Suffice it to say, we just LOVE laid-back weddings. And this dog loving couple simply knocked it out of the park with their Thanksgiving destination wedding in Cozumel.
Read on for more from the lovely photographer:
Rachel and Jonathan had been together for 13 years before they finally tied the knot surrounded by family, friends, and their beloved Chihuahua, Vinny. That’s right – Vinny flew first class with Rachel and Jon from Chicago to Mexico so that he could be included in the festivities! They wouldn’t have it any other way. The plan was for Vinny to walk Rachel down the aisle, and while he may have gotten distracted, he still looked debonair in his hand-made sombrero decorated by Rachel herself.
Their destination wedding took place Thanksgiving weekend at Playa Azul resort in Cozumel, Mexico. Each day there were festivities for the guests to enjoy, and the all-inclusive resort made for a perfect weekend away for everyone. Rachel and Jon wed before sunset Saturday evening, at a ceremony overlooking the ocean with breathtaking views. Celebration continued into the night with dinner, dancing, and plenty of tequila.
On Sunday afternoon, Rachel and Jon got back into their wedding clothes for a Day After portrait session on the property. We were able to get some family photos with Vinny, and had fun hanging out on the beach until sunset. It truly was a weekend overflowing with love and congratulations!
“We met in high school (just friends for a few years), but we started dating in college. We were never in a rush to get married, but after mounting pressure from friends, family, and local politicians, we decided twelve years was enough of a wait, and he finally proposed.
He tricked me into thinking we were going on a birthday trip to Las Vegas (for the 10th anniversary of my 21st birthday), but he had other intentions at heart. On the last full day of vacation, after a lunch of my favorite foods (Thai) and an afternoon of his favorite drinks (Tiki), he pulled the ring out in front of my sister and my sister’s boyfriend and demanded that I marry him. I didn’t argue, and we celebrated with more drinks and shots, compliments of the bartender after I left to make several tearful (of joy) calls to friends and family.”
“We wanted our wedding to be beautiful, yet casual, and we wanted all of our guests to feel comfortable and have a great time. We planned our destination wedding in Cozumel, Mexico, and we were married under a wooden canopy on a deck at the beach.
We weren’t concerned with all the traditional components of a wedding, but we just wanted to have an intimate gathering in a beautiful location where we could throw an awesome party. One essential component to the day was having our dog, Vincenzo, be present and take part. We did not incorporate any cultural or religious traditions, and in fact, we had a symbolic ceremony on the beach.”
“We chose pink, lilac, and white as the colors for our decor. This was to accent my dress which had lilac undertones on the corset. We had giant floral medallions decorate the ceremony space. Each guest’s chair had a pair of maracas as a parting gift and to aid in celebration, and the reception space was right off the beach and decorated with the same color palette. The centerpieces were floral and placed on pink satin covered tables.”
“The floral arrangements definitely played a huge role in the overall style of the wedding although we didn’t initially expect them to. We had giant floral medallions on the wooden canopy where we were married. Those were show-stopping and absolutely beautiful. This last minute addition (a recommendation from our wedding planner) ended up being one of our favorite components. They really made the ceremony backdrop more spectacular than it already was.
The bridal bouquet was made of pink and lilac roses and accented with white lilies. It was a great complement to the dress. The centerpieces (same flowers as the bridal bouquet) decorated the space beautifully. We never saw any of the florals beforehand as it was a destination wedding, so we were blown away by how beautiful they ended up being, and how drastically they changed the decor of the space.”
Bride: “I chose my wedding day look months before the actual day. I knew that I wanted to have a dress with a princess top and a full skirt. I ended up choosing two-piece wedding ensemble (skirt and corset) and accented with a lavender/lilac sash.
The corset had lavender undertone with lots of ornate beading, and the skirt was full with many layers and had horsehair accents at each layered level. The satin sash brought the entire ensemble together to make the dress appear seamless. I received many compliments about how beautiful my dress was, and many were shocked to know that it was two pieces!”
Groom: “My primary goal was staying cool as temperatures reached high 80s even in November in Cozumel. My betrothed indicated to me (in no uncertain terms) that shorts were not an option.
I chose natural linen pants and luckily I was allowed to wear a short-sleeved shirt (I chose pale blue), keeping with the beach locale of the wedding. The shirt was also linen, so I stayed as cool as possible. To enhance the island feel, the shirt had the same color floral embroidery. I also wore brown shoes and a watch from my lovely wife finished the wedding day look.”
“We spent months preparing for our first dance to Michael Buble and Reese Witherspoon’s “Something Stupid.” This was one of the highlights of the evening.
We also spent time putting together personalized gift bags for our guests that included snacks, local tequila, and some remedies. We loved that the wedding was intimate, so everyone socialized with each other.
Every guest danced through the night, and after the reception, we all retreated to another beach bar where the bartenders made special drinks and we continued to celebrate!”
“Our wedding day was perfect, and we loved every moment of the celebration. The most magical moment of the night was during the final dance, when we held our dog, Vincenzo (a twelve pound chihuahua terrier) and closed the evening as a family. It was important to us that Vinny be present and part of the festivities, and having him at the reception, on the dance floor, was a priceless memory that we will treasure forever.”
ANY ADVICE FOR NEWLY-ENGAGED COUPLES?
“Since we didn’t have strong preferences about the specifics of our wedding, we wanted to consider how to enhance the experience for all our guests. They made huge sacrifices to be there to celebrate our marriage, so we wanted to be sure that they had a great time.
We took into consideration the aspects of a wedding that guests dread – like long, dry ceremonies and encouraged guests to bring a drink to our ten-minute ceremony. Then, we gathered for a group photo at our photographer’s request (great idea!!!), and then guests enjoyed a cocktail hour while we took pictures until the last bits of sun.
We made sure the bar stayed open during dinner and for the duration of the night because we wanted all of our guests to have the best time they could (and that requires alcohol, sometimes).
Our greatest advice, as cliche as it sounds, is to let the small things go. Don’t fret over the florals, the band, or other small details of the wedding. Make the experience about the union of your spouse and you, and don’t worry about any small details. All the details work out in the end. Enjoy the process, and enjoy all the guests that care enough about you to come and celebrate!”
Thank you so much to the fun loving couple for sharing their love story with us, and to Emma Mullins Photography for sharing this gorgeous album!