Shortly after Christina Roa moved from New York City to Dallas and Dustin Smith returned from a three-month stay in Belize, the pair met at a Halloween get-together. “Going into the party, my goal was to meet new friends and have a fun night. I never expected to meet the man of my dreams,” shares the bride. “Little did we know that we would be getting married almost four years later to that day.”
Christina and Dustin started the search for a wedding venue in Maryland and Texas, where they are both from, respectively; however, a trip to Palm Beach sealed the deal. “I think deep down, my dream was to always get married there,” shares the bride, whose mother has a home there. “Palm Beach has always been my favorite place and where I feel most at home.” Since the pair knew their guests would be traveling from all parts of the globe, “a destination wedding made sense… and planning an epic wedding weekend in Palm Beach was easy for us to envision,” adds Christina.
With the venue confirmed, they hired an esteemed local wedding planner to organize a luxurious celebration that fit their vision. “Heather Lowenthal of Posh Parties inspired me and made my process so special,” affirms Christina. “After one meeting, we had no doubts that our dream was going to be able to turn into a reality and that Palm Beach was the right choice… Heather’s organization, patience, and knowledge made the process easy.”
The seaside location allowed the couple to have an alfresco autumn ceremony, inspired by the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. “We wanted to create a fairy-tale environment that was whimsical and adorned with personal touches,” shares the bride of the décor, which was designed to look like an overgrown secret garden. Guests walked down an elegant staircase to the ceremony lawn embellished with delightful ivory arrangements. They found their seats atop gilt chairs on either side of the grassy aisle lined with creamy blooms that led to an arch of cascading vines and verdure accented with vanilla-toned hydrangeas and roses.
A string quartet performed a rendition of Elton John’s “Your Song” as the bride made her way down the aisle. “She looked like a princess,” affirms the groom. Christina was stunning in a floral lace gown, donning a sparkling headpiece and carrying a bouquet of white garden roses, sweet peas, and ranunculus blossoms. “Walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing Dustin’s face still gives me goose bumps,” shares the bride. “I was so excited to officially become Mrs. Smith!”
Since the groom’s father, Doug Smith, passed away from cancer a year before Dustin met Christina, the pair made sure to pay tribute to his memory during the ceremony. As a marriage counselor and ordained minister who had performed many ceremonies over the years, Christina and Dustin recited the vows the father of the groom had written. “His voice wasn’t there, but his words and presence were definitely felt,” affirms Dustin.
Once they were pronounced husband and wife, the newlyweds had a special moment together to take in the beauty of their reception space alone, before loved ones filed in. “I will never be able to explain how magical entering the ballroom was,” shares the bride. “It was truly everything we could have dreamt of and more.”
The ornate ballroom was transformed into an overgrown palace filled with trees, warm lighting, and abundant greenery. Centerpieces showcased one of four designs: Long tables were decorated with overhead arrangements of blossoms and verdure; round tables were adorned with 10-foot-tall trees accented with suspended glass orbs; additional varieties featured candelabras covered with flowers and cascading vines; and the head table revealed a flourishing garland, as well as two floral-embellished candelabras.
A live band performed in front of a vine-wrapped lattice backdrop presenting the newlyweds’ personal crest, and the pièce de résistance of the décor was the impeccable, lush ceiling installation displayed over loved ones as they danced into the night. “The giant ring suspended over the dance floor truly brought the room to life,” shares the bride of the design element, which featured organic foliage accented with ivory blooms. “I felt like I was in a dream.”
With so many wonderful memories of their special day, the couple agrees the highlight of the night was their first dance to “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing, which Dustin personally choreographed. Complete with fun moves, spins, and even cartwheels, the special dance also incorporated the famous lift from the movie, which was perfectly timed with an indoor fireworks display. “It really set the mood for the rest of the evening,” shares the groom.
“I wish we could relive that day every day. We were so blessed that so many of our family and friends could share the most magical moment of our life with us,” muses the bride. “We truly had the time of our life.”