On the one-year anniversary of the day they first met at a Halloween party, Shani Zakay surprised Annabel Hernandez and took her to the condo they chose together for their first home as a couple. "He handed me a key to our new home," shares Annabel, who excitedly walked into the empty condo, sat on a blanket, and ordered pizza with her beloved. As they reminsced about the memories of their past year together, Shani told Annabel how much he loved her and that the condo was the first step to living their lives together forever. "Next thing I know, he got on one knee and asked me to marry him. I, of course, had pizza in my mouth at that exact moment and couldn't believe what was happening," says the bride, who said yes.
Annabel and Shani knew they wanted to be married in Mexico – to honor the bride's Mexican heritage – near a beach at an estate, and they found everything they were looking for at an oceanfront location in Baja California just minutes from San Diego, where the couple resides. A vast oceanfront lawn served as the site for both the ceremony and reception.
The bride walked down the petal-lined aisle in a strapless lace gown with a dazzling belt; she carried a bouquet of blush roses dotted with crystals as she met her groom beneath a chuppah adorned with ivory drapery and vanilla, sage, and salmon blooms. Since Shani is Jewish and from Israel, the couple chose to incorporate Jewish traditions into their ceremony. "The ordained minister that married us also spoke [Spanish, English, and Hebrew], so he was able to recite certain verses in all languages," shares Annabel. "I loved mixing our cultures." Once the ceremony concluded with the breaking of the glass, guests found their seating assignments for the alfresco reception attached to personalized bottles of wine, which doubled as wedding favors.
The reception décor featured an elegant and beachy color scheme of coral, grey, and silver hues with mirrored details, including signs, table numbers, and the head table. Centerpieces were composed of crystal stands topped with lush arrangements of ivory hydrangeas, coral lilies, and white and blush roses accented with greenery and crystals. "Instead of a menu at each table setting, we created a card with a nice message thanking everyone for attending our wedding displayed in three languages: Spanish, English, and Hebrew," shares Annabel. The couple's wedding cake featured three layers – marble, chocolate, and vanilla – decorated with cascading fresh florals and a crystal "Z" topper to signify the couple's last name. In addition, attendees enjoyed 18 types of small desserts, which surrounded the confection.
As the bride and groom made their way to the dance floor for their first dance to "Can't Help Falling in Love" by Michael Bublé, the dance floor lit up, and toward the end of the song, guests were treated to a fireworks show over the ocean setting the stage for the festive night to come. At midnight, loved ones enjoyed their choice of three different types of burritos to stay energized into the wee hours of the morning as they danced to a mix of English, Hebrew, and Spanish music.
When looking back on their big day, the couple agrees they wouldn't change a thing about their destination wedding. Annabel offers the advice she learned from a friend to other couples planning their weddings: "You will never have the opportunity to have all of your loved ones together in the same place to celebrate the two of you, so let go of any stress or anxiety the day of the wedding and enjoy [it] to the fullest."