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New Year’s Eve Destination Wedding in Cancun at Villa La Joya

Now, THIS is my kind of New Year’s Eve wedding! I would trade the snow and cold for the sand and sun in a heartbeat if I had planned a NYE fete. Who’s with me? Designed by the Bride herself with planning by Mango Weddings—today’s celebration is pure destination wedding goals. From the breezy first look to the ceremony set in front of crashing waves, Richelle Hunter collected all the moments of this day with her lens. Dive into all the beauty below!

Chris and Aleli had an intimate destination wedding at a private beachfront villa in Cancun, Mexico. What made it even more special was that it was held on New Years’ Eve and the couple was able to share a memorable midnight countdown with all their guests while dining al fresco.

This intimate wedding perfectly represented the bride and groom’s personal style with understated elegance. The wedding design emphasized the natural elements of the venue: an impeccably kept private villa facing the Caribbean sea – making the most perfect canvas of bridal dreams.

The bride selected classic and elegant florals with soft colours to highlight the natural greenery and intrinsic beauty of the venue. She merged whimsical boho elements—a peacock chair, vintage furniture, Moroccan-inspired poufs alongside more refined pieces – crystal champagne coupes, rose gold flatware, and tapered candles. Twinkling fairy lights weaved the al fresco terrace with a pool of florals at the center – all perfectly planned and executed by Mango Weddings. Chris and Aleli pledged their love for each with self-written vows facing the Caribbean coastline, gentle winds brushing along the palm trees and captured beautifully by Richelle Hunter Photography and Eric Frank Cinemas.

Guests had dinner under the stars catered by Gourmet Soberanis. The bride and groom were welcomed through a sparkler tunnel and shared their first dance to Dan + Shay’s “Speechless”. Musical performances led by the groom kicked off a night full of music, song, and dance as guests shared champagne toasts under a beautiful display of fireworks lining the coastline. Talk about an epic New Year’s Eve midnight countdown!

“For Chris and I, we viewed our wedding not only as a celebration of our relationship, but as a celebration of family and friendship. To be surrounded by our most favourite people and ring in a new beginning this New Year’s Eve was unbelievably special.”, says the bride.

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Photography: Richelle Hunter Photography | Videography: Erik Frank Cinema | Event Planning: Mango Weddings & Events | Floral Design: Floreria Jardin | Cake: Cutini Parrucchieri | Invitations: Minted | Stationery: Southpaw And Co | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Birdy Grey | Catering: Gourmet Soberanis | Hair and Makeup: Kika Makeup | Calligraphy: Sincerely Camille | DJ: DJ Julian | Groom's Attire: Indochino | Groomsmen Suits: RW & Co | Venue: Villa la Joya | Bridal Gown: Enzoani | Bridal Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Fireworks: Cutini Parrucchieri | Groom's Shoes: Cole Haan | Photobooth: The Crazybox Cancun | Rentals: Alquimia Events | Rentals: Archive Rentals | Wedding Design: Aleli Evangelista

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Chic Tulum Mexico Destination Wedding at Mahayana Tulum

I’ve seen enough Mexico destination weddings over the years and I can say with complete confidence that Tulum takes the cake. Sure, that’s a very personal opinion—but I have no doubt that once you see today’s beach fete from Ether & Smith and Destination Weddings Tulum, you’ll be on team Tulum, too. Dig your toes in the sand right here in the full gallery.

From Ether & SmithVivian & Basile, and their closest friends and family, flew all the way from Vancouver to Tulum, Mexico, to celebrate their vows and party under the night sky. The bride had three dresses, a chic lace Pronovias dress, a red dress for the reception, and a effortless bow dress for the first dance. The bridesmaids wore a beautifully draped pink dress perfect for the beach setting. The groom wore a blue suit with a unique floral lining to match the tropical setting.

The ceremony had a statement round flower arch focusing on the beach backdrop, guests entered the ceremony area welcomed by refreshing coconut drinks before they took their seats on wooden pews. Cocktail followed on the beach with the most perfect sunset views and delicious and unique hors d’oeuvres and acai bowls. Upon entering the reception area just steps away under the palm trees, they were welcomed with guest favors.

Long tables were decorated with white and green arrangements with gold accents. Mix-matched chairs gave character and a slightly rustic feel meets the beach life – the perfect Tulum vibe. The night ended with open dancing under the stars, a lot of sand between toes, and an after-party that will always be remembered.

From the Bride… Basile and I were two strangers that met at a coffee shop about five years ago. He had just moved over from Montreal and it was his second day in town. He moved into the building that housed my favorite coffee shop, and we struck up a conversation about travel, music and recommendations on what to do in this city that was now his new home. This fortuitous exchange turned into many planned dates, and a spontaneous first kiss at the inner harbor solidified our strong feelings for each other.

