Have you ever seen a groom wear a kilt on the beach? Neither had we, until now. When Stephanie and Andrew got engaged in Cabo San Lucas, two years after they met at a tech conference in Las Vegas, they knew exactly where they would say "I do": On the beach in Sayulita, Mexico. "My family has been spending the holidays there since I was a child, and Andrew fell in love with it during his first visit. Thank goodness, since he didn't actually visit Sayulita until after we'd sent out our save the dates!" says Stephanie. For their May 9, 2015, wedding, the couple booked a private residence, Villa del Oso, as the setting for their 125-person bash. The beachfront estate, with stunning sunset views, was the perfect place for their sunny celebration!
Stephanie and Andrew pulled out all the stops for their big day, serving amazing local food and flying in a DJ from the U.S. to keep the dance party going all night long — with a few surprises tossed in for good measure. And of course, the Scottish groom made his grand entrance in a kilt! Take a look at this colorful Mexican celebration, photographed by Ryan Flynn Photography, below!
Pops of coral were perfect against the green palm trees and blue ocean. Stephanie found the hints of color in her Christian Louboutin pumps and her bridesmaids' J.Crew dresses.
The bride caught the sea breeze in a BLISS by Monique Lhuillier mermaid wedding dress with overlapping layers of tulle. "We planned our wedding in six months, so I didn't have a lot of time to shop for dresses. With this one, I knew I wouldn't have to fuss over alterations when it came in, which was two weeks before the wedding!" Stephanie says. Her bouquet combined peonies, orchids, and local blooms, with the ruffled petals and yellow centers adding some Mexican flair.
About that kilt: Andrew hails from Scotland, so he wore a traditional kilt in his mother's tartan. "It's pretty colorful and has some coral notes in it, so it ended up being perfect alongside everything else," says the bride.
The villa and surrounding streets provided a unique backdrop for portraits prior to the ceremony, with colorful flags and white stone streets tying right into the couple's theme.
To complement both the bridesmaids' dresses and the groom's punchy attire, Andrew's groomsmen wore tan suits with coral ties. The mix of neutral and bright hues worked well with the couple's colorful bash.
The ceremony program featured a blue and coral floral design that was also used on the invitations.
An altar draped with white fabric and tied with roses and greenery was set up on the villa's lawn, with a perfect view of the ocean. "We had umbrellas set between the benches to shade our guests," says Stephanie. Everyone was greeted with margaritas and miniature beers to help fight the heat.
The couple wrote their own vows, for two reasons. One, to add a personal touch to the proceedings. The second? "We wanted the ceremony to be quick!" says Stephanie. "We didn't include any special readings so it wouldn't last too long."
With epic views of the ocean, Stephanie and Andrew knew their reception didn't need much to look incredible. Wooden tables were decorated with blue glassware, coral napkins, and low centerpieces in peach, coral, and white. "We had a lounge area overlooking the water, sting lighting over the tables, and Mexican star lanterns over the dance floor," says the bride.
With food as a main focus of the event, Andrew and Stephanie offered three entrée options after the grapefruit and avocado salad: Mahi mahi with passion fruit purée, coconut and jasmine rice, and vegetables; chimichurri flank steak with potato planks; and vegetarian risotto. Instead of cake, guests snacked on cheesecake, Belgian chocolate cake, and gelato.
A Mariachi band serenaded guests during dinner, then a DJ took over for the dance party.
Stephanie wouldn't let a few injuries prevent her from having an incredible wedding. "I suffered a pelvic stress fracture a few months before the wedding, and was on crutches until just a week before I walked down the aisle," she says. But that's not all! "An Uber driver slammed my hand in the car door the day before I left for Mexico. I had to wear a brace on my fingers the whole week — thankfully I could take it off for pictures!"
After their first dance, Andrew and Stephanie had a surprise for their guests: A fireworks display! "It was one of my favorite memories. It was a great way to get the party started, and caught everyone off-guard!"
Stephanie is a good reminder that it isn't worth sweating the small stuff. "I was planning the details instead of enjoying my week in Mexico with everyone, and none of those details ended up being important. What we really remember is the dance party!"
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Villa del Oso || Wedding Planner: Sayulita Weddings; Elyssa Cahill || Bride's Wedding Dress: BLISS by Monique Lhuillier || Shoes: Christian Louboutin || Hair & Makeup: Misty Spinney || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Groom's Attire: Kinloch Anderson || Groomsmen's Attire: Harvey Nichols || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Tiffany & Co. || Invitations & Paper Goods: Bella Figura || Music: DJ Cobra || Catering: Naef Cuisine || Photographer: Ryan Flynn Photography
Planning your own destination wedding? Then check out another far-flung celebration in the video below.