7 Things to Know about Beach Weddings in Miami

Miami Beach Weddings are not as easy, breezy to plan as you might think.

Here is the call I get all…the…time…

Hi, I would lie to know about getting married on Miami Beach. I want to do a small wedding on the sand. Just a ceremony and dinner for 20-30 guests. In my mind, I am thinking “here we go again, disappointing another destination bride with dreams of dancing all night on the sand, and an oceans side Miami Beach wedding….man I should really just write a blog post on this and direct them there ๐Ÿค””

So here it is, finally, the 7 things you must know about planning a wedding on Miami Beach. No, not what the magazines show you, or what you saw on tv. The actual facts from a wedding planner that is a Miami native and has been planning weddings here for 12 years. Here we go:

1. The beach on Miami Beach is public property and they are very particular about that.

The beach is run by the city. No, not just one area, all of it. Even the oceanfront hotels do not have control over what happens on the beach behind them. They can pull a permit for you from the city. And they do have connections to make things happen faster. But, the city has the ultimate say and they are very strict.

2. Wedding ceremonies are allowed on the beach.

However, you are limited to one arch, chairs, three 10 x 10 tents, 5 folding tables, and one aisle runner. No food or beverage allowed. In order to have your ceremony you must get a “Ceremonies and Team Building” permit from the city here. It is currently $129.00. And do not get overwhelmed by the need to send them a site plan. Here is a blog post I did on easy steps to do that.

Disclaimer: You can actually have an entire ceremony and reception on the sand. But the permits alone will run you a couple of grand. I only recommend going this route if you have close to a 7-figure wedding budget. No, I am not kidding. It’s that expensive.

3. The beach is wide, and far from the main street

Below is a screenshot of Miami Beach on Google Maps. I placed a star on the area where ceremonies are allowed. Even on the narrowest areas of Miami Beach, you need to go over the walkway and the emergency vehicle lane to get to an area for ceremonies. Guests don’t seem to mind, but the vendors setting up your chairs do. Make sure you hire someone that knows Miami Beach wedding setups well.

4. Public beaches are public, gawkers included.

There are many things that will be out of your control. Tourists in tiny swimsuits that decide to snoop in on your ceremony is only one hazard. I have had a lifeguard truck blare their sirens and loudspeaker during a couples vows. Then there are the airplane advertisers, the stalking seagulls, and of course the weather.

5. There is no plan B for your ceremony during bad weather

Because you are only allowed three 10 x 10 tents, there is no plan B for bad weather like rain on extreme wind. You will have to commit to holding your ceremony under any circumstance. Great metaphor for the marriage you are entering.

6. The sand is the the coral kind

The good news, is that the sand easily brushes off shoes and dresses. It is not that baby powder-like sand that sticks to everything. The bad news is that you easily sink into this sand. Heels and chairs particularly love to dig themselves deep. I always recommend having a shoe valet area, where guests can trade their shoes for flip flops. Now the area where this happens is pretty far from the area of the ceremony. Make sure you have someone that will remain at this shoe area the entire time. This is a public beach after all.

7. The sun sets behind you

Make sure to look up sunset times on a website like NOAA. The sun sets to the west, behind the buildings. Therefore, you want to time your ceremony right before sunset to ensure you don’t have a ton of shadows in your photos.

If you address these points above, you can have an amazing wedding on Miami Beach. For more information, or guidance on planning your beach wedding, contact our expert team.

micro wedding reception table

The 7 Benefits of a Micro Wedding

A micro wedding may not be what you were dreaming of, but there are so many great benefits to having one. I have been preaching about having small weddings for years. So much so that I had one myself in 2009.

At the time I had been planning weddings for a couple of years. I kept seeing some patterns in my clients that were not what I expected from happy brides and grooms. First, they were so stressed out about the money being spent that they had tension between them. Which was so unfortunate when this was the honeymoon stage. Then, I noticed that the couple had no time to speak to all the guests. I couldn’t imagine someone spending hundred if not thousands of dollars to come attend my celebration, and I give them less than two minutes of my time. And lastly, I saw that the couples with the grandest affairs where the first ones to blurt out these horrid words “I can’t wait for it to be all over.”

