There are two versions of the story of how Crystal Tang and Jarod Allen first met. “The way Jarod tells it, we met at a Subway in the Tenderloin in San Francisco. He knew it was love when I ordered the same sandwich as he did,” Crystal says. The truth? “We’re a real Match.com success story!” However it happened, Jarod and Crystal are sure glad it did. The pair dated for two years before Jarod gave Crystal an unexpected Christmas surprise. “He woke me up at 3 a.m., wearing a red Christmas onesie, and then walked in the living room, in front of our tree, and got down on both knees in front of our tree," she says.
"I had to remind him that he only needed to be on one!”
The California couple had a destination wedding in mind, and wanted a spot that would be an easy trip for their family and friends. With white sand beaches and crystal-clear water at the top of their “must have” list, they turned to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, on November 12, 2016, tied the knot there. Crystal used to be a wedding planner, so she teamed up with the hotel’s coordinator to take care of the details and created a boho wedding. “It was hard to not see things before we arrived, but as soon as we were in Playa Del Carmen, all my stress was gone—it went off without a hitch,” she says.
Photographer Mirelle Carmichael was there to document the boho wedding day, as Jarod and Crystal proved that once you find the person you’re meant to be with, it doesn’t matter how it happened.
The bride embraced the boho vibe with a strapless lace gown from Sarah Seven. The elegant fabric was draped over a blush underlay, giving it a warm and unexpected feel. She paired the dress with a hint of sparkle in the form of Stuart Weitzman pumps. She carried a bouquet of vendela roses, cymbidium orchids, and seeded eucalyptus, tied with off-white and gold ribbon.
The wedding party was mismatched to perfection. The groomsmen wore a mix of gray and khaki pants with white shirts and suspenders, while the bridesmaids wore long dresses in colors that blended seamlessly into the hotel’s décor.
The ceremony took place on the terrace overlooking the resort’s pool and the Caribbean Sea. Guests sat on ghost chairs flanked by candles in hurricane lanterns. The program was printed on paper bags filled with pink rose petals meant to be tossed after the couple’s first kiss.
The bride and groom exchanged vows beneath a dark wood altar decorated with branches and hanging flowers. Crystal’s vows opened with a line her guests absolutely loved. “I started by saying that, when I was growing up, I never dreamed about a prince on a white horse. Instead I dreamed about a dork who could make me laugh—and Jarod is my dork,” she says, laughing.
At the poolside reception, dinner tables were kept simple and modern, with sheer gold linens adding texture to the square tables. Centerpieces combined gold vases full of roses and calla lilies, all lit by candles.
Each place setting featured a gold charger, topped with a blush napkin tied with seeded eucalyptus. Flags and bubble wands were scattered throughout to encourage the celebration. Each table was finished with an acrylic menu printed with the evening’s meal. The Yucatan buffet featured roasted pork, Pibil chicken, stewed pumpkin, and Mexican cornbread. For dessert, guests indulged in arroz con leche (rice pudding), Mexican milk jello, and a churro station.
The bride and groom sat at a sweetheart table draped in seeded eucalyptus and lit with taper candles. As the meal came to a close, the couple made a speech to thank their guests—and then surprised them with fireworks!
“We are so glad we had a destination wedding,” Crystal says. “It was the perfect opportunity to gather our family and friends for a few days of fun and bonding, and was truly a vacation with the people we love most. It also ended up being much more affordable than having the same wedding at home in San Francisco!"
Venue, Catering & Cake: Playacar Palace || Day-Of Coordinator: Mara Martinez of Playacar Palace || Bride's Dress: Sarah Seven || Bride's Shoes: Stuart Weitzman || Hair & Makeup: Playacar Palace Spa || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale; Joanna August; Reformation || Bride's Jewelry: Tiffany & Co.; Kendra Scott || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Tiffany & Co. || Groom's Attire: Nordstrom || Floral Design & Rentals: Grupo Gama || Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas || Music: J & S Audio Visual || Videography: Red Carpet Films || Photography: Mirelle Carmichael || Photo Booth: La Cabina Mexico