Cabo, Mexico – Seven years ago, my friend, Heidi, and I were living the dream in West Hollywood, California. We had both moved to Los Angeles to follow our goals of working in fashion, but secretly hoped we’d also find our destined charming princes.
A year after we moved in together, Heidi met a man who was everything she wanted…and he happened to be a small town kid from her same hometown. I knew I liked Duke as soon as I met him in our shared, one-bedroom apartment – they were perfect together – and it wasn’t long after they started dating that Heidi and I tired of the big city life and went our separate ways. We were chasing new dreams, hers in Colorado and mine in Oregon.
Fast forward six years to last spring, when Heidi and Duke came to visit me in Thailand. We explored Bangkok and Chiang Mai together before they went south to discover the magic of Phuket, complete with the traditional paper lanterns so popular for Thailand’s festival of light, Loy Krathong. Several months later, those floating lanterns worked their way into Duke’s perfectly planned, surprise proposal on a beach in Hawaii. And last weekend, in Mexico, those same special lights became the surprise for 45 guests at their spectacular beach-side wedding.
The wedding would follow an intimate beach bonfire party the night before, where formal-clad guests gathered around the fire pit to roast marshmallows for s’mores in one hand, and sip celebratory champagne in the other. Well-wishes were said, glasses clinked, and country music played in the background of the ocean’s steady roar.
The wedding itself was short and precious with friends and family sitting eagerly on the edges of white-backed chairs, clapping their approval when what we all knew was inevitable finally became true: Heidi became Mrs. Cooley. Dinner and cake were served under the stars before dancing commenced and onlookers gawked at the beauty of it all. The sky glowed bright with the light of the Super Moon shining like a spotlight on the happy couple’s first dance.
When the music died, our group sauntered down to the sand where the ocean replaced the country twang. We worked together to assemble and light the delicate lanterns that have become a symbol of Heidi and Duke’s relationship, combining their first trip across the ocean together and their unity standing next to it. Then, one by one, we sent up pieces of the newlyweds’ burning fire, along with our own dreams, into the already glowing sky.
A Destination Wedding in Cabo, Mexico