{Gasp!} What?! This is a moment they should want to relive again and again! Oh hell no I thought. I am not making these mistakes when I get married. As I searched for “a better way” I found something that would work for me. Something without all the stress and with all the love. I found micro weddings and I had one. It was amazing!

Over the years, I have tried to preach to my couples on the benefits of micro weddings. I have to admit, I didn’t have many takers. People are bombarded by images of these grand weddings. They feel the fear of missing out if they don’t have one themselves. But this pandemic has forced the idea of micro weddings on couples. Many of you mourn the big, elaborate wedding you desired. So I am here to cheer you up. Maybe this shift is forcing you unto a path that was better for you all along. Here are the benefits of micro weddings:

  1. You will spend less: The number one benefit of a micro wedding is that you will spend less money. Think about it. If you are spending $50 a person for food and alcohol, one hundred guests will cost you $5000, thirsty guests will cost you $1500. Or go crazy and hire a private chef that charges $200 per person, for 10 guests, and serves the best cuisine ever! You just spend $2000 on an epic meal instead of a blah one.
  2. You will have people there that actually support you: I have had many a bride stressed out because the napkins are not perfect and what would Aunt Karen say. Or the groom feels obligated to get the premium open bar because his boss will not drink anything but top shelf. Well guess what, when you invite only the closest, tightest knit group of people in your life you don’t worry about any of those things. Because they are at your micro wedding for YOU.
  3. You will make real memories: With a small group, you will have the time to dance with each guest. You will be able to sit with the important people in your life and have quality time with them. This is a moment neither of you will forget.
  4. You will have less stress and truly enjoy your day: Less financial pressure + the most important people around you that support you = less stress. Goodbye bridezilla, the aloof groom, the overbearing MIL, and hello joy.
  5. You will focus on the love: Without all the pressure and extra noise around you, you will be able to go through this wedding planning journey with your partner in a loving way. This is your first big project together. This is a time to work as a team and learn more about each other. The entire celebration is about your love and marriage. Don’t let anything distract you from that.
  6. You will get what you want: Ok, this one is shallow but oh so true. You want that Instagram worthy wedding with the expensive champagne, fine china, and fields of peonies. It might not be feasible for you for a party of one hundred and fifty guests. But it is reachable for the twenty guests at your micro wedding. Cutting down the guests list exponentially decreases the budget you need to have an elaborate wedding. Cristal anyone?
  7. You will be happier the day after: You will have to take my word for this one. I have planned hundreds of weddings over the past twelve years. The couples who have the smaller weddings, surrounded by their closest family and friends, and that do not overextend themselves financially, are always happier. ALWAYS! Everyone looks happy on the dance floor, everybody grins widely at the bar, but these couples look elated the day after. I can not describe it. I just know the look.

For guidance on planning a micro wedding for yourself, head to our Instagram page for inspiration and tips.

4 Gorgeous, Outdoor Venues in Miami, for socially distanced events

Miami has been long known for its weather and style; and we have some fabulous outdoor venues that help us earn that reputation. From gorgeous mansions by the water to modern open spaces with killer views; Miami has something for anyone looking for a safe space to hold their event within the new safety protocols. I have planned events at all of these venues over the years, and know their every pro, con, hurdle, and detail. Here are four outdoor venues that always delight the guests, and are set up in a way that will allow for a socially distant event from start to finish.

  1. Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami is an outdoor venue for weddings and corporate events

Vizcaya is a beautiful mansion on the water, once owned by the founding father of Miami, Charles Deering. Even though the inside of the mansion is gorgeously conserved, and houses an interior courtyard with a glass ceiling, it is the gardens and back terrace that most are used for events. The upper garden’s “casino and mound” seems to have been built perfectly for a wedding ceremony. The dramatic entrance is a coral flight of stairs straight to heaven. For receptions and big events, the East Terrace is two levels right on the water that can fit hundreds of guests under the stars. There is plenty of space to keep tables socially distant, and for an extra large dance floor.

