Guys, I'm so excited to tell you this: we have our first Tinder wedding on the blog!
It was only a matter of time, right? But I'm so glad it's such a fun and meaningful wedding too. A gorgeous and incredibly stylish bride, a suave groom who beamed all day, the loveliest ceremony and the coolest colourful fiesta decor, for a party in the desert!
Reagan & Ryan are an NYC-based couple who brought their Big Apple pals to Tuscon for a Mexican themed wedding in Reagan's native Arizona.
They chose her talented cousin, Jenny of Plain Jane Photography to capture all the magic.
Full disclosure: I LOVE everything about this wedding (as you might remember we were very close to going with a Mexican vibe for our own reception).
Reagan, who works in fashion, wore a glorious l embroidered Rue De Seine gown, with the most lovely Frida Kahlo-worthy flowers in her hair.
Their outdoor wedding venue was adorned in colourful DIY signage, bright Etsy buys, and simple florals.
But my favourite thing about this wedding has to be the ceremony, created as a surprise, by Reagan & Ryan's awesome friends and family (just wait 'til you hear about it, you're going to want to do the same!).
Okay, I'll pause the gushing for a moment and let you see for yourselves (oh, but be sure to read their proposal story too, it's pretty epic!).
Wedding Day Snapshot
Our Love Story
Ryan and I met on Tinder! Nothing too romantic about that but we spoke every day since that first swipe of the finger.
Our proposal story is pretty sweet if I do say so myself. Ryan surprised me at work with gorgeous flowers with a note attached that said “Tonight is going to be amazing. The only thing you have to do is trust me and do everything I say. No really, trust me. I’ve taken care of everything.”
There were two envelopes labeled “1” and “2” and I was instructed to wait until I was ready to leave work for the day to open the first one. I only waited until 4 obviously and then opened the first letter.
STEP 1: He had arranged a car to pick me up and take me to a destination unknown. I was not allowed to ask any questions but the pope was in town, traffic was awful, and I was STARVING; so obviously I had to ask the driver if we were going far.
We weren’t. Seven minutes later we arrived at the Standard Hotel in meatpacking.
STEP 2 instructed me to go inside to the front desk. He had booked a room, and I went up to find five more sets of instructions posted all over the room.
STEP 3: “Come in, relax, have a glass of wine and have some Reagan time.” Minutes later a tray of cheese and charcuterie showed up. I looked around and saw that he had chosen a variety of outfits for me (including five different shoe options), and he had brought clothes for the next day along with all of my makeup (literally, ALL of it. There were about 20 eyeliners there.)
STEP 5: “The attire tonight is cocktail. Put on something nice and be ready to meet me at 7. At 6:45 go to the computer for STEP 6.”
His laptop was sitting on the table and when I opened it there was a photo movie that he had made of our life together over the past two years. Obviously I got teary.
Then, STEP 7: “Come upstairs and meet me in the Boom Boom Room.”
He was waiting for me at a corner table looking dapper in a suit and tie. We sat overlooking the incredible view of uptown Manhattan sipping on wine and munching on appetizers for about an hour until he pulled out his speech and proposed right there.
Afterwards we sat for a bit longer then went for a romantic dinner of tapas a few blocks away.
I saw a bouquet in a Carolina Herrera fashion show that was made solely out of magnolia leaves and I fell in love. I wanted to add some white flowers to the mix so my florist added ranunculus and I think maybe some garden roses to match my flower crown.
My flower crown was my favorite part, I couldn’t have asked for anything more perfect! It was made of fuschia, orange and yellow ranunculus, and red carnations. Gorgeous, bright and perfect.
For the MOH I wanted a King Protea and more magnolia leaves. It was SO cool. I really couldn’t have asked for a better florist, she gave me EXACTLY what I wanted and some that I didn’t even know I wanted!
The groom and best man had boutonnieres made of single ranculus and green leaves. The groom had white to match the bride and the best man had orange to match the MOH.
We didn’t want to choose our MOH and Best Man’s outfits, so we let them decide. The only direction we gave was color – a red dress for my sister and a navy suit for the best man.
I knew that I wanted to wear flowers in my hair and that our wedding would be colorful, so I thought bold red would be the perfect accent for the MOH dress.
