This Couple's Laid-Back Boho Wedding in Tulum, Mexico, Was Born Out of the Tropical Surroundings
Caroline and Kenny met back in September of 2011, when they went out on the town with a group of mutual friends. They had their first date a week later and have been attached at the hip ever since. In 2018, Kenny planned an anniversary trip to Palm Desert, California, where the couple celebrated with a secluded weekend laying by the pool and enjoying the hot springs. Kenny saw the trip as a great opportunity to ask Caroline to be his wife, so he proposed near a lake at the end of the trip.
The couple immediately agreed on a destination wedding in Mexico, but they didn't have time to check out a bunch of venues. "Neither of us had been to Tulum and we didn't have a chance to go before booking the venue—but we loved the beautiful jungle and beach backdrop," Caroline explains. The pair decided on Akiin Beachclub in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico; the intimate setting on white-sand beaches allowed them to invite friends and family to enjoy a full weekend in paradise.
They asked 60 guests to join them on February 1, 2020, for their tropical boho-themed celebration. With all of their guests flying in for the wedding, the couple wanted to have a relaxing few days with their loved ones, so they worked with a local planner, Kristee at Fresa Weddings, to pull everything together. Caroline sent Kristee tons of inspiration pictures to get the ball rolling and with additional help from Kenny's mom, Cindy, they came up with colorful design ideas that played off the venue's jungle setting.
Invites to Paradise
The bride stumbled across an invitation designer on Etsy and fell in love with one of her existing invitation designs featuring tropical palm trees. "We wanted to include the tropical design to get people excited for the destination aspect of the wedding," Caroline says. Guests received welcome bags upon arrival that featured a map of Tulum created by the couple's friend, Jessica.
Caroline thinks she tried on 100 different options while looking for her wedding dress, and although she found a few she liked, she didn't find "the one" right away. She made an appointment at Galia Lahav to try on a few more gowns, and although the first few weren't right, her stylist, Anthony, had set aside a wedding dress the moment she walked through the door that he thought would be the winner. This one featured a deep V-neckline and embroidered tulle with lace trimming; the moment she tried it on she knew it was the right gown for her. "I was originally trying to do a simple, beachy, boho style as our entire wedding was on the sand but ended up with a ball gown with a train," she says. "And it totally worked on the beach. Wear what makes you feel happy and beautiful—it'll all work out!" She skipped the veil and wore simple earrings gifted by a bridesmaid.
The bride was a bit worried about walking in stilettos in the sand, so she opted for a pair of block heels from Badgley Mischka, which she wore all night.
Caroline's colorful, organic bouquet featured red-and-coral roses, Craspedia, ranunculus, oncidium orchids, various eucalyptus, smilax, ferns, astilbe, anthuriums, and lisianthus. The bouquet was finished with dried elements found at the Mexico City market.
Kenny wore a midnight blue tuxedo from Indochino with a black silk shawl. He opted for slip-on loafers that felt formal enough for the occasion and comfortable enough for the beach.
The groom completed his look with a vintage 1976 Rolex watch that was gifted to him by his father on his 30th birthday.
Before the first look, Caroline and her bridal party got ready together at their hotel, Ahau Tulum. "It really is the most beautiful place," she says. "We're already planning on going back for our anniversary!" The ladies enjoyed Champagne as they got their hair and makeup done for the big day.
Ladies in Gray
Bridesmaids chose their own dress styles from Show Me Your Mumu in the same gray shade. "We chose a neutral color, as I really wanted to capture the natural look of Tulum and also allow the dresses to pop against the colorful bouquets," Caroline explains.
Caroline's 'maids held miniature versions of Caroline's bouquet, featuring bold shades of red, pink, and yellow in a hand-tied design.
The groomsmen wore gray, as well; their suits were sourced from Friar Tux and complemented the groom's blue ensemble.
A Moment Alone
Caroline and Kenny planned a first look at their hotel to share a moment alone before the wedding began. It ended up being one of their favorite memories from the day.
The couple's ceremony took place on the beach, with the Caribbean Ocean as the backdrop. They kept the décor simple, allowing the arbor embellished with pampas grass and greenery to take center stage. A few bright rugs were placed down the aisle for a pop of color; bench seating was provided for guests.
Before the service started, guests enjoyed coconut water; the shells were carved with the couple's names and the date.
Here She Comes
Caroline wanted her Irish heritage reflected during the ceremony, so she chose Irish artist Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter" as her processional song. She was accompanied down the aisle by her father.
A Light-Hearted Ceremony
Kenny and Caroline planned on writing their own vows, but realized while penning them that they'd likely end up too emotional during the ceremony. Instead, they worked with their officiant, one of Caroline's best friends, to write "I do" promises. "We kept them light-hearted and fun," Caroline says. "Kenny may have promised to do the dishes and protect me from spiders for life!"
Immediately after the ceremony, Caroline and Kenny snuck away with their photographer to take portraits as they walked through the jungle and around the property.
To choose their signature cocktails, Caroline and Kenny looked to menus from local restaurants and bars to get ideas for beach-ready drinks. They landed on a cucumber jalapeño margarita and a watermelon vodka passionfruit punch cocktail.
Take a Load Off
A lounge area was set up on the beach, inviting guests to grab a comfortable seat on the couch or cozy up with a blanket.
Find Your Bottle, Find Your Table
Attendees found their table numbers written on ribbons tied to small bottles of Don Julio. A sign read, "Don Julio has your name on a label, find your bottle, find your table."
The reception took place in a palapa with a thatched roof of dried palm leaves. Long wooden tables were paired with black chairs and embellished with lush floral garland centerpieces that matched the bridal bouquets; they cascaded onto the floor. "I've never seen such beautiful florals in my life!" the bride says. Other tables held smaller centerpieces, along with bud vases filled with pampas grass for a natural accent.
The Place Settings
Colored glassware and tealights complemented beige chargers and gold cutlery. "Our wedding planner suggested adding some black candlesticks last minute and everything was so romantic all lit up by candlelight!" Caroline says.
The Local Specials
For dinner, Caroline and Kenny wanted their guests to enjoy local dishes. The menu included fish fillet wrapped in a banana leaf, beef medallions in a Roquefort and pumpkin seed sauce, and chicken breast stuffed with cheese and covered in a mango sauce. Vegans enjoyed crepes stuffed with pumpkin stew and covered in a poblano sauce served with epazote potatoes. For dessert, the celebrants enjoyed a duo of miniature chocolate and fruit tarts.
The First Dance
Caroline and Kenny shared their first dance as husband and wife to "Beyond" by Leon Bridges, one of their favorite artists.
Photography, Krystle Akin
Venue and Catering, Akiin Beachclub
Event Coordinator, Fresa weddings
Event Design, Kay & Tee Boutique Rentals
Flowers, Vanessa Jaimes
Invitations, Tradition and Tribe
Place Cards, The Painted Paper
Menus, Millie Stone UK
Escort Cards, Inkberry Calligraphy
Signage, Letters + Dust
Bride's Gown, Galia Lahav
Bride's Shoes, Badgley Mischka
Bride's Hair, By Sandy Mendez
Bride's Makeup, Zoe Elizabeth
Bridesmaids' Attire, Show Me Your Mumu
Groom's Attire, Indochino
Groom's Accessory, Rolex
Groomsmen's Attire, Friar Tux
Music, Mariachi Sol del Caribe
Cake, Pasterelia La Migaja
Rentals, Kay & Tee Boutique Rentals
Favors, Off The Vine
Lighting, Gama Group