This design-savvy duo put their heads together to plan their "where the sea marries the sky"-themed celebration on the beach.
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Eleanor was living in Boston when she received an email from Jacques. Though the two had been in the same industrial design program at University of Cincinnati, he was a year ahead of her, and they didn't know one another—yet. Jacques was writing to compliment Eleanor on her music and art blog. "We started emailing back and forth, phone call led to first date, and as they say, the rest is history," Eleanor says. "My blog was called UR WHT U LUV, so it's funny he found me there."
In October 2016, Eleanor thought Jacques was still on a business trip in Tokyo when she got home from work and found candles all over their home. Expecting an intruder, Eleanor started screaming before seeing Jacques. She was so shocked that she tripped and hurt her finger. After giving her a bandage, Jacques proposed with a pink sapphire engagement ring.
Both having experience in design (Jacques started a company focused on design and creation of innovative products, and Eleanor co-leads a design team at a tech company) the couple was determined to make their special day their most important project of all. "We created and designed all of the wedding collateral, from invites to welcome bag screen prints to custom plexi-glass escort signs," says the bride. Nearly a year after their engagement, the couple jetted off to Tulum, Mexico, accompanied by 101 friends and family. On October 21, 2017, Eleanor and Jacques exchanged emotional vows on the beach at Piedra Escondida Hotel in front of the water which inspired the wedding's theme—where the sea marries the sky. "The teal color of the sea and the twinkly lights along the beach at night inspired our tagline, and inspired the palette of deep jades and blues paired with sparks of vibrant warm tones," the bride says.
"I like to think we designed this wedding as a celebration of each other, but also of every person who was there for us—the people that built us, raised us, became our friends," Eleanor says. "We wouldn't have been the two people standing in front of each other if it wasn't for them."
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Eleanor and Jacques' friends and family received teal totes with several goodies tucked inside—Pescadores beer (a Tulum favorite), a "beerly beloved" bottle opener, handmade Tulum guides and maps, and "in sickness and in health" bags. These included Pepto, Advil, Band-Aids, gum, sunscreen, and bug repellent bracelets.
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Married in Mexico
When choosing the location for their special day, the couple wanted as many of their friends and family as possible to have the opportunity to attend. Mexico, just a short flight away, seemed the most approachable, and after a Christmas vacation to Tulum, Eleanor and Jacques had fallen in love with the destination. "Tulum has this vibe that is hard to come by," Eleanor explains. "It is green and lush and full of adventure by day, and then it's this twinkly town full of amazing food and cocktails by night."
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Eleanor's bridesmaids, in palm print robes from Etsy, helped her primp before the ceremony.
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Several months before the wedding, Eleanor traveled to L.A. with her maid of honor and her mother for a few appointments with Australian bridal designers who have showrooms exclusively in California. "There is a simplicity, ease, and kind of modern beach vibe to a lot of their dresses, which seemed to make sense for Tulum," the bride says. During appointment number three, Eleanor tried on this dress at Grace Loves Lace. "It was as if the wedding dress planets had aligned," she says. "We all immediately started crying; this was the one."
Eleanor's favorite part was the wings. "I felt like a fairy-princess, Greek-goddess, butterfly-queen bride all day long."
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A "Chicago Fall" Bouquet
After deciding on ocean tones for the stationery and décor, the couple wanted Eleanor's bouquet to be "the spark of color that really tied everything together," the bride says. The orange and red shades of the flowers popped against the teals. "It was a fun challenge to bring a little bit of Chicago fall colors to Mexico."
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Eleanor's mother tore a photo of these Stuart Weitzman heels from a local bridal magazine to show her daughter. "I knew the block heel would be great for the beachy terrain," the bride says. "They were perfect."
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The Bridal Party
Eleanor and Jacques posed with their bridal party, made up entirely of the couple's friends. The bridesmaids wore Show Me Your Mumu dresses in a striking shade of teal, and the groomsmen sported Banana Republic shirts and pants. "As I am an only child, each of my bridesmaids and bridesmen were my closest friends, but people I consider family," Eleanor says.
