Yamile Nesrala and Gustavo Cardenas had quite the formal introduction. The two young people were invited to the same dinner party at the home of Nicaragua’s former president, Violeta Chamorro – Yamile on a trip for her freshman seminar class at Harvard and Gustavo as the Chief-of-Staff’s son. “He was going to Harvard the following year, so he was included in the guest list so that he could meet some of his future classmates,” reveals the bride. Gustavo asked Yamile to dance, but the relationship didn’t develop much until the pair spent time in Paris while studying abroad. The rest, as they say, is history.

After a dreamy surprise proposal in their good friend’s New York City apartment 12 years after their initial meeting, the couple went about designing their 2016 nuptials. Electing to have nearly a two-year engagement, Yamile and Gustavo had ample time to conceptualize a destination event in her home country. “Since I wasn’t in Santo Domingo [in the Dominican Republic] to monitor everything day to day, I really needed someone I could trust,” the bride says of her planner. As fall is the middle of hurricane season in the Caribbean, the couple knew they’d have to host indoor nuptials. Eventually, they decided upon the country club wherein Yamile had thrown her Quinceañera some years before. “The familiarity of the place gave me peace of mind,” reveals the bride.

As guests filtered into the stunning Catholic church before the ceremony, Yamile and her father were hiding out nearby. “I talked my planner into letting me hang out in the car with my dad for an extra fifteen minutes so I could be ‘fashionably late,’” laughs the bride. “I was worried the church wouldn’t be full, but I had no reason to fear – one of the perks of having over 150 people fly in for your wedding and arranging transport for them is that they’re all on time!” Yamile descended through the gorgeous house of worship in a strapless gown with intricate floral detailing and a trumpet skirt – an arrangement of baby’s breath woven in her hair.

Following the “I dos,” attendees traveled to the nearby reception venue and found a lovely navy-and-silver event. Round and long tables featured grey and blue linens with reflective charger plates and simple arrangements made up of hydrangea blossoms and other wildflowers. “I loved the idea of having blue accents throughout the wedding,” Yamile says. “Our team transformed the ballroom into a sophisticated garden warmed by candlelight, foliage, mirrors, and chandeliers.” The space also included two greenery “bridges” featuring grand suspended chandeliers.

Revelers took to the dance floor to celebrate in style. During the newlyweds’ traditional hora loca (crazy hour), they handed out silly props, including masks, to get guests into a lively mood. Friends and family also fueled the fun with Middle Eastern desserts – an homage to the father of the bride's heritage – and slices of wedding cake featuring red velvet, dark chocolate, and dulce de leche flavors. As the party went until 6AM, this sustenance was truly appreciated. “The best advice I got was to have absolutely zero worries on the day of the wedding,” the bride divulges. “Those things that don’t go according to plan may actually be what makes your nuptials most memorable.”