Daniela García and Daniel Rojas have known each for so long that they don't actually remember when they first met! However, in the 15 years of knowing each other, one night stands out: In October 2015, Daniela was visiting friends in New York City, where Daniel was living at the time, and they ended up at the same Halloween party in the Village, then capped off the night together at Sing Sing Karaoke on St. Mark’s Place. "A month later, Daniel flew to Miami to visit his parents for Thanksgiving, and we had our official first date at 27 Restaurant in Miami Beach followed by drinks at Broken Shaker," Daniela recalls. "We pretty much dated from then on. We did a year of long-distance, and then I finally pulled the trigger and moved to New York!"
While the couple lives in NYC (where Daniela works at Apartment Therapy and Daniel at Anheuser-Busch), they said "I do" close to their home in Miami. And, thanks to COVID-19, their plans came together quite last-minute.
"We requested that everyone get tested the week of the wedding, so we were waiting on negative test results until the very last minute!" Daniela says. "Because of the last-minute nature of the event, planning could have gone one of two ways. It could have either been hectic and a race to find the perfect pieces to complete the day, or it could have been a go-with-the-flow affair. We went with the latter and let go of any expectations we had for the day, which allowed us to really focus on what mattered most to us—sharing the moment with our closest friends and our families."
To pull everything together, the couple leaned on their wedding planner, Tatiana Angel of CCC Event Planning, who even Facetimed Daniela from the flower market the day before the wedding and did all the arrangements herself, and their family remembers, who did everything from loan the bride jewels to officiate the ceremony. In the end, Daniela, wearing an Azeeza dress and Sophia Webster heels she'd ordered online, and Daniel exchanged vows in front of just 10 guests at a friend's beachfront home.
"I think our laid-back nature was reflected throughout the entire event," she explains. "Something that was really important to us was the music, which Daniel took care of before-hand with his best friend. Other than that, we were just happy to share that day with our favorite people."
Keep reading to see the couple's intimate ceremony below, as photographed by Adriana Rivera.
"My style is very laid-back and a little bit traditional, so when I saw this beautiful white Azeeza dress on Instagram, I knew I had to have it," says Daniela of her midi dress, which is made of raw silk midi dress and features an empire bodice, gathered skirt, and puff sleeves. "At the time, I didn't know if we’d have our micro wedding or not, but I figured I’d be able to use the dress for one of the pre-wedding events whenever the big one took place."
However, actually getting the dress was an ordeal of its own, Daniela admits. "It was sold out everywhere, and once I saw it, I knew I had to have it," she says. "I reached out to the brand to see if they were going to do a re-stock, and they let me know it was coming back in stock for pre-order! I bought it the second it became available." Her Sophia Webster heels were also a last-minute purchase—she got an alert that they'd been re-stocked in her size the week before the wedding! "They were the perfect complement to the dress," she adds.
Another Instagram find? Daniela's headband! "I wanted something delicate to wear in my hair since I'm saving the veil for the big celebration, but hadn’t found anything I loved," she explains. "A few days before the event, my mom found and ordered a thin gold headband with tiny mother-of-pearl flowers that was just what I was looking for."
Her mom also came through with the big-day jewelry. "Since everything was so last minute, I didn’t give jewelry a single thought," Daniela admits. "My mom and I went through her jewelry box, and found these gold-and-pearl drop earrings that resemble little cherries." To complete the look, she wore her engagement ring, a gold bracelet from Daniel, a gold bangle, and a gold-and-diamond drop necklace.
For a pop of color, Daniela carried a bouquet of blue star hyacinths, purple anemones, and blue grape hyacinths. "The color scheme was dictated by whatever flowers were available at the market the day before," she says. "Since my bouquet was a beautiful blue/purple, we went with a more neutral white and green pairing for the decorations."
Dressing for the Miami heat, Daniel opted to wear a beige linen shirt (purchased on a trip in Medellin a few years back) and brown loafers from Cole Haan. "He wore his brand new wedding band, which I bought for him that same day at a local jewelry store," Daniela adds.
While the couple didn't have a wedding party, they did have one special attendant: Milo, their french bulldog. "He wore a beautiful big white bow around his neck," Daniela says.
"The pre-event logistics were the hardest," admits the couple. "From finding a county that would issue us a marriage license within a week, to making sure that every person in attendance took a COVID-19 test and got negative results and quarantined during the process, it was a series of last-minute hiccups that we thankfully overcame."
However, some details were meant to be. "The easiest part was finding a photographer!" Daniela says of hiring Adriana Rivera, who she had been following for a while. "Her Instagram account is a dream, and her pictures capture intimate moments beautifully," she says. "She’s an international photographer based in El Salvador, so I didn’t think I’d be able to work with her but then I found out she had been riding out COVID-19 in Miami, so I immediately reached out!"
