If there’s one thing beach weddings deserve, it’s a heavy dose of bright colors. That’s exactly what Laura and Jason did for their destination wedding in Tulum, Mexico, and they ended up with a vibrant and personalized day – exactly as they had envisioned. Ariel Renae Photography was the perfect choice to take control behind the camera, as these images will attest!
From the bride, Laura: We wanted a stress-free environment to enjoy the time with each other and all of our loved ones that had traveled so far to be with us. We wanted the wedding to feel personalized and vibrant – a true celebration of where we’ve been as a couple and a reflection on the way in which we chose to live our lives. We wanted everybody to mingle and spend real time getting to know one another, which is why we loved having multiple days with everybody who came down to Tulum.
The vibrant, bright colors of Mexico and the tropical waters of Tulum were a source of inspiration. We steered clear of stereotypical “tropical beach” colors like beige and pastels and embraced the fully saturated palette of Mexico. Purple, navy, bright pink, turquoise, and orange played a big part. The color palette was really defined first in our website, which we used as a place to establish a look and feel that we carried through the whole wedding. We stayed true to this look and feel this through our DIY projects and kept everything in mind as we made decisions on the necessary rentals, etc.
Doing a destination wedding can be challenging since you can often be so disconnected from the location and many of the people that are involved in making your wedding come together. Since we weren’t able to interact with the location or people involved on a regular basis, we wanted to find a way to control what we could in order to make sure the experience still felt very personalized and hand-touched. The DIY projects became a way that we could put our stamp on a wedding where so many things were just out of our control. It allowed us to focus on the things that we really enjoyed and not stress about the less-controllable elements, while creating an experience for us and our guests that felt very true to who we are and personalized in a really special way. We found, in the end, that no one commented on the chairs, napkins, or plates (rentals that we opted not to go overboard on) but instead we found people drawn to, and remembering, the small touches that we put in made by our hand. That was, and is still, really rewarding.
As for DIY, we brought rocks from the Brooklyn Bridge Park in our home borough, hand-painted numbers on them and used them as our table numbers, we designed, printed and hand-ripped the menus, we designed notecards on the Mexican loteria bingo cards for people to leave us words of wisdom/advice during the reception. We had Ahau Tulum make cornhole sets for our wedding. Cornhole is a game that we play in Indiana and played a lot at college, so knew that our friends and family would find this the perfect beach game. We had this out at our cocktail hour and into the evening on our wedding and were also able to use the cornhole set throughout our week on the beach with all of our friends and family following the wedding day. We also had a “bell”-shaped piñata made, which referenced our wedding tag “JLWeddingBell” and also my grandmother’s collection of bells given to her by grandchildren and family/friends over the years. They couldn’t make it to the wedding, so this was our nod to them.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? It’s very helpful to work with someone (a wedding planner) that understands your vision and that you trust to accomplish what you want without you having to hand-hold each little thing. This is especially true for a destination wedding where you just can’t be there to meet with people and plan things in a way you might be able to if you were married where you live. Allowing this person to handle the things that you can’t control or don’t enjoy doing as much will allow you to focus on the elements that you can control and enjoy doing and let the rest of it go. For us, this meant thinking a lot about the little hand-touched details and the things that made our guests feel truly welcomed and excited to experience this with us but also with each other. I think it’s also important to have the wedding be a reflection of you as a couple – taking into account the things that make each person tick. I was lucky because I have a creative and artistic husband who enjoys doing projects, so we were able to do a lot of things together. It’s also important to divide and conquer for certain things – for example, I let Jason choose much of the music because he really enjoys that, while I dealt with much of the budget and logistic elements. Weddings can be expensive so think about what really matters to you and make choices that prioritize those things. Don’t get carried away worrying about every little thing because it all adds up quickly.
Processional: “Going to California,” Led Zeppelin (played on flamenco guitar)
Recessional: “Never Going Back Again,” Fleetwood Mack (played on flamenco guitar)
First Dance: “Green Eyes,” Coldplay
Father/Daughter Dance: “In My Life,” Dave Matthews cover of The Beatles
Mother/Son Dance: “Tequila Sunrise,” The Eagles into “Nothing but a G Thing,” Dr. Dre
Wedding Location: Tulum, Mexico / Photographer: Ariel Renae Photography / Florist: Laura Corrales of Premium Flores (premiumflores @ gmx.es) / Venue and Caterer: Ahau / Wedding Planner: Nisia Wasilewicz (works in-house at hotel) / Wedding Dress: Ivy & Aster “Lumiere” via Lovely Bride / Sash: Ivy & Aster “Skinnie Minnie” via Lovely Bride / Earrings: Custom Pearl Earrings (gift from groom) made by our friend and jeweler, Austin Schultz / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew “Arabelle” in Strawberry / Bridesmaids’ Gifts: Mary MacGill Jewelry / Groom’s Suit: J.Crew / Groom’s Tie: John Varvatos / Groomsmen Suits: J.Crew / Wedding Ceremony and Cocktail Hour: Camilo Nu / DJ: Lucas Walters / Wedding Invitations: We designed our own save the date which was distributed via mailchimp (we used this to send out an email blast with the website as well) With Jason as a designer, it was hard to cut corners on printed invitations. It was either all or nothing for him. We ended up deciding to put that piece of the budget towards photography and sent out digital invites via paperless post. A wise decision in the end. We did end up making some hand-printed thank you cards to mail out after the wedding.