This Couple's Miami Wedding Had an "Old Florida" Vibe
Christina and Shaina
Christina Rondinone and Shaina Flack's relationship began at a small Irish pub, where Christina worked as a bartender and Shaina was a regular customer. "I used to visit Christina in the middle of the day for lunch, and she would force me to stay and keep her company by refusing to give me the bill," says Shaina, a project manager for an electrical contractor. The South Florida-based pair eventually began dating, and after five years together, they unknowingly planned to propose around the same time. But Shaina got there first, popping the question on Christina's favorite day of the year: Christmas. "As cheesy as it sounds, I couldn't have asked for anything more perfect," says Christina, who now works as a visual manager for Anthropologie. "Just us, snuggled up with our pups in our home on Christmas morning. Also, there was bacon!"
Two years later, Christina and Shaina tied the knot on March 25, 2017, at Villa Woodbine near Miami, Florida. The wedding, which had an "old Florida" theme, was inspired by orange groves, Spanish architecture, and lush overgrown gardens. Their 120 guests enjoyed a short ceremony, followed by an intimate dinner party full of historic elegance. Hints of black and gold added a moody refinement to the outdoor fête.
Designed by Tara Spencer, Christina and Shaina's stationery adhered to their wedding theme. The invitation was made from handmade black paper pressed with gold lettering, while the rest of the suite, including a welcome dinner invite and response card, was done on cream paper decorated with their initials. The paper products were tucked into black envelope lettered in gold by Tara.
The Welcome Bags
Guests received netted welcome bags containing an illustrated map of Miami, orange S.Pellegrino, Supergoop sunscreen, an emergency kit, oranges, and a flamingo drink float. "I was so frazzled by the end that I forgot to include a note actually welcoming our guests, so most of them assumed these were provided by the hotel!" says Christina.
Since Christina and Shaina are both from South Florida, they wanted to showcase the state's history through their wedding venue. They decided to tie the knot at Villa Woodbine, a private mansion located in Coconut Grove. "We wanted the venue to feel historic but lush and overgrown," says Christina, adding that the area is "home to some of the most beautiful Spanish architecture in Florida." Shaina likes how the venue shows that South Florida is more than just beaches.
According to Christina, finding their wedding dresses was kind of a mission: "We must have tried on 30 dresses each across five boutiques before we finally found them." In the end, the brides found their dream gowns at Chernaya Bridal House. Shaina sported a Rivini gown with delicate lace detailing, which she paired with white leather lace-up boots by Maryam Nassir Zadeh (with Star Wars socks underneath!), a Jennifer Behr headpiece, and her mom's diamond earrings and tennis bracelet. Christina decided on a Reem Acra gown with elaborate pink embroidery. To complete her ensemble, she wore cream suede Giuseppe Zanotti pumps and David Yurman earrings.
The ladies decided to keep Christina's dress a surprise until the big day (since she picked it out on a trip after Shaina decided what she was wearing), even though she says it was "torture." But Shaina claims the first look, which happened on a balcony overlooking the gardens, was worth the wait. "We got ready together until it was time to put our dresses on, and I think she looked even more beautiful when I was seeing her as a bride for the first time," says Shaina.
Christina's vintage engagement ring came from Stardara Jewelers in Deerfield Beach, Florida. "We were browsing at the consignment shop one day and noticed they sold estate jewelry, so we decided to try a few on for fun," she says. "The very first ring we tried one was the one! It seemed too easy, but the second I put it on, it felt like part of my hand that had always been missing." Shaina doesn't wear much jewelry, but Christina surprised her with a rose gold band from Catbird. Both of the brides' wedding rings are from Catbird as well.
Anthology Co. created the bridal bouquets with ranunculus, sweet peas, roses, and pieris—which were arranged to create wild, overgrown, and romantic clutches. Christina's larger bouquet complemented her slim dress, while Shaina's comparatively smaller one worked with the fullness of her ensemble. The bouquets were tied with handmade silk and vintage velvet; Christina opted for a rose color, and Shaina chose hunter green. According to Shaina: "Our hotel room looked like a flower shop because Christina tried to bring as many flowers home as she could. They were in the bathtub, the sinks. I think there were some in the hot tub!"
Shaina's father walked her down the aisle to Adele's cover of "Make You Feel My Love."
Christina processed with her father to the same song. Although the couple didn't have a wedding party, other loved ones walked down the before them, including their brothers and sisters, their nephews, Christina's cousin's young daughter (Mackenzie) who served as a last-minute flower girl, and their nephew (Dominic) who served as ring bearer.
