For Sean Bernal's Wedding, Love (Doesn't) Bite

Love Bites is a regular column on Short Order. Find other installments here.

This week's column is going to focus on the nuptials of one of my favorite Miami chefs, Sean Bernal, and his lovely bride, Natalie, formerly the marketing specialist at Whole Foods in Coral Gables... and, of course, the vittles I devoured at their wedding this past weekend.

Now one may think one of our city's top seafood chefs would've had a raw bar and maybe a do-it-yourself ceviche station and that his bride may have demanded that everything be locally grown, sustainable, and organic, but I'm happy to report that they both bucked the system and went for -- wait for it -- barbecue!.

​Let's see if I can paint the picture for you. The reception was held in Sanford, Florida at a glorious two-story house with a giant yard, surrounded by oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. The bride tied navy and pink paper spheres to some branches, giving the space a festive feel. Round tables covered in blue surrounded the dance floor in the center of the yard. Servers roamed around, bringing hungry guests small bites while we awaited the barbecue crew's unveiling of the buffet.

Instead of having to line up at a bar, guests were invited to serve themselves. Those going without alcohol could fill Mason jars with lemonade or sweet tea from glass dispensers with spigots.

Once the dinner bell rang, guests lined up to fill their plates with a mixed greens salad topped with candied pecans and cranberries; buttery corn on the cob, potato salad with sour cream, bacon, cheese, and chives; bourbon baked beans with peaches; barbecued pork ribs; apple smoked chicken, and Texas-style brisket with a glorious supply of burnt ends. Each bite was better than the one before.

Oh, and I'd be remiss to neglect mentioning the dual fountains bubbling over with two types of barbecue sauce. Novelty at its finest.

The foodie couple added a touch of humor by providing guests with paper bibs and wet naps branded with "Marriage can be messy." Yes, we employed both.

Three types of cupcakes; navy, white, and pink M&Ms, and a three-tiered white fondant-covered cake were offered for dessert.

As for the favors, each guest was welcome to a keepsake photo-laden booklet of recipes, honoring Sean, Natalie, and their respective families. I was thankful for the thoughtful memento, especially since it's something I can use. No need to shelf this with the tacky mini photo frames and small boxes of chocolates I've received at ceremonies past.

Congrats, Mr. and Mrs. Bernal. I suspect your future together will be fulfilling, sweet, and occasionally spicy--just like the grub I enjoyed at your charming wedding.

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Riki Altman