A Colorful Destination Wedding in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

This former BRIDES photo editor and her photographer beau celebrated in a picture-perfect locale.

Updated 12/26/18
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Photo by Stephanie Brauer

Corey Maywalt was smitten with Brenda Armendariz from the moment they first met. “I was working full-time at a photo studio in New York in 2011, and Corey was a freelancer,” Brenda recalls. “He came to see me at the studio every day!” Corey won Brenda over, and the pair dated from May of 2012 until a trip to Iceland in July of 2016. “Corey gifted me a dream vacation to Iceland for Christmas in 2015, and we hopped on the plane a few days before his birthday in July of 2016,” she says. “Three days into our trip, we stopped at Diamond Beach, and I started playing with the chunks of ice that had washed ashore. I even posted on social media with a piece on my hand, joking about it being a diamond.” Once the post was up, Corey asked Brenda to come look at something he’d found in the sand, and he got down on one knee with real ice for her to put on her finger.

The couple had always talked about Isla Mujeres, an island off the coast of Cancun, Mexico, as a possible wedding venue, and once they got engaged they jumped into planning their a wedding there on May 25, 2018. “We are huge foodies, and knew we wanted a venue with incredible food and service,” says Brenda. “Zama Beach Club has it all, with a modern vibe and a secluded location.”

They elevated the tropical setting, using local flowers and hints of blue, green, and white to put a contemporary spin on a beach wedding. A local wedding planner made planning their wedding from NYC a breeze and, though Brenda and Corey took their own engagement photos (they are both photographers, after all!), they tapped Stephanie Brauer to capture their wedding day.

Get a peek at this former Brides staffer’s gorgeous gown and all the ways she and her beau put a personal twist on their Mexican fiesta, below!

Mexico venue

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

The couple said "I do" surrounded by the turquoise waters and lush greenery of Isla Mujeres.

Wedding menu

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

Tropical education

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

Corey and Brenda’s invitation suite was all about playful color. Their paper goods paired palm leaves and anthurium flowers with coconut cocktails, flamingo floaties and, of course, a tropical crest. (They even had coordinating stamps made by Zazzle!)

BRide's earrings

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

Bride's tropical bouquet

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

Brenda snagged her dangling white beaded earrings at Barney’s. “I loved them the moment I saw them!” she says. The modern yet playful style was a perfect match for the bride’s dramatic bouquet, which paired a white king protea with pink and white anthurium and bright ginger flowers.

Bride and groom on bike

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

“We actually had our first look the day before the wedding,” Brenda reveals. “It made it so special to not be rushed and have that time to take photos, just the two of us.”

Brenda wore a custom dress by Anomalie, featuring a modern lace pattern that reminded the bride of the stonework and architecture of the beach club. “I knew I wanted a fitted, long-sleeved dress, and the cotton fabric meant it would still be lightweight and breathable.” She added embroidered Aquazzura shoes and a silver belt she found on Asos. Corey chose a vibrant blue Alton Lane suit, and loved that he will be able to wear it again and again.

Ceremony venue

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

Seats at ceremony

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

Monstera leaf arrangements

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

The next day, the couple wed beneath a bamboo altar on the beach. Two colorful arrangements, backed by palm leaves, tied back the floating white fabric and coordinated with bride’s anthurium and protea bouquet. The space was completed with vases of palm leaves marking the aisle and blonde cross-back chairs for guests to sit in.

Bride and groom during ceremony

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

Bride and groom at ceremony

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

Bride and groom recessional

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

Brenda’s family is Mexican, so the couple incorporated the traditional wedding “lasso” (made of flowers and greenery) into their ceremony. “The rope is placed over the bride and groom in the form of an infinity sign," she explains. "It symbolized our everlasting union as we exchanged our vows.”

Bride and groom on dock

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

After the ceremony, the newlyweds posed for sunset pics on the dock before joining their guests on the beach for cocktail hour.

Coconut drinks

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

Drink sign

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

Signature cocktails

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

A display of freshly cut coconuts awaited guests at a palm-covered bar, though many were tempted instead by Brenda and Corey’s signature drinks. Hers was a spicy watermelon margarita, while his was a whiskey ginger (in honor of his red hair).

Reception place setting

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

Dinner menu

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

Dinner place setting

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

The reception took place on the hotel’s turquoise-tiled patio, where bare tables were draped in white silk runners, and each place setting featured a hand-died napkin embroidered with a guest’s name. Bilingual menus detailed the dinner choices, including conch ceviche (“One of the most incredible things I’ve ever eaten!” says Brenda), grouper and chicken prepared in the Mayan style, and a choice of berry cheesecake or warm Mexican chocolate cake.

Wedding musician

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

Bride and groom first dance

Photo by Stephanie Brauer

A Mariachi band played traditional Mexican music at cocktail hour and into dinner. “We ended up having our first dance right there in the middle of the reception!” says Brenda.

Looking back on their big day, Corey and Brenda say they were reminded that it wasn’t about the details, but about sharing their day with the most important people in their lives. “My favorite memory was having my grandmother there,” says Brenda. “I spent every summer with her as a child, but by the time our wedding arrived I hadn’t gotten to see her in a decade. I am so happy she was able to attend!"

Wedding Planner: Papillon Weddings || Venue & Catering: Zama Beach Club || Bride's Dress & Veil: Anomalie || Bride's Shoes: Aquazurra || Bride's Jewelry: Barney’s || Groom's Attire: Alton Lane || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Leibish || Floral Design: Vanessa Jaimes || Paper Products: Mary Fama || Guest Book: Star Board Press || Music: DJ Disco Movil || Photography: Stephanie Brauer

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