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The Groom’s Bar Mitzvah Tallis and the Bride’s Spanish Mantilla Were Incorporated Into Their Ceremony in Miami

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Karla Garcia Costa

|Planning by 

Federica Nava Events

Sofia Mendoza, client relationship manager for Cartier Latin America, Caribbean, and Brazil, and Myles Burstein, real estate attorney at Bilzin Sumberg, grew up 10-minutes away from each other in Miami but ended up meeting at Soho House New York through mutual friends, including his cousin, who worked with Sofia at Christian Louboutin. After dating for two-and-a-half years, he proposed with a commissioned mural in Wynwood that read “Will You Marry Me?”

Once officially a bride-to-be, Sofia actually first saw her Viktor & Rolf gown on Instagram. She tried it on at Ever After in Coconut Grove and immediately knew it was the one. “The gown was very editorial with a massive and extremely heavy train, so after the ceremony, I actually had to have the seamstresses stay and cut the dress to make a flat, even hem,” she explains. To complete her bridal ensemble, she paired the design with a Cinderella shoe, Amina Muaddi Begum slingbacks, and her grandmother’s vintage Van Cleef & Arpels diamond floral earrings, which matched the appliqués on the gown.

After her walk down the aisle, another bride actually contacted Sofia after seeing her dress on Karla Garcia’s social media account. She was dying for the dress, but it was no longer available, so Sofia sold her own to the other bride and shipped her the gown with the original train included. “[It] makes me so happy that someone else was able to enjoy this dress!”

For their ceremony, the couple chose to get married at Myles’s childhood temple, Temple Beth Am, where he attended elementary school. And afterwards, Sofia wanted to bring the outdoors inside for their reception with moss green velvet tablecloths, which were custom-made in Costa Rica, and plants in various-sized clay pots. 

To set the tone for their January, 2020 wedding, the bride-to-be worked with Jasmin Ryan of Linden Illustration, who incorporated elements from the couple’s backgrounds in Miami, Canada, Cuba, and Costa Rica. And to help plan everything, they hired Federica Nava Events, who handled more of the creative design, and Michelle Sarason, as the day-of coordinator. 

On the day-of, Sofia got ready with hair stylist, Keshia, and makeup artist, Lindsay Reyes, who gave the bride an up do and natural beauty look. And her maids-of-honor complemented her well in pink and red matching Marchesa gowns. Before the ceremony, Myles put on his Suitsupply tuxedo and custom Stubbs & Wootton slippers. 

In the synagogue on January 4th, the bride walked down the aisle lined with florals by Avant-Gardens to the altar. Myles’s family friend—a judge who swore the groom into the Florida bar—officiated the short and sweet ceremony.

“Although we were getting married in a temple, we wanted to include symbols that represented where we came from and celebrate each of our religious upbringings while also appreciating their differences,” Sofia explains. The groom’s Bar Mitzvah Tallis was included in the service as well as the bride’s traditional Spanish Mantilla, which has been in her family for more than 100 years and signifies their embrace of the new couple. 

Also during the ceremony, the mothers of the couple lit a unity candle, one of Myles’s friends read an excerpt from Dr. Seus’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go!, and there was the presentation of the Arras—a set of coins passed down in Spanish families and exchanged at marriages. Once officially married, the newlyweds walked out to Celia Cruz’s “La Vida es Un Carnaval.

For the reception dinner, various stations were set up, so guests could have fun and eat at whatever moment suited them throughout the night. And dessert came in the form of a sundae bar from Myles’s cousin’s shop Dasher & Crank and a Publix wedding cake. “When Myles and I were long-distance for a year, he tried to ship me one once and that didn’t end well,” Sofia explains. “So every time he would come to visit me in New York, he brought a Publix cake with him because he knows it is my favorite.”

During Sofia’s sisters’ toast, they presented Myles with a “Mendoza” T-shirt and number, which every member of their family has at their reunions. “We are about 1000 people, and we rent out the Biltmore Hotel for the weekend,” the bride explains further. “There is a ‘Mendoza Committee’ who plans the event, each branch has a different colored shirt, and there is a book where each member of the family is assigned a number based off of their lineage.”

As entertainment, the 11-piece band, Remix from Tropics Entertainment, specialized in Spanish and English songs and kept everyone dancing all night. The new Mr. and Mrs. had their first dance to “Save Room” by John Legend, and of course, Neil Diamond’s fan-favorite was played. “My dad decided to get on stage—in front of our 350 guests—and serenade Sofi by singing ‘Sweet Caroline,’ except he changed the lyrics to ‘Sweet Sofi,’” Myles remembers. “Every time that song comes on, my friends still sing ‘Sweet Sofi, good times never seem so good!, So good!’”

Then came the Hora Loca—Spanish for “Crazy Hour”—with Molosandra Circus. Props were handed out to the crowd to elevate the celebrations, including custom Maracas from Nicaragua with “Sofia y Myles” and the wedding date on them. The bride also had custom Iraca palm crowns from Colombia and beachcomber straw hats for the wedding party. Limbo was also an essential part of the night.

To keep everyone well-fueled, McDonalds Happy Meals were passed around too. “I don’t care what anyone says, McDonald’s is the ultimate midnight snack,” Sofia assures.

Thankfully, the couple left for their honeymoon to Hong Kong and Japan the Monday after their wedding and missed all the travel restrictions due to COVID-19 by a few months.