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The ceremony took place near the water on the beach at Piedra Escondida. Though it stormed up until right before, the sky cleared for the ceremony. Loved ones watched Eleanor and Jacques say, "I do" with a gorgeous ocean backdrop—where later in the evening, the couple swam with friends.
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A guitarist played the Beatles' "Blackbird" as Jacques' mother walked him down the aisle. Eleanor's father escorted her, while the musician plucked Bach's "Air on the G." The officiant, a writer, was a good friend of Eleanor's family. He opened the wedding with something he wrote about two designers who love technology, art, and each other.
Jacques' mother read a prayer, followed by an excerpt from The Amber Spyglass, one of the couple's favorite books. A friend spoke the words written by Phillip Pullman, beginning with: "I will love you forever; whatever happens."
Eleanor and Jacques are in agreement on the most memorable moment of the day: "Staring into the eyes of my wife and saying my vows to the sound of 101 people crying tears of joy, between waves crashing on the rocks," the groom says. "I loved Jacques' vows," Eleanor adds. "It was such a surreal, special moment to look at the crowd and see that they were there, too—tears and all." The newlyweds recessed to the sounds of Talking Heads' "This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody)."
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A Special Collaboration
Since first meeting, Eleanor and Jacques have created and collaborated as designers on many projects. "So, our wedding was the most important design project of all to us," Eleanor says.
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After the ceremony, the group moved to a nearby hotel, Maria Del Mar, for cocktail hour. Lanie, one of Eleanor's bridesmaids, created signature drinks for the couple—The Palomanor (sage syrup grapefruit Paloma) and Jacquestail (smoky ancho reyes and mescal combination). "She wrote the recipes, chatted with the bar staff on how to mak each, and brought specially infused simple syrups she made at home to Mexico," Eleanor says. Another personal touch was a playlist created by the bride, with a mix of jazz songs she listened to growing up and indie Latin. "It was a little tribute to the fact Jacques met me through my music blog," she says.
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The reception took place further up the beach at Piedra Escondida due to the tide. In a last-minute decision, a tent was put up for the entire event as well—a good call seeing as it began raining as soon as everyone sat down for dinner. "It didn't get in the way of the ambiance at all," Eleanor says. "In fact, it created an intimate vibe."
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Eleanor was able to incorporate one of her special childhood traditions during the reception. As a young girl, when she would set the table for dinner, she placed small drawings or candy under peoples' napkins. "We had Jacques' two little nieces draw pictures of Jacques and I in our wedding dress and suit," Eleanor says. "I made copies, and they hid all of their little drawings under the guests' napkins before they were seated." The bride's father explained the tradition during his toast.
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The place settings mirrored the day's color palette thanks to teal water goblets and copper chargers. The floral arrangements, by Canteiro, stood out with pops of orange and red. Each guest had a teal fan on their seat, as well. The dinner menu offered berries salad, tuna nachos, duck carnitas, chile en nogada, shrimp Catarina style, and desserts.
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"We both like cake, but after trying Chef Martin's pineapple crème brûlée, we knew we had to include it as another option," Jacques says.
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The couple had nine numbered sketchbooks printed—one for each table. "We asked our guests to leave a message or advice for us to read on that number's anniversary," Eleanor says. "For example, we'll read table five on our fifth wedding anniversary."
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Eleanor and Jacques' first dance was to James Blake's cover of "A Case of You," originally by Joni Mitchell.
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Catching the Cake
The couple's tradition of catching food in midair inspired them to try it with their simple vanilla wedding cake. Jacques did indeed catch the cake. "It was impressive," Eleanor says.
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Photography, The Love Studio
Event planning, The Eventeur
Catering and cake, Piedra Escondida Hotel & Restaurant
Flowers and rentals, Canteiro Weddings Rentals
Stationery, Rohner Press (printing)
Bride's gown, Grace Loves Lace
Hair, Sarah Miller Thaxton
Makeup, Rosë by Dahena
Bridesmaids' dresses, Show Me Your Mumu
Flower Girl dresses, Nightcap Clothing
Groom's suit, Topman
Menswear, Banana Republic
Engagement ring, Mociun
Wedding bands, Catbird
Welcome bags, Pescadores beer