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A Dream Vow Renewal in Los Cabos

Words by Courtney Cox
Photos courtesy of Steve Steinhardt Photography

To celebrate reaching a major relationship milestone (their ten-year anniversary), Rob and Jill opted to host a destination vow renewal event in Los Cabos, Mexico. Jill, who has a passion for party planning, organized a weekend of events for 50 friends and family, as well as the couple’s three young children. Guests were treated to a “welcome” party with sushi and margaritas, a sunset sail, a “white night” rehearsal dinner with flaming Mexican coffee and loads of Mexican performers, and a post-ceremony brunch. “We wanted it to be a weekend of nonstop celebration and for each event to feel distinct,” says Jill. The couple was so successful in pulling off the event of their dreams, that we’ve asked them to share their story and advice with you.

DID: Why did you choose to do a destination vow renewal?

BRIDE: When we got married, we had a beautiful church ceremony and a ballroom reception, but as we got older, we started to attend many more destination weddings and loved the idea of smaller groups spending several days together. In that way, guests are really able to relax and get to know one another. Given our love of the One&Only Palmilla, and my love of party planning, it was the perfect recipe for a destination vow renewal!

DID: How did your family and friends respond to the decision?

BRIDE: Many of our friends have gotten married by now and there are fewer weddings to attend, so our friends and family were very excited. Everyone loves an excuse to celebrate, and even better, an excuse to take a vacation. With the countless hours of planning we did, we never could have planned for the group to bond and come together the way they did. It really was priceless. 

DID: How and why did you choose your location and destination?

BRIDE: My husband asked me, “If you could pick any place in the world to host this celebration, where would it be?” I immediately thought of One&Only Palmilla. I knew they had the resources to organize events with a high level of attention to detail and we wanted to be on the ocean in the sun. [Another] one of the things we loved about One&Only Palmilla was the ability to have almost all of the events on the property, but it never felt boring because there were so many venues to choose from. I also initially considered Paris, but it is so far away from Los Angeles. Many of our friends took breaks from busy work lives and children for this trip, so I didn’t want people to have a long flight.

DID: Was planning a destination vow renewal easy?

BRIDE: It wasn’t easy, but it was a lot of fun because I absolutely love planning parties! The most stressful part was Mother Nature. Cabo was hit by a devastating hurricane about seven months before our vow renewal. The entire resort shut down for a massive renovation. For a long time, we considered back up plans, but by the miraculous effort of the Palmilla staff, the resort reopened two weeks before our vow renewal and everyone agreed that it was better than ever!

DID: What was your favorite moment on the big day and what advice would you offer other couples planning a wedding event abroad?

BRIDE: We had so many favorite moments, but it would have to be the private fireworks show at the end of dinner. No one knew it was coming and we timed the first firework to go off at the end of Rob’s toast in front of the dinner canopy. We even played our favorite song by Panama that coordinated with the timing of the fireworks. The guests were so surprised and I’m pretty sure it was everyone’s favorite moment.

In terms of advice, embrace the planning, but don’t dwell on every little decision or you will become overwhelmed. Remember that it isn’t so much about what other people want, but about the two of you as a couple. It’s your vision alone.

 Vendors: Photographer: Steve Steinhardt Photography, Ceremony/Reception Site: One&Only Palmilla, Wedding Planner: Arianna Ocampo with One&Only Palmilla, Florist: Elena Damy, Videographer: Elysium Productions, Stationery: Ceci New York, Gown Designers: Monique Lhuillier (Ceremony & Dinner) and L’ezu Bridal Atelier (Reception), Hairpiece: Monique Lhuillier, Shoes: Christian Louboutin, Hair: Jennifer Keeler with A Secret Beauty Salon, Makeup: Liz Breton with Gina’s Simple Beauty, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Custom Suit from Klein Epstein & Parker, Welcome Bags: Carry Green, Linen Napkin Custom Embroidery: Custom Embroidery, Production & Lighting Designer: Victor Valdes, Furniture Rentals: Del Cabo Event Design, Linens: La Tavola Linen, DJ: Ricardo Patino, Music: Francesco a la Torre, Custom Signage & Seating Chart: Signs of Love, Photo Booth: Photo Style In Cabo, Photo Booth Backdrop: StephShivesStudio on Etsy, Photo Booth Accessories: CraftingByDenise on Etsy, Sunset Sail: Tropicat with Pezgato

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