Life’s a Beach

Real Wedding: Jennifer and Michael

Most couples wait to vacation after their wedding. Not Jennifer and Michael. This Brooklyn-based couple turned their April 2011 nuptials into a holiday—and invited 45 guests to join in the “I Dos” in Cancun, Mexico. Here’s their story.

Mexico is close to the heart for Jenny and Mike. Mike proposed on bended knee earlier that year on a vacation in nearby Tulum. “Most of all, the vacation vibe created a very relaxing and fun feel that really symbolizes us,” says Jenny, who hosted their wedding at the Azul Beach Hotel in Puerto Morelos.

For the beach ceremony, fashion designer Naeem Khan custom-made a strapless champagne tulle gown suited for the ocean but also showcasing Naeem’s signature beadwork and embroidery. “I loved that it wasn’t bright white. The champagne shade gave it a bit of a vintage look,” recalls the bride.

Jenny also wore earrings designed by Naeem’s wife, jewelry designer Ranjana Khan. But it was the gown’s sweetheart neckline and adornment of three-dimensional hand-cut beaded flowers that really wowed the guests.

It was their flower girl Grace, the groom’s daughter, who almost stole the show in their ceremony. “To Mike and I, the wedding was not only about us as a couple but about our becoming a family,” says Jenny who has known Mike’s 10-year-old daughter since she was only 3.

Flowers were a big part of their wedding’s style as well, thanks to a tête-à-tête Jenny had with Colin Cowie himself when she started to plan her wedding. “Colin actually suggested the types of flower to me (he is a close friend of Naeem’s) and I met with him for a brainstorming session during the planning stage,” recalls Jenny. “Colin gave me excellent advice because I really love romantic flowers—peonies, hydrangeas—but he explained that it is always best to use the flowers that grow in the region where you get married rather than force the issue.”

So, while a few cream roses were added to Jenny’s bouquet, orchids abound in her flowers as well as the bridesmaids’ posies. “They looked perfect in the tropical setting and never wilted or drooped like my favorite romantic buds would have!”

It was their flower girl Grace, the groom’s daughter, who almost stole the show in their ceremony. “To Mike and I, the wedding was not only about us as a couple but about our becoming a family,” says Jenny who has known Mike’s 10-year-old daughter since she was only 3. Jenny said some moving words to her future stepdaughter about the importance she had in her life and then surprised her with a custom-made necklace by Me&Ro.

Afterwards, a festive mariachi band kicked in, surprising the guests and switching the tone of the event from an emotional ceremony to a celebratory reception. They led the way for Mike, Jenny, Grace and all the guests to a party site nearby on the beach. “We wanted the weekend to feel like a big party, with a wedding thrown in, rather than the other way around,” explains the bride.

Instead of a seated meal, guests were offered a whopping 14 different types of passed hors d’oeuvres for dinner. Many of the bites featured some of the freshest seafood nearby, since the resorts lies near a fishing village, such as gazpacho shooters, seafood ceviche, mini tacos, ahi tuna skewers, risotto fritters, caprese skewers and poached quail’s egg in a parma ham nest. “Sitting down for dinner tends to kill a festive mood,” explains the bride. The dessert was also decidedly local. A plated tres leches cake with tropical fruit was served in lieu of a traditional wedding cake.

The vacation-mode wedding celebration continued well into the evening. It included plenty of toasts, an epic dance party and even a tequila bar. Still, nothing compared to the dance the groom shared alone with his daughter to The Temptations’ My Girl. Recalls Jenny, “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.”

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--Erinn Bucklan

 
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