Looking back on planning a wedding mid-pandemic, Daniela had these words to share: "Learning to let go has been a big theme for me throughout this time," she says. "It’s easy to get caught up in thinking about what your big wedding could have been, and getting hung up on little details and things you wish you could do, but the reality is a lot has changed! And if you don’t learn to surrender to the times, and readjust your perspective, things are going to feel very heavy."
The wedding took place on Mashta Island on Key Biscayne. "My parents’ friends had recently bought a beautiful home there that they had not yet moved into, and were so generous to lend it to us for the big day," Daniela explains. "The house has a stunning ocean-front backyard that made the perfect backdrop."
"My vision was something very relaxed and casual but not so casual that it didn’t look special," describes the bride. "The venue was so special and beautiful on its own that it dictated the aesthetic of the wedding. It screams beachy-vibes and we were not about to change that!"
The ceremony was centered around a simple round table decorated with lanterns, plants, and a single white flower arrangement. "Tatiana has an incredible eye and fantastic taste and made every single arrangement herself the day before the wedding," adds the bride. "She even brought rattan furniture and accents from her own home to add to the vibe!"
As this was the couple's civil wedding, they opted to skip some wedding traditions such as the walk down the aisle. "We wanted to save that moment for the bigger wedding in front of our extended families and friends," explains the bride. "Instead, we welcomed our guests, had a few drinks, and then organically made it to our places for the ceremony. It was very laid back, but that only added to the intimacy and love that could be felt throughout the day."
The couple stood at the very edge of the backyard, almost on the water. "Since the rain had stopped only minutes before, the sky was a moody blue-gray color that added a beautifully dramatic element to the day," Daniela says.
The bride's brother got ordained so he could perform the ceremony. "It made it that much better to have someone we love marry us," she says. "The ceremony was short and sweet, but it was very emotional.
By the time we were standing together, in front of the 10 most important people in our lives, and exchanging our vows, it felt like everything had fallen into place for a reason.
"I felt very calm during the ceremony. The week before the wedding, everything that could have gone wrong did. From the COVID test results being delayed to our marriage license not arriving until the day before, and the rain that raged non-stop until the very end, it almost felt like we weren’t going to be able to pull it off," Daniela recalls. "So by the time we were standing together, in front of the 10 most important people in our lives, and exchanging our vows, it felt like everything had fallen into place for a reason. At that moment, we both felt overjoyed and grateful."
Daniel proposed on a trip to Menorca, tricking Daniela, who admits that she was on "high alert," by popping the question when a "group horseback ride got canceled." After Daniel almost forget to present the ring, she said "yes," and they spent the day enjoying each other's company before calling their families.
Safety was of the utmost importance to us, so we requested each of our guests to get tested the week before and lay low until the wedding.
The couple invited just 10 guests, including their immediate family, closest friends, and their dog, Milo. "Safety was of the utmost importance to us, so we requested each of our guests to get tested the week before and lay low until the wedding," explains the bride. "It was the perfect amount of people for such an intimate affair."
Daniela's father gave a toast at the reception, in which he leaned on his own 36-year marriage to share three things he wished for the newly-married couple. His advice? Always have fun, respect each other, and learn how to fight! Meanwhile, everyone enjoyed bite-sized Peruvian dishes catered by a local small business.
In lieu of a seated dinner, guests were given the option to sit at high-top cocktail tables or lounge by the pool. Much like the ceremony décor, everything was done in neutral hues, including the centerpieces of lisianthus, veronica perennials, and Queen Anne’s Lace.
The couple is saving their first dance for the celebration next August, but Daniel and his best friend took great care of the music, selecting a mix of salsa, disco, and reggaeton for the intimate party.
One tradition the couple kept? The wedding cake! Theirs was a simple, one-tier vanilla rum cake decorated with bright blue blooms.
We were so, so grateful that we were able to hold this space for our love, along with the most important people in our lives.
"I think my favorite part of the day was when Daniel pulled me aside in the middle of the festivities to take it all in," Daniela recalls. "We stood hand-in-hand by the water and took a moment to reflect on the day and how every single thing worked out. We were so, so grateful that we were able to hold this space for our love, along with the most important people in our lives. Every single person that was in attendance was there for us, to celebrate our love and join us as we took the next big step in our relationship."
Planning & Floral Design Tatiana Angel of CCC Event Planning
Bridal Gown Azeeza
Headband Shop Kate and Mari
Shoes Sophia Webster
Hair Leonor Sanabria at Prestige Salon, Key Biscayne
Engagement Ring The Clear Cut
Wedding Bands Jae’s Jewelers; Etsy
Catering Sylvia's Gourmet Catering
Cake Ivette Arosemena of Ivette’s Nutty Kitchen
Photography Adriana Rivera