A Vibrant Wedding Fiesta in Sayulita, Mexico

This colorful celebration will give you total wanderlust

Updated 08/21/17

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

When Rendell Johnson proposed to Lacey Uhlemeyer on the island of Crete with a locally made ruby ring, while overlooking the coast, he set the stage for what would be an equally exotic, picturesque wedding. For the well-traveled pair who call Los Angeles home, it was only fitting that they said “I do” in a colorful, captivating destination. “I knew Sayulita, Mexico, was the right mix of a magical, romantic, and adventurous location for a dream wedding weekend,” says Lacey of the beach town where the party started Thursday and continued through Sunday morning.

Their nuptials at Teitaire Estate celebrated their fun-loving, adventurous personalities and leaned toward a festive palette inspired by the location. And while the May 13, 2016, fiesta was flawless, Lacey admits planning a wedding in Mexico is “no walk in the park.” Thankfully, her local photographer, Jillian Mitchell, and a good girlfriend who runs the event company Rustic & Refined Events were on hand to save the day when things didn't go as planned. “Every decision accomplished my dream of creating the ultimate weekend adventure for our guests," she says.

Shot of beach

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

The couple's 55 guests stayed together at Playa Escondida, a boutique hotel, but the wedding itself took place at Teitiare Estate, a beachside property with views of the both the Pacific and the jungle.

Bride Solo Beach Shot

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

Lacey wore a deep-V-neck dress by Stone Cold Fox that featured sheer lace tiers and a high slit in the front. “I knew I wanted a dress that felt a little less traditional,” she says. "This gown was the simple beachy dress I was looking for!" Although she donned Stuart Weitzman pumps for the ceremony, she—and most other guests!—kicked off her shoes and went barefoot in the sand for dinner and dancing.

Flower in bride's hair

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

In lieu of a veil, Lacey opted for bright flowers in her hair. She originally wanted a flower crown but changed the design last-minute and couldn’t have been happier with the result. “The flowers were beautiful, and my hair being up off my neck was perfect for the heat and full night of dancing," she says.

The bride’s vibrant bouquet was not only beautiful, it also carried lots of personal meaning for her and her family. A lace handkerchief from her late grandmother’s wedding day was wrapped around the bouquet, and a light-pink rosary belonging to her grandfather was pinned to it. “It was special seeing my sisters and mom put those final touches together,” she says.

Mexican Menu

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

Lacey and Rendell opted to send electronic invitations but created customized wedding bags with treats, a colorful weekend schedule, and dinner menus with stationer Poco Post.

Ceremony venue set up

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

Tropical wedding ceremony venue

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

Right before sunset, Lacey walked down the aisle to “Songbird,” by Fleetwood Mac, sung by her friend Tawney (who also taught the group yoga over the weekend), accompanied by a local Spanish guitarist.

Bride and groom walking

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

After the ceremony ended with their first kiss, guests followed a 12-piece mariachi band down to the sand for dinner and dancing.

Beachside cabana setup

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

The couple hired a DJ for dancing after the Spanish guitar and mariachi bands were through, and they provided him the exact song list and order for the night’s dance party. Guests truly let loose and danced the night away. “Some people got so hot, they ran into the ocean for a dip then joined the dancing again soaking wet!” says Lacey.

Wedding donkey with flowers

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

Flower arrangement on donkey

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

To kick off the night’s beach party, the newlyweds invited everyone to do a tequila toast in local clay jarritos carried on a donkey adorned with bright blooms.

Wedding reception table setup

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

Guests at wedding reception

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

The outdoor Mexican buffet, which Lacey says was “a laid-back traditional menu that would please the biggest foodie,” was set under a blanket of string lights and personalized paper picados. Tables featured local flowers, succulents, candles, and lace. The traditional wedding cake was replaced by a churro cart.

Wedding favor tote

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

At the end of the night, guests took home personalized maracas—and Mexico-inspired tote bags!—to remember the special weekend.

Mariachi band

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

Bride and groom dancing on beach

Photo by Jillian Mitchell

“From a local reggae band at the welcome party to late-night taco carts on our wedding night, guests were treated to three days of events reflecting the special yet laid-back vibe and culture of Sayulita, Mexico,” says Lacey.

Venue: Teitiare Estate || Catering: Elias Sapien Leal || Planner: Rustic & Refined Events || Bride’s Dress: Stone Cold Fox || Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman || Groom’s Attire: Scotch & Soda ||Floral Design & Rentals: Dazzling Details || Paper Products: Poco Post || Lacey’s Wedding Band: Jessica Seaton || Photography: Jillian Mitchell Photography

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