I Had My Dream Wedding in a Literal Cave

Photo credit: Ruben Chamorro
Photo credit: Ruben Chamorro

From Cosmopolitan

When I got engaged to my now ~husband~, we were torn about where to have our wedding. His family lives in California, mine is in Michigan…but we both live in New York, so figuring out a convenient spot for everybody was tough. That’s when it hit us: Since our guests would have to travel anyway, let's do it up and plan a ceremony on the beach in Mexico!

After lots of research, we decided on Hotel Xcaret, a luxury hotel outside Cancun that’s literally built around caves. The resort had everything we were looking for: Not only is it absolutely gorg, but it’s also all-inclusive-aka unlimited food and drinks. (Hello, swim-up bar!)

I wanted everything to look and feel as dreamy as I envisioned, and luckily, it was. Here, six things I learned about planning a wedding that's as fun as it is Instagrammable.

Planning a wedding kicks up your stress level to 1,000, so make sure you build in extra time to relax. Hotel Xcaret's infinity pool was the ideal spot to do just that: It’s located in the center of the resort overlooking the ocean and has a huge swim-up bar, meaning a piña colada is just a splash or two away.

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Since we were in Mexico, having our ceremony on an actual beach was a no-brainer, so we embraced the tropical theme and ran with it. Our arch was filled with gorgeous palm and monstera leaves, and Mary Lambert performed "She Keeps Me Warm" as we walked down the aisle. It literally looked and felt like a scene right out of a movie.

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One of our closest friends officiated, and our childhood BFFs shared memories. My brother also read a bible verse straight out of A Walk To Remember, so I guess you could say I was basically Mandy Moore for the day.

Our dress code was "beach formal," meaning we wanted everyone to look their best but also feel comfortable (AKA not pass out from heat exhaustion or let sweat ruin their hair and makeup.) Pro tip for the boys? Wear cotton! It's breathable, so you’ll avoid that dreaded back sweat. Plus, the fabric is less likely to wrinkle than linen. My husband and I went with these navy suits from Bonobos, and we were comfy in them the entire night.

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My guests turned out looks too-I saw so many bright, fun colors that I felt like I was looking at a literal rainbow. Prime example: my BFF and Cosmo’s digital creative director, Abby Silverman, wore this Leal Daccarett dress from Armarium, a high-end clothing-rental service. Shout-out to Abby for rocking such an iconic sleeve in the humidity. (That’s what friends are for, right?)

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We hosted our reception at Las Cuevas, a stunning restaurant in a literal cave. It was lined with candles and opened up to a private river and beach. Still, we wanted to customize the space a bit to make it feel more ~us~, so we brought in our own dance floor to lay over the sand. We also hung up string lights, making the venue feel even dreamier.

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I still choke up a bit when I think back to our first dance. We danced to “The Bones” by Maren Morris, which perfectly sums us up. My husband and I come from completely different backgrounds, and as part of a gay couple I'd be lying if I said everything's been easy. But no matter what, we always knew the foundation of our relationship was strong enough to block out all that outside noise. So the lyrics, "I know any storm we're facing/Will blow right over while we stay put/The house don't fall when the bones are good" gave us all the feels.

You’d be a fool to walk past a waterfall and not have an impromptu photo shoot. Luckily, Hotel Xcaret has a waterfall around every single corner. The day after the wedding, my ~new husband~, our closest friends, and I had a photo shoot...because we're *EXTRA*.

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Although our wedding was amazing, we knew we'd want some alone time to unwind and enjoy married life, so we extended our trip and mini-mooned nearby. We stayed at Ahau Tulum, an eco-friendly resort with cabin-style lodging. The hotel is right on the beach, and the rooms have cute hammocks with breathtaking ocean views. We happily spent 95 percent of our time sipping Champagne in said hammocks…because that’s what husbands do, right?!

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While we were there, we explored cenotes (chic beach caves that Tulum is known for) and rode bikes all around town.

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