Eunice Kennedy Shriver was originally supposed to marry Michael “Mikey” Serafin Garcia in front of 200 guests. But about two months before the wedding, due to the pandemic, they decided to significantly restrict the guest list to their immediate families. “We both have large immediate families,” notes Eunice. “Siblings, their families and our parents took care of 32 guests alone. We had hoped the situation would have eased by October, but we realized that [with] The way things were, it didn’t feel right to ask guests to travel to Florida or host a larger event, especially when it wasn’t going to be what we’d envisioned. ”
Eunice is the Art and Experimental Brand Development Manager at Best Buddies International, an organization founded by her father, Anthony Shriver, dedicated to helping people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is also the granddaughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, after whom she was named. Mikey is the President and CEO of Ocean Automotive Group, a luxury car dealership.
Like so many other engaged couples who were just forced to change their plans, Eunice and Mikey faced obstacles in the face of the ever-changing guidelines surrounding COVID-19. “We were supposed to have our reception in the private dining room of another restaurant, but then capacity laws and regulations changed so we had to find a new reception location a month before the wedding,” explains Eunice. “For a few days, the seating restrictions in Miami restaurants changed daily. The back and forth was difficult to handle. Even within the month of our wedding, there were some significant changes due to regulations. “
Annie Lee from Daughter of Design, who they booked through her new platform Plannie, helped the couple with this. “At first we thought we needed a bigger package,” explains Eunice. “But when we scaled down our event size to a dinner party for our families, we found that working by the hour with a planner rather than a package for our micro-wedding made more sense.”
In the run-up to the wedding, it rained every day for almost a week. But on Saturday October 17th the sky was clear blue. “I think my grandmother wanted to make sure I could drive in her convertible,” says Eunice. The baby blue Lincoln Continental from 1965, which was used to transport the bride to church, was originally given to Eunice’s grandmother by her grandfather – Eunice’s father kept it in perfect condition.
In the early afternoon Eunice was walking down the aisle of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, accompanied by her father in her grandmother’s Dior wedding dress. “My grandmother wore it when she married my grandfather on May 23, 1953, and 67 years later I wore it to marry Mikey,” says Eunice. “The dress has aged to a French vanilla ivory and it has a few holes in it, but I didn’t care.” The bride and her grandmother happened to be the same height and waist size, so the dress fit perfectly. Eunice worked with Ever After Miami to restore it and create a new matching top and ivory veil. “The dress was as delicate as tissue paper,” says Eunice. “So we had to be very careful with it. I was scared of even sitting! “For the occasion, Mikey wore a Brioni tuxedo and bow tie and Tom Ford shoes, and the bride’s two younger sisters, Chessy and Carolina, served as maids of honor in matching blue bridesmaid dresses by Jay Godfrey.
The ceremony took place in the Catholic Church, which Eunice’s family has attended every Sunday throughout her life – the place where she served as an altar server for 15 years and where the clergy have known her family for decades. “There was never a question where the ceremony would be,” says Eunice. “We had a traditional Catholic wedding with a full mass. Our families only filled the first pews, but the mostly empty church was full of music. “
“While technically, masks and social distancing are not required at places of worship in Florida, St. Patrick’s is very safety conscious and places distance markers in the aisle and only lets our family remove their masks for the procession,” explains Eunice. “Bureaucracy every six feet down the aisle wasn’t exactly my vision, but it’s part of a 2020 wedding. The clergy have been at the bedside of many patients in hospitals and took the pandemic very seriously.”
“It might have looked physically empty in the church with only 32 guests,” adds Mikey. “But the energy of that day filled the room. It was the best moment of my life. When I was walking down the hall with my mother, and then Eunice came in with her father, it was hard to hold my tears. She was the most beautiful bride ever. During the ceremony, I made sure to spend every moment with her until I finally walked out with a constant smile for the rest of the evening. “
Afterwards, the couple took family photos in the church as well as outside with the convertible. Then the father of the bride drove the bride and groom to the reception at the Four Seasons Surf Club. “After our family dinner, I surprised Mikey when a handful of our closest friends came to the Four Seasons Surf Club,” says Eunice. “Mikey is Mr. Social and the little wedding wasn’t his dream. I knew how much it would mean to him to see some of our closest friends partying. “