It was 14 years ago when Ximena Lopez and Daniel Figueroa met through a mutual friend. The two were in college, and Danny was playing baseball for the University of Miami. One of Ximena’s friends was dating one of Danny’s teammates, so the two eventually crossed paths at a local bar and exchanged phone numbers.
“We talked for a little, but nothing happened after that,” Ximena recalls. “I think I was a little unsure of him and his readiness to be in a relationship at the time.” Danny ended up playing baseball in the minors but would always get in touch with Ximena when he was in town—even if it was a simple “Hello” via text. Time was finally on their side when, four years later, Danny had quit baseball, and they both found themselves single and available. Rather serendipitously, they spotted each other at an art fair and have been together ever since.
“IT’S HARD TO PUT INTO WORDS HOW SPECIAL AND FULL OF LOVE THAT DAY WAS.”
After three years of dating, the couple took a trip to France that started out in Paris, continued to Provence for some rosé tasting, and led to the beautiful Chèvre d’Or—a five-star hotel with mountaintop views—in Nice.“Danny told me we had a reserved dinner, and we were going to have happy hour on the veranda overlooking the garden,”Ximena describes. “He took me out there and he had a table set up with champagne.He retold our story and how happy he was that we found each other again, then got down on one knee.”
Since they didn’t have a concrete wedding plan in mind, Ximena and Danny weighed the pros and cons of various options. “We went through several renditions of what our wedding could possibly be,” Ximena explains.“But Danny’s sister-in-law is an event designer. We just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with her, so we decided to have it in Miami.”
“I was hesitant because of all the pressureI heard about from my guy friends who had weddings,” Danny admits. “I can honestly say the entire process was a breath of fresh air. We kept it easy and fun and never lost focus that, ultimately, this was about Ximena and me. Loving Ximena is easy, so I guess the rest followed suit.”
The wedding day began with a mellow hair and makeup session for the bride, followed by a first look photo session with their photographer, Ray Santana, allowing the couple to exchange letters before the ceremony.“It was such an exciting moment to know the day had finally come, I was about to marry my best friend,” the bride remarks. “Ray definitely kept us on track. We chose to do most of our photography prior to the ceremony, not only for the lighting, but also for the flow of the event, not taking time away from the celebration.”
With the bride and groom being from Latin backgrounds, the one thing their friends and family wanted was a good party. Elaborate food setups included a carving station, Cuban fusion fare, a coffee bar and a live cigar roller to add some extra Cuban flair. Guests were gifted with macarons as an ode to Ximena and Danny’s engagement in France, plus a final surprise at the end of the night. As everyone walked down to the lobby to wait for the valet, a wood burning oven provided personal pizzas to take home.
“It’s hard to put into words how special and full of love that day was,” says Danny.“It meant so much to have all our family, friends, mentors and past teammates by our side on one of the most important days of our lives. It was fun, intimate and nothing short of perfection.”
Photography: Ray Santana Photography, Miami, FL