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This Bride Used Her Parents’ Lazo at Her Own Wedding in Mexico

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Patrick Woodling and Heryte T. Tequame

Melina Cortez and George Castellvi met during her last semester of college. She was a DJ at the school’s radio station, and every Sunday, they hosted live performances. One weekend, George’s friends were in the band that was playing, so he came out to support. That Wednesday, they went on their first date, and four years later, he proposed while on a family trip to Bordeaux with the perfect ring, designed by his best friend’s sister, Hayley Schlesinger. “I had never seen a piece of jewelry that encompassed me so perfectly. A modern classic,” Melina says.

Off the bat, they knew Mexico was where they would get married. “It was important to me to celebrate and incorporate my heritage and cultural traditions,” she says. Yucatan was also a great middle point for their guests, who mostly hail from Texas and California. And because the couple are architecture and design lovers, they fell in love with the modern and historic Hacienda Sac Chich. To help plan everything and recommend vendors, they hired Joe Bolaños

When shopping for a dress, the bride and some of her friends flew to New York, and Shareen Bridal was their first stop. There, they created a custom look by taking a top and skirt from two separate dresses to create the one. “The entire process with Shareen was incredible. The original dress was literally falling off of me by February after some unexpected weight loss and Shareen took care of it effortlessly. She was so patient with me with all of my nit-picky-ness and made my dream dress come to life in time for the big day,” Melina says. 

As her “something blue,” she wore Mondo Mondo pearl and blue glass drop earrings, and she completed the look with Maryam Nassir Zadeh shoes. The bride’s best friend, Lulu, did the bridal makeup and used Glossier Cloud Paint, under-eye concealer, and a Pat McGrath lipstick that lasted all night. The groom looked handsome in a blue Bonobos suit and vintage, burgundy Bally shoes.

For the outdoor ceremony, RAWestudiofloral created a beautiful archway, adorned with the most fragrant jasmine flowers. Then, the bride walked with her parents down the aisle, while “Forever” by Pete Drake played. “Our good friend, Taylor, officiated. At first, we were a little nervous because he can be such a goofball, but, and maybe I’m biased, I’ve never seen someone give as beautiful, heartfelt, and funny a speech as him,” the bride says. 

Wanting to incorporate some Mexican traditions, after reciting their vows, Melina’s godparents placed the same Lazo used at the bride’s parents’ wedding over the couple, symbolizing the lifelong unity of the two and representing marital protection. After saying “I do” and sharing their first kiss, a mariachi band began playing them off to the cocktail hour.

Then, everyone took their seats for the dinner reception, catered by Oaxacan- Yucatecan restaurant Apoala, and the newlyweds entered and went into their first dance to “Te Metiste” by Ariel Camacho, played by the mariachi band. “George, who speaks little Spanish, was singing it to me in my ear while we danced,” the bride says.

After dinner and speeches, the dancing begun! “Another Mexican tradition we upheld was the money dance, where anyone can pay for a 20-second dance with the bride or groom. The more money you give, the longer you can dance! Normally, you pin the money on the bride and groom, but we forget the pins, so my mom was collecting the cash (she was loving it), and it was so fun to dance with everyone!”

The bride’s oldest family friends, who are Jewish, started the Horah to “Hava Nagila” and the couple were promptly lifted up, as their guests circled around them. “We were having the time of our lives,” Melina says. Once the party died down, around 2 a.m., buses chartered everyone back to Mérida.