A Sophisticated Destination Wedding on the Beach

Real Weddings

For their wedding, Jodi and Michael pictured sand between their toes and fresh-squeezed drinks in their hands. "We knew we wanted to have a destination wedding, and we knew that we wanted it to be on a beach," Jodi says. "When it came to a theme, we thought that beach life was what we felt most connected to, and we wanted that to come through in our wedding."

On a trip to Tulum, Mexico, the couple discovered Esencia, where they would later hold their May wedding. "We knew the moment we arrived it was the perfect place to have our wedding," Jodi says of the Italian estate turned boutique hotel. "The thing we loved most about Esencia was that we knew our guests would feel at home while they were staying there for our wedding weekend," says the bride.

The couple's blue and white wedding invitation suite included a map and a list of sights and activities guests could enjoy over the weekend.

Jodi went to New York's Mark Ingram Atelier in search of the perfect bridal gown. "Starting the process, I wasn't sure what I wanted," the bride recalls. She slipped in and out of four dresses before a Vera Wang beauty caught her eye. The mermaid-style dress with a lace overlay and floral sash was "exactly what I was looking for," the bride says. "That was the dress."

Jodi's something old? A Swarovski crystal-embellished crown handed down from her aunt, which Jodi fashioned into a clip for her veil. The cathedral-length veil was also purchased from Mark Ingram Atelier.

Jimmy Choo pumps peeked out from beneath the layers of Jodi's dress.

Still-closed pale pink peonies made up Jodi's bouquet. Jodi wore her hair down, in a casual, ever-so-slightly curled style.

Bridesmaids wore floor-length navy sheaths from Amsale. "I wanted something that would complement the colors of the beach and the ocean, as well as complement my bridesmaids' beauty," Jodi says of the dresses.

The groomsmen's white and green boutonnieres were tied with ivory and purple ribbons.

The couple kept their ceremony décor simple, opting for "nothing but ocean as our backdrop," Jodi says. A white aisle runner led guests to cushioned wooden benches at the edge of the beach.

Rattan fans kept guests cool as they sat in the sun.

A flower girl scattered petals on the white aisle runner, designed by Brown Paper Design.

An officiant weaved the couple's love story into their ceremony. "Most importantly," Jodi says, he "talked about how happy we were to be able to celebrate our wedding with those close to us."

As the couple leaned in for their first kiss as man and wife, Esencia staff served guests tequila shots, "so that all of those in attendance could toast our first kiss," Jodi recalls. "Salud!"

Cocktail hour kicked off with a tequila tasting, where guests could compare 10 different kinds of the Mexican-bred beverage. "At least 15 new tequila converts were created, having erased college-era experiences," Jodi says.

Jodi and Michael's reception was held inside Esencia's restaurant, an open-air pavilion with views of the beach.

The couple's 60 guests were seated at just two banquet tables that stretched the length of the pavilion. White Chiavari chairs were covered in tan cushions, which matched custom table runners designed by Brown Paper Design.

An assortment of white flowers in red-and-white vases topped the tables, which were also lined with candles.

The couple gave maracas, a percussion instrument born in Latin America, as favors to guests. Menu cards featured a red-and-white, patterned border.

Taking what the couple refers to as a "diplomatic approach" to dinner, Jodi and Michael served up a meat-and-seafood duo for a dinner that guests loved. "Empty plates and many bottles later," Jodi says, "it was time to hit the dance floor."

And by the end of the night, Jodi says, it was time to jump into the pool in "full wedding attire."

—Jillian Kramer

Wedding Planner: Alison Events || Ceremony Venue: Esencia || Reception Venue: Esencia || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Bride's Veil: Mark Ingram Atelier || Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Bride's Accessories: Mark Ingram Atelier || Bride's Wedding Ring: Charles Fischler Diamonds || Groom's Tux: Tom Ford || Groom's Wedding Ring: Charles Fischler Diamonds || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale || Groomsmen Attire: J. Crew || Flower Girl Dress: Ralph Lauren || Flowers and Event Design: Brown Paper Design || Caterer: Esencia || Stationery: Olive Route Design & Letterpress || Cake Baker: Esencia || Entertainment: DJ Blue || Photography: Thayer Allyson Gowdy Weddings

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