Natalie Mencio, a lawyer by day who moonlights as the mastermind behind our favorite fashion blog, Up The Get Up, met Jamey Steen at a dive bar called Coupe De Ville’s during their first year at the University of Virgnia. She was 17 at the time, he was 18, and it was young love. “We got married ten years later,” says Natalie. “It’s tough to pinpoint the exact time we got together—but by 2010, we were seriously dating.”
Jamey proposed eight years after that initial meeting in Waldoboro, Maine, while they were spending a long weekend with both of their families. “On the first night, Jamey’s sister and brother-in-law prepared a beautiful dinner, and just before dessert, Jamey led me into the backyard where candles and champagne were waiting and got down on one knee. We spent the rest of the weekend hiking, sailing, and playing board games.”
Growing up in Miami, Natalie always dreamed of celebrating her wedding at Vizcaya, a beautiful villa with European-inspired gardens in the heart of Miami. “One of the first times Jamey visited Miami, my dad took him on a boat ride and passed Vizcaya on the water side, and he was equally taken with the venue,” remembers Natalie. So much so that he actually set the date before he even proposed. “He knew Vizcaya was where I had always dreamed of getting married, and he called to see when their next available date was before even popping the question. So moments after proposing, he casually told me, ‘by the way, our wedding date is November 12th.’”
With the wedding date already on the calendar, the two jumped straight into planning mode. “My day-to-day leading up to the wedding involved calling my mom and sisters around ten times a day, dreaming up new ideas with my sister-in-law, and trying to explain to Jamey why we had things like vintage stamps and postcards arriving in the mail every day,” says Natalie. “It seemed like madness at the time, but it is what I miss the most now.”
The goal of all of this work was for her big day to feel personal. “I wanted to leave our guests with the impression that the wedding was very ‘Natalie and Jamey,’” she explains. “I knew working with Jackson Durham meant that I didn’t have to worry about aesthetics—everything they lend their touch to is nothing short of stunning—so I focused on making it special to Jamey and me by incorporating details that carried significant meaning to us.” From the stationery to the food served at each of the stations, each element of the wedding focused on the literal coming together of Natalie’s Cuban heritage and Miami background with Jamey’s Texas roots and family history.
Events started on Thursday with the couple’s actual wedding ceremony. “I’m Catholic, and it was important for me to have the sacrament of marriage, so we did just that at the Catholic Church I grew up going to with only our families present,” says Natalie. “Doing it that way, without the chaos that accompanies a big wedding, made our vows feel more meaningful and special to us. It also made our big day on Saturday less stressful.”
On Thursday, Natalie wore a short white dress made by Mestiza New York. She worked with Louisa Rechter and Alessandra Perez-Rubio—the designers behind the brand—to choose the embroidered fabric and paired the look with Giambattista Valli pink satin shoes with flower beaded embellishments, and a personalized Edie Parker clutch Jamey gave her for her birthday in anticipation of the wedding.
Their rehearsal dinner at the historic Coral Gables Biltmore Hotel was Cuban cocktail-themed, and Natalie wanted to wear something fun and colorful that embraced the tropical dress code. “I paired a silk organza red Monique Lhullier bandeau top with an embroidered Temperley London skirt,” she explains. “Jamey’s mom and sister gifted me with a book clutch titled ‘Natalie and Jamey’s Love Story’ and embroidered with an image of our wedding crest earlier that day at my bridal luncheon. It was just one of the many moments that blew me away!”
During dinner, Jamey surprised Natalie by reciting the lines of Lang Leav’s poem “Soul Mates” to her. “I love this poem and had printed it on the back of our wedding programs,” she explains. “It’s probably no surprise that I needed a make-up touch up after dinner.”
Natalie’s wedding dress was a Mira Zwillinger sheath dress made of guipure lace with an open back. “I think it was the second dress I tried on—once I saw the lace I knew there was literally no turning back,” she laughs. “I also wore a veil made by Mira that had the same lace sewn along the hem to match the dress.”
To complete her look, she showed a photo of her great-grandmother’s wedding bouquet to Sara Fay at Jackson Durham to see if they could recreate it. “It’s an old black and white photo from Cuba that I grew obsessed with during wedding planning,” says Natalie. “I love how simple yet different my bouquet was—but even more so how it made me feel like I had a part of her with me on my wedding.”
For her something blue, she wore light blue Marchesa shoes Jamey had given her as a birthday gift. Earrings that belong to Jamey’s sister served as her something borrowed—“she wore the same ones on her wedding day,” explains Natalie. And her something old was a gold and amethyst ring that once belonged to her maternal grandmother.
The bride walked down the aisle to a string quartet playing “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” by The Smiths. “I’ll never forget the way my grandmother looked at me when I walked down the aisle,” Natalie remembers. “If I have to pick a favorite moment from our wedding, it would definitely be when we were announced as husband and wife at the church in front of all of our family and friends,” adds Jamey.
Once the party really got going, Natalie escaped the party for a few minutes with her sister to change out of her wedding dress and into a shorter GEM Official dress with the word “love” embellished all over it. “I emerged from this outfit change with a Junkanoo band (a traditional Caribbean dance troupe wearing festive costumes that plays drums, cowbells, whistles, and horns) to start the ‘hora loca,’ a time set aside toward the end of the evening at Hispanic weddings where the dance floor really picks up.”
Late night, flip flops were given out on the dance floor and each one had a photo of one of the couple’s cats, Mochi and Bobo, on it. “Since they obviously couldn’t make it to the wedding, I wanted to make sure they were still incorporated in some way,” laughs Natalie. “This definitely might be the moment when my planning may have gotten out of hand—but our guests loved it!”