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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Villa Nuptials in Mexico

Words by Courtney Cox
Photos courtesy of Jim Kennedy Photographers

For Ross and Rachel, it wasn’t a matter of where they would host their destination wedding, but just a matter of when. After getting engaged, there was never any doubt they would be saying “I do” in Todos Santos, Mexico. “Baja has always been a second home to Ross and I,” says the bride. “Living in Long Beach, California, Cabo is less than a two hour flight from home and we’ve made at least one trip down each year for the past six years. It’s a beautiful and magical destination that we hold close to our hearts. The beaches are pristine, the food is incredible and the people are so welcoming.” 

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Luckily for these lovebirds, their guests were on board for a wedding south of the border. While there were some reservations, Ross and Rachel did their best to make their loved ones comfortable. “We had a small wedding (38 guests total) and the whole group was very excited about spending a weekend in the surf and sun,” says Rachel. “A few guests were a bit apprehensive due to Mexico’s border violence. However, they were delighted to discover that Cabo is a very safe travel destination with incredibly low crime rates. Also, many of the locals speak English and are very eager to assist with directions, dining recommendations, etc.”

The couple took a unique approach when it came time to pick their venue. Instead of opting for one of thousands of resorts or hotels in the area, the couple opted to exchange vows at a local villa. “We picked Villa Santa Cruz in Todos Santos because of its extraordinary beauty and unique offerings,” explains the couple. “Villa Santa Cruz is a solar powered farm and villa located on the sand. When we were scrolling through the pictures on the website, we couldn’t believe how picture perfect the location was. When we stayed at the villa to scope it out, we booked the location on the spot and we never wanted to leave.”

When it came to the actual planning process, Rachel and Ross had some common hang-ups and worries. “There were so many decisions to be made at every point in the process. First, booking all the vendors, then making decisions from the menu to the music to the seating and, of course, you’re always anticipating a disaster on the big day. Fortunately, we didn’t have a single worry on the big day. We were surrounded by our closest friends and family and there was so much love in the air, I don’t think a rain storm could have even put a damper on our wedding day!”

The couple ended up having a very positive experience with all of their vendors and strongly recommend both their venue and photographer. “I would absolutely recommend Villa Santa Cruz as a destination wedding location,” says the bride. “Jessica, who owns the villa and lives there with her husband Matt, was incredibly reliable and accommodating from day one. We [also] highly recommend our photographer, Cheryl Sedik with Jim Kennedy Photographers. We felt so comfortable shooting with her behind the camera and were completely blown away by the range of looks and locations she was able to capture! We really wanted a storybook to illustrate the magic and emotion of the whole day and she delivered far beyond our expectations!”

The couple never hesitated hosting a destination wedding and, looking back, believe more than ever that it was the best decision they could have made. “If we wanted to have a wedding at a beachfront villa in California as stunning as Villa Santa Cruz, we would have had to spend the entire wedding budget on the location alone,” says the couple. “We wouldn’t have been able to offer our guests the exceptional food, music and overall ambiance of our destination wedding in the U.S. In addition, our guests were able to enjoy a weekend adventure abroad where they created memories of their own! Many of our guests took this as an opportunity to discover the beauty of Mexico and enjoy a romantic getaway…”

When asked what advice they would give other couples currently planning their dream destination wedding, Rachel has three strong suggestions. “Don’t be afraid to ask for a little help! Everyone wants you to be comfortable and happy on your big day, especially your best friends and closest family! [Also,] let go a little! Remember that you are doing this for each other and that your love and commitment for one another is all that matters. Everything else will sort itself out! [Lastly,] I would say the two things to invest in are food and photography. Your guests are always happiest if they eat and drink like kings and you will be able to relive every moment of that day with spectacular photographs.”

Vendors: Photographer: Jim Kennedy Photographers, Wedding Planner: Jessica Capena, owner of Villa Santa Cruz, Ceremony/Reception Site: Villa Santa Cruz in Todos Santos, Mexico, Florist: Barbara Matthews, Stationery: MaeMae & Co, Hair & Makeup: Chloe Fanghella, Gown Designer: BHLDN, Groom’s Clothing Designer: J.Crew, Design & Décor: Barbara Matthews and Jan Stockbridge, DJ: Dennis Owens from Long Beach, California, Catering & Menu: Chef Danny with Hotel California

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