Sean & Cassie's laid-back Tulum, Mexico destination wedding | Part 2 | Destination wedding photographer

Venue:  Ana Y Jose Charming Hotel and Spa
Wedding Planner:  Tulum Weddings and Events
Flowers & Decor:  Planner 1 Events
Hair & Makeup:  Sarah Garnier
Calligraphy & Signage:  Nalabe
Invitation Suite - Dana Leafdale
Wedding Dress:  Rosa Clara
Bridesmaids Dresses:  Adrianna Papell

From the bride:

"Oh my, where to start….the day Sean and I married we had been together almost 9 years and 5 months. We met in college at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and instantly had “that feeling” about each other. It’s the feeling that kept us together through carefree college and into young adulthood, real world problems, through 7 years of long distance dating, job changes, career moves. Nine years of growing up but never growing apart. Of seeing the best and worst of each other and conquering anything life put in our way.

We knew we wanted our wedding to be laid back, intimate and jam packed with laughter.  We also knew we wanted to spend a few quality days (not just one!) with our closest friends and family and have an awesome party to cap it off. Sean and I are beach people (he proposed on the beach at my parents beach house in North Carolina) and oh do we ever love Mexico! It is so close yet, far enough away where we can throw our real world cares to the wind and really melt into two puddles of pure bliss…obviously that’s the place you want to get married! And Tulum…oh, Tulum…pure magic…a jungle beach paradise.  It’s rustic, charming and it’s our favorite spot to escape to for a long weekend.

In terms of style, I was going for a laid back, art deco, vintage, beach-glam vibe (if that even makes any sense at all!). I actually just kind of meshed some of my favorite eras together but, everything turned out beyond perfect! The juxtaposition between the rustic, laid back, beach palapas and the glammed up, glitzy details was just beyond!

We wanted to fill the day with tons of little personal touches, which was not easy to do when you’re doing a destination. We ended up bringing several suitcases full of items down to Mexico because we wanted to have these personal touches, which meant I had to be super organized! For our guest book, we had friends sign vintage postcards (I brought a ton of vintage postcards from places that were special to Sean and I) with well wishes or advice. We had our guests find their seats for dinner with gold compact compasses which we brought down, along with signage that said “May love be your compass, may it guide you home….But, first find your seat.” We loved that because home is no longer a place it’s now a person. We also had maracas handmade with our name and the date for guests to shake during the ceremony when we kissed. It was all really cute and in the end definitely worth all the stress!

The entire week, the sun was shining, the water was turquoise, big puffy clouds floated carelessly by, and the palm trees swayed lightly in the breeze. The best part was we had several days to spend quality time with all of our favorite people. We had long dinners full of laughter, pool parties, dance parties, bike rides, cenote swims, volleyball and can-jam matches and plenty of lounge time well before the weekend got underway.

Our rehearsal dinner was a dream at Casa Banana…open air, candle lit, romantic and intimate.  We did a family style affair, which was so fun for people to share and taste a little bit of everything. We’re all one big family after all!

On the wedding day, I spent most of it sharing laughs in a pool with all of my favorite girlfriends, my mom and my new sisters. It was pure bliss. Sean lounged on the beach with more friends and family (we avoided each other until the ceremony!).

The ceremony was held on the beach at Ana Y Jose in front of a calm turquoise ocean and there was a warm breeze that gently hugged us as we said our handwritten vows to each other. 

Afterwards, a Caribbean trio played in the sand underneath the swaying palm trees and near a palapa where guests enjoyed light fare (fresh empanadas and ceviche) and sipped specialty cocktails (A Mezcal Mule for the Bride or a Chelada for the Groom).

Guests enjoyed dinner under the main palapa and proceeded to spin, flip, jump and get crazy on the dance floor overlooking the ocean and underneath strings of café lights hanging from palm trees.  

We feel so insanely lucky to have such amazing family and friends who danced cried laughed cheered and celebrated with us.

My advice for couples thinking about planning destination weddings is…just do it! Destination weddings are the best because everyone really gets to know each other and by the wedding it’s like one big happy family. Try to make it as EASY as possible for all guests….that could mean arranging accommodations for guests, having transportation set up and other events, dinners and things for them to do. The biggest piece of advice is to find someone there who you trust and who can help you.  We got really close with Sandy and Morgan and they were rockstars in dealing with logistics. We couldn’t have done it from afar without them.  Also, I’m a bit of a control freak and I had to learn how to just let some things be! There were things that I didn’t know how they were going to work or turn out and I had to just trust Morgan and Sandy and roll with it.  Distance also makes you super decisive. Make a decisions and move one! Life is in the slow lane in Mexican beach towns (which is why we picked Tulum in the first place) so, in the end it was perfect because all I could do was drink a margarita, enjoy our guests and let the wind carry away my worries. 

We were so lucky to have such great vendors…Cynthia Rose Photography, Cindy and her husband are so hardworking, professional and fun. They really take time to understand the couple and have such a great eye for moments and details. We feel so blessed to have had them at the wedding. Planner One did such a great job with the flowers and décor. Sandy and Morgan at Tulum Weddings and Events handled every aspect of the wedding from the rehearsal dinner at Casa Banana to the reception at Ana Y Jose.  My invites were done by my very talented friend and former coworker Dana Leafdale out of Boulder, Colorado. She is so talented and picked up cues for the invites like the shells on my dress. She also nailed the gorgeous map for guests. Hair and Makeup was done by Sarah Garnier out of Playa Del Carmen. She is Parisian, a true artist and had so many fancy suggestions. She made us all feel like queens! Calligraphy and signage was done by Nalabe out of Charlotte. Amazing guys that really go the extra distance!  No detail was overlooked and we can’t thank them enough for making our little weekend such a dream."