This Couple's Destination Nuptials Included a Parade Through San Miguel, Mexico

wedding couple portrait on stone path
Vicki Grafton

You can say that Gabby and Ivan have shared a cross-country romance. They first met in high school and began dating in 2005; upon graduation, the couple moved to San Diego together for college and later to New York City to start their respective careers. In December 2017, the couple was planning yet another move—this time, from New York to Los Angeles—when Ivan decided to propose while they were still on the East Coast, in the city that means so much to them.

He planned a date in Central Park during the first snow of the season; the couple bought hot chocolate and listened to carolers sing holiday melodies on their way to Bow Bridge, where Ivan had planned to pop the question. When they got there, the bridge was too crowded, so Ivan pivoted and found a secluded bench on the other side. "Not knowing what was about to happen, but feeling nostalgic about our upcoming move, I said it should be our bench and when we come back to visit, we'd always remember it," Gabby says. As the snow fell around them, Ivan got down on one knee and asked for Gabby's hand in marriage. "It was such a special day!" she remembers.

The pair decided to plan a wedding in Mexico to honor their heritage, and San Miguel de Allende was a place they had always wanted to explore. They fell in love with the city's Old-World charm—and even more so with their venue, Casa Hyder (the house is rich in history and is surrounded by lush gardens). Gabby leaned on her former career as a wedding planner to bring their celebration—which was to be attended by 87 guests—to life on March 7, 2020; with some help from Luna Lazuli Events, the couple planned a beautiful, meaningful destination wedding, incorporating Mexican and Persian elements to speak to their roots.

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Bold Invitations

teal and coral elegant wedding invitations
Vicki Grafton

Ivan and Gabby went with a bold invitation suite that matched the wedding's color scheme of terra-cotta, dusty rose, gold, wine, and forest green. The main invitation card had deckled edges and a letterpress finish. They chose muted green envelopes with a gold wax seal for polish.

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The Final Look

bride holding pink and orange floral bouquet standing by window
Vicki Grafton

Gabby wore a form-fitting Tal Kedem wedding dress with a floral lace pattern, intricate beading, and a V-neckline. "It had all of the elements I was looking for in shape, color, lace, and uniqueness," Gabby says. "It's truly my favorite thing I've ever worn."

She added a cathedral-length veil with floral detailing that matched the gown; it was also made by Tal Kedem. A gold floral Jennifer Behr hair piece added some shimmer. "It had golden flowers and golden leaves that were delicately placed like a headband," Gabby says. "It tied into the florals of the dress so seamlessly." She carried a loose bouquet with blush-and-cream florals and greenery, which was pulled together with a gold hand-dyed silk ribbon.

03 of 20

Blue, Gray, or Green?

wedding groomsmen in charcoal suits
Vicki Grafton

Ivan wore a custom suit that looked blue, gray, or green depending on the lighting; the ensemble featured a dark floral lining on the inside. He also donned a leather watch that Gabby had given him for Christmas a few years prior. As for his groomsmen? The stepped into dark gray suits and brown shoes to complement the groom.

04 of 20

Whimsical Bouts

dried flower wedding boutonnieres
Vicki Grafton

Their boutonnières were made of dried flowers and wheat, which nodded to the dried floral elements seen at the ceremony.

05 of 20

Mix and Match

bridesmaids in varied pink dresses with floral bouquets
Vicki Grafton

Gabby sent her bridesmaids a color palette and asked them to choose dresses they felt great in. Despite being from different states, Gabby was pleasantly surprised with how coordinated the gowns looked when they were all together. Her sister, her maid of honor, stood out in the only patterned dress.

06 of 20

The First Look

wedding couple hugging during first look
Vicki Grafton

Ivan and Gabby shared a first look on a cobblestone courtyard at the venue. "There was so much build up and I was excited to finally show off my dress," Gabby says. "It was nice to be able to see him alone and have that intimate moment together."

07 of 20

Statement Arch

wedding ceremony arch over black church doors with candles on steps
Vicki Grafton

The ceremony took place outside; an old door, built into a picturesque coral building, served as the backdrop. A greenery arch, dotted with florals that FLWR Studio drove in from Mexico City, completed the altar.

