Santillan & Sabourin


Event Info

Location: Miami Beach, FL, US
Event Date:  Aug 04, 2018

Client Info

Client Orientation: Hetero
Client Names: Renata Santillan & Mathieu Sabourin

Album Story

This shoot is of a Tropical wedding  at the Palms Hotel in Miami Beach. The bride and groom are both from out of town and so are their families. The bride is Peruvian and the groom is British and French. They wanted to take their families on an unforgettable vacation/ celebration for their wedding and there was no better option than the white sands and palm trees of sunny South Florida. 

Associated Vendors

Cake Designer: Edda’s Cake Designs
Cake Designer: ET Cakes
DJ: Miami DJs
Photo Booth Equipment: Miami Event Photobooth
Makeup Artist: Makeup by Roseli
Floral Designer: Simple Florals
Ceremony Location: The Palms Hotel & Spa
Caterer: The Palms Hotel & Spa
Reception Venue: The Palms Hotel & Spa
Event Planner: JG Eventi
Photographer: La Vie Studios

Client Questionnaire

Q1: Tell us about your wedding! What was the inspiration behind your day? Did you have a specific theme, style or color palette? Did you incorporate any cultural or religious traditions in any part of your day?
A1: Our wedding was held in Miami. My family is Peruvian but I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, where we met. My husband is British and French and he grew up in Paris. On top of all that we recently moved to New York. I think most of our family was expecting a Napa wedding in California but for the sake of fairness, we picked Miami. Miami’s vibe is incredible and matched what I always wanted, as a Latina I wanted to incorporate my culture as much as possible and make it a PARTY, Miami is just the bilingual place for that. Since we new most of our international family would be coming for a week (or MANY weeks,  with those sweet European PTO policies) we picked a true vacation destination. We had a welcome party on Miami beach with coconut drinks and catered sandwiches, a perfect beach day with our entire family and friends before our wedding. I would best describe it as Modern Tropical. Color palette sunset colors with shades of greys for the grooms. I didn’t want anything to be too matchy so we mixed and match whenever possible. Our venue was chosen because it also had that theme already built in, saved us a ton! They had a lush garden for the ceremony, outdoor terrace facing the garden for the cocktail hour, and pineapple motives throughout. To celebrate the mixing of our cultures we had a candy buffet with candies from all countries where our families live, UK, Peru, the US, France, and Germany, it was a huge hit! During our ceremony we had two readings, one was from Victor Hugo in French. Victor Hugo holds a great place in my husbands family, his grandfather was the curator at the museum where Victor Hugo grew up and is the place where his parents met. And my Aunt from Peru who couldn’t be there due to Visa issues recorded a poem in Spanish from Pablo Neruda to this day I can’t hear that recording without tearing up.

Q2: Let’s talk about wedding decor. How did you decorate your space for the ceremony and the reception? Was any part of the decor DIY?
A2: The ceremony aisle had a few single pineapples with purple rose petals in between. We choose the venue because The Palms is a beautiful hotel that already has a very lush tropical vibe, it saved us so much in additional decor! They a lush garden and two adorable parrots that hang out near the gazebo where we held the ceremony too, all my guests took pics with those lovebirds too. We had two giant peacock chairs for our tropical vibes, our florist added some flowers for the corners that I think made them look even better. We brought in some ikea candlesticks that we painted gold for some smaller tables. I also found some beautiful handmaid flamingos off etsy for our cake toppers. We incorporated some travel aspects into our decor. I restored a vintage suitcase for our cards and gifts table, I ripped out the old lining and added Hawaiian print lining instead. Our escort table was travel themed, my husband made our seating chart as a map of the world and every table was number and assigned a country. The escort cards where small luggage tags in the shape of suitcases. My husband also created our guestbook using something we saw popular on etsy of two fingerprints in the shape of a heart, to add to it we had our dog’s paw print on it as well. Finally, we had one table just for wedding photos from both our families. I thought it was a beautiful way of showcasing how weddings bring together two families and seeing the beautiful dresses from different eras and parts of the world was a great way of displaying tradition.

Q3: What were the florals like at your wedding? Did you use flowers in any of your design elements like the bridal bouquets, centerpieces or ceremony backdrop? Did they play an important part in the overall style of your wedding?
A3: I wanted to use money wisely, on things that were important to us. So to cut down on flower costs we only paid for our florist to do our arch, some small arrangements for our cocktail tables, grooms boutonnieres, sweetheart table, and flower combs/crowns, and my bouquet. I bought flowers wholesale online for the aisle rose petals, each bridesmaid held one single large palmetto and one stem of purple orchids for each centerpiece table, and tons of monstera leaves. Our centerpiece was an arrangement of monstera leaves, orchid stem, and tropical fruit like pineapple, coconut, and papayas, some fruits were cut in half to reveal their beautiful color.  The centerpieces were loved by everyone, some people even ate the fruit!