Since then we have reached many milestones together; we purchased our first home, welcomed an Australian Shepherd into our family, and traveled to many destinations around the world. When we traveled to China to visit my family in 2017, he proposed to me in Shanghai. One of my most romantic memories is of a tiny garden just tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the Bund; Basile went down on one knee and I blubbered exclamations of surprise and tears before I remembered to proclaim my answer —a definite and resounding yes!

With our families being split up in Quebec, British Columbia and abroad, it made sense for us to seize the chance to plan a destination wedding. Basile gave me free reign to choose the location but I already knew exactly what I wanted. A few years ago my cousins (who are like sisters to me) traveled to Tulum, Mexico for a girls’ getaway and we had an exhilarating time exploring the cenotes, beach and town. One magical night while we were walking down the beach promenade we heard laughter and live music coming from an enchanting little restaurant that was closed for a private event. People were dancing with delight; their jubilation was infectious and we hovered around the entrance like moths drawn to a flame. We joked that the next one to get married amongst us three would have to get married there. 

Cenzontle : Jardin Secreto was that beguiling restaurant, and I eventually ended up having my rehearsal dinner there. When I became engaged and we started to plan for the wedding I suggested Tulum and the rest was history. I reached out to Sofía from Destination Weddings Tulum and she graciously took care of all of my needs; planning the perfect wedding that we had always envisioned for us. They delivered us a precious wedding that was laid-back, chic, lively and full of love.

Photographer: Ether & Smith | Videographer: Manu Capperalli | Planner: Destination Weddings Tulum | Floral Design: Moni Junco | Wedding Dress: Pronovias | Cake: Lunna Rossa | Catering: El Patio by Corina | Ceremony & Reception Venue: Mahayana Tulum | Getting Ready Venue: Sanara | Guestbook: The Perfect Gift | Muscians : Fede Díaz + Bogdan Djukic | Rentals: Archive Rentals | Rentals: Aquadeco

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Destination Anniversary Session at Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa in Mexico

Wedding day hiccups are bound to happen, as this designer & planner-turned Bride can attest. Janie of Idyll Stories experienced a few of them on her very own Big Day, as she shares below. To make up for it, she and her husband teamed up with Esther Sun for round two—and oh my friends, is it an anniversary session for the books. See it all here!

From the Bride… We celebrated our one year anniversary by returning to our destination wedding location in Mexico to re-live our special day. On April 14, 2018, 62 of our closest family and friends traveled to Riviera Maya, Mexico for a weekend full of wedding festivities at Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa. As the saying goes, wedding guests rarely know what went wrong at a wedding—and something always happens. On the morning of our wedding, everything went off without a hitch. I know because I was the designer and planner of our own wedding and even though I was the bride that day, I knew when everyone from my florists to our rental vendors had arrived at the hotel. Things went smooth until that moment hit.

We couldn’t find the special earrings that I had purchased from a Paris boutique for my maid of honor/sister. My bridesmaids enlisted the help of my husband to search for the lost earrings while my sister in law was communicating with the hotel staff. Another of my bridesmaids even called a boutique in Cancun to see if they would have the specific Hermes earrings to purchase again and have it delivered to us. This was going on while my hair and makeup artist was finishing me up all while trying to keep this quiet from my sister. While sitting in the makeup chair, it started to drizzle a little outside. Staying calm as possible, I knew a little rain would happen in the morning as forecasted.. And I knew that rain was a sign of luck on your wedding day. That exact moment, that’s when my husband came rushing into the room (luckily I didn’t have my complete look done or dress on) and announced he had found the earrings! I was so relieved that it wasn’t lost forever.

Once I was able to relax, the rush of adrenaline left my body, and I felt nauseated. I was able to pull through some portraits with my bridesmaid and the first look but then with the nausea hitting me so fast, I remember leaning on my husband and feeling sick. I was given some medicine and then completely fell asleep in one my family member’s room. No one had realized that the side effect of the medicine was drowsiness. All my aunts pulled out all their Korean remedies to help. I was back on my feet to make my wedding day. The moment I stepped out with my dad down the aisle, I just remember seeing all the faces in front of me that had helped pull off the wedding day with a wedding planner and bride down.

