Home » A High-Fashion Wedding at an Ancient Miami Monastery

A High-Fashion Wedding at an Ancient Miami Monastery

by Staff

As the vice president of marketing at Eberjey, Santana López is a bonafide fashion girl–so it’s only fitting that she’d remember exactly what her now-husband, Troy Davis, was wearing when they met at a day party in 2011. “I remember Troy pulling up to Anja Bar in Meatpacking District in his very New Yorker black peacoat and my friend and I freezing because we were wearing miniskirts in the dead of winter,” she recalls. Santana and Troy became fast, casual friends until eventually started to date in 2013.

Five years later, Troy took the next big step in their relationship by proposing during a trip to Zihuantanejo, Mexico. “'[It’s] the place where my family and I had vacationed since I was a kid, where my parents went on their honeymoon, and where we had all vacationed with my mom one last time the year before,” Santana explains. “It was on that last trip to [Zihuantanejo] the year prior where Troy asked my mom if he could marry me.”

Since Santana and Troy were never in a rush to get married, they took their time to plan their dream wedding: A 185-person affair on April 22, 2022. “I’m originally from northern New Mexico, where my family has lived for hundreds of years. Beyond that, our roots go back to Spain,” the bride explains. “I originally wanted to get married in New Mexico, but we knew so many of our family and friends wouldn’t be able to make the trek to Taos or Santa Fe, so we started looking at venues in Miami where we live.”

When they spotted the St. Bernard de Clairvaux monastery—a 12th century Spanish cloister that was shipped over to the United States in pieces—the couple knew the historic site could fulfill their secret garden vision.

“Our venue was the basis for every decision that was made, from my dress to the color scheme,” Santana says. “When everything revolves around one specific element, it’s easy to stay on track and not fall into an inspiration spiral on Pinterest. After I compiled my [inspiration] boards, it was just a matter of finding vendors that were as excited about my vision as I was.”

Having worked in the fashion industry for so long, the bride knew she could bring her vision on her own. For some extra help, she enlisted A Love For Detail to ensure the day went off without a hitch. With an assortment of mostly Latina vendors, special family moments, and, yes, multiple outfit changes, the day was everything Santana and Troy envisioned. Read on for an intimate look at the festivities as photographed by Paula Jackson.

Santana and Troy wanted their wedding to be a “wild and ethereal secret garden, with undertones of glamour from a bygone era.” The nuptials started off on the right note—literally—with these subtly elevated invitations from BHLDN x Minted.

Before the big day, the soon-to-be weds hosted a rehearsal dinner for their inner circle. The bride made the event a fashionable affair with a Jacquemus dress and Bottega Veneta shoes.

For the big day, Santana knew she wanted a dress with an old-world vibe—but didn’t want anything that felt “overly princess or medieval.” Fortunately, she found exactly what she was looking for in a raised cowl neck, silk wool gown from Danielle Frankel. “When I tried on the dress and it felt like it was from another era, especially the scarf draped accent on the back, I knew it was the one,” the bride shares. “I also knew I didn’t want a veil, so the fact that the dress allowed me to show off my back was the icing on the cake.”

Santana accessorized her look with Danielle Frankel gloves, mint green shoes from Altuzarra, and sentimental jewelry. “I wanted to wear something that belonged to my mom, so I choose the diamond earrings that my dad gave her on their 10th wedding anniversary,” she says. “And, because I felt that my dress needed statement earrings since I wasn’t doing a veil, I attached baroque pearls to the back like an ear-jacket. It was the perfect combination of old and new.”

Troy is a big fan of Italian tailoring, so he sported a double-breasted tuxedo from Ermenegildo Zegna. “I was told that a black or white jacket would be a little stark compared to the color of the bride’s dress, so we designed a navy wool tux with black grosgrain lapels and paired it with a wing tip collared shirt,” he shares. Rounding out the look was a vintage Patek Philippe watch that belonged to Santana’s grandfather and Christian Louboutin shoes. “I went rogue with the Louboutin shoes,” he adds. “I think Santana was pleasantly surprised by my choice.”

Since the couple loved the character of their hotel, Esmé Miami Beach, they decided to do their first look at their accommodations.

Though Santana planned a lot of the day’s small moments, she decided to wing her first look the day-of. “Paula, our photographer, suggested stepping outside onto historic Española Way, so we went with that,” she explains. “All the passersby and al fresco diners at The Drexel got to see our first look. It was fun and spur of the moment. I think it’s so important that your wedding day has a little bit of spontaneity.”

“Because we had to travel to the monastery from the hotel and I didn’t want to wear and wrinkle my dress in the car, I needed to change into something that would be easy to take on and off,” she shares. “I found this sheer blush organza trench that was the perfect mix of practicality and bridal whimsy.” To make her travel outfit a fashionable affair, Santana paired her Material layer with Stuart Weitzman shoes.

