A Vibrant Welcome Party and Classic Beach Wedding in San José del Cabo, Mexico

Planned by Jesse Tombs of Alison Events

Updated 06/06/19
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Photo by Meg Smith Photography

Meredith Gloger, a foreign affairs officer at the U.S. Department of State, had hoped to meet someone the "old fashioned way." But when long hours—and regular trips to Central Asia—seemed to make that impossible, she signed up for the dating app Hinge. In January of 2016, she was swiping through the app and spotted Gordon Griffin, a Marine fighter pilot-turned-real estate attorney. "The first photo was of him in front of the F/A-18 he'd flown," she recalls. "It was very Top Gun, and I was immediately intrigued!" They immediately connected on their first date, and by the end of the night, Meredith says it felt like they'd known one another for years. It was their second date that sealed the deal. "Gordon and I lived on opposite sides of D.C., and had scheduled our date during 'Snowmageddon,'" she says. "He trekked over three miles in the snow to meet me for dinner, and the rest is history!"

In November of 2017, Meredith and her mom traveled to Hilton Head, South Carolina to celebrate Thanksgiving with Gordon's family. The night before, Gordon proposed in his front yard just before dinner. "It was pretty dark, but there was a light in the ring box so I could see it," she says. She said yes, Gordon's parents popped the Champagne—and Meredith turned around to find her dad standing in the kitchen. "He'd been waiting in a car down the street until he got the signal from Gordon," she reveals. "He'd known it was coming all along, and even kept the secret from my mom."

As evidenced by their engagement, travel, adventure, and family are at the heart of Meredith and Gordon's relationship, and they wanted to combine the three at their wedding. "Within a few days of getting engaged, my mom and I had reserved a date at the One & Only Palmilla in Los Cabos," Meredith admits. "We went down to visit over Christmas and knew it was perfect the second we arrived." Meredith and Gordon were drawn to the rustic beauty of Baja California, as well as the rich history and the old world Mexican elegance of the resort. "It was also an incredible place to connect and unwind with our loved ones," she says. They invited 140 guests down for the weekend of November 1, 2018, hosting multiple events over the course of the weekend. Jesse Tombs of Alison Events was on hand to give each party a distinctly Mexican feel—from the rehearsal dinner fiesta (on Dia de los Muertos!) to the muted tropical wedding itself. "We wanted the design to showcase the locations we'd chosen in an unfussy way," says Meredith.

Keep reading to see how Meg Smith Photography captured the couple's Mexican wedding weekend below!

rehearsal dinner
Photo by Meg Smith Photography
Johanna Ortiz dress
Photo by Meg Smith Photography

The rehearsal dinner focused on a bright palette, pairing red, orange, fuchsia, and turquoise at the poolside Acre Baja. "It's a 25-acre organic farm in the foothills of San José del Cabo," says the bride."It's super lush and green, while still being chic and contemporary. Plus, the farm-to-table menu is incredible and the cocktails are next-level delicious!"

For this night, Meredith wanted a look by a Latin American brand and chose a black-and-white Johanna Ortiz dress featuring a dramatic ruffle. Gordon coordinated by adding a polka dot pocket square to his linen suit.

cocktail menu
Photo by Meg Smith Photography
Paloma cocktail
Photo by Meg Smith Photography

Cocktail hour took place around Acre Baja's pool, where guests enjoyed classic Mexican cocktails like a grapefruit and tequila Paloma.

escort card display
Photo by Meg Smith Photography
colorful escort cards
Photo by Meg Smith Photography

The night's decor was mixed in with the venue's existing landscape, so escort cards were tied to towering cacti by the entrance to the rehearsal dinner space. "We put a lot of thought into seating assignments, and really wanted our guests to enjoy one another's company," says Meredith.

pom poms
Photo by Meg Smith Photography
sculpted candles
Photo by Meg Smith Photography

The rest of the space had a authtentically Mexican feel, with pom poms hanging from a wire grid strung between the trees in the mango grove. Colors and textures were layered at every turn: Aqua vases held clusters of peach, pink, and orange flowers, while light and height was added to each table with sculpted marigold candles, a Dia de los Muertos tradition. Fresh fruit, like guavas and persimmons, completed the look.

Baja rehearsal dinner
Photo by Meg Smith Photography

"We had most of our speeches during the rehearsal dinner, and they were so incredibly special," recalls the bride. "The celebratory mood from that night really carried over into our wedding day."

