Real Weddings

A Wedding in Miami at an Ancient Spanish Monastery

Photography by Anastasia Photography.

The oldest building in the western hemisphere, The Spanish Monastery of St. Bernard de Clarivaux spent nearly half a century in crates before being reconstructed near Miami. Surrounded by ancient stones, meandering compositions of orchids, baby’s breath, and bronzed aspen leaves, Grace and Matthew’s wedding unfolded in revelry echoing the nostalgic history of the building.

From the suspended Lunaria-like installation to the custom wedding cake draped in sugar art replicating cascading leaves, the mosaic of golden, celestial elements set the scene for an event steeped in rich detail and a potent feeling of reverence. 

This European inspired wedding was artfully captured by Anastasia Photography.



Our Story

Names / Kalil & Matthew Werick

Location / Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux & Versace Mansion, Miami

Wedding Date / November 18th, 2022

Guest Numbers / 76

Budget / $100K




How We Met

Grace and Matthew’s love story began through mutual friends and their shared attendance at the same church. While initially only acquaintances, it was during their final years of college that they truly connected and found themselves wanting more. Despite their busy schedules and commitments, they always found time to be together, despite Grace running her own business as a wedding photographer, and Matthew starting graduate school.

Their shared experiences and values strengthened their bond, and they quickly realized that they had found something special in each other. Through laughter, shared dreams, and unwavering support, Grace and Matthew’s relationship blossomed into a love that would stand the test of time.

Their journey from acquaintances to partners exemplified the power of friendship, shared faith, and a mutual interest in always finding new experiences together.


Our Engagement Story

Matthew’s proposal to Grace in October of 2021 was nothing short of magical. While they were in Chicago to photograph a wedding, Matthew seized the perfect opportunity to pop the question. As the sun set along the navy pier in downtown Chicago, casting a warm glow over the city, Matthew surprised Grace with a heartfelt proposal that took her completely by surprise.

The romantic setting, coupled with the element of surprise, made for an unforgettable moment for them. It was a weekend filled with excitement, love, and the promise of a future together—a memory they would cherish for a lifetime.


What we love most about each other…

Matthew and Grace have found a calming yet exciting love that completes them both. His thoughtfulness and her creativity, with their unwavering support of one another.  They travel the world together capturing others love stories, while living their own at the same time.



The Setting


Wedding Location

Matthew and Grace searched everywhere for the perfect location to hold their wedding. When they came across the Monastery, they immediately fell in love with the grounds, it’s unique atmosphere and the deep history behind it.

The Ancient Spanish Monastery of St. Bernard de Clarivaux is the oldest building in the western hemisphere. Construction of the Monastery was begun in the year 1133 AD in Sacramenia, near Segovia in northern, Spain. Completed eight years later in 1141. Cistercian monks occupied the Monastery for nearly 700 years. In 1925 William Randolph Hearst purchased the cloisters and the monasteries outbuildings. The massive crates remained in a watehouse in Brooklyn, New York for 26 years. It took 19 months and the equivalent of nearly $20 million dollars (in todays currency) to put the monastery back together. In 1953 Times Magazine called it “The biggest jigsaw puzzle in history”.



The overall aesthetic of Grace and Matthew’s wedding day was a celebration of European-inspired timeless romance. They sought to elevate the natural beauty of the Versace Mansion and Spanish Monastery, infusing each space with a cohesive and elegant ambiance. Every detail was thought through to create an atmosphere where simply existing in each space felt like experiencing an exquisite moment in time.

Grace and Matthew aimed to capture the surreal feeling of each moment, ensuring that their wedding day would be remembered and cherished for years to come. Through their carefully curated décor, elegant styling, and attention to detail, they created a wedding day that exuded sophistication and romance.

Now, as they look back on their special day through their photos and wedding film, Grace and Matthew can relive each moment, immersing themselves once again in the beauty and magic of their wedding day. It’s a testament to their love and commitment, and a reminder of the joyous memories they created together as they embarked on this new chapter in their lives.


Grace and Matthew’s vision for their wedding weekend began with an early sunrise bridal session the day before on the 17th at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami. Grace wore her custom morning dress of Italian silk as they explored the grounds, savoring the start of their magical weekend. That afternoon they had welcome party for all their guests at a small outdoor venue with a terrace, pool, and bar. They then went to the Monastery for their rehearsal and ended the night with all their friends and cousins at the Versace Mansion for a night of elegant drinks, delicious food and celebrations at the bars, rooftop and mansion sitting room suites.

The morning of the 18th dawned with a calming and romantic atmosphere, as Grace and Matthew began their day together in the Venus master suite. With balcony doors open, soft music playing, and a sunny breakfast, they savored the moments before the festivities began. As Grace got ready in her morning dress, and the day unfolded with joy and excitement.