The 30-minute ceremony took place at 4:30 p.m. on the front lawn of Villa Woodbine. Shaina's best friend, James, served as officiant. "He was so nervous (because we didn't write the ceremony until the day before) and he forgot to invite everyone to be seated, so we realized later that everyone stood for the entire ceremony!" says Christina. "We wrote our own vows, which we laughed through because the microphone kept going out, and after we kissed, we walked out together to 'Ceremony' by New Order. It was perfect."
The couple had three portrait sessions: a preceremony first look, directly after the ceremony, and at sunset—all on the grounds of the villa.
While Christina and Shaina took portraits after the ceremony, guests enjoyed cocktails and passed hors d'oeuvres in the courtyard. The appetizers by Bill Hansen Catering took on a "Tuscany meets the South" theme, and included shrimp and grits on rosemary skewers, mini meatball parmesan sandwiches, and chicken and waffles. Pop songs from the 1950s and 1960s (think Frankie Valli and the Ronnettes) played in the background.
Two custom designs graced cocktail napkins to accompany the appetizers. One featured the crest by Tara Spencer from the couple's invitation suite, while the other displayed a paraphrased quote from Walt Whitman. It read: "We were together, I forget the rest." Christina says the napkins were perhaps her favorite detail of the wedding. "We still use them at home!" adds Shaina.
The reception took place in the garden of the villa. As for the décor, "I think we could call it old world romance with modern details," explains Christina. "We were inspired by vintage botanical drawings of orange blossoms, and decided to go with a historical Florida theme." The coupled wanted guests to feel as though there were at a dinner party. Bistro light strung overhead made the space feel intimate and cozy.
The Table Setting
For the reception, Christina and Shaina gravitated toward dark green and blue colors, mixed with hints of black and gold. "When Jessica found those dark green velvet runners, I almost cried. They made the entire table," says Christina.
Bill Hansen Catering served a family-style meal of Tucsan and Southern cuisines, since Christina is Italian and Shaina grew up on a farm. The menu included a pasta course, followed by basil-and-sage fried chicken, slow-braised short ribs, polenta with smoked tomatoes, and collard greens with pancetta. "There was also a separate pasta course with handmade sweet corn ravioli and an antipasto board on each table," adds Shaina.
But the planned sit-down meal didn't last long, since rain started pouring as dinner was served. "It stopped every few minutes, but every time our guests tried to venture back outside, it started up again. Eventually we had to move everything inside," says Christina. "It broke our hearts a little because we put so much love into planning the meal and it didn't go the way we wanted, but honestly, no one seemed to mind at all! Everyone still had a great time."
The Table Numbers
Tara Spencer handwrote the table numbers, which were placed in gold frames with pressed leaves and greenery.
Anthology Co. created a floral arrangement for the fireplace inside of the villa. Clematis, fox glove, and trailing vines took center stage.
After the pasta course and before the main meal, Christina and Shaina shared their first dance to "Can't Help Falling In Love With You" by Haley Reinhart, which was a cover of Christina's parents' wedding song. "I've always wanted to use their wedding song, and Shaina put this version on a playlist she made for me when we first started dating. I knew it had to be our song," says Christina.
The brides asked Anthology Co. to make mini bouquets for guests to take home, as if they were from a flower market. The petite arrangements were wrapped in parchment paper and tied with black velvet ribbons and set out by a sign with the Henri Matisse quote—"There are always flowers for those who need to see them"—and instructions to guests to take flowers home to enjoy.
Cloud Nine Bakery baked a simple three-tiered cake, which was adorned with magnolia branches. "Christina surprised me with a funfetti cake!" says Shaina. "But when we made the first cut, I was afraid there had been a mistake, and I wasn't sure if she was going to be disappointed. When I realized she had swapped the flavors to surprise me I couldn't believe it." While the pair cut the cake, "I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow played in the background.
The reception wrapped up around 11 p.m. Soon after, Christina and Shaina then began their married life in France, where they spent two weeks exploring Paris and driving around Provence.
Photography, Erich McVey Wedding Photography
Location, Villa Woodbine
Event planning, Jessica Sloane
Catering, Bill Hansen Catering
Flowers, Anthology Co.
Stationery and calligraphy, Tara Spencer
Cake, Cloud Nine Bakery
Christina's gown, Reem Acra
Shaina's gown, Rivini
Hair and makeup, Jennifer Cruz