Chic Weddings/Destination Weddings

Real Bride Diary: All The Parties We Threw At Our Baja Wedding

Real Bride Diary – Todos Santos Welcome Party – Claire Eliza and Jack – Corinne Graves 10

The time has finally come to share our beautiful wedding week in Baja California Sur, México. It was a wild experience, filled with the required amount of celebration and adventure to make a proper Jack and Claire event.

You may have been following along with my Real Bride Diary since our Greek engagement, but if not let me catch you up: Jack and Claire meet in New York City, fall madly in love, travel the world photographing weddings and eating their hearts out. Jack proposes in Greece and the two call their closest friends and family to meet in Todos Santos, México one year later for the ultimate celebration.

Given that our friends and family were taking serious time out of our lives, we tried to plan plenty of events for our guests to enjoy (here are some destination wedding week ideas). There were pool parties, flower parties, taco parties & more! Humpback whales breached in front of our cocktail hour reception & the Milky Way lit up the sky for a wild dance-off (that Jack won as he always does). We swam with sea lions, moray eels & even whale sharks!

Real Bride Diary – Todos Santos Welcome Party – Claire Eliza and Jack – Corinne Graves 3
Real Bride Diary – Todos Santos Welcome Party – Claire Eliza and Jack – Corinne Graves 4

We took photos with our instant cameras, were spoiled with video from many of our cinematic friends, had a few stunning snaps from good friend Travis & our proper wedding photographer Corinne Graves took Welcome Party photos & portraits of Jack and I around town that are serious framers.

Tomorrow, we dive into the wedding goods, but for now, here are all the parties we threw during our wedding week in México.

Real Bride Diary – Todos Santos Welcome Party – Claire Eliza and Jack – Corinne Graves 5

The Arrival

Accounting for the long day of travel from New York City, Jack and I flew into Cabo on Tuesday, hopped into our rental car and drove into the Baja sunset to our beloved Todos Santos. We were so relieved to have a moment to ourselves before family & friends arrived and to get well-adjusted to the time difference.

We stayed in a beautiful terrace suite at the charming Todos Santos Inn (which has the prettiest, old-school cocktail bar!) We spent the morning taking advantage of all my DIY spa goodies & getting pumped with our BFF’s Christina & Drew.

While I may not have had a proper “bridesmaids” I just have to give a shout out to the best girlfriend in the world, who – let’s be real – basically acted as my maid-of-honor for the whole year. Not only did Christina help with all the planning, listen to all of my griping, steam & style my gown, and forage for wedding flowers but her and her badass fiance Drew took ten days out of their lives to be in México with us from the moment we arrived to when we said our final goodbyes.

Real Bride Diary – Todos Santos Welcome Party – Claire Eliza and Jack – Corinne Graves 13
Real Bride Diary Claire Eliza Welcome Party
Photo by Claire Eliza

Floral Banditry Day

After moving into the stunning Villa Santa Cruz for our five-night stay & wedding shenanigans, Christina and I took off in the VW for some good ol’ fashion floral banditry.

I’ve talked plenty of times before about how much it breaks my heart to see flowers in the trash at the end of a wedding. Not only is it devastating to see such beautiful blooms discarded (find out how to preserve your wedding day bouquet with Framed Florals here) but it’s a huge portion of our wedding budget in the garbage.

We couldn’t live with this sort of environmental and monetary waste at our own wedding so when a local wedding planner in México quoted me $4,000 for a few bunches of bougainvillea (which grows wild all over the Baja) I laughed, said we’d be foraging ourselves.

In the span of two hours, Christina and I completely filled the car with branches of colorful bougainvillea, loads of succulents, fuzzy pink blooms, dried palms, pink pampas-like grasses and plenty more wildflowers. All off a dirt road within a mile of our Villa, all wild, all free.

Real Bride Diary Claire Eliza Welcome Party
Photo by Claire Eliza
Real Bride Diary Claire Eliza Welcome Party
Photo by Claire Eliza
Real Bride Diary Claire Eliza Welcome Party
Photo by Claire Eliza
Real Bride Diary – Todos Santos Welcome Party – Claire Eliza and Jack – Corinne Graves 18
Real Bride Diary – Todos Santos Welcome Party – Claire Eliza and Jack – Corinne Graves 20
Real Bride Diary – Todos Santos Welcome Party – Claire Eliza and Jack – Corinne Graves 2
Real Bride Diary Claire Eliza Welcome Party
Photo by Claire Eliza

The Welcome Party

Most of our guests arrived in México on Thursday, and my inlaws the DiBlasis & Marlins were kind enough to throw the entire crew a Welcome Party at the tasty & charming La Generala.