The morning was filled with heartfelt moments shared with siblings and parents in the adjacent suites, setting the tone for the magical day ahead. Once they arrived at the Monastery, they parted ways and Grace changed into her ceremony dress with her mother and sisters, sharing an emotional reveal with her father.

Finally, they celebrated mass with all their guests in the beautiful historic chapel of the Monastery in the early afternoon. The couple, along with their guests fully enjoyed a wedding weekend filled with unforgettable memories and cherished moments.



Grace’s quest for the perfect wedding photographer was deeply personal, given her background in the field. Months of research led her to Anastasia Photography, drawn by its European and Russian-inspired style. Anastasia’s ability to weave light and shadow into timeless imagery resonated profoundly with Grace’s vision. Their initial connection revealed a shared passion for storytelling through photography.

Choosing the Versace Mansion for preparations elevated the entire experience. Grace and Matthew recognized the significance of investing in a setting that matched their venue’s grandeur. By entrusting Anastasia to document their day, Grace ensured their love story would be immortalized authentically. Two additional photographers, one local and a close friend from Michigan, joined Anastasia, forming a skilled trio to capture every moment. With their collective talent, Grace and Matthew’s wedding became an unforgettable celebration, preserved for a lifetime.



Video played a crucial role in capturing the essence of Grace and Matthew’s wedding day. After months of searching, they found two talented individuals whose work resonated deeply with them. They were drawn to videographers who possessed a keen understanding of capturing the natural beauty of a location, as well as the intimate moments and smallest details, while infusing them with movement and emotion.

For Grace and Matthew, selecting the right videographers was as important as choosing their photographer. They sought professionals who could artfully document their special day in a way that would transport them back to those cherished moments for years to come.

With video being a priority, Grace and Matthew entrusted these talented individuals to create a cinematic masterpiece that would capture the essence of their love story. From the sweeping landscapes to the tender glances exchanged between them, they wanted every aspect of their day to be beautifully preserved on film.

Grace and Matthew found Regan Elizabeth Films who shared their vision and passion for storytelling, and truly was such a kind person. With her expertise and creative vision, they knew she would skillfully craft a film that would evoke the same emotions they felt on their wedding day—a testament to their love and commitment to each other.


Style Notes


Reception Décor

Grace’s crafting of the reception décor yielded a breathtaking sight, inspired by the grandeur of Westminster Abbey. Drawing on her vision of replicating an intimate monastery dinner party within the Loggias, she embarked on a journey of extensive research and planning. Grace’s efforts culminated in the discovery of exquisite aspen trees, hand-painted by her father to harmonize with the stone architecture. Collaborating closely with her team, she adorned tables with gypsophila runners, evoking a delicate charm. Fruit accents and orchid clusters added vibrancy, reminiscent of Spanish landscapes. Each detail, from organic chargers to floral motifs, was thoughtfully considered, resulting in a cohesive aesthetic. Grace’s creation transported guests into a world of refined beauty and luxury, showcasing her unwavering dedication and ability to transform inspiration into reality.




Wedding Planner & Stylist

While Grace spearheaded the vision for each aspect of the wedding day, J Bennett Design contributed significantly to bringing the floral elements to life. With her expertise in florals, J Bennett Design offered valuable input and assistance in selecting the perfect blooms to complement Grace’s vision. Spending countless hours sourcing options and planning their implementation, J Bennett Design played an essential role in ensuring that the floral arrangements enhanced the overall aesthetic of the event.

Anastasia Shadakova, the talented photographer, was another key player in the execution of Grace’s vision. Working closely alongside Grace, Anastasia provided invaluable insight and suggestions to ensure that every detail of the day was captured flawlessly. Their consistent communication and shared vision resulted in a cohesive and visually stunning portrayal of the event.

PCS Events represented by Barbara, played a crucial role in bringing Grace’s vision to life by providing essential rentals and pieces that added depth and elegance to the overall aesthetic. From stunning chargers to unique chairs, PCS Events contributed elements that helped pull the entire vision together seamlessly. Collaborating closely with Anastasia, Barbara, along with J Bennett Design, worked alongside Grace to ensure that every detail was curated and executed to perfection. Together, they combined their expertise and talents to create a wedding day that left a lasting impression on all who attended.



Orchids, fruit, and whimsical leaves emerged as the primary floral elements guiding the direction of the wedding day’s aesthetic. For the three bridesmaids’ bouquets, three stems of bronze orchids were chosen to harmonize with the varying tones of their gowns—gold, bronze, and olive. Each bridesmaid had the liberty to select her own unique style, ensuring that their individuality shone through while maintaining a cohesive look. The result was a stunning array of bouquets that complemented the diverse palette of the bridal party’s attire.

