Wednesday, February 21 , 2018, 6:38 am | Fair 40º


Karen Telleen-Lawton: Destination Wedding in Cabo San Lucas a Memorable Affair

I can’t let June pass without a nod to weddings, especially since I just attended my first destination wedding. Santa Barbara is certainly a destination wedding spot, so in that sense, it wasn’t my first. But the local ones featured a Santa Barbara-bred bride or groom (or both), so from a planning and travel perspective, they weren’t the same.

The difference? At a destination wedding you entertain fewer guests — maybe just family with a few close friends. Because it requires significant time and money to attend, the people who come are clearly those you really care about, and who care about you. On the other hand, some beloved relatives and friends may not have the wherewithal to attend.

These days, many weddings have become whole-weekend affairs. Our Cabo San Lucas wedding was no exception. The festivities kicked off with a cocktail hour at Casa Dorada, a luxurious hotel where the two-story breezeway entrance opens directly to the azure-blue Sea of Cortez. We sipped bride-and-groom designer drinks and toasted other early arrivals. The next night — wedding eve — was the traditional rehearsal dinner, for all the guests.

Most people stayed at Casa Dorada, enjoying afternoons beside a series of beachside pools bending toward the ocean and sparkling sand dipping into the sea. To minimize expenses and add to our adventure, we lodged at a small bed-and-breakfast about a half-hour walk away.

For the ambiance, quiet and cost, it would be hard to beat The Bungalows where we stayed. Nestled in a residential neighborhood in the hills above Cabo, tropical bird songs drew us into impromptu bird walks early each morning. We found simple and delicious fish tacos around the corner at Captain Fish. On the wedding day, after relaxing into the afternoon, we donned our fancy duds for a beautiful, elaborate Persian wedding at the Sunset da Mona Lisa.

The wedding site was a high perch above the ocean. We sat among tiered pools, facing an elegantly decorated table: a sofreh, laid with Persian treats such as spices, decorated eggs, pomegranates and gold coins. The celebrant explained their symbolism in both English and Farsi. The young couple sat facing the table and a mirror as he led them through a traditional story with prescribed responses, culminating in their proclamation of lifelong devotion.

After the ceremony, we explored ocean and mountain views and every planned detail from personalized shot glasses and Cuban cigars to fresh fish dinner and fireworks timed to the couple’s first dance. We left in pleasant exhaustion far before the end of the extravaganza, joining the core group of family and friends the next morning for a parting beachside brunch.

For us and for our close friends, the groom’s parents, life has returned to normal. Perhaps not so for the bride and groom, whose pre-wedding frenzy of planning has devolved into photo sorting and thank-you note writing. Their destination wedding has morphed into the journey of marriage.

I wish them and this summer’s crop of new couples all the blessings of the marriage journey:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy or boast; it is not proud. Love is not rude, self-seeking, or easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes and always perseveres (I Corinthians 13:4-7).

— Karen Telleen-Lawton’s column is a mélange of observations spanning sustainability from the environment to finance, economics and justice issues. She is a fee-only financial advisor ( and a freelance writer ( Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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