If today’s first little number doesn’t make you want to jump for joy and then board a plane to Mexico, you might wanna check your pulse! The impromptu limbo contests with suspenders (Sure! Why not?), the shots of tequila, the fireworks, the super chic couple…the blue dress! I’m in destination wedding heaven! Captured by the obviously amazing Michelle Turner, this wedding is the fiesta that just won’t quit! Go ahead, check out my favs below, but don’t even think about skipping out on this party…head on over to the gallery for even more south of the border beauty!
When my now-husband proposed in Sayulita, a small fishing village on Mexico’s pacific coast, we immediately began thinking how perfect it would be to get married there. We were so swept up by the beauty and laid back spirit of the place that we forged ahead with wedding plans without exactly considering how hard it would be to plan a destination wedding all the way from Brooklyn. We chose a venue that was stunning on its own and didn’t require much enhancement – a cliff with a 360 degree view of the ocean and the town below and a thatched-roof palapa for dining and dancing.
We focused on lighting with lots of strands of lights with large round bulbs and filled the place with plenty of jewel-toned flowers. By keeping it simple with bicolored hydrangea, mums, lithianthus and some coconut and black berries, our florist was able to achieve a look that was both vintagey and rich in hue. We used vintage milk glass planters, compotes and some pretty vintage teacups as vessels for the flowers and a vintage cut glass cakestands for the dessert table, all sourced on ebay. We rented navy tablecloths and used burlap table runners (custom made for an incredible price by someone I found on ebay) and gathered vintage embroidered napkins from our families. For the table numbers, I kept it simple, stamping scalloped-edged cards in a natural brown with large numbers and standing them up on each table using small metal pinfrogs. We had pieces of wood painted with chalkboard paint and wrote the menu and a sign for the dessert table on them with chalk. We had a local calligrapher write up a seating chart in white ink on black paper to match the “chalkboard” look.We were so grateful to each and every member of our friends and family who made the trip down, that we wanted happy pictures of each of them to be displayed at the wedding. We used simple twine and clothespins to hang hundreds of pictures as people entered the venue.
We had a talented jewelry designer friend-of-a-friend Tracy Matthews design my engagement ring as a replica of an outrageously expensive Art Nouveau ring I’d seen and fallen in love with at a Manhattan vintage jewelry boutique. The results were entirely on point and entirely me.
I really wanted to make the invitations myself and fancied the idea that each could be its own small original piece of art. Since we wanted to keep paper waste down, we decided on a single sheet invitation that referred people to our wedding website for everything from RSVPing and meal selection, to accommodation options, directions, maps and activity suggestions. We had Erin Napier at Lucky Luxe lay out our invitation text and had a letterpress plate made through Boxcar Press.
As I began thinking about a dress, I knew that I wanted a dress that was eco-friendly and truly unique. So I reached out to fellow Brooklynite and Project Runway winner Leanne Marshall. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted – vintage inspired, glamorous, but lightweight and comfortable to wear – and sent Leanne some inspiration images. After making hairpieces and accessories for other brides over the past few years through my eco-boutique Green Eyed Girl, I was excited to create my own hairpiece and veil. I used vintage cobalt blue dupioni silk to make a large flower and made a separate veil out of gold birdcage veiling that I could easily remove for the reception. I wore drop pearl earrings that had belonged to my grandmother, who passed away when my mom was a child, so it was really special to have a piece of her with me on my wedding day. I also made hairpieces for my Maid of Honor and the flower girls out of vintage silk ribbons and fabrics.
I decided to do a little costume change prior to our first dance. I knew that there was no chance we’d be able to pull off the lifts and spins in our opening dance without doing some serious damage to my wedding dress. Never one to need much of an excuse to don another fun dress, I found a fantastic 1950s tulle strapless dress for $25 on ebay and transformed it from a drab yellow to a punchy deep teal with simple fabric dye. It was the perfect dance dress.
We tapped our talented Best Man to provide the music for our walk down the aisle. He rocked Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called to Say I Love You on his acoustic guitar. For the walk back down the aisle as husband and wife, we wanted something that was celebratory and festive and would bring a smile to everyone’s face at such a happy moment. We asked a local mariachi band how they felt about learning some Beatles. They were game and burst into a playful rendition of She Loves You just after we finished our “I Dos.”
We knew it was going to be hot and sunny for our wedding ceremony and felt that fans would be a much-appreciated detail. So we decided to kill three birds with one stone, combining the wedding program and a Thank You to our guests by making each one side of a two-sided paddle fan. We had a calligrapher write up our text for each side and then had them printed and cut at a local print shop. For dinnertime and the reception, we had friends help create music playlists and had an iPod docking station and sound system, a decision that was a money-saver and also ensured that the dance floor remained full until the wee hours. We covered a dessert table with lots of vintage cakestands and dishes filled with goodies reflecting both my Italiian roots (who knew that the French bakery in a small Mexican town would make a killer biscotti) and my husband’s Armenian, Middle Eastern heritage (my mother-in-law smuggled in special Middle Eastern treats and pastries all the way from Canada).
A few things we are so happy we did and that were entirely worth all the effort –We were more involved than we wanted to be at the time with coordinating housing for our guests, but reserving houses and pushing people to book them early was more than worth the effort because it created a little community and allowed our guests to mingle with each other from house to house during the wedding week. By the time our wedding day arrived, our family and friends had all had the chance to really connect with each other, which made our wedding feel even more intimate and packed with happiness. One of the greatest sources of joy for us was seeing the friendships that formed across our different groups of friends and our families. As for design, I would encourage couples doing destination weddings to not give up on the design vision you have and to get creative about what details can be realized even thousands of miles away. Keep an open mind and think about small details that will make the wedding truly a reflective of your personalities, your sensibilities and what makes you tick as a couple.
Photography: Michelle Turner / Flowers: Sayulita Weddings / Event Design: Green Eyed Girl / Event Planning: Sayulita Weddings / Accessories: Green Eyed Girl / Ceremony and Reception Location: Brisa del Mar Palapa Sayulita, Mexico / Wedding dress: Leanne Marshall / Hairpiece and veil: Green Eyed Girl / Engagement Ring: custom by Tracy Matthews / Wedding Rings: Satomi Kawakita / Groom’s suit: Hugo Boss / Invitation layout: Lucky Luxe