• Photography By:

    Robert Evans for 5th Avenue Digital


    April 11, 2015 in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

    Although Jessica Powell and Phil Isen grew up five minutes away from each other and attended the same high school, they didn’t meet until they were both at Drexel University and introduced through mutual friends. “I loved Phil from the first second I met him, even though we are different in every single way,” says Jessica. “I’d like to say I was patient, but some would say I was persistent and did much of the chasing.”

    The proposal took place five years after their first kiss. During the week that followed, the couple spent the entire time celebrating with their families, and toasted with friends afterwards in New York. “I think what defines us is our ability to come together and always focus on our happiness with each other,” Phil describes. “She puts a little pep in my step and keeps me on my toes.”


    Jessica and Phil decided to have a destination wedding in Mexico, as they had always dreamed of getting married on a beach. When choosing a venue, Jessica says “My parents went to a wedding at the Banyan Tree; and when they came home, they went on about how special, beautiful, and perfect their time was. So for us, we weren’t trying to reinvent the wheel.” They also enlisted the help of the same wedding planner from the Banyan Tree wedding, Robin, who put together a stellar roster of vendors–both, local and from the States–to bring the couple’s wedding vision to life.

    The wedding weekend began with daytime parties for all, which included watersports, beach barbeques, frozen drinks and tequila. On Friday night, a live band turned Jessica and Phil’s rehearsal dinner into an all-night rock concert. “We didn’t know how we were going to top it with the wedding,” Jessica describes.

    As it turns out, the wedding day surpassed all expectations. The ceremony was like a scene from a movie, taking place on the beach with the sky constantly changing color. A Chuppah with white orchids framed the bride and groom, and the Rabbi was funny and heartfelt. Guests then enjoyed a cocktail hour with delicious food, and were surprised with a lit path that led to the party. The party was set up in a large palapa–an open structure with a thatched roof–and the wedding décor was romantic, clean, and lit with candles.

    A live band provided an energetic ambiance, which was exactly like a live concert, and fireworks set the tone for the after party. “Phil has a thing for fireworks, so that was my surprise to him,” says the bride. “The fireworks went off, synchronized to ‘A Sky Full of Stars’ by Coldplay. It was the most magical moment of our lives.” A DJ also had a setup in the pool, while snacks and ice cream were passed around.

    By the end of the night, the newlyweds couldn’t believe how wonderful their wedding day was. “There was not one hiccup–it was completely smooth and amazing the entire weekend,” says Jessica. “We were so grateful to all our family and friends for making it the best party and celebration, and for all their love.”

    The newlyweds plan on spending their honeymoon in the Maldives.


    Location: Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico; Floral and Event Design, Planner, Rentals: By Robin, New York, NY; Wedding Dress: Mira Zwillinger; Bridal Salon: Mark Ingram Atelier, New York, NY