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Real Wedding: Farra & Juan

Farra Good’s love for Latin culture blossomed in college, when she studied in Argentina and then in Guadalajara, Mexico, staying there with a family whose daughter was wed in traditional Mexican style. She noted the absence of typical bachelor and bachelorette parties in favor of several celebrations leading up to glorious nuptials, and she set her mind to doing the same. Years later, she and Juan Mirón celebrated their union amidst 44 loved ones in a primitive, romantic landscape where service was the icing on the cake. “It was a vacation for people [who attended],” says Juan. “It was an amazing experience.”

Juan, who works in the restaurant industry, and Farra, a personal assistant with a penchant for organization, had only visited Hotelito Desconocido online. If not for practicing yoga, the couple could have easily been overwhelmed by the unknown, but once they entered the property, it was clear their gut feel was right: This was the perfect spot for a celebration. The locale—60 miles south of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico—is extremely well kept and serene, while retaining a rustic sensibility. It sits next to a wildlife estuary and features palafitos, thatch-roof bungalows built on stilts. Here, the pace is relaxed, based simply on nature’s timer: Rise when it’s light and turn in when it’s dark. “You really are so removed from everything that bogs you down,” Farra says. “It was kind of nice to throw the watch away.”

They set the tone for their wedding with save-the-date maps. On each one, they punched holes to mark areas guests would be traveling from, as well as their own hometowns, one on San Francisco, where they met, and a final punch on Hotelito. The invitations were equally compelling: customized booklets full of Spanish phrases, ways to learn about Mexican culture, local activities and a selection of nearby accommodations for those who wished to extend their vacation.

Having a destination wedding allowed Farra and Juan to let go of the details, leaving much of the planning—from food to flowers—to members of the hotel staff.

“I knew that after three days I would be married and on my way to my honeymoon,” Farra says. “Life happens whether you want it to or not. It was nice to be in a relaxed atmosphere where I could let those details go.” Unable to picture herself in a white gown, the bride donned a Gucci jade-colored frock that hugged her body seamlessly. She had procrastinated on the dress selection and happened to snag the last one in the United States after spotting it on the back cover of Vogue.

“It goes to show how Farra is,” says Juan. “She saw it and a week later, she had it. Once she sets her mind to things, that’s what happens. It was a gorgeous dress.”

The wedding included two celebrations, the first officiated by their best friend while guests watched from pillows on the sand. Guests then followed the couple to a second celebration, where another friend used symbols of the couple’s union to create an altar. She then played a drum as guests expressed congratulations and recommendations for a happy journey, followed by the burning of copal. Similar to frankincense, the resin is produced from plant sap and is sacred to Mexico, where it is considered a gift to the gods.

“It was important for both of us to include everyone,” Farra says, “and to take from each religion what seemed really special to us.”

Keeping with tradition, a mariachi serenaded guests during dinner. Farra’s brother tied two ends of a Navajo blanket around them, signifying their joining. Her sister handed them the rings, and a friend read from a Khalil Gibran book. For the reception, Farra changed into a traditional Mexican miniskirt, given by her mother-in-law.

The festivities concluded with the couple’s departure for a honeymoon in Sayulita and subsequent journey back to their North Park home, where the two enjoy cooking dinner together. Olé.

Hotelito Desconocido, Photography by Q Weddings

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