Toes in the Sand

Real Wedding: Nandini & Yusef

A beloved member of the Colin Cowie team wed the love of her life at an eco-friendly sunset celebration in Playa Del Carmen.

On July 4th, 2012, barefoot on the beach and surrounded by 20 family members and friends, Nandini and Yusef said “I Do” in Playa Del Carmen. The couple, engaged for less than seven months, met at the Boom Boom Room in New York City, where Nandini claims Yusef put a spell on her with his mesmerizing green eyes. Two of their guests are wedding planners, which allowed them to put the whole event together in a month and mix luxe details with a low budget and efforts to stay as eco-friendly as possible.

After becoming engaged in Playa Del Carmen in January of that year, the couple knew they wanted to return for their wedding. They sought out Sandos Eco-Resort, where they mixed Big City touches with a relaxed, bohemian attitude. With help from their friends and family, they packed lanterns and fabrics in their suitcases, orchestrated vendors from afar and called upon their guests’ talents to make the night really shine. Nandini’s sister-in-law was the videographer, while Yusef, a cocktail architect by trade, did triple duty as groom, DJ and mixologist.

The bride wore a strapless chiffon gown from Badgley Mischka, which she paired with Ranjana Khan jewelry. The flowy dress was ideal for a beach wedding. Yusef wore custom tuxedo pants from MySuit and a Gucci tuxedo shirt. He accessorized with Cartier cufflinks and a Paneria watch. Both went barefoot to feel the sand under their toes. The couple also wore traditional Indian outfits, which the bride’s mother brought from a shop in London. The wedding spirits even made sure that everything fit without any prior fittings!

The bride’s father, an ordained Hindu priest, officiated a blessing ceremony on the beach. A shower of flower petals, the lighting of candles and Sanskrit blessings united the pair, while Playa Del Carmen made its own contributions – during the ceremony, an exotic bird landed on the mandap (or covered altar) and chirped as vows were exchanged. Yusef and Nandini wrote their own vows, which was a surprise for their guests. Yusef brought the group to tears with his list of reasons he loves his bride. 

The reception took place at a beautifully laid table under the stars. They used local flowers and minimal décor for a natural, rustic look that incorporated touches of turquoise to represent water (a nod to Nandini and Yusef’s astrological signs). During dinner, Nandini and Yusef asked their guests to share readings or poems about their love. They were incredibly creative – Nandini’s sister quoted a scene from Somewhere in Time, while her brother made up a poem using meaningful song lyrics. The couple and their friends danced the night away on the beach, an ideal start to their marriage and their life together.



--Jaimie Schoen

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