As the couple put it, “When you have a mystical, vine-covered tree as a backdrop, you really don’t need much else.” They kept the ceremony area simple with aisle flowers, Spanish hand fans, and flower petal cones fashioned from vintage sheet music.

“I decided to write both my late mom and sister letters on the morning of the wedding,” Santana explains. “When we got to the monastery, I placed the letters by the memorial candles where I lit two white candles in their honor. It was a special way to honor their memory, knowing their flames would be burning throughout our day.”

Santana glided down the aisle with her father and a lush, Anthurium-centric bouquet. “We did a first look but I still wanted there to be a little element of surprise as I walked down the aisle. So, I kept the processional song a secret from Troy,” she shares. “I went with one of our favorite songs from the early days of our friendship, ‘Fade into Darkness’ by Avicii. It sounded so beautiful covered by the live string quartet.”

In addition to reciting their own vows, Santana’s Pablo Neruda’s Sonnet XVII was read in both Spanish and English. “That might be the most honest love poem ever written,” the bride gushes.

After exchanging their Cartier wedding bands, the couple sealed their lasting love with a kiss.

The newlyweds recessed down the aisle to “Feel So Close” by Calvin Harris, another surprise Santana had up her Danielle Frankel gloves. “The lyrics of the song, although you couldn’t hear them because we had a quartet, were perfect for the moment,” she adds.

After the ceremony, the happy couple snuck away to snap a few photos with Paula Jackson. “Walking outside to the cocktail hour, we were able to capture a photo inspired by the iconic photo of JFK Jr. and Carolyn Bessette on their wedding day,” the bride says.

For cocktail hour, guests were transported to Havana with a cigar roller and Latin band that played the couple’s favorite tunes by by the Buena Vista Social Club and Celia Cruz.

“Troy also surprised me with a toast dedicated to my late mom, where we all drank the same wine that we drank the night Troy asked my mom if he could marry me,” Santana shares. “It was incredibly sentimental and so thoughtful. He still has the cork from that night.”

Santana wanted the tables at the reception to feel ethereal and airy—“like a whisper or light breeze”—so she dressed up the space with blue accents, transparent glassware, and a mix of dry and fresh florals. “Our invites had pressed foliage on them, so we mirrored those by placing pressed florals onto the calligraphed menus.”

Bill Hansen delivered with a Latin-inspired menu, including Peruvian ceviche and bacon-wrapped maduro plantains for cocktail hour appetizers as well as yuca-crusted mahi-mahi for dinner. “We also made sure our guests had sustenance and passed around a late-night snack of fried chicken and truffle fries,” Santana adds.

Before dinner was served, Santana and Troy had a few minutes to get a sneak peak of their reception. “As the sun was starting to set, sunbeams made their way to the tables and the ambiance felt so magical,” the bride recalls. “Like we stepped back in time.”

After an impromptu dinner prayer led by Troy’s great uncle, the couple shared a first dance to Smokey Robinson’s “Cruisin’.”

For dessert, guests enjoyed a chocolate, salted caramel pecan cake from Earth & Sugar, which Santana eventually smashed into her newly minted husband’s face! “I’m not sure what came over me in the moment but smashing the cake in Troy’s face was one of those unplanned, hysterical moments,” she recalls. “I don’t think anyone saw that coming, not even myself, and neither of us were afraid to get dirty because we knew we were changing soon.”

“We both love the glitz of the ’70s, so it was only fitting that our reception have a Studio 54 twist, complete with DJ and trio of instrumentalists,” the couple says. “We both did a quick outfit change—we needed it after the cake!—and followed our hora loca disco dancers to the dancefloor to ‘You Should be Dancing’ by The Bee Gees.”

Speaking of an outfit change, Troy slipped into a silk dinner jacket, black pants, and collared shirt from Ermenegildo Zegna while Santana opted for something that was “fun to move in.” “I’m a sucker for the feather trend happening right now, but I wanted something one-of-a-kind, so I started scouring vintage websites,” she shares. “I was able to find a white dress and matching feather scarf from the ’70s that was perfect for the Studio 54 theme of our dance. Paired with gold rhinestone Gucci shoes, what is more disco than that? I can’t wait to wear this whole ensemble again.”

Since Troy is known for being a champagne connoisseur, a tower of bubbly ruled the reception.

Guests danced all night long to a pulse-pumping playlist by Event Factor.

Looking back on their big day, the couple stresses the importance of living in the present. “We got caught in 90 minutes of traffic on the way to the monastery and didn’t have time to take half the pictures we wanted, including portraits in the beautiful gardens,” they share. “We could have snuck away during cocktails or dinner to take the photos, but in the end, we wanted to soak in the moment and decided we’d rather spend quality time with each other and our guests.” After all, very few things can rival spending quality time with the people you love—and some great outfits.

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