Russell Hopkins’s proposal to Olympic soccer player Jonelle Filigno was straight out of Love Actually. “I was traveling from Vancouver to Toronto on Valentine’s Day, and was shocked to see Russell waiting on one knee when I came out of the gate,” remembers the bride, who met her now-husband when the two attended Rutgers University in New Jersey. The groom is from the Garden State, while the bride hails from Toronto, so they searched for a neutral spot to host their 96 friends and family members. “It seemed perfect to bring everyone to a place as stunningly romantic as Los Cabos, Mexico,” says Jonelle. So it was there, on December 3, 2016, that the pair tied the knot in a black tie celebration as the sun set over the Pacific.
Cabo San Lucas may bring to mind visions of clay tiles and sandy beaches, but the couple wanted a touch of elegance as well. A cream-and-gold color scheme, crystal chandeliers, and a black tie dress code did the trick, and these photos by La Memoir prove that you can rock a ballgown and tux on the beach.
“We wanted perfect weather, a beautiful sunset, flowing drinks, and a packed dance floor—and that’s exactly what we got,” Jonelle says. She and Russell especially loved their venue's cobblestone paths and vibrant palm trees.
The bride, who played for Canada’s Sky Blue FC in the National Women’s Soccer League, sipped champagne with her bridesmaids as they got ready for the day.
To fit the formal setting, the couple were dressed to the nines. Russell wore a custom tuxedo designed by Joseph Abboud himself, while Jonelle was stunning in a Galia Lahav gown—and flaunted her Olympic rings tattoo.
“This was my dream dress,” says Jonelle, who chose a design with a fitted bodice and a full tulle skirt. “It had a dreamy, long train [that was detachable!], a sheer low back, and ivory lace finished with pearls and crystals.”
Layers of blush and ivory fabric gave the bride's skirt dimension, while the sexy low back was what really sold Jonelle on the design. And the venue's tile-lined pool acted as the perfect backdrop for the Olympic bride's portraits.
The two ring-bearers headed down the aisle in white dress shirts, black shorts, and bow ties. How cute are they?!
The couple wed at the end of a long aisle, beneath a wooden chuppah decorated with a crystal chandelier and sheer drapes. “We used traditional vows, but the morning of the wedding we exchanged letters that we’d written to one another,” Jonelle explains. After their first kiss, the bride and groom headed down for a private moment (and a sunset photo shoot!) on the white sand beach.
To thank their guests for traveling all the way to Mexico, Jonelle and Russell gave each person a bottle of Cholula hot sauce, finished with a tag that read “Thank you for spicing up our wedding day!”
The couple and their guests celebrated on the hotel’s pool deck, with a spectacular sunset in the background. “Our first dance was one of my favorite parts of our wedding day,” says the bride. “I tried to really enjoy every moment— it flew by!”
Wedding Planner: Luxe Destination Weddings
Venue: Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach
Bride's Dress & Veil: Galia Lahav
Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Bride's Jewelry: Bitter Sweet
Hair & Makeup: Olga Bustos
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier
Groom's Attire: Joseph Abboud
Groomsmen's Attire: Calvin Klein
Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Mark Turnowski
Floral Design: Baja Flowers
Catering, Rentals & Cake: Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach
Entertainment: Roberto Contreras
Videography: Angel Zapien
Photography: La Memoir