Will and Ritchie’s rustic beach wedding in Tulum, Mexico, with paper airplanes, family heirlooms and heartfelt customs


[dropcap letter=”R”]itchie was a social coordinator for a local LGBT group and was making a presentation to Will’s university in San Luis Obispo, Calif. It was love at first sight for Will and he immediately emailed Ritchie to get to know him better. They started dating in 2005 and have been together ever since—almost 10 years.

A month after the marriage equality bill in New York passed, Ritchie selected a romantic restaurant where he had planned to ask Will to marry him the night before a beach day birthday celebration in Virginia Beach. On the way to dinner, Will insisted they stop at Ritchie’s cousin’s house in order to pick up his birthday present for him. Unbeknownst to Ritchie, Will had arranged a surprise birthday party with his immediate family where he had also planned on proposing to Ritchie. Completely shocked by the surprise party, Ritchie confided on his sister and a couple close cousins about his thwarted plans to propose to Will at the restaurant. Serendipitously, these were the same people that Will had planned the surprise party with and let know about his intention to propose during a midnight toast in Ritchie’s honor. They encouraged Ritchie to propose during this “toast” and at midnight, surrounded by family and friends, Will and Ritchie both pulled out rings and asked each other to marry him.




William wore J.Crew Irish Linen suit pants and vest and a J.Crew dress shirt with Sperry Top Sider boat shoes. Ritchie wore a traditional Philippine Barong Tagalog with J. Crew Irish Linen suit pants and Sperry Top Sider boat shoes. The women in Ritchie’s wedding party wore cream-colored lace dresses including his nieces who were the ring “bear”-er and flower girl. The women in Will’s wedding party wore seafoam green dresses. Ritchie and Will’s best women each wore a headpiece from Untamed Petals. Instead of flower bouquets, the ladies held hand fans made in the Philippines. The gentlemen wore seafoam green dress shirts from J.Crew and khaki pants.


Ritchie and Will were inspired by the circle of family and friends when they were engaged, and had wanted to incorporate the symbolism of being surrounded with all the love and support through a circular seating arrangement for the ceremony on the beach. The ceremony was officiated by Will’s best woman, Courtney Broderick.

While they were dating, Will gave Ritchie a bear with which he had made a wish that Ritchie move with him to New York City. The ring “bear”-er carried that same bear down the aisle with the grooms’ wedding rings tied around its neck.

Ritchie’s sister Krista Bermudez and the grooms’ good friend Johnny Hager sang the song, “The Prayer.”


Ritchie and Will incorporated a Philippine traditional wedding custom that involves a veil, a cord and coins. Each aspect symbolizes an important tenet of marriage. The veil “clothes” two people and unifies them in marriage, as well as signifies their commitment to protect each other. The cord symbolizes the resolute bond of their love to help support one another throughout their lives.

The coins placed in the grooms’ hands symbolize an abundance of prosperity and wealth, not only in financial terms, but more importantly the richness of life, happiness and good health. Will and Ritchie’s moms also conducted the Blessing of the Hands.





Table runners were embroidered with the grooms’ initials by Ginny Holc, Ritchie’s sister and best woman. Instead of flower centerpieces, the grooms provided each table with a bottle of Patron along with shot glasses with their initials on mini Adirondack chairs. They also made DIY photo lanterns that featured photos taken with their family and friends that attended the wedding.

The ceremony programs were modeled after the save-the-dates, which were paper airplanes. The paper airplanes were thrown at the conclusion of the ceremony. Ritchie and Will also provided welcome beach bags for the guests with sunscreen and must-have small items to get them through the weekend such as aspirin and sweets.





The champagne flutes for the toast were heirlooms handed down by Will’s mom. They were used at Will’s grandparents’ wedding. The invitations and menus were designed by Valerie Alaimo, a friend of Ritchie’s, and featured a vintage map of Mexico bordered by the airmail pattern that was also used for the save-the-dates. The cake topper were penguins, Ritchie’s favorite animal.





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DJ, AV, Cake, Catering, Dance Floor, Boutonnieres: Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa 

Cake Topper: Aleksandra Vargas

Photography: Jacquie Lew, Love in Theory, an Equally Wed Platinum Vendor

For more equality-minded wedding vendors and venues (including our favorites in Mexico), click here.