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  • Writer's pictureSophie Ngo

A Destination Wedding for the Books | Our Wedding Day

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

Where should I even start! On the last Sunday of May 2022, I tied the knot with the love of my life alongside the stunning beaches of Playa del Carmen Mexico at The Fives Beach Resort with 120 of our closest friends and family.

There are so many things I could say about our wedding. The one thing that rang true, for us, for our guests, our people, was how much love filled the air. There was tangible love in the air that day, it radiated from everyone's hearts. I think everyone that was there to celebrate with us could feel it and truly created it for us. The feeling and vibe of your wedding day is something you can’t predict, something you can’t prepare for. All we ever wanted for our wedding was to have the most incredible day filled with joy, laughter, tears, all the emotions, and to have that with the people nearest and dearest to us. We wanted above everything, for everyone to have the best time, to feel like our wedding was for them to enjoy as much as it was for us.

After a decade in the making, the day couldn’t have turned our more perfect. We were truly all encapsulated in a bubble of love that day. I was blessed with meeting the love of my life at 17 and even more blessed because for us, our whole wedding week was truly about celebrating our love with the ones we love most in the world. Our rocks, our support systems, our family, our best friends, the ones that have held us on the darkest days and laughed with us on the happiest. We truly couldn’t have asked for more and couldn’t have done this without these incredible people we’ve been blessed to know and every single guest that came to celebrate with us. So excited to share little details of our day and how it all came together. I included links to everything and credit to all our wonderful vendors who made everything truly come together <3

The Welcome Party

The day before our wedding, we have a big welcome party with all our guests on the rooftop of Mestizo Terrace at The Fives Beach. Our guests poured in all week at various times starting on Wednesday and so on Saturday we had a big blow out to gather everyone together. (Our wonderful travel agent Susan Lupisella helped all our guests book their travel with our room block). We had an "All White" attire dress code and it was so fun to see our guests show up in their amazing outfits. We wanted everyone to get the chance to mingle and meet each other before the big day and it was a huge success. We had the open international bar set up, a backdrop for photos by Celeste from Weddings in Rivera Maya, and gave out all our welcome bags that we packed and assembled the night before! I'm so glad we were able to get to spend extra time with our guests and get photos with everyone before the big day. We opted the for Mexican Cocktail menu that included guac, chimichangas, jalapeño poppers, chicken quesadillas, and mushroom turnovers. We included small little details like Fun Fact Cocktail Napkins and photos of us through the years. For our welcome bags, we had custom tumblers made with our wedding logo and inside we included medicine, candies, hand sanitizer, and other things our guests might need for the week! One of my favorite parts was including a small QR code card that linked to a shared google album so that guests could upload all their photos and videos from the week to. The party was a huge hit and our guests told us they loved having a fun themed event to meet everyone the night before!

The Morning Of

On the day of the wedding, we got ready with our 7 bridesmaids and 7 groomsmen in 2 gorgeous penthouse suites in Villa 20 at The Fives Beach. I wanted to gift the girls full hair and makeup so we had Carlos Baas' makeup and hair team come at 9am in the morning to do all 11 of us. I got my girls matching champagne satin pajamas to get ready in so we could be comfy before the big day. We loved spoiling our wedding party with the morning of to thank them for everything they had done for us. We laid out personalized hangers for our bridesmaids and groomsmen suits and dresses and also picked out belts and earrings that we gave them the morning of! We put the jewelry boxes and goodies into little personalized baskets and also laid all our little details including our rings and invitations. Our girls wore gold champagne satin dresses from Revelry and the guys wore beige linen suits from Men's Warehouse.

Of course getting ready in the morning (for the girls) is always a bit of a hectic ride but once we were all done with hair and makeup, my favorite part of the morning was the beautiful gift I received from my bridesmaids that had a page from each of them with handwritten letters and pictures of us through the years. Not only that but they got Andrew, my parents, and his parents, to all write letters to me that literally meant the world! It was such an amazing gift that I’ll cherish forever.

After that, it was time for me to put on my dress, THE DRESS, that I picked after going to 10 different bridal shops, making multiple spreadsheets and price comparisons and going all the way to Maryland for (shout out to Icon Bridal). My mom and my maid of honors Nha-Han and Ashley helped me with my dress and my cousin and officiant Vy helped me with my shoes. I then did a first look with my bridesmaids and my dad who hadn’t seen me in my dress yet and it filled me with such joy and appreciation that I could share such a special moment with them. It made me so grateful to be surrounded in my life by such amazing people that have supported me so much throughout my life.