That day was a day to remember… one full of ups and downs and when things went wrong, the stories my family and friends told me about what went on while I was asleep were much more memorable than a day going perfect without any hiccups. It’s all those moments that reminded me how it really took a village to get me down the aisle to my husband. The only thing we did miss on our day was all the photos my husband and I did not get on the beach by the water. So to make up for that, my husband, on the last day of August, had told me to start doing what I love and plan our re-visit to celebrate our one year anniversary of the legal wedding to retake our photos and celebrate at our wedding venue. He tried to plan it alone but realized he had to hire a professional planner in the end. This gave me about 3 months to plan an itinerary packed with adventures.

We went back to re-live our day but this time without any mishaps and we finally got our photos along the Caribbean Sea while also getting to eat one of our wedding cake flavors and seeing a cenote after not being able to visit one even though we visited Mexico 3 times before our wedding. It was the perfect way to celebrate our anniversary and incorporate little mementos and details from our wedding into this shoot. Also, we were able to make up for those two hours we lost on our wedding day when I was asleep!

Photography: Esther Sun Photography | Floral Design: Allium By Olympia | Catering: Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond | Design, Planning, Stylist: Idyll Stories | Dress 1 : Bella Bridesmaid | Dress 2 : Marchesa | Dress 3 : Galia Lahav | Hair & Makeup Stylist: Chiali Meng | Location : Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond | Outfit: Oscar De La Renta | Paper Picado: Karina Puente

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A Grand Coral Beach Club Wedding with Cotton Candy Hues

As the days get shorter and the temps get chillier, this wedding planned by Fresa Weddings Mexico was just the medicine we needed to warm our hearts and brighten our spirits! This gorgeous day captured by Krystle Akin is best described as the epitome of a perfect beach wedding. The color scheme reflects the cotton candy hues of a tropical sunrise… the flowers by Vanessa Jaimes Floral Design are to die for… and the outdoor reception sparkles under endless rows of string lights, honestly what more could a girl ask for?!

The bride couldn’t have looked more beautiful in a sheer Martina Liana dress with matte, floral lace. It was the perfect mix of sexy and romantic for their tropical beach ceremony. 

Jas and Erika met back on December, 21st 2012, or as the Mayan’s would say… The end of their beloved calendar and our world. The Mayan’s may have been wrong about the end of the world, but we like to think they were spot on with predicting the beginning of something great with Jason and Erika.

Erika was in her 3rd year of medical school and she was doing a rotation in Kalispell, MT (Jason’s home town). Jason lived in Southern California at the time, but was home visiting his family over the Christmas break and 12/21 also happened to be his sister’s 21st birthday, so he and his siblings, friends, cousins all decided to go out and celebrate this grand occasion.

While sailing in the British Virgin Islands with six of their best friends, Jason popped the question on a boat. In keeping with the tropical tradition, they planned a destination wedding with the help of Fresa Weddings in Mexico. They exchanged vows beside the Gulf of Mexico and danced the night away beside the beach with 60 plus of their friends and family.

Vanessa Jaimes Floral Design created lush floral runners full of light pink roses, eucalyptus and gorgeous amaryllis that truly made the reception come together so perfectly. As you can probably tell, Erika was absolutely stunned at the results – it was even better than what she had dreamed of.

Photographer: Krystle Akin | Planner: Fresa Weddings Mexico | Cake: Pasteleria la Migaja | Hair and Makeup: beso brides | DJ: Diamante Alvarado | Transportation: Paradise Tours | Wedding Venue: Grand Coral Beach Club | Brides Dress: Martina Liana | Bridesmaid Dress: Jenny Yoo | Bridesmaid Dress: Adrianna Papell | Floral: VANESSA JAIMES Floral Design | Rentals: Archive Rentals | Rentals: Gama Group

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This Colorful Destination Affair is Everything

After an awesome vaca in Mexico at the age of 25, this beautiful Bride was sure of one thing: saying “I do” seaside in Mexico was the only way to go.  So when the time came to walk down the aisle, she and her sweetie jetted off to Dreams Puerto Aventuras for a drop-dead gorgeous soiree with their nearest and dearest and seriously cute daughter in tow. See every amazing moment captured by Bohemia Photography in THE VAULT.

From Bohemia Photography… We had the pleasure of photographing the wedding of Briauna and Travis at the Dreams resort in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico. We didn’t have the opportunity to meet them before the wedding, but as soon as we walked into Briauna’s hotel room, I knew it was going to be a good day. Briauna is one of those people that can light up a room with her positive energy. I can see why she had her own entourage with her while she was getting ready, she was so kind and funny when speaking to her friends and family, and people just gravitate towards her.

I’d like to think all that positive energy was responsible for keeping the rain at bay all day, too! Dark clouds loomed in every direction, and after living in Mexico for over three years, I can say it’s a miracle that the sky never rained a drop! The clouds actually created this beautiful glow and dreamy effect on the water, which I was quite happy with. Sometimes sunshine is overrated.

