This past weekend, Vanessa Hudgens married professional baseball player Cole Tucker in Tulum, Mexico. The actress and entrepreneur met the shortstop and outfielder over a Zoom meditation led by Jay Shetty, a former monk turned British author and lifestyle guru, back in October 2020. “I was literally on the Zoom with my girlfriend, and I started hitting her asking who he was, and she had never seen him before,” Vanessa recalls. “So I proceeded to look on the Zoom square to find out his name and found him on Instagram—and he sent a DM the next day.”
After dating for three years, they got engaged by the Eiffel Tower in Paris in February 2023. “It’s the most romantic city in the world,” Vanessa says. “[But,] I was very surprised. I dropped a hint that that would be the ideal place, but kind of forgot about it because I didn’t want to have any expectations on the trip. I just wanted to enjoy it for what it was, and he caught me completely off guard.”
Cole proposed with an oval-shaped diamond on a thin gold band. “I definitely dropped hints about my ring,” Vanessa explains. “I was like, ‘I want a gold band with an oval diamond.’ Everyone who knows me knew what I wanted. So I told him that, and he took it a step further and made it even more beautiful than I thought.”
Once engaged, they set a date of December 2, 2023, for their wedding and landed on the Azulik City of Arts in Tulum, Mexico for the location. “The planning process was definitely overwhelming,” Vanessa admits. “I knew I’d never been to a wedding that I’ve wanted my own wedding to be like, so I had to think out of the box. Finding a venue was the hardest part. I knew I didn’t want to do it at a beach, at a ballroom, or at a barn—these were all things I didn’t want. Instead, I wanted to be surrounded by nature, greenery, and foliage.”
Vanessa had actually followed the Azulik Hotel on Instagram for a long time. “One of my really good friends had just finished a show on Broadway, and he was asking me where he should go for a little vacation, and I was scrolling through Instagram right before he called, and I was like ‘Oh go to Azulik—this place is so freakin’ beautiful,” she says. “I told Cole, ‘Maybe we could go here on our honeymoon…we would get such great pictures. Wait—maybe we could get married here?!’”
The actress was working nonstop on the latest film in the Bad Boys franchise at the time, but needed to fly to Tulum for a venue tour. “I was like you know what, even if it’s not that hotel, I’m sure I’ll find another hotel that might work,” she says. “I also knew I wanted to get married somewhere warm, and our window for getting married was so small because Cole’s [baseball] season is very long. I felt like ‘Mexico it is!’ I also wanted somewhere very spiritual. So I went to the hotel and got a really long tour, where I myself was not doing well, I was so hot and felt like I was going to faint. At the end of this very long tour, I was like ‘Where would we have our ceremony?’ and they were like ‘Oh, that would be at our museum’ and they said, ‘It’s 45 minutes into the jungle.’ I was thinking, ‘Okay, that sounds aggressive, but I guess I’ll give it a try.’”
She went deep into the jungle in search of the perfect ceremony spot. “A lot of it was down an unpaved dirt road, and I proceeded to think, ‘There’s no way in hell we’ll be able to have our wedding here—how are we going to get our entire party out here down this bumpy dirt road?’”
Once Vanessa pulled up to the museum and walked in, however, all of those doubts quickly disappeared. “I knew that it was our place,” she says. “I felt like I was transported to some kind of utopia, unlike anything I had ever been to before. It was whimsical and magical, and I just fell in love.”
The bride found her wedding planner—Pia Lindstrom—through her friend Alexander Ludwig, who she was working on Bad Boys with. “He was like, ‘Just give it a go, she’s great, I think you guys would hit it off, but if not, no worries,” Vanessa says. “She had done the after-party for Sleepy Hollow, and you know me and my obsession with all things spooky. We hit it off, and so I was like, ‘Cool, let’s rock ‘n’ roll!’”