08 of 20

A Sofreh Spread

wedding ceremony sofreh
Vicki Grafton

Gabby and Ivan placed a sofreh aghd to the right of the arch; the traditional altar setup is a staple in Persian weddings and incorporates elements that represent blessings for a couple's new life together. "We really loved incorporating this tradition into the ceremony, as it made the experience more personal to us," Gabby shares.

09 of 20

Here Comes the Bride

bride and father processing down the aisle for wedding
Vicki Grafton

An instrumental version of "Iris" by the Brooklyn Duo filled the ceremony space during the processional. Before the bride's entrance, the music changed to "Arrival of the Birds" by the Cinematic Orchestra.

10 of 20

Personal Ceremony

wedding couple together during ceremony with the family
Vicki Grafton

The couple asked one of Gabby's bridesmaids to officiate the family-centric ceremony; she ended up writing a custom script that incorporated Mexican and Persian cultural elements and felt personal to the couple.

11 of 20

The Vow Exchange

couple holding hands during wedding ceremony in front of church building
Vicki Grafton

Gabby and Ivan wrote their own vows, which ended up being a big-day highlight. "They were one of the few details that was still a surprise to us, and we will always cherish them," Gabby says.

12 of 20

Dancing in the Streets

wedding couple kissing while walking down road with mariachi band
Vicki Grafton

The newlyweds hired a trio of live musicians—along with a mariachi band—to kick off the callejoneada, a traditional Mexican wedding parade, which was a total surprise to everyone aside from the couple and their planner. "It was amazing to be able to incorporate this cultural tradition of a San Miguel wedding—and even more fun to experience it with our friends and family," Gabby says. "Dancing in the street, the mariachi band, and the sun setting in the background made for an unbelievable experience."

The parade included a donkey and the couple's mojigangas, or "large puppets of the bride and groom that dance amongst the wedding guests in the parade," Gabby explains.

13 of 20

Find Your Seat

large floral bouquet on wooden table at wedding reception
Vicki Grafton

Table cards, detailing guests' assignments, were printed on cardstock with deckled edging.

14 of 20

Under the Stars

wedding reception set up outdoors under hanging stars
Vicki Grafton

The couple's reception took place outdoors, where star-shaped lights were suspended above four long tables. "They looked so natural to the space and created a warm glow above us," Gabby says.

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Traditional Settings

pink tones centerpiece on long wooden table
Vicki Grafton

They decided to use traditional Mexican ceramic plates at each setting and opted for gold flatware.

16 of 20

Colorful Florals

pink tones floral bouquet on reception table
Vicki Grafton

Wooden tables were kept bare; a mix of large and small flower arrangements were placed along the center of each station.

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Light the Flame

small floral wedding centerpiece on table
Vicki Grafton

Textured taper candles were placed in gold stands and crystal votives.

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Choices, Choices

guests toasting at outdoor wedding reception
Vicki Grafton

Gabby and Ivan offered two dinner options; chicken filled with squash blossom covered in poblano peppers or chile en nogada, a traditional Mexican dish served at weddings.

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The First Dance

wedding couple dancing under stars
Vicki Grafton

The pair shared their first dance to James Morrison's "I Won't Let You Go." "It's such a special song for us and we've loved it for years," the bride says. Throughout the rest of the evening, BGolden Productions played a mixture of American, Latin, and Persian music—there was something for every guest in attendance. The couple closed out the celebration by honeymooning in Mexico City.

To couples planning their big days, Gabby offers this advice: "Always remember why you're getting married in the first place. Staying grounded in that will make every other stressful moment feel like background noise."

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wedding couple posing together on church steps
Vicki Grafton

Photography, Vicki Grafton
Venue, Casa Hyder
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Luna Lazuli Events
Videography, Lalo Vagas
Flowers, FLWR Studio
Stationery and Paper Products, Isidore Augustine
Bride's Gown and Veil, Tal Kedem Bridal
Bride's Hair Piece, Jennifer Behr
Bride's Shoes, Shutz
Hair, Lauzzher
Makeup, Zhiomaramakeupartist
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Reformation; Amsale; Jenny Yoo
Groom's Attire, Men's Wearhouse
Groomsmen's Attire, The Black Tux
Music, BGolden Productions

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