Designer and Brand Strategist Elida married Lawner and Non-Profit Consultant Peter’s classy, modern destination wedding was held in April at the Acre Resort in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.
Described as a lush sanctuary set on 25 acres of abundant greenery, this incredible wedding venue played the perfect backdrop for this modern couple to exchange their vows in the presence of their family and friends. Elida wore dress by A La Robe and chiffon bow jacket by Pronovias combo and shares openly and honestly on her experience of wedding dress shopping and visiting a bridal boutique – bride’s, there are some fabulous words of wisdom in this article if you’re about to embark on the hunt for your wedding-day look.
Much gratitude to the very lovely British wedding photograper, Chloe Mary for sharing these gorgeous images.
Acre Resort, San Jose del Cabo, Mexico
We originally planned to get married in Palm Springs California. A co-worker of mine had gotten married there about a year or so earlier and was kind enough to send me this amazing spreadsheet of all the places they looked at with stats and pricing. It was so generous of her to share and gave us a huge head start. They had looked at a few outlier locations outside of California and when I saw the Acre website I fell in love with it instantly and sent a link to Peter right away.
The architecture was gorgeous, the food looked amazing and we were dead set on a destination wedding. We wanted a really wow location and experience and it ticked all the boxes and more. It was a bit of a gamble to book sight unseen – we’d never even been to that part of Mexico before. But we felt pretty confident and just took the leap anyway.
We used About Love Events out of Cabo. Andrea Guttierrez was the person who we worked with throughout the process. They were great to work with and walked us through the whole process of having a wedding in a different country.
I had an unpleasant hair and makeup trial six months before the wedding. I don’t think I’d ever felt more unattractive. I cried for hours after. It sucks to spend so much money to feel bad about yourself. I’m thankful Peter was really supportive and helped me to problem solve. He sheduled a hair styling tutorial with his stylist who travels globally teaching other hairstylists his techniques. Honestly, that was money well spent. I know how to do my hair better than ever now. That’s a gift that gives long after the wedding is over.
I did my makeup in a small hand mirror on top of a turned upside-down trashcan on the terrace of our hotel room – if you can believe it! And it was great.
I think doing your own hair and makeup is under-rated. I felt great and exactly like myself at our wedding. I only got one hand manicured, but I laughed about it and no one cared.
My original plan was to buy a dress that wasn’t from a bridal shop. I thought I was being clever trying to bi-pass some of the wedding dress prices tags, but after racking up 13k USD on my credit card and my anxiety going sky high, I finally realised the benefit of a bridal shop.
My original plan was to buy a dress that wasn’t from a bridal shop. I was looking at sites like Moda Operandi, Net-a-porter, Wolf & Badger, Luisa via Roma. I was ordering things and trying them on at home thinking this was the best way to find something unique. I thought I was being clever trying to bi-pass some of the wedding dress prices tags, but after racking up 13k USD on my credit card and my anxiety going sky high, I finally realised the benefit of a bridal shop.
After I got everything returned and off my card I enlisted my best friend Josh to help me go dress shopping.
The White Room in Minneapolis was my last stop while bridal shopping and it was by far the best experience. Having unconventional taste I was really worried about getting boxed into a boring bridal look. Carmen, the owner of The White Room was a true gem of human. Minneapolis isn’t the most adventurous fashion city, but when you put Carmen, myself and Josh together we were like kindred fashion spirits playing dress up.
What was originally a 1 hour covid appointment turned into three hours and we were all so giddy coming up with fun combinations using her wildest options. Carmen was just excited about the outfits as we were and to feel like my vision was not only recognised but cheered on meant everything to me.
The White Room was the only bridal boutique that had anything outside the box and our day would not have been the same without her amazing eye and for her ability to push the suppliers through tough timelines and supply chain issues. She was a real hero and is very endeared to me.
I’m known for wearing dramatic looks, but it’s always my hope that it still has a level of sophistication to it. I like when something is unexpected and I feel my best when I’m wearing something that has interesting proportions or textures.