For her wedding look, Vanessa wanted a dress that felt sleek, modern, and sexy, with a shape inspired by the ’90s supermodels. She ended up choosing a gown by Vera Wang—a light ivory chartreuse bias-cut cowl-neck slip dress with a plunging back. The veil was light ivory tulle with custom embroidery that read: “Mrs. T December 2nd, 2023” in a gothic font.
After sending her stylist Jason Bolden a ton of reference photos, the two went to visit Vera Wang’s New York atelier in person. Vanessa walked around the store and pulled a few of the dresses that she was drawn to—and ultimately, the dress that she wore for her ceremony was actually the first one she tried on. “I put it on, and I was like ‘It’s perfect. It’s easy, it’s simple, and it’s chic,” she says. “It was exactly what I wanted, but we obviously had to spruce it up a little and add some extra love to it so that it was special, just for me. I wanted it to look like I was floating and loved the cape and veil combo,” she says.
“Vera’s been an amazing friend and supporter of mine,” Vanessa says. “I’ve always felt so confident and sexy and feminine whenever I’m in her clothes. And so, I was like ‘You know, that’s the vibe…that’s what I want to be feeling like for my wedding day. She also has such an amazing resume of women that she’s dressed for the most important day of their lives, and I was like, ‘Who better to do it than a friend?’”
The bride also knew she wanted her veil to be a dramatic moment. “When I saw the cape, I thought I might as well try that on as well,” she says. “I love the whole ethereal bohemian vibe—that will always be a part of me, but I didn’t want it to be the main thing.” Her ceremony shoes, meanwhile, were from Paris Texas.
Cole wore a Me by Canali off-white double-breasted peak-lapel wool jacket with tan linen-and-wool trousers and a white cotton formal dress shirt. He accessorised with a off-white silk bow tie and shoes by Louboutin.
The ceremony took place outdoors in the location Vanessa initially scouted months prior, while Jay Shetty—whose Zoom meditation the couple met on—officiated the service. “[My advice to others is] don’t do first looks, because seeing each other at the altar for the first time is the most emotional moment of my life,” she says. “I literally keeled over when I saw Cole and had to take a big breath and had to force myself to keep walking because I could have dropped to the floor.”
The bride and groom wrote their own vows and read them in front of about 100 friends and family members. “[Writing my own vows] was important to me,” Vanessa says. “I would also say to everyone: Write your own vows and read them. It is the most beautiful thing ever in a relationship to be that open and vulnerable and raw in front of all of the people you love proclaiming your love. It’s just beautiful. I loved it.”
After the ceremony, Vanessa caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and realised she’d cried off most of her makeup, so she hopped back in the chair for a quick touch-up and then was swept away for post-ceremony portraits.
While the newlyweds were taking photos, guests enjoyed cocktails. “We moved around a lot,” Vanessa explains. “Dinner took place in an area with a bunch of trees dispersed throughout. There were flower bouquets hanging from the trees above, and it felt a bit like a set.” After she finished photos, Vanessa took her cape and veil off but left on her wedding dress for dinner. “I always felt like it was such a bummer that you only get to wear your wedding dress for just your ceremony and photos, so I really wanted to stay in it longer,” she says.
When dinner was over, Vanessa changed into her reception dress. She knew she wanted to be in something super-lightweight and airy for this part of the night—in her words, a dress that she could “throw around”—so she opted for another Vera Wang gown, this time made from strapless macrame lace and silk mousseline. “I had found this one dress that had the corset bodice part of the dress I ultimately ended up wearing,” she explains. “It was this French lace with really pretty iridescent stones in it—it was super romantic, but the dress puffed out a lot, so I asked if we could change out the bottom into a chiffon and make it super sheer and flirty, and they actually put lace in built-in underwear and made a garter.” For her reception shoes, she also selected a pair from Paris Texas.
