The Beloved Hotel Playa Mujeres, Mexico Wedding: Jonathan & Nicola – Part 1, Bonfire on the Beach

The wait is over, folks, for some of The Wong Couple’s most anticipated photographs of the year—Jonathan and Nicola’s Mexico wedding! Remember this adorable couple? We just may have blabbed to a number of people this year that we’d be travelling to Mexico in August to photograph this fabulous fun-fest. For some reason the next question from everyone was, “Why did they decide to get married there?” Of course our first answer was, “Why not?”

“Why not? It’s fun!” is very “Jonathan and Nicola” if you ask us, but they did have another more logical reason for choosing an international destination wedding. Most of their dearest are not their nearest: their families and friends are scattered across three continents, not to mention their well-travelled, airline-employed fabulous friends who are always in another time zone. Our bride and groom were planning a Scouse-Yank-Aussie trifecta of awesomeness, and the world was their oyster. So where should the party be?

Beloved Hotel Playa Mujeres Wedding Mexico, HDR Wedding photography

Jonathan and Nicola really chose the perfect location for their wedding. As mutual lovers of the beach, Mexican food, sunshine, and lots of laughter with friends and family, The Beloved Hotel in Playa Mujeres, just north of Cancun, fit the bill perfectly. The Beloved Hotel was the most luxurious resort that Jeff and I have ever stayed in, other than perhaps the end of our honeymoon! It was the first time we had ever stayed at an all-inclusive resort, and we’ve got to say: it was so much fun.

The facilities at the Beloved Hotel were truly top-notch, the food was delicious and the service was excellent. The all-inclusive nature of the resort meant you could really just kick back and enjoy, have spontaneous group lunches and dinners with other wedding guests—whomever materialised at the restaurants at the same time as you. Some guests stayed for over a week and others, like us, were there for about four days. Of course, there were lots of fun activities like kayaking, jet-skiing, and excursions into the jungle. You could be as lazy as you wanted lounging by the pool bar all day, or as adventurous as possible swimming with whale sharks! Experiencing these four days of fun in the tropical Yucatan Peninsula, with the friendly people, delicious food, extreme heat, icy margaritas, warm oceans, soft sands, sudden thunderstorms, beautiful sunsets, and all the smiling faces of Jonathan and Nicola’s family had us thinking that destination weddings are just the BEST!

Playa Mujeres Mexico wedding Cancun, beach wedding reception

Let us introduce you to the gorgeous surroundings of Playa Mujeres. The night before the wedding, Jonathan’s mother hosted a fantastic welcome dinner on the beach for everyone to enjoy. This dinner was also in the spirit of the American tradition of the “rehearsal dinner”, to which the English and Australian guests were introduced! We had our own private area of the beach complete with tiki torches, a buffet dinner, an open bar, and a bonfire!

Playa Mujeres Mexico wedding Cancun, beach wedding bonfireMexico wedding photography, beach wedding receptionPlaya Mujeres Mexico wedding reception

The setup looked beautiful with colourful accents in their summery, happy wedding-theme hues of coral and magenta.

Cancun beach wedding reception, beach bonfire rehearsal dinner, lounge furniture on beach

The tiki torches really provided some great ambiance!

Mexico wedding photography, tiki torches for Cancun beach wedding receptionBeach wedding Mexico, Cancun beach wedding, sunset beach reception

The food at the Beloved Hotel was simply excellent. For the bonfire buffet dinner, they provided an extensive salsa bar, including ceviche and lots of cold side dishes to help cool us off in the heat.

Mexico wedding salsa bar, beach wedding reception

The sunset was looking beautiful as the guests began to wander onto the scene.

Mexico wedding photography, HDR wedding photos, beautiful sunset beach wedding receptionHDR wedding photography, Mexico wedding, rehearsal dinner on the beach at Beloved HotelMexico rehearsal dinner beach bonfire, lounge furniture on beach at sunset

One great thing about destination weddings is that everyone is fully in “vacation mode”. All the guests looked so relaxed and chilled out!