I went for a pearl and silver theme to keep things cohesive. I was worried it would be too matchy-matchy but it ended up looking effortless.
I went with dainty understated pearl jewellery. Overall the look was ethereal and wanted the pieces to go together without feeling too matchy-matchy. Just effortless.
I wore Raw Pearl bobbypins that I found via BlairNadeauBridal on Etsy.
I know many other brides will splurge on shoes, but this was the cheapest thing I wore. I bought them off of Nasty Gal for like $35. I went with something easy to walk in and simple because I wanted the other pieces to make more of the statement.
What I loved about my wedding outfit was how ethereal the overall look was. The sheer jacket made the slip dress feel so magical and the oversized bow and sleeves were very glamorous.
The dress I chose was a super light pink that just worked so well with my skintone. It was a little softer against my skin than a white or ivory would be as I have pink undertones to my skin. And it didn’t feel any less “bridal”. The bias cut silk dress felt very effortless and it needed very little tailoring when it came in because of the way a bias cut hugs the curves. Post-wedding I’m having the hem re-done to the calf so that it’ll be perfect date night dress. There’s something so amazing about a plain silk dress and a leather jacket. Sustainability is very important to me as well, so I wanted something that I could use for a long time.
The benefit of having such a simple dress was that I could do outfit changes with jackets. My reception jacket was this GORGEOUS beaded and feathered number by Varca Bridal. It was the ultimate party jacket for the evening. I was having a hard time deciding which jacket to buy when dress shopping and was lucky enough that Josh and Peter secretly talked and decided to buy the feather jacket as a gift to make the looks complete. I feel lucky to have such thoughtful and generous people in my life. True love and true family.
A Note on Dress Shopping Anxiety
I style photoshoots as part of my job and I am surprised to say even I had a hard time describing what I wanted. There’s something about people staring at you being like “WHAT DO YOU THINK!?!?” that made me lose all my words. I describe creative ideas and characteristics with ease on a daily basis. So I can only imagine how hard and daunting it may be for someone who doesn’t normally live in that realm.
That’s why I’m so glad I had my friend Josh with me. Josh was able to step in and ask specific questions or add descriptive words almost like my translator to the stylist. Keeping my shopping crew small and dialed in to someone who deeply understands my taste made me feel supported, but also not overrun. Choose your shopping partners wisely.
I tend to feel more comfortable in double breasted suits, which happened to go along with a lot of the inspiration I was drawing from what Gucci was putting out at the time. Our budget didn’t allow for us to spend Gucci prices so we looked for creative ways to incorporate the elements they were using more affordable pieces in a playful way.
I buy my everyday suits from Suit Supply so that was a natural place for us to start. Wearing a tux wasn’t always the idea but it started to max since when thinking about how it would look with Elida’s dress and with the backdrop of tropical greens. I worked with the people at our local suit supply to have a custom double-breasted tuxedo made. Elida found some fun more affordable silk shirts online that were great quality. We bought new buttons for the shirts and had a tailor add them to give it a slightly more elevated look for a small tailoring charge.
I had really fallen in love with the silk western bow ties that Gucci was using in their campaigns. We searched Etsy and found some artists that were creating them for a fraction of the price. I liked that it created a more playful wedding look than might have been expected, while still looking nice.
Our photographer was Chloe Mary. Photography was one of the main elements we wanted to focus on for our wedding. We wanted a very documentary feel, again like the shots you see from Met Gala after parties. Pictures of messy table clothes, high flash, and unposed. Someone that would catch all of the little details and deliver great pictures.
Elida found Chloe on Instagram when searching travel wedding photographers. Her portfolio seemed to be exactly what we were looking for, however, she lived in the UK, we live in the US, and the wedding was in Mexico. I decided to send her an email to see if she would even entertain the idea saying basically we were just looking for cocaine chic. It became immediately apparent that she was going to be a perfect fit for us.
Hiring Chloe ended up being one of the best decisions we made throughout the process. She served as a therapist and guide when wedding planning got tough. She also meshed perfectly with our family and friends to the point where she honestly felt like a guest at our wedding.
