COVID-19 has changed the wedding plans of couples worldwide, including Samantha and Zach. Their large outdoor wedding in Boulder quickly became a small modern desert Airbnb elopement at The Modern Taos House in New Mexico. Using decor from their home–including rugs and wine bottles–the couple focused on creating a romantic yet sustainable affair.
Samantha looked stunning in her satin sheath dress from ASOS, and we love the fact that Zach paired his Suit Supply suit with Converse. They weren’t the only ones dressed up, either. Their furry loved one was dressed for the special occasion. She had to look spiffy, of course, as she was their unofficial elopement witness!
So whether you’re planning your own elopement, or you’re unsure if it’s the right fit for you, these photos beautifully captured by Lavel Marie Photography, LLC will leave you feeling inspired to tie the knot in the heart of the desert.
Samantha and Zach
The Modern Taos House, Taos, New Mexico
Personalizing The Elopement
Almost everything about our elopement was personal. We used a rug from our home, our dog served as our unofficial witness by putting her paw print stamp on our marriage certificate, we brought wine bottles and cleaned them out to make them into candle holders, and my husband even created a personalized menu for the weekend based on meals from our favorite dates and experiences together.
Why A Modern Desert Airbnb Location
Once we decided to elope, we got on Airbnb to search for some great, remote places we could elope with just the two of us. The Modern Taos House was such a special setting in the middle of the desert, and we loved how it was both modern, sustainable and unique.
A Change Of Plans Thanks To COVID-19
Before COVID, we were planning to have a large outdoor wedding on a farm in Boulder. It was important that we try to create many sustainable aspects to that wedding, including reusing old wine bottles as candle holders and lots of natural plants. Even though we had to cancel our original plans, I wanted the look and feel of a wedding with natural whites, greens, plants, and small touches that we made our own. This included creating wine bottle candle holders and using a rug from home as the centerpiece of our elopement.
Advice For Planning A Stress-Free Day
I think the wedding planning stress, pressure, and the costs of weddings have gotten pretty out of control and—hopefully—if there is one thing COVID has given us all, it’s perspective about what is most important. Weddings are really only about celebrating your love. I hope couples everywhere can stress less about trying to create a perfect day for everyone else. Instead, be happy with your new partner.
Congratulations again to Samantha and Zach on their modern desert Airbnb elopement! We’re so thankful that Lavel Marie photography, LLC shared their special day with us. If you love the idea of tying the knot in an Airbnb, check out our guide to the best Airbnb wedding venues in every state.
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After reserving a spot at the couple’s dream venue in Texas, Kari and Dylan were forced to change their plans when they couldn’t find accommodations for their guests. After stumbling upon the New Mexico Museum of Art, they knew it was fate. Their photographer Lilly Red was able to capture the couple’s disco-inspired attire (featuring a Gucci headpiece, gold chain mail cape, and Stenson hat—talk about rock n’ roll), the simple yet stunning adobe architecture of the ceremony, the parade around the plaza complete with a mariachi band, and the neon-lit festivities at Meow Wolf. Surrounded by friends and family, this couple’s wedding day was heartwarming and party all wrapped into one!
Kari and Dylan
New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Shop similar hats: The Mojave Bolero Hat ($192.19); The Tower Off White Felt Hat ($192.19); TAU Amsterdam Ivory Felt Hat ($136.16)
The bride wore a disco-inspired Gucci headpiece with a simple slip dress from LOHO Bride in San Francisco, while the groom topped his Gucci suit off with a classic Stetson. “We wanted it to feel like a party, not a traditional wedding,” says Kari. Her friend, designer Daisy Hartmann created a gold chain mail cape to go over the top of her gown. Meanwhile, Dylan borrowed an 18-carat-gold squash blossom necklace from the same jeweler that made their wedding bands. “Santa Fe is all about trust,” says Kari. “They let him walk out of the store with it (they didn’t even take his credit card!), knowing he would return it afterward.”
When the guests checked into their suites at nearby El Rey Court, the couple welcomed everyone at the hotel’s mezcal bar, La Reina. “There was no sit-down dinner or rehearsal,” shares Kari—just good drinks, a taco truck, and speeches. The fashion was the main event: Attendees donned leather jackets, wide-brimmed hats, and snakeskin suits (anything with a little Southwestern flair was welcome).
Shop similar bridesmaid dresses: BHLDN Malynn Dress ($168); Anthropologie Bias Slip Dress ($120); Show Me Your Mumu Verona Cowl Dress ($168)
“The best advice I received was to find time together to feel the joy and love,” shares Kari. “When we were at Meow Wolf, that’s what we did: We climbed up to the top balcony where we could overlook everybody dancing, eating, and drinking. It was so special.”