Because Vizcaya is owned by the city of Miami, they do have stricter guidelines for events. Make sure to check with their venue coordinator before deciding if this can work for you.

  1. 1111 Lincoln Road
The 1111 Lincoln Road outdoor venue in Miami is modern and gorgeous.

This designer parking garage is perfect for a non-conventional client. The architecture, with it’s insanely high ceiling, and angled columns, is already all the “WOW” you need. Even so, you have a killer view to take things over the top.

The venue is large and open air. This allows for spaced out tables, and comfortable guests. I will say this venue has a lot of logistical hurdles. I highly recommend having a planner that has previously worked there before. You need to avoid some pretty serious problems that could arise if not planned for properly. Otherwise, this is one of my favorite venues in all of Miami.

  1. Fairchild Tropical Gardens
Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Miami has many outdoor areas they use as venues for weddings and corporate events
Courtesy of Fairchild Archives

No need to bring many flowers in, Fairchild already has them all. These gorgeous gardens are filled with the most interesting and stunning plants, trees, and structures. The walkways will guide your guests and give them an enchanting welcome to the venue. Even though the Lakeside Marquee is the most popular spot for events, it is the Gardenhouse’s lawn that is my favorite. The walkway to the Gardenhouse is flanked with the most gorgeous chihuly glass. And because this area is more remote from the main entrance, you feel as if it is your own piece of the garden for the night.

Fairchild has exactly what you need at this time, an array of outdoor areas to choose from, and the bountiful space that allows your guests to roam.

  1. The Frost Museum
The Frost Science Museum's rooftop terrace is a great outdoor venue that allows for socially distant tables.

If you are looking for a more all-inclusive venue, the Frost museum’s rooftop terrace and observation deck could be a great choice for you. Your guests will have plenty to see and do. The rooftop has a top view of the museum’s 500,000 gallon aquarium, which is filled with stingrays, hammerhead sharks, and other sea creatures. It also has the rivergrass exhibition showcasing some of the wonderful animals and plants of the Everglades. What a wonderful way to welcome guests to Miami.

As for logistics, the Frost’s event department partners with one of Miami’s top caterers, Constellation. Their stellar team (pun intended) will take care of every details for you to make your event a complete success. A covered, outdoor area, with built in entertainment, and an amazing view of Miami’s downtown, what else could you ask for.

Need more venue options? Contact our team and ask for our venue scouting service. We will find great options for you and present you with an amazing deck with all the info you need to make your selection.

John Legend performing for virtual events in concert

Three Interesting Virtual Events that People will Actually Attend

Virtual events are here to stay. Honestly, with new platforms popping up on a daily basis, it is not difficult to sign up and schedule the event with a few clicks. On the planning side, it can be easier to put together a virtual event than a physical one. The hard part is in making sure people actually show up to your virtual event. How do you make it interesting and interactive? How do you add enough of the “fun” element to it so that guests wouldn’t dare miss it? Below we present three types of virtual events that we have seen extremely successful in the percentage of attendees that actually logged in. We also give you links to our favorite platforms and tips on pulling these events off.

  1. MAGIC SCHOOL

Everyone loves magic. Whether someone loves to be amazed, or loves trying to find out how a trick it done, a magic show appeals to a large variety of people. But what is even better than watching someone else pull off “cool” tricks, is learning how to do them yourself.

This virtual event requires a physical box of magic tools to be sent to the attendees. The box is a fantastic way to get guests excited about the virtual event. They can see that this will be an interactive event where they will feel included and learn a great new party trick. The box is also an opportunity to add a physical invitation and branded items.

For the event, have the magician or illusionist perform magic first to gain the audiences trust. Then the magician can teach the magic tricks. Finally, have choose volunteers from the attendees to show off their new tricks.

Tip: When hiring a magician, make sure they have experience performing online. This is a crucial skill to make sure their energy and enthusiasm comes through the screen and entertains your guests.

