RIA + KUN by Button Up Photography

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship:

Ria: As the cliché goes, opposites attract. In many ways, this holds true for Kun and me. She’s a minimalist and I’m a collector. She likes spicy and I love sweet. She’s a night owl, and I’m a morning person. The list could go on and on, but we come together in the things that matter the most.

We share the same value of holding family as the centrepiece in our lives. If the added stress brought upon us by the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that we can all stand to be a little more patient, a little more understanding, and to cherish each moment with our loved ones. Kun and I have found ways to navigate our good days and bad days. It’s not always easy, but I imagine this balance is what will help us stand the test of time.

Kun is a Graphic Designer by trade. She’s is in transition at the moment, helping her sister with their 3 young kids and filling the role of amazing Aunt! I’m a sales director for an athletic company and self-proclaimed sneaker-head. Thus, the change in sneakers for our reception. We even had colouring pages in the kids’ kit for them to design their own shoes. Unfortunately, COVID has prevented us from enjoying some of our usual past times like discovering new restaurants, visiting museums, and attending live concerts.

However, we’ve been able to get creative at home. Kun is getting a ton of practice refining her cooking skills. Some nights we declare as “digital free” and we sit and talk over candlelight or listen to her dad’s old record collection. We even turned a picture of our dog Bailey into a paint by numbers project.

We also have had a lot of fun revisiting our childhood memories by playing retro video games. We’re a house divided – she’s a Sega girl, and I’m Nintendo all the way. We’re sneaking in time here and there to appreciate the outdoors whether that’s a picnic with friends or fishing with the family. More so, we are patiently waiting for when we can travel again. For now, we’ll continue to find ways to entertain ourselves at home (we might have to resurrect “bedroom karaoke”).

Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details:

Kun: Honestly, I was so relieved that everything was finally happening. Ria and I had such a hard time during the whole wedding planning. To name a few, we both had surgeries, we had our backpack was stolen that had the laptop with our final guest list, and Ria lost her wedding ring the day before we flew out to the wedding site.

It was probably one of the most stressful times of my life, yet every frustration disappeared when I saw Ria walking down the aisle. All I remember after that is just a whole lot of bright light, love, laughter and magic. Our wedding planners did a fantastic job! We wanted to have natural elements as much as possible, so we used lanterns and candlelights to set up the mood with lots of greenery. When it came to food, we kept it simple. Everyone got surf & turf except a few people with dietary restrictions and the kids. Plus, who has time to sit through 4-course meal when there’s an open bar and the dancefloor waiting?

Ria: A lot of couples say that their wedding day was the best day of their lives. I used to be that person that would roll their eyes at that cliché, but it really was my favourite day ever!! Neither Kun nor I am necessarily comfortable being the centre of attention, but there was just an outpouring of love that we felt from everyone. It was overwhelming, incredibly fun, and completely magical…perhaps it was merely a reflection of our relationship.

We owe everything to Sunhorse Weddings who thought of every detail. The venue was pretty spectacular on its own. You can’t really beat the sunset on the beach, so we didn’t have to do too much as Kun said. Some of my favourite touches were the kids’ table in which we created activity kits and labelled them for each one of our special little guests. I also loved the way we did our table seating. Our planners sourced local Mexican tiles, and Kun’s hand wrote everyone’s name and table number on a corkboard that was affixed to the tiles. They doubled as our giveaways. Also, we had fire dancers that helped us transition from dinner to the reception. They were definitely a big hit with the crowd.

Tell us about your main outfits:

Ria: Kun had a clear vision of what she wanted to wear for the wedding. She wanted to keep it simple but elegant. She’s very proud of the fact that she only spent $100 on her entire outfit. She trolled the internet until she found the right jumpsuit and cover-up.

I, on the other hand, knew I wanted to wear a dress and spare no expense, but I couldn’t exactly picture it in my mind. In many ways, I think it was hard for me to separate my attachment to tradition. I still bought into the notion that dress shopping was a pivotal moment in the wedding process. For me, it was just being able to have my sister in the room knowing she would be able to read my body language and know the right words to say (even if brutally honest).

I originally bought a strappy ethereal dress that was definitely beautiful. It was Kun approved, so we didn’t hesitate. But when we found the dress I ended up wearing I felt an immediate difference in the way it made me feel. I felt comfortable, playful, and even romantic. I loved how flowy it was and it had just the right amount of detail that complimented Kun’s outfit (neither of us wanted to show up the other).

