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A Wedding Filled With Local Traditions in Oaxaca, Mexico

By Alexandra Macon | Photography by 

Maureen Evans

It was only logical that art advisor Nicolai Frahm and art promoter Mariana Herrera would meet at a dinner at Sotheby’s New York. After that first encounter, the two dated for two years and later got engaged over Christmas break, while they were visiting her family in Mexico City, where Mariana is originally from. “Shortly after we got engaged, I took him around to several different places in Mexico to show him some potential destinations,” she explains. “He was fascinated by all of these places, especially Oaxaca, and decided the wedding had to be there.”

The two agreed to tie the knot on February 17 of 2018 and got to work with local planner Marcela Gonzalez. “She is just the best,” says Mariana.

When looking for her wedding dress, Mariana had a very specific look in mind. “I wanted a big, puffy dress, but I also wanted a sexy, tight one; so I thought, why not have both?” she explains. “I had this idea of wearing an over skirt on top of a sexy gown, but couldn’t find anything of the kind anywhere. I knew I wanted lace, and Pnina Tornai is one of the best when it comes to lacework. She was the sweetest, nicest person ever. I told her what I had in mind and she said she would make it work for me—and she did! She made the most beautiful dream gown I could ever imagine.”

Since it was a weekend filled with celebrations, Mariana had several looks throughout. “For the other parties and celebrations, I wore Mexican designers Kris Goyri and Trista, both dear friends of mine,” she adds. For the welcome cocktail, Kris made a one-sleeve mini dress with petals, and for the Mexican-themed day fiesta the day before the wedding, Mariana donned a Mexican embroidered dress by Trista. Meanwhile the groom had his tuxedo custom made in London. “He actually had more fittings than me!” Mariana says.

The day of the wedding, the ceremony took place in a baroque church called Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman, in the center of Oaxaca, which has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. “Our priest flew all the way from London for our marriage,” Mariana says. “He’s a good friend of ours, so it was a very engaging ceremony. He’s very charming, so he made it quite funny and very emotional.”

After the ceremony, the newlyweds let a traditional “Calenda” procession from the church to the dinner party, accompanied by guests drinking mezcal, musicians, people in stilts, giant puppets of the bride and groom, donkeys, and local dancers. Once they arrived at the reception, mezcalinis and hors d’oeuvres awaited, and later a dinner made of local Mexican ingredients was served. As for the entertainment, there were live Mexican musicians and a DJ which kept everyone on their feet until dawn.

And even though most of the night was filled with local traditions, the groom, who’s Danish, managed to get one of his customs in there, too. For their first dance, the couple chose a waltz and performed a traditional Danish dance called Brudevalsen. “The couple dances and after a bit the people around them start clapping and closing a circle around them until they are trapped in the middle,” Mariana explains. “The groom’s friends then take off his shoe and cut his sock. The tradition says the the wife is then supposed to sew back the cut piece.” Fingers crossed she brought a sewing kit to the honeymoon!