One of our Faves: Justin Willman from Magic for Humans

Magician for Virtual event
Justin Willman performs virtually with the use of an Ipad

2. ESCAPE ROOM

An escape room is a themed room with progressive clues in it that leads to you or your team escaping the room. They are a lot of fun in person, but here is what I love about the virtual ones; you are part of a team, and that provides accountability. That’s right. If you know that your team is depending on you to show up to the virtual event, then you will be more likely to show up.

This is also a great team building activity as the participants need to communicate and work together to figure out the clues. Also, many platforms allow you to brand or customize the rooms a bit to match whatever purpose you have for this event.

Tip: Send your guests a sign up sheet a week before the event. Allow them to sign up for a team, come up with team names, and even choose themed clothing to wear.

One of our Faves: Roobicks Escape Rooms

Roobicks virtual event escape the room game

3. VIRTUAL CONCERT

This one is pricey, but I bet not one invited guest will miss it! Imagine having a famous DJ or Superstar giving a live virtual concert just for your team. Even better, you have your own avatar where you can live out your roady dreams.

The draw of this type of interactive virtual event is that it gives access to the attendees to a person they would normally not have access to. And it does it in a way where the attendee still feels protected. Even the most introverted attendee will feel comfortable watching and interacting through their avatar.

Tip: You can add a fundraising element by allowing “concert goers” to make pledges in order to “vote” for the songs they artist will perform.

One of our Faves: Wave

John Legend performs virtually for virtual event concert
Virtual event attendees watch John Legend perform and interact through their avatars

Can’t fathom putting together boxes for 500 attendees? Don’t know where to start to book DJ Aoki for your company bash? Send us a message and we will be happy to help you plan a successful virtual event.

Havana Nights at Cafe La Trova

As party planners, we have seen that the Havana Nights trend for corporate and social events is going strong. Guests visiting Miami love coming to Little Havana to experience the Cuban flavor. Music, cigars, and mojitos run rampant as even the shyest guest tries a couple salsa dance steps.

One of our favorite event venues is Cafe La Trova on 8th street. The warmness of the staff and cantineros (Cuban mixologist) is palpable the moment you arrive. Guest are enchanted by the decor which was inspired by the streets in Santiago, Cuba where the music movement of “Trova” was born.

And then once the meal begins, they are further enamored by the amazing cuisine by Chef and owner Michelle Bernstein. It is one of our favorite venues because we know our clients always leave with the biggest smile on their faces. They make us look great and we keep going back! Or maybe it’s the mojitos ๐Ÿ˜‰

Reveal Party for Genesis Super Bowl Ad during Super Bowl LIV

When Genesis and the brilliant team from Jackson Dawson came to us with their idea to throw a party to reveal their first Super Bowl ad, in less than one month, we went full force. We put together an all-star team of vendors to recreate the setting from the ad. Guests walked in to one event that was branded “Old Luxury” by Chrissy Teigen during the commercial, and walked out of a “Young Luxury event” complete with the new branding elements Genesis has for 2020. We were able to change the narrative by flipping the decor, food, beverages, and activations right before the new SUV was revealed to the 250 guests, including automobile press that was flown in from around the country.

Dior Men’s Fashion Show during Art Basel

We were so excited to collaborate with the amazing Villa Eugenie in planning and producing the Dior Men’s Fashion Show. The challenge was to make Kim Jones’ and Shawn Stussy’s design come to life. These artists were very specific on what they wanted, and it was our mission to make sure every detail aligned with their vision. From venue scouting, to fittings, staffing, production, permitting, security, and even the post show showroom; the list goes on and on for what our team spent months on. The show for 2,000 guests made a successful impact for the brand and included VIP guests including Bella Hadid, J Balvin, David Beckham, and Kim Kardashian, all brought to the event in vintage Cadillacs we sourced. It was truly an amazing event.

The First Time you go Wedding Dress Shopping…Go Alone!!

Here are the top tips you should know before you go wedding dress shopping. I think most brides agree that one of the most exciting part of planning a wedding is picking out that dream wedding gown. It is something most of us dream about since we are little girls. You get treated like a princess, your closest friends and family ooh and aah as you come out dressed in the different options, and it’s that one time in your life you feel as royal as Kate Middleton or Meghan Markle. So here are some tips to make the most out of this time in your life and ensure you pick a great dress.

