Wishing a MOST happy First Anniversary to the Fabulous and Wonderful Tara & Spencer, who wed at Villa del Oso one year ago on Nov. 18, 2016. It is always extra special when I get to meet clients face-to-face in the early stages of planning, even more so when their family is along for the ride – it creates a connection that binds us through the roller coaster of wedding planning and then the perfect execution of that most special day, planned for so long and carrying so many expectations – of which I try my hardest to not only meet but exceed. Tara & Spencer are one of those TRUE BLUE couples, so in love, been around the block, been together for a while, been through so much of life together already, that their wedding takes on that much more meaning. They chose the date of Nov. 18 as a commemoration of Tara’s beloved father’s passing a few years prior on the same date, honoring her intensely close relationship with her Dad and infusing new, celebratory, family-building memories into this date. It was such a joyous and special celebration and and one of my most favorite setups at the oh-so-gorgeous Villa del Oso venue.
Many thanks to the SDW Dream Team of Sheryl Orr & Ale Galvan, Taryn Baxter for the gorgeous photos, Toma Dos Video for capturing the magic on video, Don Pedro’s Catering & Bar (applauded by this wine country crowd as some of the best wedding food/drinks/service they had experienced!) for feeding and quenching this discerning group without missing a beat, Marjie of Funky Diva for making all the ladies gorgeous, Flor Mimo for making the scene sparkle with your beautiful floral scapes, Unique Rentals for the chandelier over the dance floor and other special touches, Trendy for the tables, chairs, and epic bar, DJ Jess for rockin’ in out like no one else can, Martin for his hand-rolled cigars, Joanna & Daniel for the best churros, and the Villa del Oso staff for always ensuring a well-run event, sin problemas!!! Tara & Spencer, we love you and can’t wait to see you again in Sayulita!!!! Happy Anniversary, Loves!!! Wishing you a lifetime of happiness, passion, and above all – LOVE!!
So much pretty in this wedding shot by our great friend and amazing Photographer Elizabeth Lloyd! I love Teitiare as a wedding venue and there are just so many different ways to make it spectacular, unique, gorgeous, and special. Every wedding is different and each one seems to be my favorite one ever! Nellie & Kyle were from NYC and Canada with lots of guests from BC and Toronto as well as New York – a fun and diverse crowd that loved Sayulita and had a great time celebrating the love of these two beautiful people. Special traditions from the Bride’s Persian heritage were woven through the ceremony and reception, including a touching speech from the Mother of the Bride in both Persian and English. As always, a huge thanks to our world-class team at SDW and all of our partner vendors [vendor credits below] for coming together to create such a stunning setting for Nellie & Kyle’s celebration!
This was my fourth year helping to organize and produce the Annual Scholarship Drive for Costa Verde International School, where my son Maximo Lobo attends first grade. Our theme was “Mexi-Gras” as our date coincided with Mardi Gras (finally!). This is always such an off-the-charts fun event, the first big fundraiser of the season for our little village, a time to bring everyone together in celebration of an amazing cause and to support the school that has really changed the makeup of our community from a town of retirees and young singles to a viable place to live and raise a family. I love being a part of this event as it’s near and dear to my heart, but also because I get to collaborate with an amazing group of (mostly usually) women to pull it off, and we have a lot of fun with the theme, throwing a kick-ass party on the beach for our town and our school. And it’s fun to do something a little wilder than the average wedding every now and then… I mean, those colors! I love the purple and gold! Don Pedro’s (our fave wedding partners and the most awesome supporters of every good cause in Sayulita!) GENEROUSLY provides the location, food, bar, and staff to make it all happen (along with yummy eats from Organic Select, Teitiare Estate, and desserts and a custom designed cake from Naef Cuisine), and my rentals providers Eventos Elegantes and Trendy kicked down some deep discounts on the furniture and linens to make it all come to life. Kike Salazar of Dos Veinte Designs created our stellar poster and then applied his design to the larger-than-life dance floor, as well as painting the fabulous street signs above. My amazing, dynamic and super-sexy Man Gabbi Villarrubia reprised his role as MC for the fourth year, rocking the mic and keeping the event running smooth, and our good friend Yogi Kirst stepped up as Auctioneer. Nick Challed (aka “DJ Nico”, also a CVIS parent) set the mood with sweet New Orleans Jazz followed by pumping dance beats that kept the crowd shaking into the night. Spencer Harris & Cherry Bombs clicked the night away to bring you these fab snaps of the fun. To top it all off we raised a record-breaking amount of funds this year including 5 “adopt-a-scholar” pledges for full year scholarships. Ha-ZA!