Mira Zwillinger wedding dress
Photo by Meg Smith Photography
white and blush bridal bouquet
Photo by Meg Smith Photography

On the big day, Meredith wore a Mira Zwillinger dress that was actually the second gown she purchased. "I bought a dress after my first dress shopping appointment but woke up the next day thinking about another dress that I'd also tried on," she admits. "I called the salon first thing and my consultant was so sweet in helping me make the exchange!" The final Mira Zwillinger gown featured a cascade of appliqué flowers, which Meredith paired with a soft bouquet of blush and cream roses, peonies, tulips, and ranunculus.

junior bridesmaids
Photo by Meg Smith Photography
white bridesmaid dresses
Photo by Meg Smith Photography

Meredith's nieces acted as flower girls and wore matching Isabel Garretón dresses with white sashes. "As a thank you, I gave them each a Tiffany & Co. heart charm necklace engraved with their initials," adds the bride.

bride walking down aisle
Photo by Meg Smith Photography
wedding ceremony
Photo by Meg Smith Photography

Meredith's brother walked her down the aisle before taking his place on the chapel steps to officiate the ceremony. "The chapel is quite small and we couldn't fit everyone inside, but Gordon and I loved having the beautiful building as our backdrop," the bride says.

outdoor wedding ceremony
Photo by Meg Smith Photography
first kiss
Photo by Meg Smith Photography
newlywed bride and groom
Photo by Meg Smith Photography

The church's iron railings were draped in lush greenery and blush and ivory blooms. "Our ceremony wasn't religious, but was religiously-inspired," says Meredith, who turned to the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer for the couple's vows. "We had a cellist and violinist playing covers of The Beatles, Tom Petty, and Rush. Gordon and I love classic rock, and we loved that we could incorporate that into a more traditional moment."

bride and groom at one & Only Palmilla
Photo by Meg Smith Photography
bride and groom on the beach
Photo by Meg Smith Photography

For a private moment before the party began, the newlyweds and their families shared a Champagne toast at the hotel's herb garden while the rest of the guests made their way to cocktail hour. "After a glass of Champagne, Gordon and I went with Meg to take sunset photos on the beach, then made our way to the reception," adds the bride.

cocktail hour
Photo by Meg Smith Photography

Cocktail hour and dinner took place on One & Only Palmilla's South Lawn. There, everyone enjoyed a Baja-inspired seafood bar—of shrimp cocktail, yellowfin sashimi, stone crab claws, Sea of Cortez lobster brochettes, and scallops—alongside classic margaritas (Meredith's favorite!) and the groom's favorite bourbon elixir.

wedding reception
Photo by Meg Smith Photography

The al fresco dinner decor was inspired by the surrounding resort. Tables were covered in white linens chosen to replicate the nailhead designs on the hotel's doors, then topped with whitewashed vases that matched the exterior of the chapel where Gordon and Meredith were married. A dramatic structure was set over the dance floor and draped with greenery and woven lanterns to complete the muted tropical feel. "It helped make the space feel more intimate and cozy," says Meredith. For dinner, guests ate mango and jicama salads, mushroom enchiladas, and stuffed poblano peppers with adobo sauce.

bride with dad
Photo by Meg Smith Photography

After dinner, everyone hit the dance floor, where Meredith's dad was the center of attention—on the big screen! "My father had to have an urgent lung transplant about six weeks before our wedding and wasn't able to be there," she says. "But we found a videographer who could provide a live two-way audio and visual stream. He watched all of the dancing, gave a toast after dinner, and even wore the suit he'd planned to wear in Mexico!"

fireworks
Photo by Meg Smith Photography

The night concluded with more entertainment: late-night fireworks that were a surprise for everyone, including Gordon. "I made sure I was with him the moment they started so I could see his reaction," Meredith says. "Even my dad watched them in real time from San Francisco!"

Wedding Planner: Jesse Tombs of Alison Events || Rehearsal Dinner Venue: Acre Baja || Ceremony & Reception Venue: One & Only Palmilla || Bride's Rehearsal Dinner Dress: Johanna Ortiz || Bride's Rehearsal Dinner Jewelry: Sophie Buhai || Bride's Rehearsal Dinner Shoes: Alexandre Birman || Bride's Wedding Dress: Mira Zwillinger, from Marina Morrison || Bride's Veil: Carolina Herrera || Bride's Wedding Jewelry: Tiffany & Co. || Bride's Wedding Shoes: Jimmy Choo || After-Party Dress: Dolce & Gabbana || After-Party Shoes: Chloé || Hair & Makeup: One & Only Palmilla || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Dolce & Gabbana, Galvan London || Junior Bridesmaids' Dresses: Isabel Garretón || Groom's Rehearsal Dinner & Wedding Attire: Chookhare & Sons || Groomsmen's Attire: Chookhare & Sons || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: May Jewelers || Floral Design: Josefina Hernandez || Paper Products: A Day in May || Calligraphy: Papineau Calligraphy || Rehearsal Dinner Catering: Acre Baja || Wedding Catering & Cake: One & Only Palmilla || Rehearsal Dinner Music: Francisco Alatorre Flamenco Trio || Ceremony Music: Francisco Alatorre String Duo || Reception Music: The Half Moons, from Dart Collective || After Party Music: Alex DJ Cabo Events || Lounge Furniture & Tabletop: Warehouse Rentals by Marianna Idirin || Event Rentals: Del Cabo Event Design || Staging, Dance Floor & Lighting: VVR Pro || Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen || Transportation: Impala Cabo Transportation Services || Accommodations: One & Only Palmilla, Cabo Surf Hotel & Spa || Videography & Live Stream: Zeke Torres Films, Memorya Films || Photography: Meg Smith Photography

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