News Hosts, GOP Political Players, Latino Celebs: A Power-Packed Miami Wedding

by Dara Klatt

Ana Navarro says ‘I do’ with color.


March 2, 2019 | Indian Creek Country Club, Miami Beach, Fla.

The CNN contributor and political strategist Ana Navarro can set fireworks raging when she’s sparring live on camera. But on her wedding day to Al Cardenas, a lawyer, lobbyist and former chairman of Florida’s Republican party, the sparks were simply ones of affection. Instead of verbal blasts at lawmakers and epic social media take-downs, there were just two people on a Miami waterfront who “make each other laugh.”

The couple met more than 25 years earlier through their activism and involvement in politics. While the attraction was instant, Navarro says, it wasn’t the right time. “We had obligations and professional goals that we prioritized.”

Cardenas and Navarro remained friends and eventually grew into being each other’s advisors and confidants. “A lot of time passed,” Navarro said, “but we realized we wanted to be with each other in the good times and the bad ones. At last, we made ourselves and our happiness the priority.” When Cardenas, 71, took Navarro to the French-Belgian restaurant Marcel’s, in the District’s West End and a waiter brought out a dome covered silver platter with a ring underneath, he dropped down on one knee.

Indian Creek Club

The bride dancing with Isaiah Thomas

“It is never too late,” said Navarro, 47. “It sounds corny, I know. We didn’t give up on love, and we didn’t give up on each other. “With a hectic schedule to manage, Navarro brought in wedding planner Alina Moleta. “Knowing how difficult a schedule I have, she tried to take on as many tasks, [make] decisions and solve problems before they ever had to make their way to me.” The wedding space was outfitted with a “big tropical orchid look” with a vintage Miami theme that reflected the heritage of Navarro (originally from Nicaragua) and Cardenas (who is from Cuba).

On the big day, Cardenas appeared in a black, custom-made Pepi Bertini dinner jacket while Navarro wore an ivory silk, off-the-shoulder gown with a scalloped neckline and a lace overlay by the “Rene Ruiz Collection” designed by Luis Escudero.

FRONT: Don Lemon, Gloria Estefan. Eva Longoria, Emilio Estefan and Adrienne Arsht; BACK: Tim Malone and Jose Antonio Baston

The bride and groom with Wolf Blitzer and Lynn Greenfield, and Dana Bash and Spencer Garrett

Her “old” earrings were deeply personal, as they were bequeathed to her by a dear friend who died of cancer. Her “borrowed” Tiffany’s bracelet came from her friend Jaffa Coen, and her “blue” David Yurman bracelet was a gift from Cardenas. The self-described “daddy’s girl” had her father walk her down the aisle to an instrumental version of “Guantanamera.”

Numerous media figures, celebrities and politicians attended the ceremony including CNN reporters Don Lemon, Dana Bash, Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper; actress Eva Longoria; Latin music superstars Emilio and Gloria Estefan; CNN president Jeff Zucker; Navarro’s co-hosts from “The View” Joy Behar and Sonny Hostin; and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney and his wife Anne. One of the biggest surprises Navarro said was the “sinfully decadent” cookies called “Junk in the Trunk” that her friend, acclaimed pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith, baked for all the guests.

Now, months after the wedding, the “junk” for the newlyweds is more of the TV variety. “He is ok with me hating football,” Navarro said. “I am ok with him hating ‘The Real Housewives.’”

Senator Mitt Romney

NOTABLE GUESTS: Sen. Rob Portman (ROhio) and Jane Portman, Rep. Donna Shalala (DFla.); Brooke Baldwin, “El Gordo y la Flaca” host Raúl de Molina and Telemundo journalist Maria Elena Salinas.

DETAILS: Bride’s Dress: Rene Ruiz by Luis Escudero; Shoes: Badgley Mischka; Ring: Buchwald Jewelers; Groom: custom Pepi Bertini; Flowers: Rick Interian, Avant Gardens; Food: Indian Creek Country Club, Chef Luke Livingston; Wedding Planner: Alina Moleta Event Planning; Cake: Ana Paz Cakes Rehearsal Dinner: Estefan Kitchen in the Miami Design District; Wedding Brunch: Four Season’s.

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