Love Blooms at Palm Beach Wedding

College sweethearts celebrate their love with an ethereal, blossoming wedding at The Breakers.

Photography by Chris Joriann.
When Roberta Zaccagnino and Alexander Benedict began discussing their nuptials, they envisioned a hip, modern ceremony and reception. But like in many storybook tales, a fairy-godmother figure set the pair on a more enchanted path.

Unbeknownst to Roberta and Alex, the groom’s mother, Lisa Benedict, met with the team at The Breakers during the initial planning stages to learn about the resort’s options. When she reported back to Roberta, her future daughter-in-law was thrilled. “She surprised us,” says Roberta. “This had been my dream forever. [The Breakers] has such an old-world feel and so much history.”

The young couple was smitten with the classical, Mediterranean ambience of The Breakers, an elegant landmark that had appealed to Roberta ever since she was a child. Although she grew up in the rural community of Cooperstown, New York, Roberta would visit her grandmother in West Palm Beach and later relocated to Palm Beach County to attend Lynn University. It was there, in the college’s cafeteria, that she first connected with Alex, who was raised in Boca Raton. He invited her to a party, and it didn’t take long before they became inseparable. They now reside in Boca Raton, where Roberta is a visual stylist for Bloomingdale’s at the Town Center at Boca Raton and Alex is an insurance agent.

The ceremony and reception’s blossoming decor.

The pair quickly found that they shared an affinity for the same movies, music, and outdoor activities, making it easy for them to connect with one another and build a strong foundation of friendship. “We do everything together,” says Alex. “I knew pretty early on—after a couple of months of dating—that I was going to end up marrying her. With her, I didn’t need to put on a mask; I didn’t have to show a certain side of me. I could just be myself, flaws and all.”

Alex’s mother, Lisa Benedict,was instrumental in helping Roberta plan the big day.

His family took to Roberta, too. Roberta’s mother is deceased, and she considers Alex’s mother to be her own. His parents “love Roberta to pieces; they call her daughter,” he notes. “I have a very loving, warm family, and Roberta is a part of our family. That love is really evident.”

A few years into their relationship, Alex and Roberta’s love led them away from Florida. After Roberta graduated in 2016, the couple left behind family and friends to relocate to Long Island, New York, so Alex could attend law school. It wasn’t for him, and they didn’t like Long Island. “We toughed it out,” he says. “She had this whole life in South Florida and gave it all up to come with me so I could pursue something I wanted to do.” From the move, he recognized her deep commitment, and two months after they returned to Boca Raton in late 2017, he popped the question.

The bride’s Carolina Herrera gown featured a lace corset, a tiered full skirt, and floral embellishments that complemented the ceremony and reception’s blossoming decor.

Once the duo set their hearts on the wedding location, Roberta longed to “embrace the romance of the hotel” by creating a fairy-tale garden to complement the blue-sky fresco ceiling within The Breakers’ opulent Mediterranean Ballroom. With a blooming landscape in mind, Roberta bought a botanical book and chose flowers that became integral to her wedding aesthetic, serving as the launching point for the watercolor invitations and save-the-date cards by Happy Menocal Studio, as well as the chosen buds for the big day. “I wanted to do something ethereal,” she says.

Fortunately, Lisa was ready to assist. Over a year and a half of planning, she and Roberta worked together on orchestrating the details. For example, Lisa designed an illustrated map of Palm Beach to include in the gift bags—jute totes festooned with a pineapple stencil made by Pretty in Paper—for visiting guests. “The closeness they have is so nice,” says Alex. “They have a lot in common and discovered a lot during the planning process. They are collaborative geniuses.”

All of their preparation came to fruition in a whirlwind of lush greenery, over-the-top pink florals, pops of gold, and candlelight reminiscent of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Unlike the Shakespearean play, however, Alex and Roberta’s wedding went off without a hitch.

Roberta and Alex’s emblem graced the dance floor

From the Friday rehearsal dinner at Bice, to the May 4 ceremony and reception, to an oceanfront Sunday brunch, the weekend translated to pure bliss for the couple and their 210 guests. The only threat was a common one: the specter of rain. As a result, the ceremony shifted from outdoors to the Circle Ballroom, beneath the Venetian crystal chandelier and domed ceiling. A courtyard cocktail reception was also moved inside. In the end though, it only rained for 10 minutes during the ceremony—and Alex and Roberta were rewarded with a silver lining the next day. The send-off brunch on Sunday was supposed to be held in a courtyard, but the staff surprised the party with its primo Ocean Lawn, a relaxing scene set to a soundtrack of crashing waves.

The Breakers’ pastry team crafted a seven-layer cake covered in fondant flowers

“It was so special,” says Roberta, choking up as she describes the weekend a year later. “I had no words for it for days. It was indescribable. People say something always goes wrong, [but] it was so magical.”

Some of the couple’s most cherished memories from their wedding day included their first look and the intimate signing of the ketubah (the Jewish wedding contract) surrounded by family before the public exchange of vows, which Roberta touchingly ad-libbed. “What she said to me really took my breath away,” Alex says. “I was like, wow, this really is my best friend.”

Their time on the dance floor was also a highlight for the newlyweds. While guests enjoyed pre-reception cocktails, Roberta and Alex danced together in the empty Mediterranean Ballroom to Earth, Wind, & Fire’s “September”—in honor of the month in which they met—setting an energetic tone for the rest of the evening. Alex had planned it as a surprise. “It was our first official dance as a married couple,” says Roberta. “It was so surreal and one of the best moments ever.”

Roberta and Alex made some of their favorite memories on the dance floor

After guests settled in, the couple shared their public first dance to “1, 2, 3, 4” by the Plain White T’s, a nostalgic touch for Roberta and Alex who attended one of the band’s concerts while still students at Lynn University.

The dancing continued into the late hours. After the reception, the group relocated to the Magnolia Room for a Cinco de Mayo–themed after-party with sombreros, maracas, and ’90s hip-hop and mellow club music by Rock with U. The festivities didn’t cease until 3 a.m. “From the first look through the night, we were on that high with each other,” Roberta reflects. “It was just us and being in the moment. Nothing could stop us. We were together and that was it.”

Facebook Comments