When Vidal Cadena professed his love to Annick Durango in September 2011, she was stunned. The two had been the best of friends for seven years and Annick was unsure how she felt about his declaration. Separated shortly after by her trip overseas, Vidal did his best via email to convince her a relationship as more than friends was worth the try. She admits she was easily swayed.
“We moved very quickly from best friends to a couple,” she says. “I realized I knew him so well and it was just a matter of seeing him in a different way. It always felt right.”
Eight months later in May, while in Florida with family and friends, Vidal surprised Annick again, this time with a romantic proposal in Key West.
“EVERYTHING WAS PERFECT. IT WAS AN INCREDIBLE BEGINNING TO THE REST OF OUR LIVES.” - ANNICK DURANGO
“He wanted to marry quickly so I could move to Miami and we could begin our lives together before the Christmas holidays,” she recalls.
Though still living in her homeland of Ecuador, the two began planning their event for the first weekend of December. From the very beginning, the bride-to-be envisioned a white-on-white wedding theme—a clean, elegant affair.
Annick confides she was particularly nervous before she made her bridal debut at the Church of the Little Flower, a magnificent sanctuary located in the historic district of Coral Gables. But, as soon as she began her walk down the aisle, she says all her worries left her. Vidal cried as she made her way toward him. A traditional wedding ceremony commenced while Catholic rituals followed.
“It was truly the most important part of our day,” recalls Annick.
After Mass, the couple hosted their first party as husband and wife for their four hundred guests at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami, a sophisticated luxury hotel overlooking Brickell Key. The ballroom was appointed to perfection.
Tall centerpieces overflowing with white and pale pink buds and blossoms adorned the tables and large crystal chandeliers softly illuminated the space along with the glow of over one thousand flickering candles. Action stations featuring seafood, sushi, carved meats and Italian fare were sprinkled throughout the salon and encouraged guests to eat throughout the evening. Cozy lounge furniture was interspersed so guests could hang out.
“People from Ecuador like to party,” Annick laughs. “It was important to us to throw a big celebration.”
Among the highlights of the evening was a performance by Juan Luis Guerra, a Grammy-award winning musician from the Dominican Republic, a surprise gift the bride still can’t quite fathom. “I grew up with his music,” she says. “And, he is loved by my parents’ generation as well.”
The evening continued with a live band that played well into the next day.
“Everything was perfect,” says Annick. “It was an incredible beginning to the rest of our lives.”
Accustomed to world travel, Annick and Vidal opted to spend twelve days traveling across the United States for their honeymoon including stops in South Carolina, California and Nevada.
Location and Caterer: Mandarin Oriental, Miami, Miami, FL; Event Design and Planner: CCC Event Planning, Miami, FL; Floral Design, Rentals and Lighting: Always Flowers & Events, Miami, FL; Cake: Ana Paz Cakes, Miami, FL; Linen: Nüage Designs Miami, FL; Stationery: Lourdes Izurieta, Lima, Peru; Wedding Dress and Veil: Pnina Tornai exclusively at Kleinfeld, New York, NY; Bride’s Shoes: Prada; Groom’s Tuxedo: Kiton; Wedding Bands: Graff Diamonds