What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day:

Ria: Well, this is probably not the most appropriate thing to reveal, but it’s definitely indicative of my sense of humour. Our wedding was on the beach, as luck would have it a rowdy party boat was cruising by while I had the microphone in hand to deliver my vows. I anticipated a few tears and maybe a few laughs, but I couldn’t have planned it more perfectly. Without even thinking, I blurted out the words, “Show us your tits!” The crowd blew up in a roar of laughter. The day and the entire week was full of so many endearing and hilarious moments like that.

Kun: I’m going to touch on a slightly heavier side of our story – when I knew that Ria was the one, I decided to come out to the world including my dad and my relatives. Despite a strong religious background, my mom and sister have always been very supportive of my sexuality, and they were the first to know. Yet, coming out that second time to more people was just as hard as the very first time, and I never found the courage to go near that frightening place again until I met Ria. Long story short, I introduced Ria to one of my uncles. Then I came out to my dad as well with the help of my lovely stepmom. None of my family members came to our wedding except my mom, nephew, and brother in law. Unfortunately, my sister couldn’t attend either because she was pregnant with her third child.

I think the most important thing to recognize is that everyone has their own journey. I knew I had shaken them to the core. It took me more than twenty years to understand and embrace myself, and there was no way I was going to ask them to accept me in six months before my wedding.

There is a happy ending to the story. Ria’s mom finally decided to come to our wedding thanks to Ria’s sister’s constant persuasion. When I came back from the wedding, my dad texted, “Good morning. How are you? After COVID come visit me with Ria. Let’s have dinner together.”

My one piece of advice to couples would be to find time for special moments for just the two of you. Even though it’s not traditional to see each other before the ceremony (except maybe for first look photos), Kun and I hung out in the same bridal room while the guests were arriving (We were both brides after all.). We started the evening toasting to each other with Tequila shots. We stole another moment alone to walk down the pier while everyone continued to dance the night away.

Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together:

1. Your wedding planners are your best friends. Pay them! It’s worth every penny!

2. Invest in wedding photography and videography! Unfortunately, all the moments will fly by so fast and you will want to remember as much as possible. Also, do your research especially if you have specific aesthetics and needs. I chose my photographer because he had lots of experience with outdoor weddings, which would require different settings than indoor weddings. In the end, we all fell in love with the team, which was also a plus.

3. If you are having a destination wedding as we did, we highly recommend you to check out the site first. Also, we made a mistake by picking out the wedding vendor first before choosing the wedding planners which complicated our process a bit. Choose the wedding planners first, and then they will help you with the rest.

4. Remember what matters the most is what the day is about – celebrating love with your favourite people. Not everything will happen according to your plans. As I have learned from my bridezilla moments, everything is going to be ok! Even if it rains. (My sister’s wedding vendor caught on fire in the middle of frigid winter. We now have great pictures of us drinking hot chocolate with hunky firefighters.)

Ria: I fully admit planning wasn’t my strong suit, and it definitely tested us. Honestly, I can’t take much of the credit at all. It was interesting to see what was important to each of us. For example, the photographer, videographer, and surprisingly music was so important to Kun (to the point where she spent days obsessing over the playlist). While I may have been preoccupied with our colour scheme, décor, and finding the right dress.

Ultimately, we both cared the most about our friends and family having the best experience possible. After all, we wanted the destination wedding to feel like a vacation for all of us. We added fun optional activities like a golf cart scavenger hunt, welcome dinner, and even a sunset snorkel cruise to complete the weekend. In the end, all the stress dissipated as it all came together perfectly. Having a wedding planner that was based in Mexico was also a game-changer that was worth every penny.

Ceremony, Reception, Catering + Beverages: Zama Isla Mujeres, Mexico | Photographer + Videographer: Button Up Photo & Video | Celebrant: Ermel-Manuel | Entertainment: Disco Movil, Cancun | Styling + Flora: Sun Horse Weddings, Isla Mujeres | Cake: Nubia Magaña, Isla Mujeres| Wedding PR: My Planner Journal | Ria’s Gown + Shoes: David’s Bridal | Kun’s Jumpsuit: Lulus