Within the crumbling walls of an ancient convent hidden in the forest surrounding Mexico City, Ashley and Brian held a ceremony beneath towering trees, in front of a modern concrete structure. Accompanying the 16th century architecture, the bride wore a Reem Acra gown paired with a crown before changing into a custom Vivienne Westwood gown for the party.
Inside the captivating embrace of the forest, an enchanting and seemingly endless table awaited guests, inviting them to immerse themselves in the mystical ambiance of the surroundings. A glowing moon hung at the center of the colossal greenhouse space in Desierto de los Leones, a Mexican national park. Neon rings encircled the towering trees, casting a vibrant glow, while elegant chandeliers hung from above, adding to the spellbinding atmosphere.
Photographer KT Merry captured this mystical Mexico wedding.
Names / Ashley & Brian Taban
Location / Ex Convento Desierto de los Leones, Mexico
Wedding Date / June 11th, 2022
Guest Numbers / 450
How We Met
We were introduced through friends at a pool party in April 2018 in Los Angeles. However, it wasn’t until we both were in Mykonos, Greece for a summer trip that our friendship developed.
Our Engagement Story
Brian asked me to pack my bags for 80 degree weather and be ready to leave the next morning. Once we got to the airport, I realised we were going to Maui, Hawaii, a very special place to me. We checked in to our hotel and spent 4 days hiking different waterfalls, taking the road to Hana, exploring local restaurants and hanging at the beach. On our last full day in Maui, he asked if I wanted to take a helicopter ride to the other side of the island that we would otherwise not be able to get to. I said yes and once we landed on the mountainside with the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen, he got down on one knee and proposed. I couldn’t stop screaming and laughing and crying simultaneously. We spent the evening with a private dining experience in a treehouse. It was magical!
What we love most about each other…
We are one another’s best friends and we are constantly having fun, even in the most boring places like.
Traveling has always been a huge part of our relationship so we always knew that we wanted to have our guests not only celebrate our wedding with us but, simultaneously, discover a new city. We always felt like it would be so magical to have both of our families and friends in a different city so they got the chance to know each other better. We chose Mexico City because it is electric. There are over 180 museums, countless incredible restaurants and dining experiences, and a nearby forest, Desierto de los Leones national park, where we had our wedding day and ceremony.
We wanted our wedding to feel timeless, slightly gothic, moody and magical. I definitely wanted it to feel it had a little hint of a Helena Bonham Carter movie. So that nothing felt too expected, guests had space to roam around and explore the 16th century convent, and the party was set between the gorgeous pine, fir and oak trees. I especially wanted the electric energy of being in Mexico city at wedding to be felt throughout.
The morning of our wedding day started off rough. We both decided to party a little too hard at our welcome party the night before so breakfast was limited to plain toast and a glass of OJ. Once we got over the exhaustion, we decided to get ready separately, Brian with friends and I (the bride) with my mom and sister.
KT Merry photographed our wedding and it would not have been the same without her. I was originally drawn to KT’s work because she has an editorial style with the ability to very naturally capture moments and tell a story. KT came to Mexico City a few days before the wedding with her team to explore the city, understand the events, see the venue and develop her own strategy and vision for how the day should go. We completely felt at ease trusting her to direct both days.
It was important to us that our videographer and photographer had worked together before so they could seamlessly create a plan and share a vision on how they wanted to record the special moments of our wedding. Peyton Frank’s romantic and emotional style subtly captured the emotions, scenery and energy of our wedding.
We had our ceremony between the forest trees. I didn’t want to add too many flowers and take away from the already lush and green setting so our party planner proposed building a Gaudí like structure made of concrete, a stark contrast to the decadent landscape.
Early on in the planning phase of our wedding, I told our planners that I wanted to have a moon over our dance floor. Throughout our relationship, we spent late nights staying up and talking under the moonlight. I thought it would be a perfect way to bring those memories into our wedding. We ended up dancing under the full moon until 7am with our family and friends.
Wedding Planner & Stylist
The amazing team at House of Kirschner were our wedding planners and they helped me bring my forest wedding vision to life. They worked tirelessly to source furniture and create decor like the custom green moss chandeliers that would integrate seamlessly into the setting.
I opted for a bouquet that felt understated and subtle, so it would not outshine my wedding dress. What drew me to Lily of the Valley was that they looked like they could have been picked from the very venue of the ceremony. The flowers are seasonal so my florist had to ship them to Mexico City from France.
Food & Beverages
We did a long cocktail hour before the wedding ceremony then opted for a sit down dinner during the reception. The bar was flowing with a special menu of cocktails our drinks coordinator developed including one of our favourites – mezcal with hibiscus, jalapenos, lime and a tajin rim and hibiscus on top.
Fashion & Beauty Notes
Bride’s Dress & Shoes
The wedding dress I wore to the ceremony was made by Reem Acra. I went to a store in West Hollywood that was having a trunk show and it was the only dress that caught my eye. I tried it on and I knew I had to wear it to my wedding. The gown was romantic featuring big puffy sleeves just like the wedding gown my mom wore to her wedding 33 years ago. For the reception, Vivienne Westwood Couture created a custom gown for me. I wanted something more playful, sexy and comfortable to dance in. Their team in London sent me a few sketches and a few weeks later my sister and I made the trip to do my fittings. Their team was enchanting to work with – everyone was so talented!
We were planning a Safari in the winter for our honeymoon but we got pregnant with twins! Luckily we had an amazing trip to France a few months after our wedding. While we were attending our friends’ wedding in Paris, we decided to travel to St. Tropez and Antibes with a few of our best couple friends.
We felt as though the greatest gift was having all of our guests join us in Mexico for our special day so we did not opt for a registry. We did however receive some extremely thoughtful gifts that we loved. One that I will cherish forever is a silver tea set from my mom that had been passed down 4 generations before reaching me. In Iranian culture, it is traditional to have tea when you have guests over and because Brian and I love to entertain, we will definitely be using this gorgeous antique silver tray, small cups and tea pot.
After Ceremony Song: “Big Jet Plane” by Angus Julia Stone
First Dance: “Open” by Rhye
A memorable moment…
A memorable moment during the planning phase was being in Mexico City with my mom and sister. After a long day of food tastings, we were back at our hotel and we met a gentleman in the elevator who told us that there was a Coldplay concert that evening at one of the largest stadiums in CDMX. We could only find 2 tickets online yet we showed up, bought a third ticket from a scalper at the door and had the best night singing and dancing together a few weeks before the wedding.
One thing I wish I knew before I started my wedding plans…
Try to enjoy every moment of the lead up to the wedding including the difficult moments planning!
Wedding Venue / Ex Convento Desierto de los Leones
Wedding Stylist & Planner / House of Kirschner
Photography / KT Merry
Videography / Peyton Frank
Bride’s Shoes / Versace
Wedding Rings / Cartier
Makeup / Carly Fisher
Florist / House of Kirschner
Cake / Sugar & Soul
Catering / Vicky Cherem
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