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How a Couple Transformed Rancho Valencia Resort into a Mexican Wedding Fiesta

Cue Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” for this unconventional proposal. Josh saw the summer 2017 solar eclipse as a magical moment to ask Elizabeth to be the sunshine of his life. “The last few seconds of a total solar eclipse are named the ‘diamond ring’ due to the visual effect caused by the sunlight reappearing,” Elizabeth says. “Right at this moment, Josh snuck behind me and popped the question.”

As a sixth-generation Californian who’d moved to Denver, she planned the entire wedding from out of state, with Everafter Events doing much of the groundwork locally. Her vision? Transform their venue, Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa, into a full-on fiesta, complete with a mariachi, a build-your-own-margarita bar, a dinner menu of shrimp ceviche, street tacos, pork loin, and more; plus piñatas to smash.

“It was truly the little details that made it so special to us. We had little papel picado flags and confetti while we walked down the aisle. To finally see everything come to life after a year of planning brought tears to our eyes.”

Bride with her bridesmaids in floral robes - Rancho Valencia Mexican wedding resort Brightly colored wedding stationery with florals and bright pinks and oranges - Rancho Valencia Mexican wedding resort

Far and Wide

“We had guests join us from all over the country, and to be able to laugh, cry, dance, and celebrate all together was one of the most memorable parts of our special day.”

Couple stands under a trellis with greenery and paper flowers Paper florals adorn the ceremony site on columns and wooden benches The bride holds a bright bouquet with greens, pinks, and yellows Reception tables under a white canopy Tall candles grace the reception tables A bright orange signs reads "shrimp ceviche" and lists the ingredients The bride and groom dance at the reception

The couple took rumba lessons ahead of their big day—an investment that totally showed on the dance floor.

Wedding details include small gold piñatas and margaritas with straws that read "Salud"

Late Night

The after-party pulled out all the stops: A build-your-own boozy hot chocolate bar, VG Donuts, and bean and cheese burritos and quesadillas.

The single-tier wedding cake is topped with macarons and bright pink florals The couple poses in the afternoon sun at Rancho Valencia



Their Talented Team

Venue: Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
Photography: Jennie Crate
Catering: Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa
Coordination: Merilee Hennings, EverAfter Events
Dress: Hayley Paige, Blush Bridal Couture
Entertainment: Mariachi Real de San Diego; Michael Tiernan, Still Listening Productions
Florals: Flowers Annette Gomez; Merilee Hennings
Hair: Wendy McGill, JDM Salon
Makeup: Sara Stewart
Jewelry & Rings: Hyde Park Jewelers
Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental
Menswear: The Black Tux
Paper: Wendy Ware
Rentals: Found RentalsHire Elegance
Sweets: Sugar and ScribeSweet Cheeks BakingVG Donut & Bakery
Videography: Thomas O’Hara, Thomas Wedding Cinema

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