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#ForeverWell: A Dreamy Wedding in Tulum, Mexico

On New Year’s Day of 2019, Nicole proclaimed that it would be the year she met her future husband. And by the grace of God, Kelsei and Nicole were introduced in April of 2019. At the time, they were tasked with partnering on a social impact project to build out programming and support youth in Chicago. 

Nicole shares more about how the two first met: “Fast forward to the start of 2020, my friend Kimberly was moving to D.C., and I volunteered to help her. Remembering that Kelsei lived in D.C., asked him to stop by. I couldn’t believe that a man with such radiant energy and an infectious smile also shared my passion for cultivating community care and influencing systemic change. That night, I had a “God is this you?” moment.” 

From there, the first date was planned; they created vision boards, put a lot of miles on their cars, and started dating. In March of 2020, Nicole and Kelsei decided to quarantine together for two weeks. Those two weeks turned into three years. Now the couple are happily married! See the stunning details of their romantic wedding day in Tulum, Mexico captured by Beatatum Photography. 

Bride: Nicole Russell-Wharton, 36, Author and Founder of Precious Dreams Foundation

Groom: Kelsei Wharton, 33, Social Impact Strategist and Consultant 

Photography by : Beatatum Photography

Place of residence: Tulum, MX

Wedding date: December 17, 2022

Wedding location: NU – Tulum, MX

Wedding theme/motif/inspiration: #ForeverWell was the theme for the wedding. It was built around an affirmation for our love and our loved ones. We chose a venue and vendors that could incorporate the sun, fresh air, plants and healthy food. 

Honeymoon Destination: Bozeman, Montana. Yes, we’re going to the cold for our honeymoon. We wanted to do something different and Yellowstone National Park was on our bucket list. 

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Briefly tell us about your wedding experience and how the both of you felt on your big day. Include your most memorable moment. 

The wedding day was nothing short of magical. Kelsei and I declared ahead of time that even if there was drama or logistical challenges, we would focus on our why and stay in a positive headspace. And so we did. 

During the ceremony, singer and close friend Luke James sang “Never Would Have Made It” by Marvin Sapp as our bridal party walked down the aisle. It’s a song we dedicated to our loved ones for supporting us during challenging health periods and difficult days. About half of our guests were in tears before I reached the altar. 

The ceremony ended with a live mariachi band, margaritas, and a cocktail hour that prepared our guests for the main event – the dancing. My husband’s family is from Trinidad & Tobago. Not only did they bring a flag to the reception, but our friend DJ Ria was also fully prepped and ready to play the biggest soca tunes, reggae hits, and hip-hop/r&b. It was a fete event in Tulum, and everyone appreciated the workout.

Wedding song, explain choice for song: 

We chose “You’re All I Need” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell for our first dance. The year 2022 was an extremely challenging year for us. I was diagnosed with thoracic endometriosis and underwent four unexpected surgeries, all while planning the wedding. 

I feared losing my life at moments, but I never had to fear losing Kelsei. He made it clear through his actions and affirming words that he would be by my side, and on 12/17, I vowed to do the same for him. In the song, Tammi sings, “I don’t know what’s in store but together we can open any door.” If we have absolutely nothing, we will have each other, and with that, we will have enough. 

What are you most looking forward to as a married couple?

Having fun! Every day I get to wake up and go to bed next to my person. I pray the laughter never ends, the adventure is always found and we continue to build the most beautiful memories. 

Advice for a Bride/Groom on their wedding day:

Our best friends gave us the following wedding tips and we’re so glad we followed their advice: 

1. Make sure you eat. 

2. Don’t leave each other’s side. People will pull you in different directions to converse or take pics but do it together. The day goes by so fast, make sure you focus on each other and build the memories together.

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Congratulations to the happy couple! We wish them many years of wedded bliss.

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