In true modern fashion, Andreea Cristina and Bryan Gaul's relationship began with a Twitter DM. "I added him thinking he was cute, and then I got a nice message back from him with the cutest pickup line and that’s how we started talking," the bride recalls. Fast forward a few months, and the pair—she's the beauty blogger behind Simply Andreea; he's a professional soccer player—finally met in person for their first date...at the airport! Andreea had a layover in Frankfurt, Germany on her way to Berlin, so Bryan (who was living in Germany at the time) came to meet her. "I had potato salad and sauerkraut, and he had a coffee," Andreea adds of their October 2016 IRL meet-cute.
The airport date proved successful, and the pair embarked on a quick getaway to Venice, Italy, in February 2017 when Bryan had time off from soccer. The trip coincided with Carnival, which Andreea says made it more memorable, but the most noteworthy moment came when Bryan proposed on day two. After sightseeing, the couple settled into a café along the water to watch the sun go down, and Andreea went to the restroom to wash her hands. When she returned, Bryan immediately plunged into his romantic proposal, which featured several rhetorical questions. His bride-to-be—not realizing an engagement was on the way— unintentionally interrupted multiple times with (unwanted!) answers. "He blew past my interruptions only to get to the end and pull out a ring box he’d been carrying around in his pocket all day," she says. "And the rest is history."
The travel-enthusiasts naturally landed on an overseas locale, Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun Resort & Spa in Cancun, Mexico, for their wedding on December 8, 2018. (The bride says her friend John Zaring of the The Zaring Group first introduced her to the property and adds that he was also on hand through the whole planning process.) "I wanted a destination wedding in a place where the weather would be nice, a place that people could also use as a vacation in the middle of winter, and a place that was elegant and refined but still fun and relaxing," Andreea explains. Largely thanks to the help of their wedding planner, Events by Talissa, as well as their venue, the long-distance duo managed to map out their big day in just six months! Though, Andreaa admits that her "easygoing groom" let her take the reins, which resulted in a stunning outdoor event that reflected the bride's love of nature.
Keep reading to see Andreea and Bryan's beautifully low-key destination weekend (especially the picturesque seaside ceremony), as captured by Lauren Alexandra, below.
Over the course of the weekend-long celebration, Andreea stunned in separate dresses for the welcome dinner, ceremony, and reception. "With all three dresses, I had a different feeling," she explains. "I think they accomplished their individual tasks in the wedding, and I don’t think just one dress would have sufficed." To start, the bride wore a BHLDN sheath dress with a deep low-cut back and bohemian allure. "It got the party started on Friday and set the wedding tone for the weekend," Andreea adds.
Bryan also opted for multiple outfit changes, taking to a beige suit for the first evening of festivities and a classic navy blue tuxedo for the main event.
Andreea had no doubts that her ceremony dress—an A-line, off-the-shoulder design from Pronovias's new collection—was the one. "I saw it online and immediately knew it was it," she says. "It really made me feel like a bride." Given the gown's volume, Andreea kept her jewelry on the dainty side, accessorizing with a minimalist three-diamond necklace and matching drop earrings.
Florist Maria Limón created a romantic bridal bouquet that also seamlessly played off the venue's vibe with elegant, neutral tones. Andreea did add her own pop of color, though, rocking a bright manicure as a fun spin on the something-blue tradition. The beauty guru also, not surprisingly, tackled her own makeup.
Feeding into Andreea's outdoor vision, the pair wed on a dock in the middle of the ocean with only their parents in tow. Both Andreea and Bryan opted for a closed, standing ceremony (sans wedding party) to avoid overcomplicating the planning process and to keep things as intimate as possible. "Other family members and close friends were there for all the other events, and it worked out great," says the bride. "People had the day off to hang by the beach and then show up at 6 p.m. for the reception."
While the breathtaking turquoise backdrop was hard to top, Andreea successfully enhanced the spot with large pieces of pampas grass for a seaside garden feel. The dock's textured slats also contributed to the ceremony's overall natural aesthetic.
A longtime family friend of the groom's married the pair, who opted against writing personalized vows. Instead, the officiant asked Andreea and Bryan a series of questions separately before the big day, then revealed their answers at the ceremony. "We found out Bryan and I are a lot more similar in thinking than we thought," says the bride.
For the reception, the bride slipped into her third and final dress, a mermaid-style number with cascading layers of lace and tulle by Rita Vinieris Rivini. Andreea lucked out after finding BHLDN shoes that perfectly matched the frock but, given the wedding venue's uneven, sandy terrain, ended up trading them for a pair of custom Chucks to avoid any stumbles down the aisle. Her kicks featured a muted sea foam–green interior, along with the pair's wedding date inscribed on the back. "I would highly recommend comfy shoes on the big day," she says. She also accessorized the look with a few statement pieces from Effy Jewelry.
Bryan also paired white sneakers with a casual light blue suit and untucked shirt for the beachside reception, where the rest of the guests reconvened to celebrate the newlyweds.
Andreea knew from the get-go that she wanted an alfresco dining experience under the stars and for wedding attendees to experience a "wow moment." To encapsulate this feeling, friends and family made their way down a candle-lined staircase where they were immediately greeted with the couple's signature cocktails.
As for seating, exposed wood tables alluded to the natural vibe, while structured, linen-backed chairs added an air of elegance. An abundance of wild flowers, delicate roses, pampas grass, and pieces of fruit also adorned the romantic and relaxed tablescape.
The pair selected separate menus for each wedding event, and reception-goers enjoyed a buffet-style meal of chicken, fish, lobster, steak, veggies, and salad atop matte gold flatware and delicate crystal chargers.
At the end of the celebration, the newlyweds cut into an minimalist, two-tiered wedding cake with carrot and lime flavors.
As for couples planning their own nuptials, Andreea says to "take it one day at a time and have a contact person during your wedding celebration." She also offered an important piece of technology advice: "Just turn off your phone so you can be in the moment!" (We'll take that piece of advice, especially coming from the pro-Instagrammer!)
Venue, Catering, & Accommodations: Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach
Wedding Planner: Events by Talissa
Bride's Veil: Pronovias
Hair: Lisa Ortiz
Groom's Attire: Friar Tux
Engagement Ring: Heidi Gibson
Wedding Rings: Marrow Fine
Floral Design: Maria Limón
Paper Products: Pirouette Paper
Music: DJ: Juan Goruva
Rentals: Archive Rentals
Transportation: Tropical Incentives
Videographer: Linden Degurian
Photographer: Lauren Alexandra