In contrast, the bride’s bouquet was a masterpiece of simplicity and elegance, comprised of seamless ivory orchids. With their timeless beauty and delicate appearance, these orchids epitomized perfection, serving as a breathtaking focal point for the bride as she walked down the aisle. The choice of ivory orchids added a touch of classic refinement to the bride’s ensemble, embodying the essence of grace and sophistication on her special day.




Grace and Matthew enlisted the help of their planner, J Bennett Design, in the design of their wedding invitations. Working closely with the couple, J Bennett Design sourced a vendor capable of bringing their vision to life, ensuring that the invitations reflected their unique style and the ambiance of their event. A standout feature of the invitations was a captivating gold foil illustration of their wedding venue, lovingly crafted by Matthew himself. This personal touch showcased Matthew’s artistic talent and added a heartfelt element to the stationery. The invitations became a beautiful representation of the couple’s love story, setting the perfect tone for their special day.

Favors & Bonbonniere

Grace and Matthew ensured that their guests felt warmly welcomed by providing them with thoughtfully curated welcome bags upon arrival. These bags were filled with delightful goodies and treats, adding an extra touch of hospitality to their wedding experience. Additionally, each welcome bag contained a unique wedding newspaper, featuring photos, games, and the weekend’s itinerary. This personalized touch allowed guests to feel connected to the festivities and provided them with valuable information about the upcoming events.

To shield guests from the sun’s rays and add a touch of elegance to outdoor gatherings, Grace and Matthew also provided sun parasols for guests to use. These parasols not only served a practical purpose but also added a charming and festive element to the celebration, ensuring that guests remained comfortable and stylish throughout the festivities. Overall, these thoughtful gestures exemplified Grace and Matthew’s commitment to creating a memorable and enjoyable experience for all their loved ones on their special day.



Grace’s planning extended to the wedding cake area, where every detail reflected her dedication to perfection. She envisioned a striking hanging Lunaria installation above the cake, working closely with her florist to recreate the ethereal effect using semi-translucent dried leaves. The masterpiece cake from Cloud 9 Bakery, coordinated by Barbara from PCS Events, featured three layers infused with coconut and guava flavors. Its smooth buttercream frosting provided a canvas for intricate sugar art mirroring the beauty of the Lunaria. The result was a sensory delight and visual spectacle that enchanted all attendees. Grace’s vision, combined with the expertise of Barbara, Cloud 9 Bakery, and J Bennett Design‘s floral design, surpassed expectations. Their collaborative effort ensured an extraordinary experience, where every element contributed to an ambiance of elegance and enchantment. This celebration, with its breathtaking décor and delicious delights, will be cherished by all who shared in its magic.


Food & Beverages

Grace and Matthew crafted a weekend of immersive experiences for their guests, ensuring every moment overflowed with culinary delights and entertainment. Post-ceremony, guests were serenaded by a string quartet amid vintage lounge furniture and a live crepe station, offering custom-made treats with a flambe flourish. Activities like croquet and garden explorations further enriched the experience.

The grand reveal of the Monastery Loggias saw the couple warmly greeting guests, enhancing the welcoming ambiance. The cocktail hour boasted live music, delectable hors d’oeuvres, and an open bar, keeping guests entertained and satisfied.

The main meal featured Caesar salads, international bread, and sumptuous entrées like filet mignon and stuffed chicken breast, accompanied by delectable sides. Desserts included a lavish spread of wedding cake, brownies, macarons, tiramisu, and éclairs.

A late-night snack of Margherita pizza and churros ensured the festivities continued with culinary delights. Grace and Matthew’s meticulous planning guaranteed an unforgettable weekend filled with indulgence and joy for all attendees.




Fashion & Beauty Notes


Bride’s Dress & Shoes

Grace’s wedding attire epitomized elegance and sophistication, reflecting her attention to detail and collaborative spirit. Her ceremony dress, a custom creation by WEDMOOD Design, crafted from luxurious Italian silk, was a culmination of a collaborative effort with Anastasia, her photographer. The gown, adorned with delicate leaf detailing, symbolized the culmination of her journey as she exchanged vows with Matthew.

For the ceremony, Grace chose a timeless and elegant design by Wona Concept, discovered at LBR Bridal in Chicago, complemented by a custom Italian tulle veil by Noon on the Moon. This ensemble exuded grace and beauty, perfectly matching the romantic ambiance of the venue.

Her reception dress, the Irina gown by Milla Nova, captivated guests with its contrasted fitted look and intricate beading, making for a memorable second entrance. Grace’s impeccable taste and vibrant spirit shone through her choice of attire, adding an extra layer of excitement to the celebration. Each dress reflected Grace’s unique style, creating unforgettable moments throughout her special day.

Wedding Rings, Jewelry & Accessories

Grace wore her Grandmothers pearls as her something barrowed, which was the most meaningful piece of jewelry she wore.

