This is a duo that knows how to have a good time. A jet off to paradise with your nearest and dearest and celebrate seaside good time. Think a breathtaking ceremony over the ocean (literally) meets vibrant teal hues meets an ah-mazing vacation at Secrets Silversands, Riviera Cancun. Fall in love with every stunning moment captured by Jonathan Cossu in THE VAULT right here.
From the Bride… We met in the spring of 2006. I was in my junior year and studying for the medical school entrance exam. I enrolled in a prep course and Eddie was my teacher. I immediately thought he was cute and wanted to get to know him more. It wasn’t until after the class ended that I made my move. We met up at a coffee house in Chicago and immediately hit it off. Shortly after we started dating, Eddie moved down to Florida for Med School and I finished my undergrad degree in Illinois. Eddie is funny, kind, ridiculously smart, and oh-so-handsome. He’s the kind of guy you don’t give up because there’s 1,300 miles between you. We were long distance for the first two years of our relationship. Those two years were amazing, but they weren’t always easy. The glue that held us together through the difficult times was our dog, Mac. We adopted him shortly after Eddie moved to Florida which was the best decision we ever made. Mac helped us become a family and thanks to him, nine years later, we tied the knot with our closest friends and family by our side.
Our wedding day was filled with love, happiness, lots of dancing, and a donkey named Pancho Tequila. Eddie had only two requests for the wedding. It must have a taco bar and a there must be a donkey. I wanted our wedding to be fun, lighthearted and something that our guests would remember from start to finish.
I had a very clear vision for the wedding, which was brought to life by my awesome wedding coordinator at the hotel. I was able source amazing handmade pieces on Etsy. Thanks to the help of friends and family, I coordinated transporting 10 suitcases filled with decorations, favors, and welcome bags down to Mexico.
As a token of our gratitude, we put together welcome bags for each guest. I found the cutest muslin bags on Etsy with “Hola” stamped on them. I filled them with a welcome note, itinerary, deck of playing cards, koozie, bottle opener, and a mini first aid kit filled with hangover relievers and sun essentials. My favorite part of the welcome bag was Mac’s “gift”. I got the idea from Minted’s blog, Julep. I printed his picture with a message on business cards and attached them to bags of mini tennis gumballs. Mac’s favorite toy was his tennis ball so it was the perfect way to include him in our special day.
I had decided on my dress well before he even popped the question. It had to be Monique Lhuillier’s Scarlet. I fell in love with the delicate Alencon Lace and the open back was perfect in the warm weather. I wanted my bridesmaids to look beautiful and feel comfortable. Their dresses were purchased during a rent the runway clearance sale for a fraction of the price. This was especially nice given the high cost of travel. As part of their gift, I included their necklaces and robes, which they still use today. The groomsmen’s suits were purchased online for under 150 dollars and we bought their accessories as part of their gift.
For the flowers, I wanted something bright that included succulents. I loved the orange and the pink together, which popped next to my ivory gown. Since the bridesmaids were already in a bright teal, I bought simple high quality faux white calla lilies on Etsy. This kept us under budget and no one noticed they weren’t the real deal.
For our ceremony, we chose a private pier overlooking the ocean. We said our vows with the waves crashing in the background, which is something we will never forget. It was followed by cocktail hour where our guests were serenaded by a Mexican Trio. Pancho Tequila, the donkey, made his appearance and our guests had fun taking selfies with him.
For the reception, I got my inspiration for the centerpieces from my love of vintage milk glass. I found the most gorgeous gold dipped milk glass vases on Etsy, in which I put a simple pink dahlia. I paired that with a floating candle and a large succulent. Since we only had three tables, I wanted something more creative than table numbers. I used different color dia de los muertos skulls to differentiate each table and stamped the escort cards with the corresponding skull color. I wanted something fun to give as a favor and the mini pinatas from Lulaflora were absolutely perfect. I filled them with our favorite candy so everyone had a sweet treat to savor at the end of the reception.
Our Photographer, Jonathan Cossu, was the best money we spent. He was fun to work with and caught the most amazing candid moments. Having my mother at my wedding was especially important to me as she was diagnosed with breast cancer the year before. We almost cancelled the wedding due to the uncertain nature of her health, but her doctors were hopeful she would be able to attend. Thankfully, she was able to travel to Mexico to be with us on our special day. Jonathan captured many beautiful moments between me and my mom that I will be able to cherish forever. Jonathan did a great job capturing all the happiness and love we felt that day. We can’t help but smile when we look back at our photos.
My final word of advice to brides considering a destination wedding. Make sure you work with a good travel agent! The last thing you want to worry about is coordinating flights and hotels. We worked with Nanda van Zwam from Beach Bum Vacations. She provided my guests with a packet that included hotel information, room descriptions, and prices. She coordinated everything via email and phone and booked every flight, hotel room, and airport transfer for all of my guests.
Thank you for the opportunity to share our wedding with other brides. I had a blast planning it from start to finish and I hope it inspires other brides to have their own fun filled fiesta!
Photography: Jonathan Cossu | Coordination: Secrets Silversands, Riviera Maya | Floral Design: Floreria Fressia | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Invitations: Minted | Bride's Shoes: Valentino | DJ: Rodrigo Lopez, RCL | Groom's Attire: Burberry | Venue: Secrets Silversands, Riviera Maya | Bride's Earrings: Ben-Amun | Custom Mini Piñatas: Lulaflora Designs | Floral Decor: Floreria Acuarela | Gold Dipped Milk Glass Vases: NellieFellow | Groom's Shoes: Converse | Itinerary + Signage: Wanderlust Weddings | Koozies: Rook Design Co | Robes: Just Cottons | Tennis Ball Gumballs: Amazon | Vendor: Tracey Jazmin | Welcome Bags: BeCollective