The wedding day was filled with happiness, and their sweet 7-year-old daughter kept everyone laughing all day long. She was a bundle of personality, and definitely gets the award for best first kiss reaction of the year! The night ended with dancing on the beach and surprise fireworks (ok, let’s call it a large sparkler) at the end of the first dance. The day was the perfect dream destination wedding any bride and groom could hope for.

From the Bride… I first went to Mexico for my 25th birthday and fell completely in love. My family teased me often about how obsessed I was. While there my first time, I saw the beautiful weddings taking place at our resort and knew that if Travis and I ever got married I’d want it somewhere I wouldn’t have to think of decorations or the location. I am not the banquet hall type and I don’t like the hassle of planning. I’m such an anti-planner that I wanted it at a place in Mexico that needed nothing but the setting of the beach and me and Travis. It was perfect.

Photography: Bohemia Photography | Wedding Dress: Mori Lee | DJ: Do Remixx | Groom's Attire: J. Hillburn | Venue: Dreams Puerto Aventuras

Maroma Beach Wedding from Bride & Joy + Canteiro

I love Summer in Vegas.  A lot.  But when the heat (and random humidity) get to be a bit much, I long for the crisp, cool ocean breeze like it’s no one’s business.  Lucky for me (and you), this Maroma Beach affair is hitting all of those toes-in-the-sand, drink in hand sweet spots with a colorful celebration planned to absolute perfection by Canteiro.  It’s beach chic pretty meets one seriously fun party and you can see it all captured by Bride & Joy right here in the full gallery.

From the Bride… For my wedding I wanted a big party, and I wanted it to last multiple days so we decided destination was the way to go! We travel down to Mexico a lot, so it only made sense to have the wedding down there. We were so lucky to be able to have the wedding at the gorgeous Maroma Hotel & Spa. The place is magical: the most beautiful beach, private, best service, amazing food, and wonderful people. I cannot say enough good things about this place and I think you can see how beautiful it is from the pics (but it is even prettier in person).

I wanted everyone to feel apart of the wedding so we wanted it to be small, 95 guests! It was the perfect amount, my husband and I went out of state for college and we both still have friends from Kindergarten, so we had a large wedding party, which we loved! I modeled in NYC after college so I was lucky to fly in a friend who is a photographer, Kim Nicholais of Bride & Joy. She did an amazing job of capturing moments– I didn’t want a lot of staged pictures. The night of our wedding we had a full moon which lit up the sand, it was gorgeous! The day was clear and sunny, we couldn’t have had a better day!

The wedding itself was on the beach barefoot, with a Harpist (Albino Garcia) — and not a long ceremony. Then we headed to cocktail hour on the grass off the beach, then dinner on the patio off the beach, dance floor set up right on the beach below the stars. We danced until 2am then had a bonfire on the beach and continued to party at Freddy’s bar until the wee hours. Unforgettable, so fun!

I am into fashion and hence I chose strong colors that walked the runway before my wedding mint/seafoam green, blush, baby blue (also because my husband and I both went to Carolina). I wanted an all lace dress and haven’t seen many halters so I was excited when I found mine at the Little White Dress in Denver!

The wedding planner did an amazing job of bringing my colors into the flowers and making the decorations incorporate my beach theme, with starfish and shells. They also did a good job of keeping the decorations simple and clean which I wanted. The other thing I decided I wanted was a tequila shot cake. Since we already had a delicious dessert with our dinner, I thought it would be fun to pile up tequila shots with a bride and groom on top. We then proceeded to bring a tray of shots to each table and all cheer with the shot. It was different and I hope memorable, it def started off the party in the right way! Our gifts to our guests was a bottle of Tequila, Clase Azul.

I wore a cross necklace handed down from generation to generation. I designed custom necklaces for my bridesmaids. Some of the girls are wearing their one of a kind MKaltenbach necklaces. I am a jewelry designer so I made each girl a necklace made of blush pearls, mint opal and a starfish pendant to remind them of my wedding! I do custom designs for a lot of weddings, the bride can work with me to create an amazing one of a kind gift for their bridesmaids that reflects the colors and themes of their wedding!

Photography: Bride & Joy | Event Design: Canteiro | Planner: Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa | Wedding Dress: Justina McCaffrey | Bridesmaid Dresses: Ann Taylor | Catering: Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa | Men's Attire: Bonobos | Bridal Boutique: Little White Dress Bridal Shop | Bridesmaids Jewelry: MKaltenbach | Floral Design: Canteiro | Wedding Location: Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa

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