Oh my goodness, we’re positively blown away by Pierce Weddings’ photos of today’s vibrant Mexican-Jewish wedding. The colors, the light, the artistic composition, the emotion — it’s all here.
Multicultural couple Karina, a law student and health care advocate, and Garrett, who is working toward a PhD in environment and resources, always knew they wanted their day to reflect their backgrounds, hers Mexican and his Jewish.
They decided to marry in the beyond-picturesque town of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, which just happens to be Karina’s grandmother’s hometown. Their color scheme was an homage to the town’s colorful streets — and once you take a look at the photos, you’ll see why.
They had not one but two super unique venues: for the ceremony, Casa de la Cuesta, a gorgeous B&B well-known for its traditional Mexican mask museum; for the reception, Casa de la Noche, an old bordello turned into a B&B.
As Karina and Garrett themselves say, their life together has always been honoring each other’s traditions in an authentic, personal way, and their wedding was no exception. The couple wrote their own trilingual (!) ketubah, in Hebrew, English, and Spanish; their stunning chuppah was an homage to Oaxacan embroidery and Frida Kahlo paintings; and they combined the Jewish seven blessings with some super cool Mexican wedding traditions.
Possibly the coolest of these was the couple’s callejoneada, a procession through the streets including giant papier mache puppets in the pair’s likeness, Mariachis, and even tequila-carrying donkey (yes, you read that right!). Read on for the details.
A Wedding in Mexico
Karina, the bride: We were married in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, a gorgeous town just an hour north of where Karina’s grandmother grew up. We wanted a hometown, Mexican wedding, so we brought the wedding to Karina’s grandma’s hometown.
Our ceremony was at Casa de la Cuesta, a gorgeous B&B well-known for its traditional Mexican mask museum. Our reception was at Casa de la Noche, an old bordello turned into a B&B.
Blending Jewish and Mexican Culture
Foremost in our mind was the goal of blending Karina’s Mexican culture and Garrett’s Jewish traditions. Our color scheme was an homage to the colorful streets of San Miguel de Allende and Oaxacan embroidery (we included Mexican textiles from Oaxaca in our table settings).
We wrote our own ketubah, which was written (after translation from the initial English) in Hebrew, English, and Spanish.
Our rabbi did a wonderful job incorporating Mexican traditions like the lazo and arras along along with Jewish rituals. There was something new for everyone in attendance, and we loved every second of it.
One particularly fun moment: on the Friday night before the wedding at our welcome taquiza (taco party) dinner for guests, the rabbi was leading us in traditional Shabbat prayers. As soon as the last prayer was chanted and everyone chimed in with “Amen!” the Mariachi band that had been waiting for their moment struck up a chord and broke out into song! It was a moment that really brought our Jewish and Mexican cultures together, and one that we’ll never forget.
The special design came in with the hand drawn map of San Miguel that was included in our welcome bags, and the menu we provided guests at dinner. Both were designed by a very talented guest (Garrett’s brother Nate’s girlfriend, Rachel), who had also also designed the menus for Nate’s restaurant in NYC.
Hair + Makeup
Karina wanted something simple. She didn’t want to worry about bobby pins and updoes. For makeup she wanted to look like a slightly more photogenic version of her normal self, so we kept the look simple and classic with long flowing hair and long eyelashes.
A Dress from RK Bridal
Karina is very practical, and this is probably the best example of that. Karina set a small budget for the dress and picked the best option in that range.
She found RK Bridal in New York City. She went in with a clear idea of the silhouette that she was looking for, and her consultant Miriam pulled a few dresses as a warm up. THE dress was the second dress she tried on. She fell in love with the beautiful seam work and simplicity of the dress. Juan, the tailor at RK Bridal, made the dress fit like a dream.
Letting Her Hair Down
Garrett always said that he imagined Karina walking down the aisle with her long, wavy, black hair cascading down her shoulder. Karina did not want to disappoint.
Chinese Laundry Shoes
Yet another place where Karina’s practical side kicked in – as a New Yorker, she knows the importance of comfortable footwear. She tried on over 30 pairs of shoes for the big day and settled on lilac satin block heel sandals from Chinese Laundry. They were so comfortable and super cute.
For the procession through the cobblestone streets of San Miguel de Allende, Karina changed into locally made sneakers featuring gold leather and embroidery.
The handsome groom
Garrett wore a bespoke suit, designed with the help of the staff at Enzo Custom in Midtown Manhattan. We (especially Garrett) had loads of fun picking out all the details.
The rich blue cloth was by Ermenegildo Zegna – made of superfine Australian wool and woven in Italy. It had a peak lapel, pocket flaps that angled downward instead of lying horizontally, and one buttonhole stitched with bright pink thread on each arm. He coupled that with a custom white cotton shirt from Enzo that was relatively light, with a textured foliage motif.
The most unique elements were the accessories and the special touches sewn into Garrett’s suit and shirt. To commemorate the past, he wore a navy tie with small white dots and a pair of cufflinks that belonged to his late grandfather, Eric Adler. Eric had grown up in Darmstadt, Germany, but fled his home country and the Nazi regime in the late 1930s, emigrating to America where he later became a successful entrepreneur.
To mark the present – our wedding day – under Garrett’s suit collar we had embroidered “G & K” followed by our wedding date.
And looking toward the future of our family together and Garrett’s new name, the suit’s inside lining was embroidered with “G. M. Albistegui Adler,” and the shirt’s cuff was monogrammed in light blue thread with “GMAA.” (For reference, our pre-marriage names were Nancy Karina Albistegui-Amaya and Garrett Michael Adler, and we’ve decided to combine our last names into one.)
