Mérida draws me back again and again. It’s the first city my fiance and I visited over a year ago as a couple (read more here). It’s also where we chose to spend our holiday weekend. We unplugged, drove outside of the city to see a few haciendas from the 17-18th centuries and stayed in the most beautiful homes. We dined in both hole-in-wall restaurants as well as fine establishments like K'u'uk, set aside in a renovated mansion. And since it’s only a nonstop, 1.5 hour flight from Miami, Mérida is quickly becoming a big contender for our wedding! Though we haven’t nailed down an actual location yet (as mentioned in July’s edition of Life As I Know It), I’ve been so drawn to the colorful streets of Mérida, the old Spanish-Colonial style homes that have carefully preserved their original details like crumbling exteriors, colorful Cuban tiles and distinctive textures (sisal was originally produced in the Yucatan) lately. I knew I needed to go back and see if there was a property available for our special day. Swim: Patbo Hat: Eric Javits Considering it’s one of the oldest (continually) occupied settlements in the Americas, Mérida beautifully embraces an otherworldly charm and rich heritage like no other. It’s a blend of ancient Maya traditions and customs brought by Spanish conquistadors. For a period in history, it was even known as one of the richest towns in Mexico and became a treasure trove of large-scale house remains aka a hidden gem of stunning haciendas. Many with incredible architectural details dating back to over a hundred years (if not more). Fast forward to today, so many have moved into these colonial mansions and began renovating and restoring them into full-time homes (or second and third rental properties). With artists, sculptors, chefs and architects pouring in from places like Mexico City, Miami, Europe, LA and New York making the city their creative escape; the community has grown into quite the fashionable and popular destination where “starting over” has become quite the theme. You’d even be able to build your dream home here for the cost of a down payment in Miami...or possibly less. Bra Top: Song of Style (wearing size XXS) Pants: Song of Style (wearing size XXS) Sandals: Zara, more options here Wicker Tote: (c/o) Amanda Lindroth The interiors within these haciendas are unlike anything you’ve probably experienced. Being able to behold the evolution of Mexican interior design and exterior decor by these skilled local craftsmen over all the years is exceptional. During the first half of our trip, we stayed in El Portico de la Candelaria; then, Casa de Flamenco for the second half. (This is also my second time staying in Casa de Flamenco! Click here for more.) Previously we've been to Rosas y Xocolate Hotel too known as the famed Pink Hotel - loved it. But every time I’ve visited Mérida, it’s always filled me up with so much inspiration through its lovely culture, unique heritage seen within the magnificent haciendas and of course, delectable cuisine. Crop Top: Hanes x Karla Pants: Vince (runs long, on sale) Earrings: old, Oscar de la Renta Growing up in Texas, I was able to visit Mexico often with my friends. It’s also where my fiance’s family lived post-Cuba. To say Mexico is special is an understatement; it holds a special place in our hearts and I hope after sharing a slice of Merida’s beauty with you all, that you may feel the same. I’ll be answering a lot of your questions about our trip next and spilling some details regarding wedding updates soon! Xo, Stephanie P.S. Summer is by far the worst time to visit, but because we also did some location scouting for our wedding, we made an exception!