It’s surprising that it took so long for Sarah Werbalowsky and Michael Cathcart to meet. “My parents had been friends with Michael’s sister and brother-in-law for 20 years,” Sarah explains. They had a list of mutual friends, too, but never crossed paths. Finally, in March of 2014, Michael’s niece came up with the idea of introducing the pair, and they connected on Facebook with plans to get together in the coming weeks. “It was the week of my 25th birthday, and I went out with friends to celebrate,” says Sarah. A friend of hers brought some more friends along—and one of them was Michael! “We couldn’t believe that, after all the planning and opportunities to meet in the past, it was a total accident that we were introduced that night,” Sarah adds with a laugh
Three and a half years later, Michael planned a proposal in New York City. “Michael had hired a photographer and videographer to capture the moment on The Highline, but the weather didn’t agree with his plan, so he moved it to the rooftop of the Public Hotel,” Sarah explains. The staff didn’t get the memo, so Sarah received a number of congratulations on her way in. “Luckily, I had a feeling it was coming so it just added to the excitement!” Sarah says. When Michael finally got down on one knee, an influx of partygoers streamed into the bar and interrupted the moment. “It may not have been the picture-perfect moment Michael had planned, but it was absolutely memorable and something that we’ll always look back on and smile," Sarah says.
On December 29, 2018, the couple invited 175 guests to join them in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico for a festive weekend in one of Sarah’s family’s favorite places. “We loved having everyone stay in small, local hotels that really support the community—and the fact that so many of our guests stayed for a week to ring in the New Year!” says the bride. The couple embraced a natural vision, using a simple green, gold, and white palette to let the surroundings shine. While planning from afar wasn’t easy, Sarah says that she loved having the help of her mom, who was in Mexico for some of the process, as well as planner Lauren Lemke of Amy Abbott Events to help connect them with the best local vendors. “We had so many people travel between two major holidays, so for Michael and me it was all about honoring the time and effort our loved ones put in to celebrating with us—and to make sure it was all worth it!” says Sarah.
Keep reading to see more of the couple's festive destination wedding in Mexico, as photgraphed by Sara Richardson, below.
“Hotel El Ganzo was the perfect home base for the weekend,” says Sarah. “It’s close to all of the venues we chose for the other parties, and had a beautiful lawn for the ceremony!”
When guests arrived in Mexico, they were greeted with bottles of artisanal Mezcal and hangover kits.
Sarah and her mom went to Los Angeles to go dress shopping, and happened to meet Minnesota-based designer Tara LaTour during their first appointment. “She lives half a mile from me!” Sarah adds with a laugh. The winning dress was a simple off-the-shoulder gown with a soft train that was easy and elegant—perfect for the beach!
The bride paired her dress with Jimmy Choo sandals, a golden Jennifer Behr hair pin, and mother of pearl earrings.
“I love the look of an all-white wedding!” says the bride. Her bridesmaids wore a variety of Show Me Your Mumu dresses in two shades of white and cream. The groom and groomsmen all wore deep blue, which they paired with a variety of light blue ties. The women’s bouquets combined roses and dahlias in shades of white, cream, and peach with cascading greenery.
The ceremony took place overlooking the ocean, with a floral-laden arch framing the view and rows of palm trees on either side. The altar was decorated with roses, hydrangeas, garden roses, and local greenery.
Guests were greeted with cocktails as they waited for the boat to take them out to the ceremony site. “My dad walked me down the aisle, and of course cracked a joke before we walked so we were giggling the whole way!” says Sarah. The couple wrote their own vows, opting to share them with each other a few days before the wedding to make sure they complemented one another.
The reception took place at nearby Acre Baja, with cocktails served on the tiled patio around the pool. “Their mixologist created a custom cocktail with tequila, Cointreau, sage syrup, and lime,” Sara describes.
The reception was set in the mango orchard, where guests were seated at long tables arranged for a family-style dinner. Candles in amber and mauve holders glowed between low arrangements of peach and burgundy roses, hellebores, lisianthus, and garden roses. Each place setting paired a glass charger with a printed menu and a softly knotted gray napkin.
“Our group loves to dance, so the tiled dance floor was the place to be,” says Sarah. After heartfelt toasts and a few bites of the couple’s vanilla cream wedding cake, everyone headed to the courtyard for a DJ-fueled after party. “Two of our friends did synchronized backflips into the pool, and my brother convinced Michael and me to jump in as well. Before we knew it, the pool was full of our friends in their wedding attire!” Sarah recalls.
“For us, our wedding was as much about our family and friends as it was us. Of course, we wanted our personalities reflected in the day, but we really wanted our families and friends to come together around us,” says Sarah. “ What we’ll always remember is the feeling we had when we looked out over the dance floor and thought, ‘We are so lucky to have so many people who love us in our lives.’ We were lucky that we got to have a wedding down in Mexico, but I think we would have been just as happy in a tent in our backyard, as long as those people were there!”
Wedding Planner: Amy Abbott Events
Ceremony Venue: Hotel El Ganzo
Reception Venue: Acre Baja
Bride's Dress: Tara LaTour
Bride's Veil: Kinsley James Bridal
Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Bride's Jewelry: Gretchen Ventura
Hair & Makeup: Blanc Salon
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu
Groom's Attire: Suit Supply
Groomsmen's Attire: Suit Supply
Floral Design: Pina Hernandez
Catering & Cake: Acre
Ceremony Music: Cabo Strings
Reception Music: Dart Collective
DJ: DJ Alex Events
Videography: Jorge Ibarra
Photography: Sara Richardson