Can I just start this one by saying how awesome Canadians are? Whenever we get a group from Calgary or BC, they are the most tight-knit, easy going, fun having, down to earth peeps. Julie & Nick’s crew definitely give creedo to this trend I have noticed. Even on their pre-wedding planning trip, they were here with Julie’s mom and about 20 friends – and a year after their wedding, they were back with a huge group again. Super cool. Nick is Austrailian and the couple’s home base is in Whistler, where he is a high-end restuarant Chef and Julie is a front-of-house Manager. High on their list of “musts” was to show their guests an amazing time with great food and drinks, without being fussy or too buttoned up. Julie had a beautiful vision for the wedding and brought down gorgeous talavera-esque table runners as well as copious amounts (1000 yards!) of ribbon to decorate the chair backs. Guests traveled from far ends of the globe (including Nick’s family from down under), and marked their points of origin on the big map that served as a guest book. Vintage family wedding portraits adorned the welcome table, and guests were offered messages in a bottle with a love poem and Sayulita sand to take as momentos. Loteria cards strung from ribbons guided guests to their seats and delicate papel picado banners set a festive and fluttery mood.
Guests arrived for the wedding ceremony to Casa Aguila on the beach, where Julie & Nick stood with their wedding party in front of a beautiful Higuera tree. After the short but very sweet (and teary) ceremony, Mariachis led guests up the hill to Casa de los Delfines for the Fiesta. I just love this wedding venue. Aside from the striking architecture and vivid colors, it always inspires a little bit of wildness by the end of the night. Maybe it’s the pool calling everyone’s name, maybe just the energy of the place. – let’s just say we have had some pretty fab parties here. In one of the more memorable wedding moments I’ve witnessed, the Groom and about 30 other guests broke out in a surpise Flash Mob choreographed dance, descending the stairs en masse and finishing by literally sweeping the beaming Bride off of her feet.
Flor Mimo provided the gorgeous florals and succulents. Ruben’s Deli catered the affair, grilling up fresh snapper and arrachera flank steak. Julie & Nick’s friend DJ Owen spun tunes and kept the dance floor packed – until everyone hit the pool. Churros and Tacos al Pastor satisfied the late night munchies, and Miguel “el Maniaco” kept the drinks, including his famous signature margarita, flowing all night long.
Julie & Nick’s talented friend and Photographer Darby Magill documented the festivities beautifully.
Congratulations Julie & Nick on a beautiful union! I look forward to seeing you in Sayulita again soon!!
Welcome to the first installment of Sayulita Dreaming – a new feature on the SDW Blog where I will let you in on the best kept secrets of our sweet little seaside village (and beyond). This post is all about honeymoon spots that will take your breath away, right in our own backyard (plus or minus a few hours). Starting with Puerto Vallarta and beyond, I’ll share some favorite getaways that would be perfect for post-wedding bliss, as well as general romance, relaxation, and recreation. Next installment will focus on Riviera Nayarit (including some secret Sayulita hideaways) and Northward.
This gem of an Inn is located just south of Vallarta on the hwy 200 (at km 185), about 10 minutes from the Botanical Gardens, which makes it a quick 2 hour trip from Sayulita. Proprieter Dulce Arguero and her son Santiago have crafted the perfect getaway, balancing and idyllic natural setting with luxury hotel accommodations. The 3 greenhouses of the organic farm – along with abundant fruit trees bearing lychee, mango, lime, orange and more – provide a rich harvest for the kitchen, where Dulce and Josa prepare your home-cooked meals 3 times a day. Before meals, Santiago or Dulce walk you out to the greenhouses to collect the finishing touches – fresh herbs for your cocktail, lemongrass and turmeric for your after-dinner tea, or a handful of lychees for dessert.
Nestled in the Sierra Madres south of Puerto Vallarta and Boca de Tomatlan, Villa Azalea is a refreshing contrast to beach life. The Inn sits on a lush property edged by a crystal clear mountain stream, where you can take your lunch with your toes in the water, or wile away the afternoon strolling upstream, dipping in the swimming holes, and traversing the many rock waterfalls. Two swimming pools will keep you refreshed, along with the handsomely stocked honor bar and delicious fresh-made cocktails. Gourmet cooking classes are also offered in the outdoor garden kitchen.
I visited Villa Azalea on a solo retreat this past June and fell head over heels – I was so pampered by Dulce, Santiago, Josa & Chuy. The food was delicious, the room was well appointed with the coziest bed to rival any 5-star hotel, and I didn’t have to worry about a thing. I will definitely be back to this lovely oasis!!
If you are willing to travel a little further south (about 4 hours south from Sayulita), Playas Paraiso will reward you with it’s secluded beaches and homespun hospitality. Rent a car and explore the pristine beauty of Jalisco’s Costalegre and Costa Careyes – in a few short hours you will be worlds away from the crowds and tourism of Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta. Just north of Careyes proper, this hidden cove has just 4 beachfront bungalows and a newly constructed luxury 3 bedroom villa with private pool. Juan Ernesto and his staff Karina & Noe took wonderful care of us – all meals (Mexican home cooking) are provided, as well as delicious aguas frescas (fresh fruit waters) and healthy snacks, with an option for inclusive alcoholic beverages as well.
The sandy beach is perfect for lounging or swimming, and the clear waters and rocky shores on the edge of the cove make for great snorkeling. Or grab a few kayaks or paddle boards and row out to the rock islands located just out to sea, where you can beach your craft and explore the underwater world. Enjoy the view from the infinity pool or hike along jungle trails in between naps in the hammock under the big palapa. Rooms are spacious and comfy, with separate sitting rooms and air conditioning.