We wanted to get married in the desert. Like, IN the desert.
We were originally planning a back yard wedding at my mom’s where the ceremony would be in the gorgeous natural desert near their house, but the logistics of throwing a party that large at their home started to get overwhelming.
When I turned to looking at venues, I remembered visiting Tohono Chul as a child and read so many testimonials on how beautiful the park is now. The pictures online don’t even do it justice – it is magical.
We live in NY and planned our wedding in six months, so we did not have the luxury of time on our hands. We booked the venue sight unseen in October, and when we visited it in November we were just thrilled.
The natural beauty and charm is exactly what we were looking for.
My cousin is a very talented photographer so it was an easy choice! She captured our day so beautifully and helped to make it extra special.
Ryan’s friend Djole is the cameraman for his wife who is a travel blogger, so he offered to film our ceremony.
Advice for Other Couples
Ouf, I don’t know. I wouldn’t call myself a traditional bride so I didn’t look at any bridal magazines or blogs or anything like that.
I did look on Pinterest though, but honestly that was only at the beginning. It started to confuse me after a bit if that makes sense – too many visuals and conflicting themes.
For me the whole thing was an evolution. I had no idea what I wanted it to look like at first! But I kept being drawn to color and the Mexican aesthetic.
I guess once I really got into it, my biggest inspiration was Etsy. It was the perfect marketplace for someone like me because I really got to curate the look I wanted through all of the incredible shops on there.
As for budget, I highly recommend keeping it simple! I don’t believe in spending a ton of money on a wedding, and I know that you can do something special for a lot less than what a lot of people pay.
Remember that the day is about you and your love! No one remembers the centerpieces or the take home gifts (unless they were incredible!) so just plan something that is special to you. And make it personal! And get creative!
We had the guitarist play an acoustic rendition of “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King as I walked down the aisle.
Afterwards, when we walked back down as husband and wife he played “All You Need Is Love” by The Beatles.
We had a latin band play Cuban music, meringue, salsa, and other latin styles during the cocktail hour and a single guitarist play during dinner. After dinner we had a DJ.
We didn’t do any first dances or father/daughter dances or anything like that. We did request for the DJ to play “Wonderwall” by Oasis as the final song of the night, and everyone busted out singing at the top of their lungs. It was a fun moment.
EVERYTHING was special about our ceremony. Seriously, everything.
To start, the setting. We chose to have our ceremony in the Spanish Garden which is the area behind where most weddings are held at Tohono Chul.
The “garden” lies right outside of an old house from 1900 and is a dirt floor clearing surrounded by bushes and trees that create a canopy of shelter from the sun. There is an arched door entrance on the west side that is covered in vines and looks like something out of The Secret Garden.
In fact, the whole setting looked like a secret which is why we liked it.
That day there were intermittent rain showers, but during the ceremony the sun was shining. Our guests gathered under the shaded canopy of the trees and when we walked in and stood at the altar rays of light burst through the trees, and behind the vine covered door there was an aura of sunlight.
During the ceremony we had a light sunshower, which if you’ve ever experienced such a thing is just MAGICAL.
At one point a giant beetle flew up and tried to nestle in my flower crown! Everything just felt so mystical and magical and natural. I could go on….
My best friend Lisa officiated the ceremony. We had no idea what she was going to say or how it was going to go, we only knew that she had interviewed each of us separately along with our parents and a number of our friends.
When we first stood together, she asked us to turn around and face our guests. My friend Amanda stood up and declared, “I knew I loved Reagan when…” followed by Steve who said, “ I knew I loved Ryan when…” followed by Dara, then Soona, then Todd, then Charles, then Keslie, then Morgan, my mom, Mindy… They all stood up and gave a reason why they loved us.
Lisa went on to give the most beautiful speech about how life can be hard and is not always pretty, but that it is always perfect. She described how we uplift and support each other, how we are goofy, and loving, and how our tribe of friends and family love us just as much – and how we are perfect.
We are best friends, she said.
Then she called to the front our friends Vlad and Sean to perform a rendition of this very silly song from the show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia called “Dayman”. (Scroll to 10:00) This is a song that Ryan and I reference daily, it’s just so funny to sing!
