Donna Valle and Amine Tayara have always loved a good party. After meeting at two different events in Los Angeles, “Amine worked up the nerve to ask me on a date and we have been inseparable ever since,” Donna recalls. Six-and-half-years and one cross-country move later, Amine asked Donna another question—this time, proposing while on vacation in California in May 2017.
For their wedding, the couple wanted an event that the bride describes as “jungle bohemian glam with disco flair.” They found the ideal setting for their specific vision at Papaya Playa Project, a boutique beach hotel in Tulum, Mexico. “When we’d first visited Tulum, we happened to be in town during one of Papaya Playa’s well-known 'Full Moon Parties,' and after touring the property, we knew it was the perfect location," Donna explains. In May 2019, they hosted a weekend's worth of events at spaces across the property, ultimately saying "I do" on the beach on May 18, 2019. The date was chosen for a specific reason. “After our wedding reception, our guests also received entrance to the Full Moon party, where we kept the party going until 4 a.m.," says the bride.
Keep scrolling to see every detail of Amine and Donna's boho-chic celebration (imagine disco ball décor and a totally unique ceremony site!) in Tulum, Mexico, as planned by Destination Weddings Tulum and photographed by Katie Ruther.
Invitations were done by Swell Press and each included a packing list and a schedule of weekend events to prepare guests ahead a time. Once in Mexico, the weekend kicked off with a “Welcome Fiesta” on the white sand beach at Papaya Playa Project.
On the wedding day, Donna and her bridesmaids sipped on drinks as they got ready in one of the property's macramé-filled suites. The bride wore her hair in a low chignon bun and had her make up done by her cousin, makeup artist Silvia Moreno.
Donna chose a lace gown by Rue de Seine, which she paired with Isabel Marrant hoop earrings and gold Gucci heels. “The day before our wedding, Amine’s stepmom gifted me a beautiful gold ring that had been passed down by generations in her family,” says Donna. “I was beyond grateful she would give me something with such sentimental value and to honor her and her thoughtfulness I wore it on my wedding day.”
The bride enhanced her already boho look with a lush bouquet of white king protea surrounded by eucalyptus, palms, and white flowers such as orchids and anthurium.
The bridesmaid dresses were by Watters, and each woman wore the same hue (French blue) in the style of her choosing. “I wanted a neutral look for my bridal party that would compliment the beautiful beach backdrop,” says the bride. (In addition to matching the ocean backdrop, the gowns coordinated with painted blue surfaces around the hotel's property.)
When we finally saw each other, he gave me the deepest hug. I was so relieved in that moment, and I felt those nerves just fade away.
“Amine and I did a first look, and honestly, I am so glad that we did because in the moments leading up to the wedding I got extremely nervous,” Donna admits. “When we finally saw each other, he gave me the deepest hug. I was so relieved in that moment, and I felt those nerves just fade away. I’m glad our photographer was there to capture it because it was truly special to have that moment to ourselves.”
Amine wore a custom beige linen suit and Salvatore Ferragamo shoes. “On our wedding day, the bridal party and I had a joke about Amine being a 'Groomzilla,'” says Donna with a laugh. “From losing his second shirt to having his outfits re-steamed, he completely embraced the role and it kept us laughing all day as we all got ready.”
“The thing about Tulum weather is that it is very unpredictable," Donna admits. "Showers throughout the day are common so a venue that had some coverage for all events was a must!” The couple held their ceremony beneath the hotel’s chapel, a triangular thatched-roofed palapa overlooking the water.
One of the bride’s favorite moments of the day happened just before she walked down the aisle. “We were waiting to be called and to help with nerves, we put on Thotianna and had a mini dance party while we took tequila shots with my dad,” she recalls.
Donna walked down the aisle with her father as a guitarist and soloist played Spanish-style fusion world music. Once at the altar, she and Amine exchanged traditional vows.
The ceremony backdrop was decorated with monstera leaves, palm fronds, orchids, pampas grass, and white king proteas. Similar arrangements, positioned along the end of wooden benches, accented the aisle.
I wanted the beautiful backdrop of the place to shine through with some boho-glam touches woven throughout to enhance its natural beauty.
“I wanted the beautiful backdrop of the place to shine through with some boho-glam touches woven throughout to enhance its natural beauty,” says Donna of their reception décor. During cocktail hour the couple’s 90 guests sipped on coconut drinks engraved with the wedding date and hashtag. After, everyone found their table assignments printed on an acrylic box surrounding more white flowers and foliage.
At the reception, guests sat at tables decorated with votive candles and arrangements of white flowers and eucalyptus.
Place settings combined matte black plates, gold flatware, woven chargers, and acrylic place cards. The family-style dinner featured some of the couple’s favorite local dishes, including ceviche, mole chicken, and cactus salad. "Amine and I were both very involved in this process and made sure that we both had input in all of these elements, particularly the music, entertainment, and food," Donna says. "We also wanted our wedding to mimic our laid-back personalities, which we think we achieved.
Dancing took place below a major installation of disco balls and palm leaves. A neon sign that read, "Dance to the Moon and Reach for the Stars," hinted a surprise to come later in the night.
“We wanted to weave in our two cultures—Amine is Lebanese, and I’m Mexican—in some way,” says Donna. “So we kicked off the celebrations with belly dancers, a Mayan warrior ritual, and a saxophone player.” The couple performed their first dance to James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go” before a DJ got the party going. Naturally, the night ended at the hotel’s Full Moon Party.
Looking back on the planning process, Donna shared one piece of advice: take your time! "We had a very long engagement—two years—but, that way, we didn’t rush into anything and really were able to participate in all of the wonders of planning,” she says.
Wedding Venue & Catering: Papaya Playa Project
Wedding Planner: Destination Weddings Tulum
Bride’s Dress: Rue de Seine, from Lovely Bride
Bride’s Accessories: Isabel Marant, Gucci
Hair: Dahena Buhaya
Makeup: Silvia Moreno
Bridesmaid Dresses: Watters
Invitations: Swell Press
Ceremony Music: Los Padrinos
Reception Music: DJ Fermix
Rentals: Archive Rentals; Kay & Tee Boutique Rentals
Videography: LunArts Films
Photography: Katie Ruther