Stylist Emma Cali and photographer Adam Franzino went to the same high school but didn’t actually meet each other until about a year after graduating through mutual friends. After hitting it off, the two were together for almost nine years and had just bought a house in Malibu when Adam surprised Emma with a proposal.
“The day we closed escrow on the house, we went to take a photo under the ‘for sale’ sign and he had hidden the ring in the fridge at the house,” she remembers. “He told me to grab the champagne that we had put in there and to meet him out front.” After the proposal, Adam told her that their families were waiting to celebrate at their local bar down the street, but when they walked in about 40 of their closest friends were waiting as a surprise. “It was perfect,” she adds.
A few days after getting engaged, the couple headed to Tulum and once there they immediately decided it would be the best place to throw the casual, mellow wedding they had always envisioned. “Nothing beats the Caribbean water, tequila, disco balls, and organic healthy food on the beach,” Emma says. For help with logistics, they hired local planner Patricia Gonzalez of Love on Top Weddings and got to work on organizing a destination event during Halloween weekend.
As the style director for Tadashi Shoji, Emma always knew she would custom make her wedding dress with him. “I went to all the fun places to try things on and get an idea of what I liked and then we worked together to create my dress,” she explains. For her accessories, Emma kept things incredibly simple, pairing bare feet with earrings borrowed from Adam’s mom that belonged to his grandmother. Adam, meanwhile, wore a green suit he had custom made in New York.
In late October, guests flew in to Tulum for five days, and on the first night, the couple threw a jungle disco Halloween party. Two days later, around 90 of the couple’s loved ones gathered on the beach to witness their ceremony, officiated by friend and fellow photographer Russell James. “I’ve never laughed and cried so hard and I think all of our guests would say the same,” Emma recalls. “It was a mini roast of my husband but in the most loving endearing way.”
A reception at Gitano restaurant followed, where tequila flowed throughout the night and DJ Dean provided the entertainment. “He only plays funky soul music and it was beyond fun,” the bride adds. An hour into the dinner, the clouds started pouring rain, but instead of heading inside, the newlyweds and many of their guests chose to stay outside and dance in the rain. “It was the most magical thing that could have ever happened,” Emma says. “I think a lot of guests would say the highlight of the wedding was the rain and the speeches. My dad sang a little song to me, too, and it was beautiful.”
As for how they topped their rain-filled dance party? The newlyweds admit it wasn’t that difficult. “After a lot of tequila, about 20 of us ended up skinny dipping in the pool!”