Hair & Makeup

Grace’s hair was styled by the talented Angela Kirykos, a close friend in the wedding industry who flew in specifically to be part of Grace’s special day. Angela’s expertise and attention to detail were evident as she served as Grace’s stylist for both her bridal session and the wedding day itself.

On the morning of the big day, Grace and Angela allowed the hairstyle to evolve naturally, resulting in an elegant updo that perfectly complemented Grace’s overall bridal look. Despite the Florida humidity, Angela’s skill ensured that Grace’s hairstyle remained flawless throughout the day.

To this day, Grace’s hairstyle continues to receive numerous compliments and serves as a source of inspiration for other brides seeking a similar look. Angela’s talent and dedication contributed to making Grace feel beautiful and confident on her wedding day, leaving a lasting impression on everyone who witnessed her stunning bridal ensemble.

Grace chose to do her own makeup on her wedding morning. She wanted a natural, dewy skin look that would be timeless and elegant in the photos looking back.

Groom’s Attire

Matthew looked impeccably stylish in his custom tuxedo by Indochino, tailored to perfection for the occasion. Paired with a pair of red bottom Christian Louboutin shoes, a thoughtful wedding gift from his bride, his ensemble exuded sophistication and refinement.

The custom tuxedo allowed Matthew to showcase his personal style while maintaining a timeless and elegant look befitting the occasion. The addition of the Christian Louboutin shoes added a touch of luxury and elevated his ensemble to new heights, perfectly complementing Grace’s own attention to detail and style.


The Details


Grace and Matthew chose a DJ for their reception in contrast to all the live musicians they had earlier on in the day. They created a playlist of their favorite songs and asked that the evening start off with romantic slow dances to some of their favorites. This gave them a chance to share the romantic atmosphere with their guests and enjoy sweet moments on the dance floor before the party started. As the night went on, the music turned up with a mixture of their favorite hits, and the traditional Lebanese dabke dancing from Graces family in which everyone joined in.



Being married by their family SSPX priest, who was flown out for the wedding weekend, added a deeply personal and meaningful touch to Grace and Matthew’s ceremony. This priest held a special place in both families’ hearts, and the couple couldn’t imagine anyone else officiating their union.

The venue, formerly the Monastery of St. Bernard de Clairvaux, held a significant connection to their priest, as St. Bernard de Clairvaux was one of his favorite saints. This historical significance added an extra layer of meaning to the weekend, making it even more special and memorable for Grace, Matthew, and their families.

With the combination of their beloved priest and the historic venue, the wedding became a truly sacred and unforgettable experience, filled with love, tradition, and spiritual significance. It was a testament to their faith and the bonds that united them as they embarked on this new journey together as husband and wife.

Our Advice


A memorable moment…

Grace & Matthew loved the serenity of their morning spent getting ready together at the Versace Mansion. While this is controversial for most, they wanted to spend every second of the most special day together that they could. This made for some of the sweetest memories, and joyful moments in the slowest part of the day.

One thing I wish I knew before I started my wedding plans…

The most important aspect of planning your wedding day is staying true to your vision and not letting the opinions of others sway you. Your wedding should reflect your love story and your unique personalities, so it’s essential to prioritize what matters most to you as a couple.

Envisioning the perfect day means creating an atmosphere that resonates with you both, whether it’s an intimate gathering or a grand celebration.

Sources of inspiration…

Grace and Matthew’s decision to draw inspiration from sources like The Lane and other wedding magazines was a wise one. These platforms provide a plethora of ideas and insights, from captivating photography to expert guidance on every aspect of wedding planning.

By exploring a diverse range of sources, Grace and Matthew were able to uncover trends, styles, and concepts that truly spoke to their unique vision as a couple. Whether it was discovering the ideal color palette, choosing decor elements, or conceptualizing their bridal looks, these resources served as invaluable tools in bringing their dream wedding to fruition.

The wealth of inspiration offered by platforms like The Lane and other wedding magazines enabled Grace and Matthew to infuse their celebration with personal touches and distinctive flair. With careful consideration and creativity, they were able to craft a wedding day that authentically reflected their individual style and preferences, creating cherished memories that would last a lifetime.

Our Contacts


Wedding Venue / Ancient Spanish Monastery & Versace Mansion

Wedding Planner / J Bennett Design

Photography / Anastasia Photography

Videography / Regan Elizabeth Films

Bride’s Dress / WEDMOOD Design, Milla Nova & Wona Concept

Veil / Noon on the Moon

Bride’s Shoes / Badgley Mischka

Hair / Alex Emilio Salon

Groomswear / Indochino

Bridesmaids / Mac Duggal

Flowergirls / ColibriFashionSturdio

Florist / J Bennett Design

Cake / Cloud 9 Bakery

Catering / PCS Events

Celebrant / SSPX

Entertainment / Sound Events Jorge Antonatos, Cigar Stud Events & Listeso Music Group


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