Candace Wilson, a medical device representative, and Jonathan Schoeff, a general surgeon, first met in San Diego, California, in February 2013. "I was in town from Denver to attend a medical conference and Jon lived across the street from the venue," Candace says. "A friend of Jon's convinced him to attend the course at the last minute and we were seated at the same table." There, the two chatted about growing up just 90 minutes from each other in Ohio and their mutual love of the Ohio State Buckeyes. After several months of long distance dating, Jon followed his love to Denver where he could start his own medical practice.
Less than a year later, the pair was celebrating their first Christmas together and decided to open one gift each just after midnight on December 25, 2013. Jon presented Candace with a huge box — inside she found a Denver Broncos football helmet (she was in her fourth season as an NFL cheerleader for the team) decorated with a red bow. When she turned the helmet around, Candace found her engagement ring tied on the end of the bow. As if the surprise proposal wasn't enough, Jon whisked Candace away to Cabo San Lucas the next day for a trip with her entire family.
When the pair started planning their April 25, 2015, nuptials, they knew they wanted to return to the Mexican resort town for a destination wedding. They chose Grand Solmar Land's End, complete with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, for their intimate celebration. With just 35 guests in tow, the pair said I do just steps from the ocean, and Laura Murray Photography was there to document every special moment.
The bride always loved Vera Wang gowns, but admits she tried on many wedding dresses before she finally turned to the famed bridal designer. "I shopped with friends and family, but the second time I went with my parents, they found my dress and brought it to me," Candace says of the strapless lace mermaid. "It was perfect! I wanted something unique but that felt luxurious and special. I loved how soft the lace felt and how lightweight the dress was." The romantic and effortless style was everything she wanted for her beachside wedding.
She accessorized with a pair of Jimmy Choo sandals that Jon tracked down from another state as a pre-wedding gift, diamond earrings that were designed to match the bride's engagement ring, and her late grandparents' wedding rings. "I felt completely calm and at peace once I put them on, knowing that they were there in spirit," Candace says.
As for Jon, he chose to wear a custom three-piece suit made by Jason Waters of Waters Atelier. He paired the light gray suit with an ivory tie and boutonniere and a Breitling watch Candace gave him as a wedding present.
The couple had a four-person bridal party, with two maids of honor and two groomsmen. Candace's sisters stunned in strapless blush chiffon gowns from Bill Levkoff while Jon's attendants matched the groom in custom gray suits.
The ceremony was held beneath a white gazebo overlooking the water. Columns were wrapped in ivory garden roses while the white aisle was decorated with candles in varying heights. Candace walked down the aisle with her father as a string trio played Better Middler's "The Rose." "My parents walked down the aisle to that song 33 years ago," she says. After exchanging personalized vows, Candace and Jon recessed to "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."
An acoustic guitarist performed during cocktail hour as guests nibbled on the couple's favorite appetizers, including grilled shrimp, tuna rolls, prosciutto and cantaloupe, crab cakes, and zucchini and mozzarella. Escort cards were displayed in mini sand trays.
The ocean-view reception space was decorated with tables topped with champagne linens and clear vases filled with ivory ranunculus.
Candace and Jon chose a simple one-tier red velvet wedding cake, and guests also indulged in apple crepes with strawberry sauce for dessert.
While the dance floor was packed all night, it was the last song of the evening that was the most memorable for the bride. "Jon surprised me with 'I Like It' by Enrique Iglesias for the last song, which has always been special to me because it was one of my favorite dances to perform as a Denver Broncos Cheerleader," she remembers. "Some of my favorite photos from the wedding were from the last dance because everyone got into it. It was the most memorable way we could have ended our wedding!"
Venue, Catering, Cake & Flowers: Grand Solmar Land's End Resort || Wedding Coordinator: Alana Duran || Officiant: Reverend Marco Arechiga || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Hair: Blanc Bridal Salon || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids || Groom's & Groomsmen's Attire: Waters Atelier || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Victor Canera || Invitations, Programs & Menus: Wedding Paper Divas || Escort Cards, Table Numbers & Envelopes: Overdressed Paperie || Ceremony Music: Trio Los Mosquitos || Reception Music: DJ Mijares || Rentals: Linens, Things and More || Videographer: Land's End Films || Photographer: Laura Murray Photography
Want more destination wedding inspiration? Then watch another couple tie the knot in Santorini, Greece, in the video below.