In Ryan’s interview, he said one of the moments he knew he loved me is when I woke up and started singing that song in bed. We had a good laugh at their performance, and then she finished the ceremony with our vows and declarations to each other.
After the ceremony we weren’t supposed to talk to the guests so that they could head to the cocktail hour and we could get on with our pictures and then join them…but there was a few moments afterwards that were all hugs.
If you look at the photos of those moments you can feel the love through the lens and just how emotional the ceremony was for everyone. Those pictures are among my favorite from that day.
I think our ceremony was the favorite moment for both of us.
With all of our friends participating and the quirky song and my best friend’s beautiful speech… that mixed with the sunshower, the beetle attacking my flowers and the pure emotions – it was all very us.
All in all the day was so natural and relaxed, very much how we wanted it. It was about our love and our life and sharing it with our closest friends and family.
The Decor & Details
We wanted to have a colorful wedding, and we both have eclectic and unique taste. Growing up in AZ I have a strong affinity for Mexican culture and décor so it sort of evolved naturally into a Mexican themed wedding given the natural AZ desert setting.
We did a LOT ourselves, but it was really a mix of bought goods with added personal touches.
For example I bought the tin milagros ornaments from Borderlands Treading Co in Tucson for the name cards but I made each name tag. I wanted them to look like Mexican tiles… I drew them in Illustrator and printed them on a perforated name card template.
I wanted to do a colorful chalkboard menu for the food since it was going to be a buffet. My sister offered to make the menu…but ended up making over 15 signs for us! They were so awesome!
She made the signs that guided people to the ceremony, the menu, and all of the signs for the welcome, exit and photo booth tables. She even opened up her own Etsy shop afterwards!
These weren’t do it yourself but we had these awesome loteria glitter matchboxes as favors on the exit table from My Mercado. We also used their colorful paper tissue flowers for the photo booth backdrop:
Photo booth props from Crafting By Denise and Canada photo booth props from The Party Event. For table numbers, and also the cake banner, we ordered papel picado from Lula Flora.
We also had the cutest paper garlands from Maisy and Alice that we draped across the menu and on the welcome table, bar, and dessert table.
Frida Angel Ornaments and Table Runner (on the welcome table) from La Sirena in NYC.
We really didn’t have any splurge moments. We knew we wanted Mexican food instead of the traditional menu of chicken and beef, so that helped a bit on the cost.
We provided buses for our guests so that no one had to drive, and we had a band AND a DJ, all of which were not cheap… but we did a really good job of keeping our costs reasonable.
The venue that we chose was so beautiful on its own that we didn’t have to add too much to it. I worked with my florist to keep the flowers minimal, mixed and wild using bud vases instead of large arrangements which add up very fast.
We did not have a signature cocktail but the Garden Bistro served their signature Prickly Pear Margarita at the cocktail hour before the ceremony. Those are the bright pink drinks that you see in the pictures – they made for good photos!
The food was a build your own fajita buffet and was DELICIOUS. Everyone commented on how good it was!
We had mini churros in chocolate sauce and lemon bars as dessert and were not originally planning to have a wedding cake. BUT the girls at work threw me the coolest Mexican themed shower with the most incredible cake I’ve ever seen…so I chose to emulate that cake for the wedding.
Plus I had already ordered the papel picado banner that said “Reagan and Ryan” so it made sense to have a cake to put it in. It was a small 10” cake covered in buttercream multi-colored flowers.
We were back at work four days after the wedding which I do not recommend.
Because we planned it all in six months we just couldn’t think about the honeymoon right then… but man, we were not ready to come back to reality after all that.
Whatever you do is fine of course, but it would’ve been quite nice to go somewhere and relax after the whirlwind of it all.
Now we are planning our honeymoon in July, so at least we have that to look forward to!
I wasn't exaggerating, right? It's so cool. Contemporary, relaxed and so personalised, you know we love it when a couple paves their own way with their wedding, right?
And here's to many more Tinder love stories on the blog!
Thanks so much to Jenny of Plain Jane Photography, and of course, the wonderful Reagan & Ryan for sharing their unique fiesta wedding with us.
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