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As a Hollywood film producer, Julia Lebedev knows what makes a great script. And her own romance with Jon Moss could hook an audience with its When Jon Met Julia twists and turns. In 2009, the two Angelenos were introduced in Brazil at the wedding of mutual friends. They hit it off, but Julia had a boyfriend. Once back home, the pair kept bumping into each other at parties. “It was like we were dancing around one another,” says Julia. Indeed, two years later, she was back on the market, only to discover that Jon, an attorney, now had a significant other. And so it went until 2012, when Julia threw her annual February 14th “prom” for all her unattached friends. “Ironically, Jon came and asked me out,” Julia says. “That was my last single Valentine’s Day.”
The next summer, the lovebirds were “glamping” in Big Sur, California, when Jon got down on one knee. Julia said yes, then went into filmmaker mode, casting the players who would help pull off their nuptials in Punta Mita, Mexico, a locale not too far from those on their largely West Coast–based guest list but exotic enough to feel special. “We loved the idea of having everyone come away for a few days,” says Julia. “It was more a vacation than a party.”
A south-of-the-border welcome dinner (complete with tequila, tacos, a fajita station, and a mariachi band) kick-started the wedding weekend, which culminated with a send-off brunch on Sunday. In between, they had a sunset ceremony on the cliffside grounds of the Imanta Resort. Though nondenominational and officiated by a friend, the service adopted two Jewish customs: marrying beneath a huppa (theirs was adorned with colorful bougainvillea) and the post-vows breaking of a glass. After a cocktail hour under thatched-roof palapas and a dinner of tuna tartare, beef steak, and mahi mahi, the revelers headed for the dance floor, where everyone got in on the action. “Even our photographers were out there dancing with us, taking pictures,” recalls Julia. “You know, the hair’s flying, and we’re all a little sweaty, but those photos are the ones that show just how fun and amazing the day was.”
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Burros and other Mexican animals pictured on save-the-dates signaled the celebration to come.
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Woven totes purchased locally held welcome-bag contents: Coronitas wrapped in straw koozies, sunscreen to block Mexico’s rays, a weekend itinerary, tajine seasoning packed in a muslin pouch marked “caliente!,” and an assortment of animal trinkets.
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What a View
Punta Mita, a beachfront Mexican village, is surrounded by more than nine miles of Pacific Ocean views, making it a romantic spot to vacation—or wed.
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The Bridal Bouquet
Julia carried a bright bouquet of bougainvillea, garden and tea roses, succulents, and coral creeper.
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Get With the Program
Hand-tied cards outlined the celebration’s attendants, a combination of friends (from as far back as high school) and family.
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The couple said “I do” on a cliff overlooking the beach in a ceremony led by their friend, an astrologer.
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The huppa was wired with bougainvillea in a range of pinks and corals.
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A Beachy Touch
Escort cards marked with seashells directed guests to their tables.
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Every guest was served a different dish to encourage sharing. “We had an amazing caterer, so it was good that people got to try each other’s food,” Julia says. “I know how people eat at weddings: they don’t want one big meal anyway.”
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Not displayed on the deckle-edged menu are the mini desserts that held partygoers over until the cake was cut.
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Jon and Julia listened to a toast by the mutual friends who brought them together.
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The Wedding Cake
“Confession: I never saw the cake,” admits Julia. Instead of stopping to cut the vanilla bean confection, she kept dancing.
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Loved ones came from as far away as Russia. Each received a note with a local wood carving thanking them.
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Location, Catering, and Cake: Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita
Event Planning, Design, and Stationery: Bash Please
Flowers: Brown Paper Design
Photography: Samm Blake
Videography: Shark Pig
Calligraphy: Nicole Miyuki Creative
Rentals and Lighting: Peter de Anda
Bride’s Gown: Elie by Elie Saab
Hair: Marisa Marino
Makeup: Zoë Rehberg
Groom’s Tuxedo: Alexander McQueen
Photo Booth: Smilebooth