All of that is said before her photography which was great. I’ve been in a lot of weddings and always hate when the festivities grind to a halt because of photography. She guided us through great portraits and found unique nooks and cranies to shoot in. She delivered great portraits and shot fast so we weren’t running around while all of our friends were partying. We absolutely love her and consider her one of our close friends now.
I don’t even know where to start when it comes to expressing how in love I am with Chloe and her extreme talent. One of the best decisions we made was reaching out to her to see if she would shoot our wedding. It really felt like we were shooting our shot asking her to come half way across the world to shoot our wedding. One tidbit of advice I found on a destination wedding blog post was to search #destinationweddingphotographer on instagram.
My favourite part of Peter’s look was totally unanticipated. Originally, I was planning to go without a bouquet to save costs. We added it back in last minute and I’m so glad that we did because it turned out to be my favorite of Peter’s accessories. I think I held the bouquet for like 2min total and as soon as Peter had it in his hands Chloe and I both gasped. We realised it was meant to be HIS bouquet which is why you see him holding it in all of our photos.
Peter loves florals and they popped against his tux so beautifully. He had so much fun with it and it brings me so much joy to look back at. Our wedding planner was very confused when Peter was holding them up at the altar, but subverting the gender norms was very us. Our guests loved it.
The local photographers in Cabo weren’t available for our dates and we were looking for something specific anyway. Through our research we also learned that most destinations weddings fly in their photographer so it wasn’t totally out of the realm of reality. When we saw Chloe’s work though it just clicked instantly.
It’s artistic, but raw, glam yet grounded. Her work has so much life and layers. When I told my dad that we’d hired a photographer from Bristol England he was totally aghast. He said, “you really couldn’t find any other photographer on the whole continent?!” and obviously the answer was NO.
She was so much more than a photographer for us though. She was an amazing resource, such a joy to have around and my in-laws said they’ve never seen me chattier than when I was talking with Chloe. Like I said, I’m obsessed with Chloe in a totally non-creepy way.
I would fly Chloe half way across the world again in a heartbeat just to hang out with her. I still get comments from random people a year later saying that our photos were the most beautiful they’ve ever seen. Acquaintances share our photos with strangers and then we meet them and they tell us how beautiful our photos are. It’s bizarre in a lovely way. She has an eye and a charm that just can’t be taught. Worth every penny and more.
How They Met
Elida and I met through a mutual friend. It started with a very awkward set up where we both didn’t know what was intended. However, I thought she was beautiful and interesting so I decided to slide into her DM’s later that week to ask her out on an actual date.
We had been dating for for two years prior to getting engaged and I asked her to marry me toward the beginning of the pandemic. Thus, we really didn’t start doing any wedding planning for another year until vaccinations, gatherings, and travel started to happen. Our engagement was roughly two years long. – Peter
It was so awkward when we first met! Like Peter said, a friend from my work invited us both out for drinks and made us basically interview eachother over martinis. He was wearing a suit and I was in sweatpants and no makeup. It seemed like a very unlikely paring at the time.
The first date was much more successful and I feel lucky that our friend had enough foresight to see that we’d really hit it off. I’ve never met anyone else like him. He’s so caring and so funny. – Elida
Evening & Dancing
I have very strong opinions about music and what is playing. We decided to make a Spotify playlist for the wedding reception. For anyone that loves music and doesn’t feel the need to have a DJ I would highly recommend this. It was fun to have happy hours prior to the wedding to choose music together. Personally, I love having the playlist from the day as memory that we can go back to after the fact.
We didn’t do a first dance. Getting the party started after dinner felt more like us. We did choose a lot of 90’s club tracks (i.e. Be My Lover by La Bouche and 100% Pure Love by Crystal Waters) because of they reminded Elida of her Dad working out as a child and they bang. – Peter
Words of Wedded Wisdom
It goes by so fast. We’ve also reflected on this a lot and there was so much about the day that was perfect that we didn’t fully appreciate at the time too.
The timing of everything was well paced, it was pretty stress free and we put money into the things that mattered to us most. We constantly talk about how lucky were that things went as well as they did.
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