Every wedding vendor team is created a little differently. In this series we explore how and why each couple selected the right wedding vendor team for their wedding day.
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas—unless it’s a proposal at a Lady Gaga concert. Back in 2019, Alex’s all-time favorite performer was doing a show and Tracy couldn’t think of a better place or time to pop the question. Prior to the concert, Tracy arranged to close the pool at the hotel where they were staying. Right at sunset, surrounded by their dearest friends, Tracy dropped to one knee with a white gold Cartier love bracelet (a piece of jewelry Alex hadn’t stopped talking about since they first met) and celebrated with a bottle of vintage rosé Dom Perignon. The exciting night continued with the newly-engaged couple and their pals soon heading off to attend the once-in-a-lifetime concert.
One of the friends present at their engagement was Vanessa Vierra of Vanessa Noel Events, whom both grooms not only know personally but also professionally. Tracy is the owner and chef of Field to Table Catering & Events, an award-winning catering company on the central coast of California, and Alex is their director of Communications. And while the grooms have an intimate knowledge of what goes into planning and executing events, they knew they wanted their wedding planning to not feel like work. So offloading most of those tasks to someone else was a must.
Wedding Planner & Designer
Since Tracy and Alex’s wedding planning strategy was to enlist an experienced planner to guide them through every decision straight off the bat, their very first move was hiring their friend Vanessa Vierra of Vanessa Noel Events. Her professional guidance allowed them to avoid any budgetary and logistical pitfalls, and instead set them up for a destination wedding of their dreams.
With Vanessa’s help, they searched for the perfect venue. Wanting a destination wedding, they were open to location—originally considering Park City, Utah, because they’d gone there on a trip and loved it. After exploring that option and some other snowy locales, they realized the altitude would prohibit a family member with health issues from attending. So it was back to the drawing board.
That’s when Vanessa discovered Casa Angelina in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. It was a big pivot, but shifting to a sunny setting made sense.
“Obviously, it’s a completely different vibe than Park City, but the overall style felt so cohesive with Tracy and Alex’s personal style. The view at Casa Angelina is breathtaking and makes you feel like you’re on top of the world. There are multiple bungalow-type buildings scaling a hill, and the couple loved that it allowed them to host some of their guests on-site. I started to call the weekend a ‘wedcation’ because essentially all of their friends went on a vacation together for a week for the wedding.” —Vanessa Vierra, planner/designer
“The vision was to share a full week of curated experiences with our closest friends and family. Working in the California wedding industry, we wanted to be sure our celebration wasn’t just a one-day event, but spread out over multiple days so we could spend quality time with the people we love. We felt it would be one of the few (if not the only!) times in life that we could invite our family and friends, sharing how we vacation, and have them experience all of the things we love. With six hosted events scheduled over the week, I think it was the perfect combination of structure for everyone. There was one event per day, but everyone was able to take the rest of their day to themselves and make this the vacation they had missed in 2020!” —Tracy, groom
With the venue decided, the next move was to find a caterer. Working in catering themselves, the food and service were wildly important to the grooms. They wanted a menu that felt appropriate for the location and also elevated. Angustina is a restaurant and bar specializing in local cuisine and craft cocktails (many from their house-made mezcal), so it felt like an obvious choice.
Having perused many wedding galleries in the past, Tracy and Alex had an idea of the style of photography they wanted and knew how important it was to feel comfortable with the photographer for portraits that look and feel effortless. Several years prior, they had actually modeled for a photoshoot with Emily Loeppke and felt so at ease working with her. Emily was also on many vendor teams for events that Field to Table catered, so there was even more familiarity with her.
Sending save the dates early on in the wedding planning process was key, since the wedding was international. The couple tapped their friend, Joshua Smith, to create a watercolor illustration of the venue that would be used on the save the date as well as on the card inside their welcome bags. Fête & Quill brought it all together and also designed and created the invitations and day-of paper goods, which included leather seating chart panels and bark paper menus.
“The branding played a large role in establishing the direction for the overall design. I worked closely with Raina Toy-Smith of Fête and Quill, who created the monogram that we used throughout the event, on everything from welcome bags to coconuts at the day-after brunch. We started with the save the dates, which we wanted to feel like a travel postcard that excited guests about the location. They were softer in color and more pastel than the branding for the event (including the invitations), but they were also more about the location. The invitations spoke more to the design of the wedding day itself. Tracy and Alex love modern, masculine design. Their home features a lot of grey and black, wood tones, and leather so we lead with that as we chose fonts and materials. The handmade bark paper we used in the invitation suite, table numbers, and dinner menus was one of my favorite elements. It was a little detail that went a long way to infuse authenticity. The welcome bags were another favorite element. We sourced blankets from the local market and bottles of mezcal from Angustina's bar. Tracy and Alex hand-delivered the welcome bags to each guest’s room upon arrival (one of the perks of a 32 person guest count!)” —Vanessa Vierra, planner/designer
Wedding Rentals & Coordinator
As Vanessa prepared her design deck for the wedding, it was then time to select rental pieces. Warehouse Rentals Guanajuato had the best inventory in town that suited the style of wedding. With a limited guest count, it wasn’t about quantity but instead the quality of pieces and how well they suited the event. With just one long table (which meant ultimately everyone was at the “head table”) to set, it was all about selecting the right pieces to maximize the impact. Vanessa wanted to layer black and wood elements, with a balance of masculine and organic.
Around the same time, local planner Jennifer Jaimes was brought on board as a liaison in Mexico.
“It was incredibly valuable to have boots on the ground and a local perspective made the planning process much smoother and ensured we were working with great vendors. Most of the vendor team was new to me. And while that can be quite unsettling at times, we felt such support from the local vendors, especially Jennifer. She and I created a rapport rooted in trust, so if she recommended someone or something, we went with it!” —Vanessa Vierra, planner/designer
Tracy and Vanessa had multiple conversations about how the design should feel in tune to the culture and style of the region without being overtly tropical. Vanessa loved Floweriize’s approach, which was artistic and organic, so they were brought on board next. Striking, textural pieces were created for the celebration. Up first, two large arrangements to frame the grooms during the ceremony (which Alex’s brother officiated), then, smaller, assorted centerpieces in shades of white, pink, and burgundy that combined fresh and dried components.
Wedding Music & Lighting
Around the same time, Ibiza Audio was secured. With that came DJ Shark playing during the reception (which would follow a live performance by a local musician during the ceremony and cocktail hour) as well as providing lighting services.
“Don’t be fooled by the small guest count—the dance floor was never empty!” —Tracy, groom
Tracy and Alex had been unsure about wedding videography and debated how important it was to them. But talking with I Heart Creative, they realized just how invaluable it would be to have the wedding day—and the whole trip—documented. Absolutely no regrets were had in bringing them on.