It's a love story for the books. Erika and Ryan were high school sweethearts, then went on to college together before finally tying the knot over a decade later. With the Mexican seaside stretching out behind them, the two finally became man and wife.
Wedding date: June 11th 2016
Wedding location: Riviera Maya, Mexico
Number of guests: 82
Bridal Party: One maid of honour and one best man
Ceremony time: 5:00pm-5:25pm
Reception time: 6:30pm-11:30pm
Tell us about how you met...
We are high school sweethearts! We met at school and have been together ever since. We were inseparable, we even went off to college together. October 15th will be our 12 year anniversary. You might ask why we waited so long to get married. We wanted to graduate from college before tying the know and of course he had to save for my beautiful ring!
Where was the location of your wedding ceremony and reception?
The ceremony took place at the Occidental Grand Xcaret Resort. It was called the Beach Garden Gazebo which overlooked the ocean. It was beautiful and we loved having the ocean as our background. The reception also took place at the resort. It was a few steps from the ceremony site. Right after the ceremony we had a cocktail hour which took place at the beach club deck. There were cocktail tables and lounge furniture for guests. We had giant letters with our initials and a beer boat where guest could grab their own beer or head to the bar for a cocktail. After everyone headed to the Beach Club Restaurant which was also connected to the deck.
What was the vibe or theme of your wedding?
We didn’t have a specific theme in mind when we were planning our wedding. All I knew is that I wanted the perfect lavender color. I was very specific about this as I did not want pink décor the day of the wedding. Our colors were white and silver with a touch of lavender. I wanted the lavender to be bright and pop. We didn’t need to do much because of the beautiful tropical location we were at. This is probably what I was the most worried about but the funny thing is the day of the wedding I did not even pay attention to the small details because I was too busy enjoying our day. Some of the flowers did have a pink tone but I didn’t know that until I saw the photos after the wedding and I was completely okay with that because everything looked beautiful.
How easy or hard was it to plan your wedding?
It was extremely easy, everything was done online aside from us choosing the resort in person. The wedding planner would send us pictures of everything that was available. It is even easier if you choose one of the pre-planned packages that are often free when you book the resort for the wedding. I chose to plan everything for our wedding and chose all the décor myself and paid a little extra to make it our own.
What are you glad you did on your special day?
I am glad that we had the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception all in the same area. No one missed the wedding, not that I know of at least. I was also glad I had extended the wedding time until 11:30pm because the resort had it set for 9:30pm. We literally danced the night away! I love looking over the beautiful moments that were captured by Catherine Smeader Photography. I get to relive the day all over again and laugh at some of our amazing dance moves.
Describe the reception space...
The reception space was beautiful! It was an extra-large palapa that could accommodate one hundred guests with a beautiful deck surrounding it. The ocean was our background as well as the beautiful trees, some of which were growing through the deck. We had white hammocks hanging from some of the trees that were growing through the deck. Guest could hang out on the deck and relax on the lounge furniture or sit on the hammocks. We had round tables set out under the palapa and the dance floor was at the center so everyone was involved in all of the wedding activities.
Did you have an itinerary or planned activities for guests on either side of the wedding?
The only thing we had a scheduled was a welcome dinner held on the night before the wedding. Our welcome dinner was a fiesta theme. It was held outdoor in a hacienda within the resort. We served hors d’oeuvres and had an open bar for two hours. It was hard to plan activities for 82 guests so we agreed that it would be better for guests to plan their own activities.
What advice would you give a couple planning a destination wedding in this location?
I would advise couples to do an onsite visit. The resorts do not look the same in person as they do in the photos. When I was going through the planning phase I picked my top three resorts to visit with my husband, mother, and sister. We hired a wedding planner to take us to these locations and after attending each resort, I did not like any of the three I had picked as my favorite. On the last day of our trip we asked the wedding planner to take us to one last resort I had seen online. I was so glad we made the choice to go to one last resort because it ended up being our favorite. We all loved it from the moment we walked in.
Also, make sure the resort you choose has a private ceremony area. This was my biggest concern. I did not want someone sunbathing five feet away from us during our ceremony. I also did not want individuals to be able to stand around our ceremony location and ruin our photos.
What did you like about having a destination wedding?
I liked that we and our guests were able to have a vacation aside from celebrating our special day. Some of the guest had never been to Mexico nor had not taken a trip in a long time. I am glad everyone else could build new memories.
What was your favourite part of your wedding day?
My favorite moment was seeing my husband’s face as I walked down the aisle. We both had waited for this moment for a long time. At the time, we had been dating for eleven years so I could not wait to be husband and wife and to be called Mrs. Foster. The photos show so much excitement as we were saying our vows and I am sure I said "I’m finally a Foster!" a million times…seriously.
Photography: Catherine Smeader Photography
Ceremony: The Garden Gazebo at Occidental Grand Xcaret
Reception: The Beach Club Restaurant and Deck
Wedding Rings: Intercontinental Jewelers
Bride’s gown: Enzoani
Bride’s shoes: Badgley Mischka
Bride’s accessories: Givenchy earrings, Wedding Belles New York hair accessory was also purchased at www.nordstrom.com and the brand was Wedding Belles New York The garter set Bride's garter: Nestina
Bride's hair stylist and makeup artist: Doranna De Bortoli
Bridesmaid dresses: Impression Bridal
Groom’s suit: Ted Baker
Groom's shirt: Michael Kors
Groom’s shoes: Vaccari western boots
Groom’s suspenders: Roundtree and Yorke
Groom's socks: Target
Flower girl dresses: Etsy
Event planner, celebrant and entertainment: Occidental Grand Xcaret
Cinematographer: The Ocean Photo Weddings
Transport: Lomas Travel
Cake décor and wedding guest book: Etsy
Flowers: Alquimia Events
Decor: Letras Gigantes
Guest favours and invitations: Paper Roses Studio