Natalie Caruncho, a Broadway actor and dancer currently starring in “On Your Feet," and Sean Leimbach met in the most natural, old-fashioned way possible—as neighbors! In 2012, Natalie moved into a Lower East Side studio apartment above Sean’s, and her puppy, Bean, yipped at him in the hallway, which eventually led to chatting on the stoop and then, their first date (a long walk and coffee!). “We’ve been doing that ever since,” she says. Sean proposed to Natalie in London (the first stop of their engagement vacation) with a ring he designed himself—after asking her dad’s permission, of course.
For their wedding day, the Manhattan-based couple again looked outside the city for their inspiration and venue. “Our inspiration for the aesthetic came from this restaurant, Septime, we went to in Paris on our engagement trip—it had these white candles and beautiful wooden tables, simple plates and simple flowers, delicious food and wine," she explains. "That light, romantic Parisian bistro feel was what we were after!” The duo hired Jove Meyer, a full-service planner and designer based in Brooklyn, to create just that at the bride's father's house on December 30, 2016. "He was amazing, fantastic, fun, lovely, had vision and understood ours,” Natalie adds. Keep reading to see their beautiful Coral Gables wedding, as photographed by Chellise Micheal, came together!
When it came time to choose their venue, the groom-to-be was eager to have their special occasion at Natalie’s father’s house in Coral Gables. “It’s a villa style, old beautiful Miami home, and he could just see it," she says. "We wanted to host everyone, to make our family and friends feel as special and loved as we knew we were going to feel that day.”
“I tried on so many pretty dresses, but in this one, I could imagine Sean standing at the end of the aisle in his tuxedo,” says Natalie of her Rebecca Schoneveld gown, which was custom-made from a two-piece look. “I felt pretty and grown up in the way I wanted to feel—I loved it.” Natalie’s accessories included a Schone Bride belt, earrings from BHLDN, which she found early on, and Isabelle pumps by Rachel Simpson. “I saw her on Instagram and fell in love with the shoes,” she says. Additionally, a friend gave her a handkerchief as her something borrowed, which she says became important during the ceremony.
The bride’s bouquet was made by their florist, Veronica of Anthology, and Sean’s boutonniere matched the blooms.
The couple had only a maid of honor and a best man, but did include Natalie’s little sister and niece, Jade and Zoey, as flower girls, wearing oversized Champagne-colored tutu dresses they found on Etsy. “They were adorable,” she says. “They had practiced how they were going to toss the flower petals beforehand and were very excited. They stole the show.”
The flowers for the occasion gave off scent, of course, but so did the groom, who wore Jo Malone's 154 cologne, 154. “154 was the number of the apartment building where we met and first lived together,” says Natalie of the smell she also loved for Sean.
For the ceremony setup, the couple set up a few rows of chairs for immediate family and had the rest of the guests stand together. There was a piano in the front of the room, to the left, and candles and a beautiful floral archway to frame the doorway under which they were married.
The bride’s father walked her down the aisle, and at the end of the ceremony, along with her brother, did a surprise performance of the Cuban love song “Como Fue.”
In lieu of a guestbook, Natalie and Sean asked people to take Polaroids and to exchange their place cards with the photograph.
For the reception, the newlyweds covered the pool—with a clear tent over it, and bistro lighting—so as to seat everyone at long tables.
The couple opted for reclaimed wood tables, simple flower (in deep purples, dusty pinks, white and lots of green), white plates, white candles, and bistro lights. "The house has character with lots of greenery and a view of the sky where we had dinner," she says. The minimal flowers were meant to feel “wild, romantic and handpicked,” says the bride. “Our big thing was making sure we could see across the table so people could talk and pass food,” which included French fries—a non-negotiable!—during cocktail hour.
Together, Natalie and Sean crafted playlists for the welcome drinks—inspired by Ingrid Michaelson—and cocktail hour, which was inspired by Django Reinhardt. The music helped set the tone for the romantic evening. A jazz band played gypsy jazz and standards during dinner, and later a Cuban trio opened the dance portion of the evening, surprising the guests. “My family is Cuban and we love to salsa,” says Natalie. Once that portion and the DJ wrapped up, there was an after-hours piano singalong. “Most of the family went home, but a bunch of our friends stayed behind," says the bride. "We had a few more drinks; the caterer left a bunch of food for us to pick at. People took turns playing the piano and everyone sang along—it was a beautiful fun way to end the night.”
Desserts and cake—a three-tier semi-naked cake of vanilla bean with vanilla icing by Earth & Sugar—were passed as people danced late into the evening. Natalie’s favorite sweet bite was chocolate chip cookie with a shot of milk.
While they admit that getting the seating chart absolutely perfect—they sat right in the middle of all their friends—was the biggest challenge, they loved choosing their first dance song. “We had so many date nights that ended with the two of us, a glass of wine, dancing in our little studio apartment to that song (Tina Charles’ “I Love to Love”). It always makes us smile.”
Venue: Private Home || Planner: Jove Meyer of Jove Meyer Events || Catering: Bill Hansen Catering || Cake: Earth & Sugar | Bride’s Dress & Belt: Rebecca Schoneveld || Bride’s Shoes: Rachel Simpson || Groom’s Attire: Black Lapel Tuxedo || Flower Girl Attire: OliviaKateCouture || Hair & Makeup: Carolyn Jones || Floral Design: Veronica Cicero at Anthology Floristry || Music: KJ Circles Band; Mike Spipe || Invitations & Paper Products: Minted || Rentals: Unearthed Vintage || Engagement Ring & Wedding Band: Lisa Linhardt || Photography: Chellise Michael Photography