El Cielito (“Little Heaven”) Cabañas are perched on a bluff overlooking the bay of Villa del Mar and Mayto, about an hour south of Puerto Vallarta (3-3.5 hours from Sayulita). The pristine beach stretches south along the coast without interruption from hotels or resorts, just turtles, pelicans, herons, crabs, and so on. The surf is intense – this is not a swimming beach – but you can launch a kayak and paddle up the estuary for some serene bird watching when you aren’t taking in the expansive view from the infinity pool.
Cabins are simple – a little rustic but comfortable. The on-site restaurant serves basic coastal Mexican fare. We loved the pulpo (octopus) and of course the fresh made margaritas. The staff is wonderful and extremely accommodating. We stayed here for our tenth anniversary, along with our 2 kids, and had a lovely time. Penny, the on-site Manager, helped to arrange for childcare, massages, and a romantic dinner on the beach, complete with bonfire, tent, and flowers. We feasted on coconut shrimp, carrot soup, and fresh guacamole.
This is a great option for a quick getaway that doesn’t take much drive time but still gets you out of the hustle and bustle and into the tranquility of Jalisco’s secluded beaches. Recently featured by Mexico Desconocido as one of Mexico’s best secluded beaches.
Located in the heart of Puerto Vallarta, the former home of Richard Burton is now a luxury boutique hotel with opulently romantic rooms and courtyards embodying the best of Mexican architecture and craftsmanship. A worthy splurge if you can swing it, Hacienda San Angel will not disappoint.
Explore the best that Puerto Vallarta has to offer, with endless options for fine (and excellent casual) dining at your doorstep or a quick taxi away. Spend a few nights here before heading south to one of the spots above.
These are just a few of the boundless options that Puerto Vallarta and Jalisco’s Costalegre have to offer. Extend your stay after your wedding and soak up the sun and each other in another perfect paradise – or stay in a Sayulita hideaway! I’ll have some top picks posted for you soon.
P.S. Like what you read and want more Sayulita Dreaming? Inspire me! Comment and tell me what insider tips you are dying to know.
When Jessica first contacted me about planning her wedding to Chad, she introduced them as a couple that had fallen in love with Sayulita years ago, and went on to describe their ideal as follows:
We love the idea of having a really earthy wedding on Playa Carricitos at sunset and then heading to a fabulous party somewhere.
Carricitos is a secluded beach south of the main beach and Playa los Muertos, accessed only by private property or jungle trails (on foot). Fortunately, I had the perfect venue for them – where they could have their earthy ceremony and their fabulous party in one beautiful location. We had thrown a small rehearsal dinner at this private home years ago and the owners approached us about offering it up as a wedding venue to the right clients. I hadn’t found the right clients until Jessica & Chad found us, and from there, everything just flowed.
An easy-going, outdoorsy couple from Boise, Idaho, Jessica & Chad’s wedding was beautiful and richly textured without being fussy or stuffy. Their fun, laid-back personalities came through in every detail and moment of the wedding events, and they were super easy and fun to work with. Jessica brought down the gorgeous tapestries that served as the table linens, and the intimate group of 40 guests were treated to Mexican shot glass favors, great bottles of sipping tequila on each table, Mexican wedding cookie takeaways, and fresh made churros and cinnamon hot chocolate for dessert. Suburbans shuttled guests safely to and from Sayulita to the private hideaway in the jungle, where they danced the night away on a sandy dancefloor on the beach.
We first met Dia & Patrick back in November 2008, when they flew in from the Bay Area to photograph Julie & Andrew’s wedding at the Brisa Mar Palapa. I liked them immediately – what can I say, I have a thing for couples that work together – and when I saw the gorgeous photos of the wedding, I added them to my photographer list in hopes we’d get to work together again. Two years later they were back in Sayulita to photograph Monique & Steve’s Villa del Oso wedding, and were also in the early stages of planning for their own Sayulita nuptials – which they hired us to plan the next fall.
They picked the cosmic and auspicious wedding date of 11.11.11, the lovely location of Flor de la Playa on the north end beach, and let the details flow into place from there. And did they ever flow! Dia was a D-I-Y powerhouse, even down to hand-crafting her and her Bridesmaids’ bouquets and Patrick’s adorable boutonniere. The wedding was filled with tons of fun and meaningful details, like the lighting of a wish lantern during the ceremony, a jenga “guest book” for well wishes and advice, a photo booth, a foot bath for de-sanding after the ceremony on the beach, and Mexican wedding cookies and fireside s’mores for dessert.
The welcome cocktails were held on the rooftop level of Calypso on the plaza, where guests sipped margaritas and downed plates of tacos al pastor while “Endless Summer” projected on the outside wall. Photos of Dia & Patrick were strung across the wall for guests to peruse as the entered the party.
Over the past few years we have been lucky enough to get to know Dia & Patrick and are honored to now call them our friends. Today I just got confirmation they will be shooting Amanda & Dave’s Villa del Oso wedding with us in November, and are planning to spend next winter shooting and filming weddings in the Sayulita area – so exciting! Be sure to check out their new listing on Sayulita Life.
Congratulations on a beautiful wedding, Dia & Patrick!