Though Tanya Feilke and Charles Bible met while attending Georgia State University and started their lives together in Tennessee, they chose to exchange vows in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, to achieve the bride’s vision of having a small, intimate soirée with their closest friends and family. “We wanted to share the celebration of the next chapter of our lives with those who we love and cherish friendships with,” smiles the bride. 

On a late spring day in May, 42 guests joined together at a stunning chapel located on the grounds of a gorgeous Riviera Maya resort. To keep the attention on the chapel’s architectural beauty, minimal décor was incorporated into the ceremony. Tanya was beautiful in an elegant gown featuring illusion details and floral appliqués as she made her way down the stone-and-mosaic aisle lined with candles and flower petals; she carried a bouquet of pink peonies – her favorite flower – accented with a tropical monstera leaf. 

The traditional Christian service also honored both the bride and groom’s families and upbringing. “Both of us had parents pass away at a young age, and we were able to acknowledge them during our ceremony by a candle lighting,” explains Tanya of the sentimental moment. Following the heartfelt vow exchange, loved ones tossed flower petals as the newlyweds recessed up the aisle to enjoy a post-ceremony mariachi performance. 

A Yucatecan trio entertained loved ones during the cocktail hour, and soon they found their escort cards attached to hand-painted maracas personalized with their names, which served as favors. The reception took place in a garden illuminated with twinkling bistro lights, chandeliers, and woven pendants overhead. 

The magical, romantic look was further carried out with peonies, spray roses, ranunculus blossoms, lisianthus blooms, freesias, tulips, and snapdragons in soft, neutral tones throughout the space, accented by fresh eucalyptuses, tropical leaves, and amaranth. Metallic votives and taper candles provided a warm ambience. 

"Our wedding was small and intimate, but we still wanted it to feel like a party!”

Since the dinner was held around the Ceiba tree in the garden, the couple honored the Mayan culture by partaking in the custom of providing a rum offering to the sacred tree before the event began. After a prayer started the dinner service, loved ones ate family style, sharing every dish. “We really wanted it to feel like a family dinner,” affirms the bride. The groom adds, “I am in the food service industry, so it was important to me that our guests had an amazing culinary experience.” 

In the middle of the reception, a rainstorm forced a portion of the event to be moved inside; however, the wedding team helped the couple and their guests feel at ease as Don Julio 1942 tequila was poured for all. Once the rain stopped, everything continued just as planned. “We had a blast and that hot summer rain brought the party!” confirms the groom. 

While most brides would have been upset at the unforeseen circumstances, Tanya felt it made the night memorable. “Trust your planner and the venue, but also get a photographer who you love so much – we were standing in the rain, drenched, and Genya O’Neall [of Vue Photography] made us look and feel like royalty,” she adds. 

The celebration continued with libations served from an alfresco bar featuring a vibrant blue-and-white tile design. Guests also enjoyed slices from a classic buttercream cake featuring both Champagne-and-strawberry and dulce de leche flavors. As a surprise for Charles, the groom’s cake was modeled after a Cohiba cigar box to complement the cigar lounge at the reception. “It was so realistic!” he shares of the confection. 

Friends and family danced the night away to the sounds of a DJ who played a blend of all the music genres loved by the couple – from oldies to modern-day hits. “Our wedding was small and intimate, but we still wanted it to feel like a party,” notes the groom. The newlyweds set off on their married life together after a sparkler exit, looking forward to the future and not wanting to change a single thing about their day.