A Modern, Organic Destination Wedding in Punta Mita, Mexico

wedding grooms portrait
Raya Carlisle Photography

No one would accuse Edwin Shortess and Vernon Sanders of rushing to the altar. Their nine-year relationship, which began soon after they spotted each other at their Los Angeles gym, had a slow but organic trajectory. "We dated for a few years before moving in. We lived together for a few years before buying a house. And we had a house together for a few years before getting engaged," says Vernon. "Our relationship had its own clock, but it's one that worked for us." After Vernon, the executive vice president of current programming for NBC, proposed to Edwin, an animation artist, on their eighth anniversary, it wasn't long before their ideal day began to take shape: a small celebration with family and close friends. The two had vacationed in Punta Mita years earlier and fallen in love with the place. After they toured Casa Majani, a private oceanfront villa, the decision was made. "The property is stunning," says Edwin. "It's very modern but still very Mexican. It fit our taste to a T."

Everything from the palette (browns and beiges with hints of gray, green, and blue) to the welcome gifts (blankets sourced in the nearby shopping and surfing haven of Sayulita) was true to the locale. The wedding itself took place on the property, facing the sea. The pair walked together down an aisle of seagrass mats as a guitarist played "Puerto de Luna," and they exchanged vows on the sand, with tropical plants marking the ceremony spot. Though there was a rather large group for the celebration (they were pleasantly surprised that 50 guests made the trip), the day had an intimate mood. Edwin's brother Tommy officiated. His other brother, Robert, was his best man. And Vernon's best friend, Wayne, stood up for him.

"Part of the reason we're soul mates is because of the quiet intimacy between us," says Vernon. "But when I think back on our day, I have this beautiful picture of diverse faces from all facets of our lives in this gorgeous setting, cheering for us with unfettered joy." The party continued with dinner under a thatched palapa. "The food was amazing and delicious, and a number of people gave beautiful toasts," says Vernon. "We were surrounded by love, in paradise."

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You're Invited

wedding stationery
Raya Carlisle Photography

On the invitations by Nicole Miyuki, watercolor illustrations of palm fronds and waves on thick white paper stock captured the couple's simple, clean aesthetic.

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A Tropical Touch

A boutonnière fashioned of wild orchids and fern leaves adorned the lapels of the officiant.

03 of 14

The Inspiration

animal tapestry
Raya Carlisle Photography

This Mexican Otomi print hanging in one of Casa Majani's rooms served as the inspiration for the escort cards.

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Drink Up

wedding margaritas
Raya Carlisle Photography

Guests enjoyed margaritas before the ceremony. The cocktail napkins continued the simple wave motif used on the stationery.

05 of 14

Please Be Seated

beach ceremony site
Raya Carlisle Photography

A mixture of long benches and chairs provided seating for guests during the ceremony.

06 of 14

Love, Birds

birds in tree
Raya Carlisle Photography

West Mexican chachalacas watched the proceedings from above. Fun fact: They're a monogamous species.

07 of 14

Happily Wed

Raya Carlisle Photography

The couple, having exchanged platinum bands (one polished, the other with an etched finish), cheered their just-married status.

The couple commissioned custom suits from Klein Epstein & Parker in lightweight summer fabrics. They were identical in every way, except color: navy for Vernon, a taupe for Edwin.

08 of 14

Natural Wonders

wedding flowers
Raya Carlisle Photography

Indigenous greenery and blooms—including foraged ferns, white protea, and caladium—decorated the space thanks to La Musa de las Flores. The black vases were crafted by a local potter.

09 of 14

The Escort Cards

wedding escort cards
Raya Carlisle Photography

Silhouettes of burros and birds, inspired by an Otomi wall hanging, served as escort cards.

10 of 14

The Table Settings

wedding menu
Raya Carlisle Photography

Each guest was given a menu that was fashioned into a fan; the design element was a welcome accessory on the uncharacteristically hot and humid evening.

11 of 14

All in the Details

table number centerpieces
Raya Carlisle Photography

In another nod to the regional landscape, table numbers were laser-cut out of wood and affixed to cactus spines.

12 of 14

Buenos Noches

wedding reception dinner
Raya Carlisle Photography

Dinner, featuring local, fresh specialties like tuna tostaditas with eel sauce, was served under the palapa as a trio of guitarists serenaded guests.

13 of 14

The Favors

blanket wedding favor
Raya Carlisle Photography

Hand-woven blankets made in nearby Sayulita were gifted to guests. The leather braid wraps were custom made by Ashwood Avenue.

14 of 14


grooms walking
Raya Carlisle Photography

Location and catering, Casa Majani

Event planning and design, Bash Please

Flowers, La Musa de las Flores

Photography, Raya Carlisle Photography

Stationery and calligraphy, Nicole Miyuki

Music, Tatewari

Rentals, Rocco Troyani Signature Events

Grooms' suits, Klein Epstein & Parker

Transportation, Tropical Incentives DMC

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