Since we were running late all morning because hair and makeup took longer for the girls and we were behind schedule, I came into the first look a little anxious. I feel everyone's emotions around me so intensely and didn't want anyone else to feel rushed or stressed as we had been that morning. But immediately when I finally saw Andrew, all my anxiousness melted away and he calmed my every nerve. My true emotional support human! Don't know what I'd do without him but good thing we were getting married in just a few hours :) He knows me so well so he already had an idea of what my dress would look like. I was just so happy to see him and ready to take on the rest of the day together. I loved that we did a first look with just the two of us before the ceremony so we could have that moment together to take it all in before the day truly started.

We walked around the resort grounds with our photography team Moni & Adri and our videography team Fire & Ice, on the way to the ceremony site that would be up front at the beach gazebo. We were able to stop along the beautiful wooden pathways and the birdcage structures to take a lot of our portrait shots before the ceremony. Some of my favorite photos ever of me and Andrew were taken during this time and I'm so happy we made time in the schedule for them.

The Ceremony

Though there were reports of rain and a tropical storm all day, by 5pm the weather pulled through and the sky was clear. Our ceremony was straight out of storybook and everything I could have dreamed of and more. Even though I never thought I’d be one of those brides that didn’t have their vows written down till the day of, somehow with everything we had to do, I left this detail till the very last minute. (I had them written, of course, on my phone but had to copy them over to our beautiful vow books we ordered). Thankfully my bridesmaid Vivi saved the day and was frantically copying them down while we were in the shuttle to the ceremony site. We finished in the nick of time!

Despite running late, a downpour of showers that morning, and all the little mishaps during the day, once we made it there everything was perfect. When we arrived, guests were already seated in their pastel colored beach chic attire, with a guava margarita in one hand and our custom made ceremony program fan in the other. We knew it was going to be rather hot in Mexico during this time so we wanted to do everything we could to make our guests feel comfortable. We knew a refreshing welcome drink and personal fans for each guest would definitely help and included our programs with each of the bamboo fans as well! Our guests were so on point with their outfits and we loved seeing everyone create such a cohesive look together.

Andrew and I meticulously picked the songs we wanted everyone to walk down the aisle to and spent so much imagining and thinking through how it would go. We knew from the very beginning, we wanted the ceremony to be extremely representative of us. We had Vy, my little cousin and basically sister, officiate our wedding and she walked out first followed by Andrew’s parents to the 'This is Us' instrumental theme, one of our favorite shows that truly captures the meaning of love & family. Then of course we had to have Andrew & his groomsmen walk out to a Kanye song, 'Touch the Sky'. We wanted to keep it super hype and fun before dialing into the emotional part of the ceremony. For the girls, we had them walk out to 'Jane's Love Theme, the instrumental I always picture playing in the background of any moment in life filled with overwhelming love.

For my song, 1 year prior when Andrew and I were visiting the Fives to do a walkthrough, I envisioned the exact song I wanted to play as I walked down the aisle. The lyrics from 'Everyday' from HSM 2 just felt absolutely perfect to me and embodied all the feelings I wanted to convey. Walking down with both my parents was so special to me as everything I am, I am because of them. I couldn’t imagine my day without both of them by my side and it was a dream come true.

The ceremony itself was so special because Vy, who has been there from the very start of our relationship was able to tell our story from her perspective. It was so incredibly special to me because of everything we’ve endured and been through together. We’ve been there for each other through so many ups and downs in life and to have her there to be the one to marry us was something we’ll cherish forever. We then had personal vows that we read to each other. I don’t know about Andrew, but for me, I had been thinking about these vows since the moment I knew Andrew was my soulmate. Every night before falling asleep I would think about how I could possibly put into words the feelings I wanted to convey. It truly took me years to write my vows, jotting down notes and little tidbits of what I wanted to say every time I thought of something. Being able to share them finally with Andrew, and with everyone we loved brought tears to my eyes. To look around the room and see how we were surrounded by people that had poured into our relationship and wanted to travel so far just to celebrate our love overwhelmed me with gratitude I’ve never known.

We had only 2 very special kids at our wedding, Penny and Cody, who were our flower girl and ring boy. They were truly adorable, the stars of the shows, and it was so special because their parent’s Maggie & Jeff got married 10 years prior in Mexico and inspired our destination wedding idea. It was so special to come back with them and share this with the whole family.

