It was love at first sight for Kristina and David Turken when they crossed paths in 2013 while studying abroad in London. "I had actually broken both of my feet in a skiing accident, just days before flying over to London, so I was in a wheelchair the first time we met," she recalls. But the two hit it off immediately (thanks to an intro by a mutual friend!) and spent the remainder of their time abroad traveling Europe together. "We spent our senior year of college doing long-distance, visiting each other almost every other weekend," says Kristina. "After college, he moved out to L.A. and the rest is history!"
To be specific: In 2016, three years after moving to the West Coast, David suggested a spontaneous weekend trip to Big Sur. "I was originally a little suspicious of this random getaway, but he said it was making up for a trip he had to cancel the weekend before," she recalls. Once they arrived at Post Ranch Inn, they grabbed drinks at the hotel bar—but after, David said "he forgot his wallet" so they had to stop by the room before dinner. When they arrived, Kristina found a path of roses leading to the deck, where David popped the question. The surprises continued the next evening when Kristina bumped into her dad in the hotel lobby. (David had secretly flown both their parents in for the occasion!) And when they returned home to L.A., David revealed one last surprise: an impromptu engagement dinner with their nearest and dearest.
So, with travel at the forefront of their relationship and a proposal like that, a destination celebration felt like the natural choice for Kristina and David's wedding on February 10, 2018. "After many scouting trips and a lot of consideration, we finally landed on Cabo, a place that we had been going to for years," says the bride. There, they opted for a private beach ceremony outside the One & Only Palmilla, followed by a reception at Flora Farms. When it came to the decor, Kristina admits that she didn't go into wedding planning with a specific vision in mind. But ultimately, they created a three-day celebration that read "chic and timeless," as well as "unique and different." "From the beginning, we were going for a simple, organic look and wanted to let the beautiful settings stand front-and-center," explains the bride. "Everything we did was meant to complement each of the venues, whether it be the amazing working farm or beach."
Keep reading to see how this couple pulled off an effortless destination wedding with the help of Alison Events (on the design and logistics) and Braedon Flynn of Braedon Photography (behind the lens!).
First and foremost on the couple's wedding agenda? Give their guests the best possible experience! To do this, David and Kristina organized fun local activities throughout the weekend. They also paid careful attention to their attendants' welcome bags. Each custom-weaved tote included a personalized note along with some of their favorite things, like a local cookbook and a few go-to snacks.
Kristina admits she didn't exactly have an "aha" moment while dress shopping. In fact, she actually found "the one" after quite a few glasses of bubbly! "When I tried this particular dress on at Oscar de la Renta, it was the only dress that drew tears from the girls," says Kristina of her long-sleeved sheath gown with lace appliqués. "I bought it right there on the spot."
To complement her low-back dress, the bride added an Oscar de la Renta chapel-length veil, her mother's diamond tennis bracelet, and diamond hoops from David's parents. She also accessorized with a customized "Mrs. T" clutch from Edie Parker and metallic Stuart Weitzman block heels. (Of course, David had a surprise planned on the big day: He had a bridesmaid steal Kristina's shoes so that he could write a sweet message on the sole while she got ready!)
Meanwhile, David donned a Dior suit and Christian Louboutin brown oxford shoes. Kristina had two surprises for her groom: turtle-shaped cufflinks (after his nickname for her) and an engraved wedding band.
Though the bride wasn't tied to many planning visions initially, she knew she loved the all-white bridesmaid trend from the get-go. "I wanted the girls to look dressed up and super special in white," she says. In order to differentiate from her own wedding ensemble, her 'maids selected different Zimmerman frocks with midi-length hemlines.
All the women carried bouquets of white and cream blooms, accented with locally forged greenery
Yonder Design created a custom ceremony program that featured the couple's initials in a simple, modern font.
For the ceremony decor, the couple's planner worked with local florist Pina Cate to create a soft, garden-inspired look. This translated to an asymmetrical arch, draped in garden roses, ferns, and textured greenery.
