When Courtney Mazza rejoined the cast of A Chorus Line on Broadway in 2008, she didn't expect to be met with the man she was going to marry. Mario Lopez, the handsome actor who starred on Saved by the Bell and current host of Extra and The X Factor, was no sooner looking for love than his cast mate. But as fate would have it, the two hit it off magically and have been at each other’s side ever since.
America was charmed by the couple and watched intently as their love story unfolded on Mario Lopez: Saved by the Baby. The docu-series chronicled their life together, focusing on Courtney’s pregnancy and the birth of their daughter Gia Francesca in 2010.
Three years after meeting, while on a family vacation in Ixtapa, Mexico, Mario thought it would be the ideal time to pop the question to his beloved whom he lovingly refers to as “Mazza.” “I knew I wanted to ask her over the holidays with family around,” shares Mario, who had already received Courtney’s mother’s blessing. “Her mother already loved me, so it was an easy request,” teases Mario.
The Italian beauty said yes, and a year-long engagement ensued. With a guest list of 200, the couple began the planning of their destination wedding set to take place in Punta Mita, Mexico. “The locale is so special to us,” explains the bride. “It’s where our families first vacationed together and it’s the place of Mario’s culture.”
Though Courtney enjoyed the planning process, Mario was like many grooms and felt overwhelmed at times. “It was a rollercoaster of emotions,” he admits. “And weddings are expensive!” The lighthearted groom jokes in retrospect, but during the course of the planning always made sure to remind his bride that he wanted her to be happy. His only requests were to include the Catholic faith in the nuptials and to have a memorable party. “I wanted to make sure everyone ate enough, drank enough, and danced enough!” affirms the groom.
The bride opted for a theme that matched the season, and selected décor reminiscent of a winter wonderland – set in paradise! The ceremony site was kept simple. A raised aisle way was sprinkled with pink petals and love phrases written in Spanish, and frosty white chairs surrounded an alabaster rotunda with a pretty lacelike pattern. A magnificent view of the sea served as the backdrop for the traditional Catholic service, conducted by a priest who Mario has known for years.
Mario was escorted by his mother down the aisle. The two interlocked tightly and engaged in warm conversation as they walked – their radiating smiles reflected the happiness of the day. The groom looked dapper in a tailored black tuxedo, and stood at the end of the walkway awaiting his bride. Flower girls wore darling frothy vanilla dresses and carried miniature bouquets of blush roses.
Finally, Courtney appeared. She was gorgeous in a shoulder-skimming lace gown custom designed by Ines Di Santo. Her polished side chignon, paired perfectly with the delicate mantilla veil she had selected. The bride held a lush arrangement of roses and ranunculus in the palest of pink, and wrapped in embellished fabric. A beautiful sparkling rosary affixed to the bouquet swung lightly as she walked, as if on cue with the musicians. “I loved my rosary that I carried down the aisle,” shares Courtney of the token custom made by Maria Elena Headpieces.
The bride felt at peace when she saw Mario waiting for her at the end of the aisle. She says it was her most memorable moment of the day. As the heartfelt vow exchange concluded, Mario says his most cherished memory was holding the hands of his wife and daughter as they exited the ceremony.
With the sounds of lively mariachi music filling the balmy air, guests were shuffled to a beachside reception area. Round and square tables covered in white satin linens were decorated with shimmery silver overlays and groupings of blush roses arranged in mirrored boxes. Custom menu cards rested beneath silky white napkins with sparkling holders, while a children’s table was adorned with a cute collection of pink and white piñatas.
The couple’s six-tiered confection crafted by Cake Boss star, Buddy Valastro, featured unique decorative elements on each layer. An all-white lounge area dotted with pink roses was revealed to revelers. Stylish ivory couches, mirrored cube tables, and a snowy “Christmas tree” made of iron held crystal ornaments etched with the couple’s monogram, which were gifted to guests as wedding favors.
Courtney changed into a beautiful asymmetrical gown with a high slit, ideal for the evening festivities that included a live salsa band and DJ. Entertainment the groom hadn’t expected came in the form of a surprise duet performed by Courtney and recording artist Andy Grammer. “It was really thoughtful and one of my favorite memories,” shares Mario.
The groom planned for a party of a lifetime, thus libations flowed generously, loved ones didn’t leave the dance floor, and laughter was plenteous. Mario even challenged good friend Eva Longoria to a limbo battle! The celebration was a little like a chorus line, and Mario affirms, “I wouldn’t change a thing!”