richard didn't have to look far to find love: They've known each other since they were in fifth grade! And while love may not have been on their minds back then, it surely was in June of 2013, when a trip to the beach ended with Richard on one knee with an engagement ring in hand.
The couple spent the next year planning a wedding at the Ritz Carlton Coconut Grove in Miami, Florida, inviting 220 guests to the hotel on October 25, 2014 for a romantic outdoor ceremony followed by a celebration in the stunning ballroom. Carol Chenkin of CLC Enterprises helped the couple put together a romantic bash in the Florida sunshine, photographed by Chantal Lawrie.
Shimmering purple Gucci sandals were the foundation for Helena's wedding-day ensemble, which kicked off with matching button down-and-legging outfits for the bride and her 'maids. Helena's mom helped lace up the bride's Dennis Basso gown, complete with a ruffled skirt and ruched bodice. We think her dad approves!
"One of my favorite memories is Richard and my first look," says the bride. "It was so emotional for both of us." His Hugo Boss tuxedo and dendrobium orchid boutonniere were the perfect match for Helena's gown and hydrangea and orchid bouquet.
Rather than pick out matching gowns, Helena had her bridesmaids choose their own party-ready gold dresses. Richard's groomsmen looked simple and classic in matching tuxedos.
The bride and groom wed beneath a chuppah made of branches decked out in white hydrangeas and roses. Live musicians played Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years" as the bride and her parents walked down the aisle.
Inside the Ritz Carlton's ballroom, tables were dressed in white linens and topped with a combination of towering centerpieces, including calla lilies, hydrangeas, and roses suspended from branches and lots of candles.
A 10-piece band kept the dance floor full all night, with Helena and Richard dancing to "This Dance" by Five for Fighting before she and her dad took a spin (literally!) to "Isn't She Lovely" by Stevie Wonder. Says the bride, "I've never felt anything like the way it felt to have everyone we love in the same room."
The couple headed back to reality for a few months before traveling to Italy for an early summer honeymoon. Helena's advice is to be present. "The energy you have will determine the energy for the whole room, so enjoy every moment!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Ritz Carlton Coconut Grove || Wedding Planner: CLC Enterprises || Bride's Wedding Dress: Dennis Basso || Shoes: Gucci || Makeup: Cynful Makeup || Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Hugo Boss || Engagement Ring: Phillips House || Florist: Flowers by Tony || Invitations & Paper Goods: Danielle Behar Designs || Music: Heatwave Music & Entertainment || Catering & Cake: Ritz Carlton Coconut Grove || Favors: Donut Divas || Videography: Bonnelly Films || Photography: Chantal Weddings
Looking for more Florida inspiration? Then check out another Sunshine State wedding in the video below!