With that, plus the dramatic ocean backdrop, Kristina and David wed in front of 220 guests, as one of the groom's oldest and closest friends acted as their officiant. For their vows, the couple decided to merge their written promises and alternate reading lines aloud. "It was so much less intimidating, and actually ended up being one of our favorite parts of our wedding weekend," says the bride. "Our guests loved it too!"
A traditional Mariachi band serenaded the newlyweds during their recessional.
Once at the reception venue, guests were greeted by a donkey draped in florals. It looked adorable in photos—but funny story: t actually almost bit the bride's finger!
The escort card display featured glass-blown hearts made by a local vendor. The hearts were hung, along with coordinating escort card tags, on a custom ladder adorned with flowers and greenery. "It felt like it was growing out of the grass surrounding it," their planner adds.
Pattern, texture, and a neutral color palette ensured that the reception decor would not detract from the venue's natural allure. The couple and their planner were inspired by the surrounding stones and earth, so they incorporated soft pink hues into the mix, as well as a muted mango color to represent the reception locale—Flora Farms' Mango Grove.
Embroidered table linens added yet another textural component, as did layered ceramic plates. Votives and pillar candles acted as a final touch, especially after dark.
To keep in line with the slightly mismatched style, tabletops were accented with floral arrangements of various heights and styles. "Some tables had more groupings, and some had fewer groupings on a larger scale, so every table went together, but they were all different," explains the planner. Finally, local fruits sourced from the farm, like cut mangos, papayas, and guavas, provided a sense of place and a quintessentially Mexican feel.
"Choosing our reception menu at Flora Farms was particularly easy," says Kristina. "It’s a working farm and they use whatever is in season." The farm-to-table, family-style meal featured homemade burrata, lemon-and-herb roasted chicken with sweet potatoes and carrots, and a "catch of the day" with roasted onions and sage potatoes.
For their signature cocktail, the couple served their go-to drink, a spicy margarita, along with a vodka and grapefruit option to accommodate any non-tequila drinkers.
When it came time to cut into their own wedding cake, a killer dance party had already broken out, so the newlyweds slipped away to dig into their three-tiered, banana-flavored confection—just the two of them!
A major dance sesh was a given with a setup like this. David and Kristina opted also doubled the musical entertainment, hiring a local band, the Kilometros, as well as L.A.-based DJ Jesse Kivel to play later in the night. Kristina and David selected "Coming Home" by Leon Bridges for their own spin around the light-filled dance floor.
As the evening wore on, late-night treats were served in the form of pizza and house-made ice cream. At that point, the bride traded in her long-sleeved gown for a party-ready Zimmermann frock.
Looking back on their effortless destination wedding, Kristina says her best advice is to enjoy the planning process. "You will miss it when it’s over," she says with a laugh. And also: Cherish your partner. "Hold on tight to your new spouse during the reception," she says. "It’s easy to get separated talking to all of your guests, but remember, the night is all about you two!"
Ceremony Venue One & Only Palmilla
Reception Venue, Catering & Cake Flora Farms
Wedding Planner Alison Events
Styling MGK Style
Bride's Wedding Dress & Veil Oscar de la Renta
Bride's Reception Dress Zimmermann
Bride's Earrings Simons, Van Cleef & Arpels
Bride's Shoes Stuart Weitzman
Bride's Clutch Edie Parker
Hair Mischelle Navar
Makeup Pircilla Pae
Bridesmaids' Dresses Zimmermann
Groom's Attire Dior, Christian Louboutin
Groom's Cufflinks MAVA
Engagement Ring & Wedding Band Simons
Floral Design & Favors Pina Cate
Invitations & Paper Products Yonder Design
Ceremony Music Francisco Alatorre, Mariachi Cabo
Reception Music Jesse Kivel of Dart Collective, Kilometro Band
Rentals Marianna Idrin Designs, Del Cabo Event Design, Victor Valdez Productions
Linens La Tavola Linen
Transportation Impala Cabo Transportation Services
Security Pacific Blue
Videography Elysium Productions
Photography Braedon Flynn
Wedding Accommodations & Honeymoon Planning Ever After Honeymoons