In November 2011, Miami entrepreneur Danielle Koping attended an event for the ProPops Foundation, a organization that aims to aid and empower fathers and their children. There, she met the founder and president of the foundation, Dwyane Wade Sr. A year later, Danielle was joining the ProPops Foundation herself, and, nearly five years later, Dwyane popped the question at the ProPops Foundation’s annual Fathers Day event in June 2016, proposing in front of all their friends and colleagues. The couple then took their love from Miami—where Dwyane Wade Sr.'s son, Dwyane Wade Jr., is a shooting guard for Miami Heat—all the way to Venice, Italy to say their I dos in a luxe, international family affair.
"Planning an international wedding is not easy!" Danielle tells Brides upfront. "With family and friends traveling from different cities, the translation confusion, and time zones, it was challenging." But with an expert team in place (lead by Suzanne Boyd of The Party Co., with photographer Bob Metelus), the day ended up being bellissimo.
With a "romantic, classic Venice" theme in mind, Dwyane and Danielle choose the Hotel Excelsior for their wedding. "We simply fell in love with the romantic beachfront," recalls Danielle. The alfresco space proved to be the perfect ceremony setting.
On Friday, August 17, 2018 (which also happened to be the bride's birthday!), Danielle donned a Netta BenShabu wedding dress, featuring Italian lace and stunning back beadwork, for her walk down the aisle in the Venice sunshine. "I met my wedding designer at a Miami trunk show," says Danielle. "I just felt flattered and beautiful."
The ceremony was adorned with white roses, hydrangeas, and field flowers, leaving the couple's arbor, draped with airy white fabric and fresh blooms, as the focal point of the space. "We had a simple wedding with no wedding party," explains Danielle. "At this stage in our lives we’re 'no fuss.' Our kids matched us in light, romantic tones, and we were a true depiction of our blended family."
Wade agrees, saying, "Our kids also made my night. They had such lovely things to say and it was good to have our loved ones all around. We are blessed."
The presence of family could be felt throughout the couple's ceremony, from Danielle's son, Martin, walking her down the aisle to the groom's son proudly looking on with his wife, actress Gabrielle Union.
Following the ceremony, it was into the property's ballroom for a glamorous reception, lit with Murano Glass chandeliers and with pretty pink hues. The stately space featured a long, imperial table covered in votive candles and over 100 floral centerpieces of hydrangea, lilies, roses and lemongrass. There, the couple and their guests dined on a grand buffet of six spectacular Italian displays, seafood, beef, and pasta, and sipped on a classic Venice cocktail. "One must enjoy a classic Bellini when in Venice!" notes the bride.
Danielle and Dwyane shared their first dance to Eric Benét and Tamia's "Spend My Life With You," but that was hardly the only musical performance of the night. In addition to their live musicians—singers Josie St. Aimee and Luca Brighi and pianist Michele Bonivento—the groom also took a turn at the mic himself. "When my husband serenaded me during our dinner reception, I was blown away," recalls Danielle. "It is a moment I’ll remember forever."
Wedding Planner: Suzanne Boyd of The Party Co. || Venue & Catering: Hotel Excelsior || Bride's Dress: Netta BenShabu || Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin || Makeup: Elisa Sturaro featuring MAC Cosmetics || Hair: Lizda Alexander || Groom's Attire: Milton Latrell, Custom Tailor || Floral Design: Munaretto Flowers Venice || Photography: Bob Metelus