A mariachi serenaded us all night as we introduced the crew of forty-or-so friends and family to one another (our families had never met before, gasp!) La Generala put out a fabulous buffet of cochinita pibil, rajas en crema, mole, pozole, roasted veggies and fresh tortillas from their comal bar.

Our Welcome Party is where I finally got to don my fabulous Leanne Marshall sample sale score from last year. Feather-light in vibrant blue, I had the best time twirling down the streets of our beloved Todos Santos with my handsome man. A special wardrobe choice for Jack as well, he coincidentally matched with his vintage, Hawaiian shirt we found years ago in Vietnam.

Destination wedding tip: throw a wild boozy party the day your guests arrive rather than the night before your wedding. Most guests are excited to celebrate on their first day of vacation and this saves everyone from being massively hungover on the wedding day.

Real Bride Diary – Todos Santos Welcome Party – Claire Eliza and Jack – Corinne Graves 12
Real Bride Diary Claire Eliza Welcome Party
Photo by Claire Eliza
Real Bride Diary Claire Eliza Welcome Party
Photo by Claire Eliza

The Pool Party

Friday afternoon, we invited all of our guests to Villa Santa Cruz for an all-day pool party bash.

Lounging by the pool, climbing to the top of our beach palapa, dancing on the roof – we had a blast roaming the property (and taking advantage of those last few sun-tanning rays before the wedding). After tossing my bikinis aside, I wore a sparkling, washed silk, bias-cut dress by A La Robe…more on that tomorrow.

Jack’s cousin Steven, his wife Jennifer, a local chef and a number of volunteers from our crew put together an outrageously good early-dinner of grilled fish, ceviche, fresh tortillas and plenty of salsa. We were so fortunate to have such a talented chef and team gift us this fabulous meal, continuing the true “labor of love” wedding week.

Real Bride Diary Claire Eliza Welcome Party
Photo by Claire Eliza
Real Bride Diary – Todos Santos Welcome Party – Claire Eliza and Jack – Corinne Graves 11

The Wedding Day

Yes, there was a wedding and yes, you will hear all about it – tomorrow!

Saturday was an absolute dream, one I’m happy to relive again and again. From starting the morning on our oceanview balcony to ending the day with a bonfire under the Milky Way – everything was perfect.

I can’t mention any of this without the massive thanks to both of our families, and particularly to my parents for making this dream wedding-day happen in our favorite place on Earth.

But you’ll have to wait a bit longer before I divulge the rest!

Real Bride Diary – Todos Santos Welcome Party – Claire Eliza and Jack – Corinne Graves 8
Real Bride Diary Claire Eliza Welcome Party
Photo by Claire Eliza
Real Bride Diary Claire Eliza Welcome Party
Photo by Claire Eliza

The Whale Shark Adventure

After a few more days with everyone enjoying paletas by the pool & fireside nights on the roof, we said goodbye to much of our family and some of our friends. We moved into our private, honeymoon suite to prepare for the next adventure: swimming with whale sharks.

Nine of our badass babes caravanned to La Paz on Tuesday morning to hop in our private boat helmed by Baja Sur Tours. We were treated to a full day cruising through the Sea of Cortez – Jacques Cousteau’s “aquarium of the world”. We swam and pet wild baby sea lions, laughed at a puffed-up blowfish and ate some fabulous ceviche homemade by our captain on an empty beach within the National Park. As if cruising alongside one of the prettiest coastlines in Mexico wasn’t enough, we then entered the Bay of La Paz to swim with the largest fish in the world, whale sharks.

We jumped in the warm Sea of Cortez to find ourselves surrounded by these massive gentle giants. The experience was awe-inspiration, it was magical, it was breathtaking, it was once-in-a-lifetime – an incredible metaphor for falling madly in love with Jack DiBlasi and marrying him on a beach in México.

Real Bride Diary Claire Eliza Welcome Party
Photo by Claire Eliza
Real Bride Diary – Todos Santos Welcome Party – Claire Eliza and Jack – Corinne Graves 1

Stay tuned tomorrow to read all about our wedding day. In the meantime, you can catch up on my entire Real Bride Diary here.

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