On Billions, Malin Akerman played Lara Axelrod, the fierce and formidable wife of a billionaire hedge fund manager. But on December 1, 2018, she played every part the boho bride, marrying actor Jack Donnelly in a breezy fete that could not have been further from her on-screen counterpart's lifestyle. The couple—who were friends for two years before they started dating—opted for a seaside ceremony in Tulum, Mexico, full of unique touches. “It was all about being authentic...not adhering to somebody else's standard of what a wedding should be,” Malin says of the attitude that came naturally to the duo. “We wanted the wedding to feel real to us. It gave us a lot of freedom.”
“We wanted something beautiful and lush,” says Malin of their dream setting. “When we visited Papaya Playa Project, we fell in love with the boho vibes and beach setting.” Guests were welcomed to the property with beach totes filled with snacks by KaoKao Chocolate and pineapple drink glasses by W&P Design.
The weekend's events kicked off on Friday night with a casual welcome dinner (they served tacos!), followed by a jam session, led by Rob Thomas on guitar.
We all know I'm not a virgin, and since that's what white is meant to represent, I didn't feel beholden to that. I felt like having a bit of fun with colors!
The wedding's free-spirited theme carried out in the couple's fashion choices as well. Take, for instance, the bride's gown in a romantic blush hue, a color Malin felt drawn to for her second wedding: “We all know I'm not a virgin, and since that's what white is meant to represent, I didn't feel beholden to that. I felt like having a bit of fun with colors!”
Malin paired her Cushnie slipdress with jewelry by Jacquie Aichenoa and a bouquet of roses and pampas grass. “On the night that Jack proposed to me, he brought me a bouquet of purple thistles,” she says. “I wanted to replicate that at our wedding.”
Friend Maranda Widlund did her makeup, creating a "fresh and glowy" look for the beautiful bride.
The couple's siblings made up their wedding party and had free rein on their outfit choices. "We just wanted them to feel comfortable," says the bride. Malin's son, Sebastian, also took part in the proceedings and wore a white fedora, vest, and bow tie for the occasion.
The groom went with a low-key look, pairing Paul Smith pants with a John Varvatos button-up.
Naturally, the unconventional details didn't stop there. Cocktail hour took place before the ceremony, during which guests took tequila shots on Papaya Playa Project's beach.
One of Jack's closest friends officiated the late-afternoon ceremony as waves washed over the bride's and groom's bare feet. The couple's friend Laura Pergolizzi (whose stage name is LP) performed as Malin walked down the aisle with her father, Magnus Akerman (right), and her stepfather Victor Tarnoy (left).
Once at the altar, she and Jack exchanged wedding bands by Deanna Devries and vows they'd written themselves. “[There were] no promises of forever. Just the promise that we would do our best every day we have together…to never hold each other back from any experience in life,” Malin says of their vows.
The happy newlyweds!
The ceremony ended just in time for golden hour, so Malin and Jack took advantage by taking portraits on the beach. Malin also posed with her son, Sebastian.
For the reception, Malin and Jack rented out a section of the hotel and set up tables in a U-formation, creating an “intimate, magical” setting for the open-air dinner. Each was topped with tall taper candles, etched vintage glassware, and bud vases of purple blooms and pampas grass.
"We just wanted a great party so the idea was to keep it casual, chill, and fun," Malin says. To create that vibe, the menu of ceviche Bandera and grilled octopus was served family-style.
Both the bride and groom gave heartfelt speeches during dinner.
Michelle Monaghan, Peter White, and Rob Thomas enjoyed the casual dinner atmosphere.
LP (singer Laura Pergolizzi) serenaded the newlyweds with “Lost on You” for their first dance. The party continued in the palapa, fueled by British DJ Zen Freeman and a round of tacos, tamales, and esquites.
The night concluded so perfectly—with guests jumping into the pool—you would think it was scripted for television. “It was a spontaneous moment I will never forget,” Malin recalls. “Everyone in their dresses and suits splashing around to really great music with a view of the ocean. We couldn't have asked for a better ending.”
This story originally appeared in the June/July 2019 issue of Brides, on sale beginning April 30.
Wedding Venue: Papaya Playa Project
Wedding Planner: Andrea Freeman Events
Bride's Dress: Cushnie
Hair & Makeup: Maranda Widlund
Floral Design: Maria Limon
Rentals: Archive Rentals
Catering: Ginger Hotel Tulum
Photography: MemoryBox Photography