  1. Like a good primer under foundation, first you must prep. Let’s start with makeup and hair. If you look dreadful, tired, or hungover, you will hate every single dress. None of them will make you look pretty because you are walking in unkept and plain. You want to envision what you will look and FEEL like on your big day. So before you head out to your appointment, do your makeup and brush your hair. And before you leave, grab a strapless bra and heels with approximately the same height heel you will have on your wedding day. Good to go.
  2. If you were paying attention above, the second tip is easy. Make an appointment. The attendants at these stores are very versed at their inventory, fit, lead times for orders, etc… You want to have personalized attention and the ability to ask all your questions. This will be very difficult to do if you just walk-in. The attendants might be busy helping various customers or might be waiting for an appointment to arrive. So call ahead and make an appointment to make sure they receive you champagne in hand.
  3. This tip is CONTROVERSIAL, but please believe me. You will thank me forever and send good juju my way. The first time you go dress shopping…..Go alone. What?!?! But how about the part with the mom and friends oohing and aahing?! That will come later. But first, go alone and narrow down the dresses that you like. The ones that you are comfortable in and make you feel gorgeous. Then invite the entourage. What you are trying to avoid is having your entourage sway your opinion. And this can happen very quickly. TRUE STORY: I had a bride that went shopping with her parents for her beach wedding dress. The parents fell in love with a chiffon mermaid style gown. They praised and complimented the bride to the point that they convinced her to get the dress. The mom immediately paid for it and all was done. But weeks later the bride could not stop thinking about the fact that the mermaid gown was not her dream dress. She wanted more of a lacy, boho A-line dress. So weeks before the wedding I was driving her around Miami trying to find the perfect dress that we could purchase off the rack. Lesson: Go alone first!!!!
  4. Next tip, do not follow popular dress trends. Your dress should be timeless so thatย in 10 or 20 years you can still look back at your wedding pictures and still love what you wore. Right now the trend for the lingerie style dresses that leave little to the imagination make me cringe! Is that the photo you want on your wall when your kid’s friends come over? Probably not. Go for classic and you will never go wrong.
  5. And finally, no second guessing. There is no perfect dress. There are tons of dresses that could fit you and your venue perfectly. So pick one and move on to planning your shoes, jewelry, hair style, etc…without looking back and second guessing yourself. Not only good advice for your choosing your dress, but for choosing your husband too ๐Ÿ˜‰

Top 5 Reasons our Team is Perfect to Plan Your Next Event

With what seems like a new event planner popping up in Miami everyday, we thought we would make it easy on you, and list out just 5 of the many reasons our team is a great fit for your next event.

1 The Proximity Principle

If you want to be the best, hang around the best. Our roster of clients speaks for itself, from planning fashion shows for Dior, to helping Trisha Yearwood launch her coffee line, we work with very discerning clients that expect attention to every detail. We have also accumulated a list of the best vendors in South Florida. We only work with vendors that are reliable, joyful, and always go above and beyond for our clients.

2 Sixteen Years of Experience

When you have seen it all, you can prepare for anything, and that is what makes a good planner. We know the traffic patterns of the city, what yearly events cause shutdowns and increased pricing, who the best vendors in town are, and who to avoid at all cost.

2. We keep it Cool

Our team is known in South Florida as “the calm planners”. Experience leads to confidence. Our team plans and plans for every single element of your event so much that we feel confident on the day of that we can handle any changes or surprises. We pass that calmness to you by showing you our process every step of the way. Our clients are confident that we our doing our job and can let go, and enjoy their event.

3. Creativity is better served personalized

While we love to push the envelope and incorporate new technologies and trends in events, our main focus is to design the event to best represent you. Personalizing an event is the best way of keeping it evergreen. Because while trends change, the essence of who you are and how you make people feel stays the same.