Q4: Did you personalize the day in any way (food trucks, guest entertainment, etc.)? What were some of your favorite parts of your wedding?
A4: Something we kept a secret from MANY people was our surprise guest, Mr. Worldwide himself- PITBULL! JK, it was Mr. Pimpbull Miami’s favorite Pitbull impersonator. He came in with our hora local dancers. Hora Loca’s are very popular in Latinx parties, it’s an hour where it’s only club hits and dances or musicians come out to help people get on the dance floor. The dancers came out first and got the crowd going, then Mr. Pimpbull made his grand entrance. It was amazing, my younger brother was so shocked he ran out to get a selfie with him before he even got to the dance floor, I think this raised the confusion whether or not it was real Pitbull. I still get people who ask me if it was really Pitbull or not, he was that good.

Q5: Let’s talk fashion. How did you both choose your wedding day look? Describe the looks in detail.
A5: I knew I couldn’t do anything with sleeves or too big and heavy, our wedding was in Miami in August so the heat was definitely in my mindset. I saw a lot of sleek bodycon dresses that I liked but I had for a long time knew I wanted something with a little sparkle and had followed Anna Campbell on Instagram for a while. I found her Sydney dress in a local boutique in New York and fell in love. It’s a two-part dress, a sheer aline overlay with cap sleeves FULL of silver sequins and a matte white slip underneath, but it was out of my price range because both the overlay and slip were priced high. I found out if I purchased directly of Anna Campbell I could purchase just the overlay, so I bought my own MUCH cheaper slip and was able to get my dress. Just like our venue this dress had all the decor and sparkle I needed. I wore a small pearl bracelet that felt very tropical and a beautiful pair of diamond earrings my mom gifted me from her recent trip to Isreal. My husband bought his tux from his favorite designer in Paris that fits his petite European style, De Fursac. We were there for his 30th birthday so we picked up his tux on that trip as well. He went with a beautiful dark blue tux that I think paired amazingly well with his blue eyes. He borrowed some of grandad’s cufflinks that were handed down to his dad after his death the previous early, he passed just one week before our civil ceremony.

Q6: How did you meet? Tell us about the proposal.
A6: Mathieu met at work, we were both at a tech startup in the Engineering Department but not on the same team. We met and fell in love quickly, we went on our first travel trip together just a month into our relationship. We moved in a year later and we started to think about our next adventure, moving to New York. We knew we wanted to get married right away in a civil ceremony before we left California, there was no proposal we’re two adults and partners who make decisions together.  We told my parents and went to the courthouse, we had a going away party that night and surprised all our friends there with our nuptials. We saved to be able to host our dream wedding in Miami over a year later.

Q7: What was the most anticipated or special moment of your wedding day?
A7: Besides our vows I think we were most nervous about our special salsa dance routine. We had a normal first dance to La Vie en Rose. But after dinner and speeches, we performed a salsa routine we’ve been learning for months!  We dance to a bilingual salsa version of Thinking out Loud by Ed Sheeran performed by Anthony Nova. The song was about 3 minutes long but we had only learned enough to dance for about half of that (salsa is hard people!) we had arranged for a finale right at the peak of the song, twirl, dip and kiss. We asked our bridal party to jump on the dance floor at that time to let everyone know they can join us on the dance floor and kick off the night. I was so nervous but it went great, and I can very vividly remember that once we kissed and dipped, I looked out to the crowd and not just our bridal got up EVERYONE swarmed on the dance floor, and they never took their seats again.

Q8: Do you have any wedding planning or marriage advice that you’d like to share with other couples planning their day?
A8: Decide on what you really care about for your wedding, flowers that are dead the next day? Naw. Welcome guest bags for guests? Nice to have but is it really necessary?  For us making our wedding day a party, and a true celebration and for no one to worry about a thing was our priority.  We skipped on extravagant flowers, large ornate centerpieces, and spent on entertainment, we DIY’d our guestbook and seating chart and invested in our day of wedding coordinator. Please if you can afford it, invest in a wedding coordinator, you may not be able to afford a full planner, we certainly couldn’t but a day of coordinator works with you many months before your wedding and makes sure everything is running smoothly. Ours was incredible, she gave us advice and provided referrals, we don’t live in Miami so it was crucial to have her help and I will always be thankful.


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