A few months ago we traveled down to the pretty surfing village of Sayulita Mexico to shoot Ashley+Greg’s wedding day. This couple is near and dear to our heart…both wonderful friends and watching their love story form and come together was amazing to witness.
They planned their wedding day living in Colorado but these two are complete wanderlusts so planning a destination wedding seemed like the perfect choice. I asked Ashley to write her blog post as I thought her story and planning adventures were a tale many of you would enjoy reading. So with no further ado…
When Greg and I got engaged, there was little question in our minds on the location of the wedding. Not long after we met, Greg and I attended a yoga retreat together at Haramara, a sacred gem of a retreat center located just south of Sayulita, Mexico. Greg had visited the area numerous times and instantly fell in love with the rawness, pure beauty of nature and authenticity of the quaint surf town. A few days into the retreat I was walking with Greg down the winding dirt path through the jungle to get to the beach when I was overcome with a feeling that we’d get married there someday. It was one of those moments that takes your breath away. I kept it to myself since we were still in the “beginning” stages of our relationship and didn’t want to come off too pushy in the direction of marriage (quite) yet. Not a day later we were near the same spot and Greg stopped and said “I have this strong feeling that we’re going to get married here someday”. As divine alignment would have it, fast forward a few years and that vision became a reality.
Due to our free-spirited nature, we wanted to create a ceremony and celebration that stayed true to who we are in our everyday lives: simple, authentic, adventurous, spiritual and connected to nature. There is a secluded beach we would climb across rocks to get to from the retreat center. Perched high above the ocean, on a large bluff overlooking these rocks was a beautiful structure that was hard to make out from the ground, but I was always curious if it was a private home, boutique hotel or some other retreat center. Luck would have it that while browsing Pinterest in wedding planning mode, I came across a random photo of a wedding set up on a beach and I just knew it was “that” beach. I clicked on it, following the link to the photographer’s website highlighting the wedding. At the bottom of the post was a link to the location website. Upon investigation of the site I discovered an aerial photo of the location. Sure enough, it was “our” beach with a private residence, Teitiare Estate, that holds events. Perfection.
Holding true to the intimate vision of our ceremony, we planned one evening with just fourteen of our closest friends and family to witness our union, barefoot on the beach, next to the very rocks we climbed over years before. Teitiare Estate arranged a dreamy dinner on the beach post ceremony with mouth watering local food and cocktails made right on site. Afterwards, we cabbed it back into downtown Sayulita to wander the streets of our beloved town and celebrate.
Knowing our friends would want to join in on the Mexican celebration, we opened the invite to join us for as little or much of the wedding week as they could with the culmination of a Friday night party on the beach at Don Pedro’s, a favorite local open air restaurant with a lovely outdoor space to hold our gathering. Being music lovers, Greg curated our favorite beats that eventually led to an epic dance party in the sand, under the full moon.
Since we live in Colorado and I hail from Grand Rapids, Michigan, I made a trip back to my hometown to go dress shopping at Bianka Bridal with my mom and best friend. The three of us walked into the appointment, all were pulled to one dress hanging on the wall and agreed it could be “it”. Since the dress seemed to have such a powerful energy, I selected it as the first one to try on. I knew immediately it was mine as soon as I put it on. Having my mom and best friend immediately break out into tears as I walked out of the dressing room sealed the deal. I tried on others, just for fun, but nothing compared.
The rest of the wedding planning came together very organically, using SayulitaLife.com to find a florist, Carmen McKnight of Flora Amor, and housing rentals for us and our guests. Flora Amor went above and beyond on our expectations for the flowers. I gave her some direction and she blew it out of the park, doing a beautiful job of incorporating my own feathers brought from Colorado into the designs. My local Fort Collins hairdresser, Carissa Buhl, was an obvious choice for my hair. I half joked during a routine visit I wished I could just fly her down to Mexico to take care of my hair for the celebrations and she expressed her excitement to do so. Well worth the splurge! The photographer decision was a no-brainer since one of my best friends from Michigan is a ridiculously talented photographer (she didn’t pay me to write that, by the way). We got a good laugh that many years ago, way before I knew I’d actually get married, I asked her if she’d travel to shoot my wedding. Love it when things like that come full circle. I also chose to bring in other meaningful details, like wearing my grandmother’s wedding ring during the ceremony and wearing my mom’s wedding dress she got married in, in Mexico back in the 70’s, while getting ready on the ceremony day. Greg’s mom graciously knit a gorgeous shawl for the occasion. A local Fort Collins artist, Jessie Moench of Bubble Beadwork, worked with me to create custom earrings to bring together both Greg and my birthstones as well as special stones and crystals with personal meaning. Greg and I put together our own ceremony from start to finish, incorporating a sacred alter and having our close friend, Matt, perform an opening invocation.
Keeping everything low key and true to ourselves is what made our celebration so special. We would not have changed a thing. By listening to our intuition and allowing things to show up as they did, made both the planning process and the event itself to be effortless and memorable.
Kelly+Jake. Jake+Kelly. These two, their laughter, and their love is just so contagious.
There were some true highlights from their wedding day this past December. Their entire ceremony radiated joy+love and a WHOLE lot of laughter…they were laughing, and crying and we all were too. These two have such sweetness together, literally (Jake proposed at Furniture City Creamery and we even stopped their between the ceremony and reception for a cone).
Enjoy a few highlights from the day and a list of their incredible vendor team that helped make it all come together /
(if you all have been following this blog for some time, I realize I have not been good about giving a detailed vendor list. I recently asked on my Facebook and Instagram if you all still even read blogs and many commented that they loved having a round-up of who helped this all come together. So…here you go!)
It’s hard to even know where to start on this post. Jeff + I photographed Krishanna+Jay’s wedding in the fall of 2015 on the tropical island of St. John. We adored and loved these two souls. Had the opportunity to get to know them more throughout the time we spent celebrating their wedding last year. And then parted ways.
Then, this past spring when they were visiting family here in Michigan, Krishanna reached out and wondered if we might want to have a drink together. It turned into a night of cocktails on our balcony, dinner at our favorite spot down the street and merrily catching up and forging a friendship that demanded we spend more time together. Fast forward to this past fall when Krishanna and Jay mentioned they were heading back to the scene of their destination wedding to celebrate their first anniversary. They wondered if we might want to join them and enjoy a vacation after a busy wedding season. We did just that. And couldn’t resist giving them an anniversary session. Here are the resulting images of a great friendship and the sweetest souls. We love you two!! Baby shark says hi! 😉
http://amycarroll.photography/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ACPWebsiteLogo-300x214.jpg00Amyhttp://amycarroll.photography/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ACPWebsiteLogo-300x214.jpgAmy2017-01-10 15:56:252017-02-11 11:12:18The Ernest Family / Lake Michigan Family Session / West Michigan Photographer