For the recessional, the music swelled and we walked back down the aisle as husband and wife while our rice confetti party poppers filled the sky. The Fives had a champagne toast waiting for us at the end of aisle and everything was perfect!

Here's all 120 of us together after the ceremony! It was surreal looking out and seeing all the faces of the people we love there to support us. We had people there through all stages of our lives, from childhood to adulthood, and it was truly our greatest honor to have them there with us. This day was able celebrating our love with these incredible people right here and we're so thankful we got to do just that <3

Cocktail Hour

At the start of cocktail hour, we took all our family pictures to start. We then snuck away to do our wedding party photos and sunset portrait session. The weather cooled down and it was so perfect! Also pro tip I got these pearl windy weights to hold down my veil during photos so it wasn't blowing all over the place. We were able to get amazing shots and videos and I'm so happy we'll have these photos with our people to cherish forever <3

Family Photos



Wedding Party

Sunset Session

Our guests were able to enjoy a cocktail bar in the Love Garden behind our ceremony site. We had a polaroid guestbook that we had everyone sign and take pictures for! We wanted something we could keep forever that would include both pictures and words to remember our guests by.

The Reception

For as long as I can remember, I always knew I wanted a toes in the sand type of wedding by the beach. I wanted to do away with the formalities and let guests kick off their shoes to feel relaxed and be ready for a fun time. Weather was always a concern but no matter what, I knew we had to have it outside by the ocean if we were going all the way to Mexico already. They could not put us in the ballroom if they tried! So after going back and forth, we knew then our only choice was to get a full on tent for the beach and it was the greatest decision we could have made!

The Tent

As the reception tent was being set up, we walked by to take it all in. I couldn't believe how everything came together! We debuted our custom table numbers I spent weeks designing with a small detail of including all the places Andrew & I have traveled together. But even through the months of planning, DIYing, and more, I couldn't plan for every little detail as much as I tried. It was so incredibly windy that evening so all our handmade menu's and custom dyed and cut cheesecloth napkins had to be tucked underneath the plates. The floor-plan that we made of exactly where everything should go didn't quite stay on plan but when we saw everything in person all the little details didn't matter anymore. A lesson to all the type A brides out there is no matter how hard you plan and envision every little thing, you won't be able to control anything that happens the week of so just trust your people and roll with the punches and things will turn out exactly the way they're meant to be!

The Seating Chart

For our seating chart, we knew we wanted to start the reception off right with a tequila shot glasses for our guests. I cut wood shaped lime toppers and engraved them with each guest's names and table number and the resort provided the limes and shots for the wall designed by me and made by the Weddings in Rivera Maya team. Since tequila is Andrew's favorite liquor and also the liquor of Mexico, it was so fun to incorporate this into our day and also help everyone get ready for the reception, which we knew we wanted to be a big party!

The Entrances

The next extremely memorable part of the day was the grand entrances. Our whole bridal party lined up behind the stage and came in with planned entrances two at a time. Little did we know how slippery the brand new dance floor was. My maid of honor Nha-Han was the first to go down but she got up like an absolute champ and continued her full routine with Viet. She thought she ruined the entrances but little did she know I would be right behind her flat on my butt. Since Andrew and I were in the back, we couldn’t see everyone walk in and had no idea people had fallen during their entrances. As the beat dropped we ran in there full speed so hype and ready. I immediately went down but somehow didn’t feel a thing thanks my second dress that was so fluffy, it acted like a full on air bag. I got back up but was fully prepared to fall multiple times again during our first dance right after.

The First Dance

Ever since I saw Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron dance on that rooftop to "Can I Have This Dance" in 2008, in knew that whenever I got married, this would be my first dance song. Thankfully Andrew was on board. Of course we also HAD to incorporate Justin Bieber in there and wanted to fake everyone out by starting with "Lifetime" and swaying to the lyrics before the song change into our choreographed dance. We practiced for weeks on end with our dance instructor Jonathan from Arlington Ballroom. He listened to every single vision and move I had in mind for all the different lines and taught us non-dancers how to execute it. The night before we practiced the dance until 4am and still didn't have it down but in the moment it didn't matter how many times we messed up, we loved every minute of it. We planned for cold fireworks around the dance floor to go off exactly at the height of the song and its once of the moments of the day we'll never forget!