This Couple Completely Redefined What It Means to Throw a Destination Wedding in Mexico
Jordan asked Sophie to marry him on a hike along a San Francisco trail—an epic proposal that included views of the Pacific Ocean and a fog-free view of the Golden Gate Bridge. And yet, despite the proposal-perfect surroundings, Sophie thought Jordan was kidding. "I even smacked him and said, 'Oh my gosh, shut up. That's not funny,'" she recalls. "Then he got down on one knee and I knew it wasn't a joke and started crying."
It seems only appropriate that the couple's March 30, 2019, wedding would also include seaside views, this time, from the beaches at NEST Tulum in Mexico. The couple booked out the small hotel for their 17 guests, then set to create a natural and beautiful celebration. "I didn't want it to look like what everyone imagined when they heard 'a destination wedding in Mexico,'" Sophie says. "The year of planning was an ongoing balancing act of choosing elements that were timeless and a reflection of our personal tastes without being too trendy. I like to think that it was ethereal and timeless but with a boho flare."
It was also important that the wedding reflect the couple. From golden escort cards that hinted at the movie the couple saw on their first date to craft beers that nodded to where the couple met in Portland, Oregon, the day was filled with personalized details.
But perhaps most importantly, their "big-picture vision was to make it an unforgettable family vacation," says Sophie. "Working in the Silicon Valley, we're a part of a culture where people just don't take that much time off of work, unfortunately. In the six years we had been dating, we would alternate taking week-long annual vacations with each other's families and would always feel somewhat guilty about not spending more quality time with the family we didn't get to vacation with that year. After getting engaged and throwing lots of ideas around, we ultimately decided we wanted to take a long vacation with both of our families and create some unforgettable memories we'd always cherish."
From Tulum with Love
"We chose Tulum for its powdered-sugar-like sand, turquoise waters, rich Mayan history and 'barefoot luxury' meets bohemian-magic vibes," explains Sophie. But the couple also picked the locale because it was where they took their first international vacation together.
"We came home so inspired and said we'd bring our families back one day to experience the best fish tacos and everything else Tulum had to offer," Sophie says.
The couple found their invitations through a designer on Etsy. "We liked the coloring, typography, asymmetry, and illustrations of the green tropical foliage," Sophie says.
To those simple, tropical designs, they also added blue liners, palm-leaf gate folds, and a pink wax seal.
Sophie and Jordan enjoyed two weddings on their big day—a traditional Western service, held with all their guests, and a morning Cambodian ceremony with just family.
The couple dressed in luxurious white-and-gold silk gowns for the latter.
The bride wore bangles on her ankles as part of her traditional garb.
A Family Matter
This service honored Sophie's parents, who are from Cambodia. "I'm so glad we decided to do the Cambodian ceremony," Sophie reflects. "I could tell it meant a lot to my parents; my mom cried during it. My parents rarely cry so this was a big moment. It was also really great being able to share this part of my family's culture with Jordan's family and have them partake in the traditions, like the lucky red string tying."
Sophie chose a thick, modern lace wedding dress by Made With Love. She admits she never had a moment where she felt she found "the one" dress for her. But when she slipped on the dress she ultimately chose, "I liked how the front and back V-neck fit on me and that it didn't accentuate my broad shoulders," she says. "I didn't expect myself to fall in love with a non-all-white dress, but once I put it on, I loved the contrast of the white lace against the tan fabric. It really popped nicely."
First Look Surprise
The couple shared a first look on one of the jungle paths at Nomade Hotel Tulum, where they stayed and held their Cambodian ceremony.
"I was so curious what Jordan had pictured my dress to be like," Sophie recalls. "He said it wasn't what he was imagining, but he loved it."
When it came to her bouquet, "I definitely did not want perfectly round," Sophie says. Instead, florist Moni Junco created an organic arrangement that included trailing greens and white-and-cream garden roses, tulips, orchids, and ranunculus.
A Tropical Welcome
A glass box welcome sign, filled with native foliage and laceleaf blooms, greeted guests upon their arrival to the ceremony site.
Ceremony with a View
For their ceremony on the beach, the couple insisted on a half circle, low-to-the-ground arch that would not obstruct the view of Tulum's turquoise waters; it also "felt very organic and suiting for our overall vision," Sophie says. Attendees sat on gray tufted French linen benches, which were also low in profile.
During their service, the couple held a sand ceremony, mixing together sand from Oregon, where they met, California, where they live, and Tulum, where they married.
Yellow Brick Road
To find their seats, guests were encouraged to "follow the yellow brick road," a set of golden tiles with their seating assignments on them. The Wizard of Oz is the first movie that Sophie and Jordan watched together.
"I hand-selected each and every thing that went on our reception tables," says Sophie. She even mocked up the décor on PowerPoint decks, she says. But on the big day, "it was more beautiful in person and made me so happy to see my vision come to life," she says.
Sophie and Jordan hung macramé on the back of their chairs, along with laser-cut "bride" and "groom" signs.
Low, lush centerpieces were placed on top of white gauze table runners; place settings, that Sophie curated herself, included madras fiber chargers from World Market. Blue goblets added a pop of color to the otherwise cream-centric tables.
The couple topped each guest's plate with their favors—miniature blue-and-white hand-painted Moroccan tagines that they filled with spices, then tied with a tag that read, "You spice up our lives." Sophie explains. "We first saw the mini tagines at a restaurant in the Nomade Hotel during our first trip to Tulum after college, so even though they are Moroccan, they remind us of Tulum. We also really enjoy cooking meals together at home, so thought they'd be great favors for our guests to take back and use in their kitchens."
The couple's tiny wedding cake was white and topped with fresh roses and an "M," to signify the couple's new married last name. Flavors included coconut cake layered with key lime buttercream and fresh raspberries.
The small confection was placed atop a three-tiered cookie tray and presented on a vintage server.
Led Me Straight to You
Sophie and Jordan shared their first dance as husband and wife to Rascal Flatts' "Bless the Broken Road." "We love country music, and this song will always remind us of when we reconnected and started dating after five years of being on our separate paths," Sophie says.
Photography, Kurt Boomer
Event planning, Diana Romo Weddings
Flowers, Moni Junco
Videography, Beatatum Photography
Calligraphy, Romey Hooper
Music, Plugin Audio and Visual
Bride's gown, Made With Love
Hair, Sandy Mendez
Makeup, Zoe Elizabeth Makeup
Groom's suit, Banana Republic
Transportation, Your Cancun DMC