JQ & Brandon
JQ (short for Jacqueline) actually found me through one of her friends, Lauren, whose wedding I actually photographed! You can read all about that here! For JQ and Brandon's intimate wedding we made our way to the sunny country of Mexico to San Jose del Cabo to get these two hitched. My husband/second shooter, Joe, and I knew that it was going to be a wedding that we will never forget, and guess what? We were right.
getting ready at the royal solaris los cabos
After landing in Mexico, we were hit by the stark heat of Cabo. Thankfully it didn't take too much adjusting. What can we say, we like the heat! Thankfully our next steps to navigate weren't too difficult since we were meeting up with JQ, Brandon, and their family and friends at the resort where we were all staying at. The Royal Solaris Los Cabos is a 5-star resort that JQ and her family have been going to for over 30 years. It seemed wrong to break tradition, so naturally of course that would be the place where we all stay and create some memories. It was absolutely breathtaking and all we did was step through the front doors. We were greeted with complimentary drinks and the smell of the fresh pool waiting for us. However, we need to make sure we had everything in order before taking a few moments to relax and soak in the beautiful Mexico.
Fast forward, it was the next day and it was time to get these two married! Joe, my second shooter/husband, went off to the other side of the resort to hang with the boys. While he made his way, I met up with JQ while she got ready. She looked like an absolute dream as she stood there pondering which dress to wear. Yes, JQ actually had two dress options and couldn't decide until the morning of, so she brought both. While she was contemplating this decision, her friend, Mallory, flew from Florida to do her hair for her wedding. Now if that's not dedication, I don't know what is! Along the beach in Cabo, Mexico you will find plenty of locals with their horses. JQ made it a point to say that she really wanted to head to the beach and take some photos with these horses. In all honesty, these are some of my favorite photos. Not only because we were on the beach in Mexico, but it just felt very organic and real and very in the moment which I loved.
el huerto farm-to-table | Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
JQ and Brandon had the most beautiful ceremony at El Huerto in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. El Huerto is a farm-to-table restaurant in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, and is going to give you the most luxurious yet cozy wedding experience forever. JQ had visited El Huerto once before on vacation several years back and instantly fell in love. You are surrounded by Cabo landscapes, gardens, orchards, and fruit trees. All of the food served at El Huerto is grown right in their garden and absolutely delicious. Everything from the ceremony to the reception was held at El Huerto. JQ and Brandon got married at El Huerto's event site, Cardon. One out of the two event sites is located on their property. Cardon is 200 years old and is surrounded by mango trees and gives you views of their herbs garden, the farm, and of course Cabo landscapes. Cardon hosts up to 40 guests which was perfect for JQ & Brandon's intimate Mexico wedding.
Prior to our arrival in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, JQ and Brandon made a request for all of their guests. As a part of their ceremony, all of the guests would be placing rocks from where they are from in a bowl. This jar is a symbol of unity and was incredibly important for JQ and Brandon's special day. Before leaving, my husband Joe and I went off and went on a search for the perfect rocks for JQ and Brandon's intimate Mexico wedding. We were able to secure the rocks from a roadway here in Utah and brought them for JQ and Brandon's ceremony.
One thing that JQ and Brandon didn't want was a traditional wedding. They wanted their wedding day to be memorable and intimate and reflect all of the people that they love so much. It started off with the setup of their ceremony. Rather than a traditional ceremony with rows of chairs, everyone formed a circle in which JQ and Brandon would stand in the middle. Throughout the ceremony, everyone took turns leading the group, since for JQ and Brandon, an officiant was not needed at their intimate Mexico wedding. Do you remember those rocks we brought along earlier? Well midway through their ceremony, everyone grabbed their rocks and placed them in a bowl. It was soon bound by sand taken from Cabo San Lucas, symbolizing the binding of JQ and Brandon's love. I'm telling you guys, this intimate Mexico wedding was deep! One thing that I loved about this day was how much dedication and love every wedding guest felt for JQ and Brandon. Each guest took turns giving small speeches in honor of the soon-to-be-newlyweds and it was too sweet.
Shortly after their ceremony, while there was a brief cocktail hour we snuck away with JQ and Brandon for some portraits. One thing about El Huerto is that the landscaping is just stunning and they really create a one-of-a-kind experience for their couples. So being able to wander throughout the property and soak up as much beauty as we could was an absolute must. It was also discovered that Brandon loves palm trees so we had to make sure we took some portraits with some Mexico palm trees just to say we did - lol.
intimate dinner reception
JQ and Brandon had a beautiful intimate dinner reception at El Huerto. Placed in the middle of their garden, a family-style table sat their waiting for us. Above, hung twinkling lights that made me feel like I was in a memory. It was a breathtaking setup and don't even get me started on the food. The food was absolutely divine and just proved, yet again how much attention to detail and effort went into making JQ and Brandon's intimate Mexico wedding a dream come true.
whale watching boat ride
While this intimate Mexico wedding could have stopped there, it didn't. The day after their intimate wedding celebration at El Huerto, we all went on a whale-watching tour boat. JQ & Brandon invited Joe and I to capture the moment and really enjoy this experience with them which I absolutely loved. Honestly, this is what it's all about. Document your wedding day and the experiences around it. Rather than only focusing on getting the perfect shot, we soaked in the moment and kept things a lot more casual and relaxed. We even got to witness a couple of whales jumping out of the water, which was pretty dang cool too.
Shortly after, the boat hosts began playing some music and indulged in the dance party wedding reception that JQ and Brandon didn't have the night before. Surrounded by family and friends, the boat was rocking back and forth and everyone was just having a good time having fun. It was the perfect way to spend the day after their wedding and it was just beautiful.
endless champagne, ponchos and a dinner for kings
Our last and final day in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico was spent lounging by the pool before meeting with JQ, Brandon and their guests for a dinner at the Dalia in the Viceroy Hotel hosted by JQ's brother. In a hotel just a short distance from our resort, we walked into this beautiful restaurant where we we drank endless amounts of champagne and had a dinner made for kings. Seriously, the food was delectable. Shortly after, we made our way to the rooftop area where we were given ponchos provided by the hotel and sat by the fire overlooking the beauty surrounding us. We took some photos of JQ and Brandon and really spent this night enjoying everyone's company and again, embracing the experience.
quotes from the couple | jq & Brandon
Typically, I love to get an inside glimpse as to what my couples are thinking leading up to their wedding day. While sending out my questionnaires, I love seeing the responses of my couples. Here is what JQ & Brandon had to say.
How & why did you choose your specific elopement location?
"We love the natural aesthetic and quality food experience."
Now that you have a clearer idea of how you want your elopement day to be, how would you describe your "vision" for your elopement day?
"No stress, floating from moment to moment. Appreciating the people with us and focusing on our hearts."
In planning your elopement thus far, what have you found to be the most important to you about your wedding experience?
"Removing “rules” for how things should be, and finding the magic of what is unfolding."
This entire intimate wedding experience blew me out of the water. It was an absolute honor to have been able to document this entire journey for JQ and Brandon. From the moment that we arrived in Cabo San Lucas, we were treated as family. Being welcomed with open arms and embraced through every experience. I am forever grateful for this experience and I will never forget it.
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Photos By Gayle does more than just take photos of people. Rather, it is capturing moments of LOVE and HAPPINESS. Singing to the skies, dancing in a field, and smiles that hurt because they’re so big. There is nothing else I would rather be doing than photographing these unique details that make you and your significant other a couple. If these photos from JQ & Brandon's Intimate Mexico elopement puts a spark in you, you know where to click <——— right there!