Words by Jennifer
Mariana and I met over Instagram. We had both been through pretty rough breakups, and we weren’t out looking to meet anyone.
I was on Instagram one day, and an account I followed posted this photo of a girl. Her bio said: ‘Mariana Barney Guardado, Mexican DJ, and Graphic Designer.’ I remember staring at her picture, feeling like she was so special.
After that day, I would jump over to her Instagram profile sporadically and look at her photos, but never liking any because I didn’t want her to think I was some weird stranger from Canada creeping her profile. About a week later, the very same account reposted one of my photos from my profile, and later that day, Mariana liked a few pictures on my page.
I remember feeling so excited, thinking, “oh, wow, this is the girl that I saw the other day on here.” There was a month of casually liking each other’s pictures back and forth.
I had just got a puppy named Harlow, and one day I was tired of waiting for this woman to talk to me, so I went on her profile and liked about twenty of her pictures in a row. Later, Mariana commented on the photo of my dog, saying, “She is pretty cute.” That is when we started to D.M. each other, then that led to text, which led to a phone call. Then Facetime.
The moment I saw her on Facetime, and I really don’t want to sound cheesy, but I just knew. I knew I loved her and would love her forever.
Mariana says the same. There was just a connection.
It is true, what they say about it being right when it’s right – this was just so right.
We had many hurdles to jump over. For starters, she lived in Mexico, and I lived in Canada. Our first time meeting in person was in New York. We had initially planned for Mariana to come to Canada for a visit, and a few days before she was supposed to fly, we realized she needed a visa that took a month. Desperate to see each other, I asked where she could go with a Mexican passport. At that time, she could go to America.
That weekend in New York was very romantic. I will never forget our first kiss in the cab ride to the hotel. We were both so nervous, it wasn’t the most glamorous location, but it was perfect. All the tension of a month of phone chatting and Facetime faded. The kiss was magical. It changed my life; she changed my life.
A month later, we decided to move in together, and Mariana took a giant leap of faith and moved to Canada with me. That was in December of 2015.
On September the 6th, 2016, I proposed to her at a surprise party in Mexico on a rooftop. There were fireworks, a mariachi band, and all of her closest friends. She thought it was a birthday BBQ for her thirtieth birthday and when I asked her to marry me, she said yes.
Then she proposed to me. She took me on a helicopter ride into the rocky mountains and proposed to me on top of a cliff overlooking a beautiful river. It was incredible. Our proposal in itself was a fantastic story, as we somehow chose the same ring maker without knowing. We kept making appointments on the same day, and the ring designer “A Second Time” figured out we were making rings for one another and was high stress the whole time. It was amazing.
We chose to get married in Mexico, so it was easier for Mariana’s family and friends to attend. We decided to arrange much of it ourselves as we did not want to do a resort-style wedding. Our theme was boho, with wedding attire for guests being white.
We rented a villa in Sayulita and had our bridal party stay with us. Having a traditional Mexican dinner for our welcome dinner on a beautiful veranda overlooking the jungle was perfect.
We decided to do a sunrise photo shoot the day before the wedding so we could capture our moment and our love without stress, without guests and timelines. It was magical.
Our wedding venue for the ceremony and reception was on Litibu beach outside of Sayulita. We bused all of our guests in as it was a hidden private beach and lot that we managed to find on Airbnb for rent. It was just perfect. We used a wedding planner in Mexico called Sea of Dreams weddings, who helped bring to life the very specific details of things we wanted for our wedding day to be. We wanted a Morocco meets boho-chic vibe. Everything from carpets and throw pillows with low seating to hammocks and lace teepees.
For our outfits, we bought Mariana’s jumpsuit online and then removed the sleeves and made it lower in the front. I ordered lace and beading, and we made the cape. My veil was handmade by me, spending a week cutting out lace to make the veil’s ribbons and feathers. We chose feathers for me to honor my Metis heritage. Mariana’s Auntie made my reception dress as well, a detail that I hold so special.
The wedding day was perfect. We danced with guests well into the wee hours of the morning and had a midnight snack of churros and tacos el pastor from hired local street vendors.
Photography by Leslie Brown Photography
Bridal Boutique Ethos Bridal, Novia Mia
Bridesmaid Gift Totes GracefulGreetingCo
Bridesmaid Robes Piyama
Cinematographer Andres Valenzuela
Cake & Catering Elias Sapien
Celebrant Tiburcio (Mayan Shaman)
Ceremony Venue Litibu Beach
Decorative Elements Uniques Rental
Dress [reception] Rossina Maria Lastra
Entertainment DJ – Sayulita Musica
Event Planner & Stylist Sea of Dreams Weddings
Gowns ASOS, Stella York
Groomsmaids Robes I Need This Robe
H&MU Ana Karen Salon
Jennifer’s Robe Iselle Bridal Studio
Jumpsuit [reception] Ethos Bridal
Rings A Second Time