With celebration already in the air, Jeremy Wenokur chose to propose to Hila Buniak on Cinco de Mayo while vacationing in Costa Careyes, Mexico. It was also a few days from Hila's birthday, and while sipping champagne overlooking the Pacific, Jeremy gave Hila her gift. It was a jewelry box, already engraved with her soon-to-be initials "HW" and inside, an engagement ring. "I said, 'yes' through tears, and out of the kitchen came bouquets of flowers and a mariachi band that serenaded us for an unforgettable evening," remembers Hila. With Jeremy's heart set on a destination wedding, the couple decided to head back to Mexico, this time to Acapulco, for the big event, which spanned the entire President's Day long weekend. Knowing that all 115 of their guests would be traveling from abroad -- some as far away as Israel -- to attend the wedding in Mexico, Hila and Jeremy wanted the weekend to be as extraordinary for their loved ones as it would be for them. They set the tone for the weekend getaway by sending out save-the-dates in the form of oversized luggage tags.
As guests arrived on Friday, each one was greeted with a thoughtful welcome bag filled with a Spanish/English dictionary, sunscreen, water gun, information about the weekend, and various snacks. Everyone was invited to kick off the festivities that night with a cocktail and dessert party at Las Brisas Hotel. The following day, Hila and Jeremy hosted a pool and beach party at nearby Villa Alejandra where guests could indulge in water sports, massages, or the wonderful art of relaxation while putting to good use the personalized towels they received as favors. In lieu of a traditional rehearsal dinner that evening, the bride and groom arranged for a proper Mexican fiesta at the private villa, which included colorful fare, a high-end tequila tasting bar, and a pinata filled with candy to end the night. When guests returned to their rooms, freshly baked cookies were waiting to bid them sweet dreams.
By the time everyone gathered at the private residence Casa Del Mar for the wedding on Sunday, the group was one big happy family. During the ceremony, which was arranged in the sand, seven of the couple's friends and family members honored the bride and groom by reciting the traditional Jewish marriage blessings. The rabbi read aloud the personal words that Hila and Jeremy had written about one another as the couple embraced beneath a simple bamboo and fabric chuppah, embellished only by puka shell chandeliers and the waves crashing in the distance.
Drawing further inspiration from the seaside locale, the reception decor was tropical chic. Chocolate brown and flax were the basis for bursts of bright pink and green details, which added a festive punch to the tables and cake. Starfish, both real and printed, also played an important part in the design, appearing on the paper goods, the gift bags, and tied to the escort cards. Square chargers and plates mirrored the shapes of the tables, as well as the centerpieces of pink and white flowers that were housed in square wooden boxes. Personal notes of gratitude written by the bride to each and every guest were also arranged at the corresponding place settings. The menu celebrated the best of the region by featuring fresh seafood and local culinary techniques. Three types of ceviche (citrus marinated seafood) were offered, as well as peppers stuffed with tuna, zucchini soup served in its own shell, and filet of red snapper wrapped in banana leaves. Bottled drinks were presented in long wooden boats for guests to grab and take with them to lounge areas situated around the beachfront pool.
After dinner, the newlyweds christened the dance floor with a bang: an inspiring fireworks display came to life overhead as Hila and Jeremy shared their first dance. It was a weekend full of luxurious surprises for their guests, not the least of which was the credit for two nights' accommodations that appeared on each person's hotel bill. For Hila and Jeremy, the biggest revelation was pulling off the destination affair itself. "What most surprised us was that we were able to organize a wedding 1500 miles away and that it turned out beyond our wildest expectations," says Hila. The bride and groom truly exercised the adage "it's better to give than to receive" throughout the weekend and beyond. Instead of traditional gifts, Hila and Jeremy requested donations to their favorite charities. They also chose to carbon offset the wedding by donating to The Climate Trust organization to compensate for the greenhouse gases emitted by the festivities.