Just three weeks before Alexandra Berger and Mariano Gutierrez were supposed to fly out to the "Big Apple" for graduate school, Mariano surprised his sweetheart with an engagement ring as the two took a stroll along the beach. They planned to tie the knot at a vintage Italian-inspired villa in Miami, Florida, their current residence at the time of engagement. “It’s truly like being in the middle of Italy," the bride muses. "I loved the privacy and intimacy it offered. Having a ceremony by the ocean, dinner in the garden, and dancing in the villa was my absolute dream.” 

Alexandra envisioned a romantic, intimate celebration with a neutral palette complemented with soft blue linens. The verdant floral arrangements composed of white and pink blooms created an organic ambience. She also wanted to utilize the different spaces of the venue. “The space really allowed you to be creative and think outside the box. Guests were able to experience the entirety of the incredible property,” Alexandra recalls. Friends and loved ones enjoyed a gorgeous view of the ocean during the ceremony, sipped their cocktails on the terrace, dined in the garden, and danced the night away inside the villa.

Raised Jewish, Alexandra desired a Jewish ceremony for her special day; however, she ensured that the service would also honor her husband’s Cuban roots. The officiant mostly spoke in English but recited certain parts in Spanish. “It not only sounded beautiful, but I think also made everyone feel included,” she says. The pair also hired a Cuban cigar roller for the reception and served Cuban coffee and espresso. “It definitely fit our Miami/Cuban culture,” adds the bride.

The cake was a special component of the celebration. Crafted by Alexandra’s sister-in-law, the five-tier confection incorporated lace from the bride’s dress as well as a hand-painted monogram and the same fresh flowers showcased in the centerpieces. Another personalized feature of the day was the “Wish You Were Here” table that displayed precious photographs of the Alexandra’s late great-grandparents and Mariano’s grandparents. This highlighted the importance of family to the newlywed couple.

Though planning a wedding and attending medical school full time was quite the challenge for Alexandra, she is thrilled that her magical day was absolutely perfect and encourages customization for any wedding. “Don’t be afraid to break from tradition,” the bride claims. “It’s your wedding day – you can do anything you want!”