A Wedding Brigade
Officially we only had a matron of honor: Karina’s sister, who wore an orange dress. However, close friends and family members (the wedding brigade) were invited to wear pink, orange, and royal blue in keeping with the featured colors in our wedding.
A Oaxacan Chuppah
The chuppah was an homage to Oaxacan embroidery and Frida Kahlo paintings. We wanted a lush, dark background with bright flowers to bring pops of color.
A Multicultural Ceremony
I don’t think I could pick out one specific favorite part, there was so much of us woven throughout and it all felt so special. At the ceremony the rabbi read a bit of it in Hebrew, then Garrett read the remainder of the text aloud in English and Karina read the same portion of the text in Spanish.
Garrett said his vows in the traditional Hebrew and English translation, and Karina said hers, which she wrote herself, in Spanish. We had Mexican lazo (lasso) and arras (coins) rituals, followed by the traditional seven Jewish wedding blessing and the priestly blessing.
For each of the seven blessings, members of Karina’s and Garrett’s families would come up to the front of the aisle and offer their own personal blessings to the couple. Generally Karina’s relatives offered their blessings in Spanish and Garrett’s in English; in the case of Karina’s grandma, we received her blessing in her own special and silent way.
For the priestly blessing, Karina’s and Garrett’s parents joined us at the front as we were wrapped in Garrett’s tallis, which he purchased many years ago for his bar mitzvah with his late maternal grandparents, Gert and Hy Aronow. Also, our kippot were bright pink (fucshia to be exact)!
A Trilingual Ketubah
We wrote our own ketubah text (based off a collection of sample texts). We wanted to incorporate a commitment to cherish our respective cultural heritages and to “work to establish a loving environment dedicated to peace, hope and respect for all people,” among other personal features. It was then translated and written in Hebrew, English, and Spanish (and ordered from Susie Lubell on Etsy).
I Believe in a Thing Called Love
Processional: Crazy Love – Van Morrison
Bride’s entrance: Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
Recessional: Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours – Stevie Wonder
Entrance to the reception: I Believe in a Thing Called Love – The Darkness
First dance: 40 Day Dream – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
We had Mariachis playing traditional Mexican songs for the procession through the streets, known as a callejoneada, and part of the cocktail hour.
We had a DJ at the reception and they basically played all of our songs. A mix of old and new, Spanish and English, made for an active dancefloor. Of course, we had a long round of hora dancing and bride, groom, and guests lifted in chairs. So long, in fact, that we had to let the DJ know when to stop repeating Hava Nagila! And of course, there was some NSYNC from our preteen years and everyone did the Bye Bye Bye move.
That was all the work of our planner Alicia Vilar of San Miguel Weddings. We sent her some photos of things that we liked and she ran with it.
Our fabulous Photographer
Karina fell for Mariana’s beautiful work on Instagram — Pierce Weddings. Evidently that worked out quite well for all involved!
No cake. We opted for local chocolates and ice cream.
Lucha Libre Masks
Good music and lots of love. One of the super-fun moments was when we turned around and saw all of our guests jumping around in Lucha Libre masks. Our friends surprised us by handing out Lucha Libre masks once the dancefloor was in full swing. It was amazing!
We had lots of favors. Our guests all got a welcome bag with many of our favorite treats and some traditional Mexican candy. It also included little Mexican Coca Cola bottles and a Mexican hangover cure (mineral water, lemon, and sal de uvas).
At the reception, we gave our loved ones handpainted Mexican tarros (mugs) that Karina’s mom lovingly hunted down and Karina’s family wrote our wedding date on.
What defined our wedding was the blend of our cultures. With the help of our rabbi and our planner we were able to seamlessly flow between the Jewish and Mexican traditions.
One of the most unique aspects of our wedding was the callejoneada. It’s a procession through the streets of San Miguel de Allende. This is a tradition specific to the state of Guanajuato. Ours included mojigangas (giant papier mache puppets in our likeness), Mariachis, and a sweet little donkey named Paloma, who wore a flower crown and was in charge of carrying the tequila.
The special touches included the escort cards, which were polaroids from our travels. The tables were named after some of the cities that we have visited together. We had hand-drawn menus and signature cocktails that Garrett’s brother (restaurateur Nate Adler) created for us.
Instead of a guestbook we asked guests to take a selfie with one of our Fujifilm Instax cameras. Karina’s nephews then got to use the Instax cameras to take pictures throughout the wedding, and they got some great shots.
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
Don’t do it alone! Our planner handled all of the contracts, but Garrett and I did a lot of the DIY touches including the table numbers, escort cards, programs, and weekend schedule. We wish we would have asked for more help along the way, that last week was nuts but it was totally worth it because we loved our wedding and had a blast. It was awesome to see our families having such a great time too.
As far as mixing traditions – just go for it! As a multicultural couple, our life together has always been about finding ways to honor each other’s traditions and give them our own twist. Our wedding was no different. We didn’t worry about how things were “supposed” to be done and just did what felt right to us.
Karina & Garrett’s little white book
Photography – Pierce Weddings
Wedding planner – San Miguel Weddings
Venues – Casa de la Cuesta and Casa de la Noche
Bride’s dress – purchased at RK Bridal
Bride’s shoes – Chinese Laundry
Groom’s attire – Enzo Custom and Ermenegildo Zegna
Makeup – Liliana Patlan
Ketubah – Susie Lubell