After the meal, speeches, and the bride’s dress change, guests moved to another area of the venue where there was a live band. “They crushed it,” Vanessa says. “One of my really good friends did a song for us called ‘Cole and V.’ And, of course, me and my husband, being the music-obsessed people that we are, we actually had to join in and participate. Cole played the drums and I sang. I couldn’t even tell you what we did. I only knew the chorus of the song, we were just riffing and playing and having fun. It was a safe space with all of the people who love us so you couldn’t do anything wrong.”
When the band finished, a DJ—who worked from a playlist Cole had put together—came on to keep the party going. “He included all of the bangers and classics from Nelly to Eminem,” Vanessa says. “We danced for a while, then we had late-night snacks, like grilled cheese and pizza. And then we had it all wrapped up by 11 p.m.”
Reflecting back on the wedding in the days following, Vanessa is still very much riding an emotional high. “It was genuinely the most magical weekend of my life,” she says. “I am so grateful that we got to have a private wedding, and it helped that I took everyone’s phones away. It was amazing because at the dinner, I would look around and everyone was talking to each other—our family and friend groups coming together and creating real relationships that I know they’re going to invest real time into. Seeing that and bringing everyone together and celebrating us, it was just so magical. Literally talking about it right now, I’m getting teary-eyed. I couldn’t have dreamt it to be any better. I knew it was going to be magical, but it exceeded my expectations.”
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My bridesmaids and I got ready in a beautiful location at the museum prior to the ceremony. I gifted them these For Love and Lemons dressing gowns and Jacquie Aiche body chains to make the day special. (Clockwise: Sarah Hyland, Hailey Lavelle, Morgan Marcell, Stella Hudgens, Laura New, and Alexandra Shipp.)
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t was important to me to have my glam team with me who has been with me for every important event for the last three years—from the Oscars to the Met Gala—as this was undoubtedly the most important event in my personal life. Danielle Priano and Tonya Brewer helped make my wedding day glam dreams come true.
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I wanted to make sure I wore shoes that gave me as much height as possible but also comfort. My husband is about 14 inches taller than me so I need all the help I can get. Paris Texas coincidentally sent me their wedding look book at the perfect time so I picked those out.
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Danielle Priano did a very tight slicked-back bun to sit beautifully under my Vera Wang veil. The weather in Tulum is very humid so we had to make sure to really spray it down with a lot of Redken products, so we had no piece out of place.
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I wanted the florals to be really simple and classic. Just white orchids and roses were the gist.
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Vera Wang has been such an incredible friend and collaborator over the years—and she is the queen of bridal. Wearing her designs for my wedding felt like a no-brainer.
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I really wanted my arch to be orange marigolds. Partly because against the greenery I knew they would pop, but also in Hindu weddings they’re really popular because they represent the sun, symbolising brightness and positive energy. Once I found that out, I had to have them a part of my ceremony. Azulik came up with the idea for the storybook fringe above that and I just love it. It reminds me of the drapery of a stage.
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Cole and I met in 2020 on a Zoom meditation led by Jay Shetty, so when we got engaged, we knew that we wanted Jay to officiate our wedding.
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I knew there was no way I could have my wedding without my dog Darla there. She was the perfect addition to the day.
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Mr. and Mrs. Tucker.
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Of course, Cole had a groom’s party the size of a baseball starting lineup. (From left: Scott Kingery, Jason King, Quentin Tarini, Mitch Keller, Cody Bellinger, Carson Tucker, Cole Tucker, Quinn Tucker, Kyle Gunderson, Jesse Lehman, Mohamed Hassan, and Jamie Westbrook.)
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My girls. I wanted this bronze colour for them because it is natural and elevated.
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The full wedding party.
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The venue was like escaping to another world. Securing the location was definitely the anchor to the rest of our wedding planning.
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Our dinner table. I couldn’t believe our candlesticks stayed lit but it made me so happy.
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After dinner, I changed into my second Vera Wang gown and Larroudé Vivienne platforms—my vision was the perfect dress to dance all night in.
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We had the best night celebrated by our closest family and friends.
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We wouldn’t change anything.
This story was originally published on Vogue.com.