Mexico beach bonfire rehearsal dinner, beach pre-wedding dinner CancunCancun beach wedding photos, sunset outdoor Mexico beach dinner

The Beloved Hotel was also fantastic for a wedding because of the size. It is a fairly small resort, compared to some of the other options in the Cancun area. This meant that Jonathan and Nicola’s wedding guests made up about a third of the whole resort, and were the only wedding on site at the time. The hotel is also very family friendly, and so we had some extremely cute kids in attendance!

Cancun wedding Playa Mujeres, cute and candid wedding images

Jeff and I were quite taken with the youngest attendees, as was his grandfather! This gentleman has to be the happiest, most doting grandfather we’ve seen in a long time. His affection for his grandkids was absolutely precious!

Fun Mexico beach rehearsal dinnerBeloved Hotel Mexico beach pre-wedding dinnerThe Beloved Hotel Playa Mujeres beach wedding dinner

Everyone was treated to a delicious spread of Mexican specialities and seafood, including lobster tail and prawn skewers! Yum yum.

Cancun beach wedding buffet dinner

The bonfire started to burn as the sun lowered…

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See what we mean about this granddad? We couldn’t help but capture so many of these cute moments!

Tropical sunsets are just the BEST…

Mexico beach wedding reception, Mexico tropical beach sunset wedding photos

How cute were our bride and groom?

Fun and candid wedding photos, Fun destination wedding photos

Ahh… gorgeous.

Creative wedding photography Mexico, sunset beach wedding photosCancun beach wedding reception, Cancun outdoor rehearsal dinner on beach

The hot and humid summer afternoon gave way to a perfect evening. Nothing beats dining under a fiery sky with the cool sand between your toes and the warm seabreeze flowing through your hair. As photographers, we couldn’t get enough… it was magical!

Colourful sunset Mexico beach wedding rehearsal dinner The Beloved Hotel Cancun Mexico beach dinner party Tilt-shift wedding photography, beach dinner reception MexicoTilt-shift wedding photography, beach rehearsal dinner Cancun Mexico

Another icon of American culture was definitely necessary given the bonfire: s’mores!

Smores at beach wedding bonfire party

Jonathan had fun instructing the English guests on how to make and eat s’mores… so fun! For our non-American readers, if you don’t know what a s’more is, you’re missing out on all that marshmallowy, chocolatey, graham cracker goodness!

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The fire was HOT! It didn’t take long to roast those marshmallows…

Creative wedding photography Mexico, beach wedding reception with bonfire

Everyone was really excited about what the next day would bring!

Mexico Cancun beach bonfire welcome rehearsal dinner photos

By the end of the night, certain individuals were pretty tuckered out! Haha!

How cute are our bride and groom to-be? :)

Mexico destination wedding photos, beach bonfire wedding reception

Cancun destination wedding pictures, bonfire on beach wedding welcome dinner

Just for fun, we setup a camera to capture Jonathan and Nicola’s sunset party in a timelapse video. Over two hours of partying condensed into just over a minute! Enjoy:

What a fun day in the sun! We could hardly wait for what the next day would bring. Just wait until you see the excitement of Jonathan and Nicola’s big day, the beauty of the rest of the resort, and their gorgeous ceremony and reception! Coming up next on the blog!

Friends and family of Jonathan and Nicola, leave a comment for the happy couple below and let us know what you think of the photos—we’ll notify you when the rest of images are ready to view online!

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Tom Lekawski - Fantastic photos. Really caught the essence and spirit of the events leading up to the wedding. Can’t wait to see the rest of your work, and the pictures of the wedding.

Daniel - Amazing photos :-) can’t wait for the wedding ones x good job jeff and Erin x

Sharon Lekawski - WOW!!! What great pictures. I love the video….you really captured the whole evening. Excited to see the wedding pictures.

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