She chopped off her hair for the reception. “It was a fresh beginning,” says Kari. “I was a whole new woman.” Instead of doing a first dance, she hopped up onstage with her harmonica for a duet with Dylan of “A Heart of Gold.”
Congrats to Kari and Dylan on their unbelievably creative New Mexico Museum of Art wedding! Big thank you to Lilly Red for sharing the beautiful photos! If you’re looking for more southwestern inspiration, check out Andrea and BC’s Enchanting Southwestern-Inspired Abiquiu, New Mexico Wedding on Rio Chama!
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Mini mezcals, Mexican wedding cookies, and lush tropical backdrops? Count us in. Chiara and Eric’s lush Tulum jungle wedding at Espacio Chechen is the perfect combination of killer style, neutral tones, and a whole lot of fun. We’re utterly obsessed with the décor put together by Arlenis Ruiz and we’re so glad that Conie Suarez Bravo was there to capture it all. We love what Chiara had to say about her special day:
“I found all my vendors through Instagram, it is such a great tool when planning a destination wedding. Originally, our venue was supposed to be beachside but that fell through a month before the wedding. Fortunately, our amazing wedding planner already had backups. I was unsure about it having to be in the jungle and then also having to change the decor and floral that I already ordered. But all the vendors were flexible and I was able to change it right away.
I wanted to feature the lush greenery of the venue so I decided to keep the florals and decor minimal. Our caterer served a delicious taco bar and tres leches cake with a figurine of our puppy on top. I surprised my husband with a churro cart at the end of the night and unbeknownst to me, he also had a surprise lined up. He asked one of our guests to sing our first dance, River by Leon Bridges and it was so beautiful. By the end of the song, all of our guests who have never heard it before were singing along. Truly the best day.”
Despite the hiccups the couple endured, the day turned out beautifully. Get your inspiration boards pulled up because you’re going to want to save this one!
Chiara and Eric
Espacio Chechen, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
The Grace Loves Lace Dress and Pearl Necklace
I have always loved Caroline Bessette-Kennedy’s wedding dress. It was simple, elegant, and timeless. Grace Loves Lace’s “Loyola” dress was the third dress I tried on and it instantly reminded me of her dress. I tried on around 20 dresses after that just to shop around but I could not stop thinking about the Loyola dress. I also loved the fact that she kept her hair and accessories minimal. I only wore my wedding ring and a pearl necklace from Mejuri. The pearls were a tribute to my late grandmother, Cornelia, who helped raise my siblings and me in the Philippines. She would take my sister, Kristine, and me to the flea market on the weekends, and even though money was tight, she made it a point to buy us little pearls. The necklace was my homage to her.
Shop similar custom stamps: Custom Wedding Stamp ($16.99); Custom Rubber Wedding Stamp ($18.74); Wedding Logo Stamp ($12.79); Wedding Monogram Stamp ($21)
Why the Espacio Chechen
At first, we had a beach-side venue but that fell through two months before our wedding(!!). That ended up being the best thing that could have happened to us. While we enjoy the beaches, we find ourselves more drawn to the people, food, music, and cenotes in the downtown area and the jungles just outside Tulum. Our affection for this side of Tulum combined with the improvisation and scramble to find a new venue to yield a beautiful organic and bohemian vibe that we feel is far more authentically “us.” The final result was a complete collaboration amongst us, our amazing wedding planner Arlenis, and all of our vendors.
Soaking Up Time With One Another
One of our dear friends who couldn’t make it (due to a new baby on the way!) gave Eric amazing advice to take a moment with just the two of us and look around at all of the people who came so far to celebrate with us. After all, this will be the only time in our lives where this exact group of people will be at the same place together creating this exact energy. We did this after the recessional, and our photographer Conie actually caught us basking in the moment! Think of how surreal it is to have a destination wedding all the way in Mexico and 100 people ventured all that way to witness our union.
Adding Personalized Touches
I added a lot of personal touches to our wedding, Etsy really became my savior throughout the whole process. We used it for everything from ordering a customized stamp with our initials and our wedding date (then stamping it on 200 linen bags used for flower tossing and favors) to ordering our wedding cake topper in the likeness of our adopted dog, Parker. Also, having known Eric for almost 20 years, we did a yearbook of all of our pictures together through the years as our wedding guestbook. I had so much fun thinking of different ways to personalize every detail.
Shop similar cake toppers: Custom Pet Cake Topper ($66); Personalized Pet Cake Topper ($41.99); I Do Too Clay Dog Cake Topper ($90)
Congratulations to Chiara and Eric for their special day at Espacio Chechen—and a huge thank you to Conie Suarez Bravo for capturing it! To see more Tulum inspo, check out Diana and Zach’s Chic Oceanfront Wedding at Akiin Beach Tulum.
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