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A Colorful Spring Wedding at Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

A palette of bright colors, amid cobblestone streets and beautiful architecture, infused Marian Chen (24 and a dental student) and Dillon McCarty’s (2

A palette of bright colors, amid cobblestone streets and beautiful architecture, infused Marian Chen (24 and a dental student) and Dillon McCarty’s (26 and a medical student) spring wedding in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, with vibrancy and old-world flair. The couple's first date was on Cinco de Mayo, and they felt the allure of Mexico’s rich cultural history and beautiful landscape. So Marian and Dillion knew that a south-of-the-border soiree was the way to go for their late-May nuptials. The three-day extravaganza kicked off with a welcome party at a private estate—complete with classic Mexican street foods and panama hats—and culminated with an unforgettable bash at Instituto Allende. The day of the wedding, Marian and Dillon gathered 200 of their closest friends and family members at Templo de la Inmaculada Concepcion for a traditional Catholic ceremony. Drawing inspiration from the church of Les Invalides in Paris, France, the Templo offered a breathtaking backdrop for the affair, with its gilded architectural details, originally brickwork and awe-inspiring chandeliers. To fit the locale, Marian and Dillon incorporated a traditional Mexican wedding custom into the proceedings, exchanging arras, or coins, as a symbol of the new home and life they will build together. After exchanging “I dos,” Marian and Dillion led their guests through the streets of San Miguel de Allende, in the fashion of a traditional callejoneada, to the Instituto Allende, where the rest of the evening’s festivities unfolded. From the vivid rose centerpieces to the canopy of silver lanterns and Mexican colonial architecture, the reception was a feast for the senses, especially sight. Guests enjoyed a four-course seated meal and dancing under the stars, followed by a midnight fireworks display that illuminated the sky with brilliant streaks of color. Local cigars and tequilas were abundant throughout the evening, and to keep the fiesta alive late into the wee hours, the newlyweds treated their families and friends to tacos al pastor. —Libby MacCarthy

To stay true to the historic locale while balancing the decor’s vibrant palette, Marian and Dillon took the classic route when it came to their invitation suite. Gold and navy calligraphy adorned sheets of ivory card stock, informing guests of all the events over the couple’s three-day wedding extravaganza.
Before Marian and Dillion kicked off the fun-filled festivities at Instituto Allende, the pair gathered their families and friends at Templo de la Inmaculada Concepcion for a Catholic ceremony in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The couple even incorporated a traditional Mexican wedding custom into the proceeding—the exchanging of arras, or coins, which symbolizes their new life together and all that it entails.
Built in the Gothic style in the likeness of the Eglise Saint-Louis-des-Invalides in Paris, France, the Templo de la Inmaculada Concepcion in in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where the ceremony took place, was nothing short of spectacular. To keep the focus on the church’s architecture, Marian and Dillon lined the aisles with subtle bouquets of ivory roses, each adorned with a pillar candle for a romantic effect.
Taking the decor and setting into consideration, Marian had her bridesmaids choose long, formal Joanna August gowns in a rich shade of blue for their walk down the aisle. “This color was chosen so the flower color palette and the color of San Miguel would stand out without clashing with their dresses,” Marian says. Her bridesmaids chose their own styles, showing off all their personalities.
After exchanging vows in a traditional Catholic ceremony at Templo de la Inmaculada Concepcion, Marian and Dillion led their families and friends through the streets of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, in a customary callejoneada. A donkey adorned with colorful paper flowers led the procession, with a mariachi band and puppets made in the likeness of the couple adding a festive flair to the parade.
Before sitting down to a four-course meal of fresh, seasonal eats, the newlyweds and their guests enjoyed cocktail hour in Instituto Allende’s lush courtyard. Guests sipped on local tequilas and were treated to a spread of bite-size eats and hand-rolled cigars.
Following the ceremony and the callejoneada, Marian and Dillon took a few moments to themselves before heading into the reception. The Mexican colonial architecture throughout San Miguel de Allende and the Instituto Allende itself provided a romantic backdrop for the couple’s private photo session.
Above the elegant dressed reception tables hung dozens of silvery lanterns in a variety of shapes and styles. As the sun set over Instituto Allende, the lanterns began twinkled and glowed, casting warm, whimsical light over the outdoor reception space.
As a thank-you to their guests for traveling to Mexico to share their wedding day, Marian and Dillion gave their families and friends silver-star ornaments that mirrored the canopy of lanterns that hung over the tables. The mementos were placed on top of each setting, giving the classic tablescapes an element of glitz and glamour.
“We stuck with white and silver for the majority of the wedding because we wanted to make a statement with the flowers,” Marian says. “We wanted to embrace the colors of San Miguel de Allende with the floral color palette.” The couple brought their vision to life, decorating the tables with bountiful bouquets of roses, stock, hydrangeas and mums in brilliant shades of deep pink, red, burgundy and coral orange.
After dinner—featuring decadent dishes like stuffed chicken with poblano sauce, four-chile beef tenderloin and ceviche—Marian and Dillon treated guests to two mouthwatering desserts. In addition to wedding cake, the couple served up slices of guava cheesecake, a locally inspired twist on the classic cake.