4. Luxury with a coupon

No matter whether your budget is $20,000 or $2,000,000 there is always room to save, and always the need for a better deal. We are extremely respectful of budgets and make sure our clients get the best event for their money. We pass on discounts, search for deals online, and get creative on executing the vision within the budget our clients are comfortable with.

5. We are here for you

We are your cheerleaders, your advocate, your organizers, your assistants, your tie breakers, and your sounding board. Planning a big event is a journey full of pressure and emotions. But after 16 years, we know that making this journey a joyful one is something that our clients never forget.

The Launch of Trisha Yearwood’s Coffee & a Lesson on Branding Corporate Events

It is still all a blur. I was reached out to by one of my favorite brands to design and produce an event for one of my favorite musical artists, and I had less that one day to present a full design board to get the gig. Well about 20 hours of coffee, no-sleep, and scouring the internet led to not one, but two mood boards submitted. A couple of hours later, we got the event!!! One thing though, you have 24 hours to order all the items you need from our stores so that they can ship in time. No problem! Enter another 24 hours of coffee, a little bit of sleep, and getting very familiar with Pottery Barn, West Elm, and William Sonoma’s inventories. It was a marathon to say the least, but my team and I came through. However in hindsight, we would have never been able to pull this off if we weren’t prepared.

I’ve heard it a million times. You are supposed to continue to learn, practice, and perfect your trade so that when that opportunity shows up you are ready for the task. In this case, I had been spending the past couple of months perfecting my design boards so that I could share them on social media and properly convey what my team and I were capable of. We started using Photoshop and then learned that Keynote was much better for this (If you don’t know what Instant Alpha is yet, it will change your life!) We began being very meticulous about branding when it came to design. How do we use all senses to tell the story of the brand? What objects can we use to tell the story without resorting to the logo being plastered everywhere? How can we make an even bigger impact without breaking the bank? Our design process was (and still is) becoming more streamlined, unique, intentional, and sellable.

So when it came time to create the board for William Sonoma’s launch of Trisha Yearwood’s coffee line, we were ready. We were a well oiled machine that could have actually completed this task in half the time given to us. And I like to think that the client saw that and it gave them confidence to hire us from the other side of the country.

P.S. The Georgia Pecan coffee is to die for!!! #butfirstcoffee

William Sonoma Canisters at Corporate event for Trisha Yearwood coffee line from Trisha's Southern Kitchen. The canisters were filled with coffee beans, pecans, and vanilla.
We chose these canisters with circular handles to play off the circles in the background of the coffee labels.

Custom branded coffee sack with Trisha Yearwood's logo hand painted on them
Joamna from Love.Style.Letters hand painted this stamp on burlap coffee sacks. It was a fun way to bring in branding.
We added potted herbs to add that feel of being in a Southern Kitchen. And of course we had to get these adorable ceramic cow creamers.
Celebrity corporate event designed and planned by Joan Love of Love.Style.Events at the Lowes Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida
Coffee Tasting Corner for William Sonoma and Trisha Yearwood at South Beach Food and Wine Festival
Joamna Ramirez, Trisha Yearwood, and Joan Love. Celebrity Event Planners at The South Beach Food and Wine Festival at the Lowes Hotel
#womenbosses
Celebrity corporate event designed and planned by Joan Love of Love.Style.Events at the Lowes Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida
The Design Board that landed the job ๐Ÿ˜‰

Links to Shop some of the great items we used at the event:

Trisha Yearwood Coffee Set, $59.99

Modern Cabinet Bookcase, $699

Reeve Mid-Century Counter Table, $499.99

Compass Kitchen Island, Quartz, $499.99

Dansk Niklas Canisters, $50-$67

Nubby Table Runner, $39.00

Beachcomber Wood Handled Basket, $99.00

Galvanized Roland Planters (small), $49.00

Copper Wire Fruit Basket, $59.95

Apilco Cow Creamer, $26.36

Galvanized Metal Condiment & Tray Set, $24 (We used these as planters for the herbs. Just drill a hole in the bottom and voila!)

All the gorgeous flowers were done by our friend Danielle from Oli Flor ๐Ÿ™‚

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