Real Florida Wedding: Tamara and Nick at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALEXI SHIELDS

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Bride:
Tamara Garcia

Groom: Nick Tarantino

Wedding Date: February 21, 2015

Venue: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

For nature-lovers Tamara Garcia and Nick Tarantino, getting married at the lush Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami was “the obvious choice,” according to the bride. “That place is a tropical wonderland teeming with wildlife,” Tamara says. It was also a practical choice – Fairchild was big enough and open late enough to accommodate the couple’s 300+ guests and long, energetic reception.

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How they met: Tamara and Nick met the first week of college at Northeastern after moving into the same dorm building. “I thought he was smart and cute – even though he had frosted tips at the time, the horror,” says Tamara. “A year later we were dating, and continued to do so for over a decade before getting married.”

How the proposal went down: Nick proposed at the top of a mountain during a camping trip in Georgia. “I was sitting on a log with a sandwich in my hand, commenting on the impressive amount of sweat pooling in certain areas of my body,” Tamara says. “The dignity and beauty of such a scene must have stirred something within him, because suddenly he was on one knee. I put down my sandwich and said yes.”

The bride’s favorite part of the day: “Hora loca, hands down. I’m Latina, and hora loca (which translates to ‘crazy hour’) is a late night tradition that we have at weddings. Once people think things are dying down, the music and lights change and in come masked dancers in huge headpieces and costumed people on stilts. They start throwing costumes out for the crowd to wear and pass around shots. It basically turns into a giant, weird rave,“ Tamara says. “The best part about hora loca is seeing unsuspecting Americans’ faces when it happens, because they have no idea it’s coming.”

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Her favorite decorative touches: “Nick and I love dogs, and our first dog-child was a huge English Bulldog named Darwin, who was the best dog ever. We incorporated him into a lot of wedding pieces, such as our save-the-date, wine labels and corkscrews, gift bags, and t-shirts that we threw out during hora loca,” Tamara says. “I like telling people that half the reason I got married was so that I could immortalize him.”

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Other unique touches included a cartoon map that showed guests from out of town the couple’s recommended restaurants, and aerial bartenders – acrobatic bartenders who descended on silks to pour the guests’ drinks. “All of the champagne served during cocktail hour came from them. It was completely gratuitous and ridiculous and people loved it,” Tamara says.

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