Jennifer & Don

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Zihuatanejo, A Perfect Destination

By Jennifer Hurtikant

I always envisioned my wedding to be in a small, quaint Mexican town with my closest family and friends where we would spend several days together celebrating this major change in our lives. Don and I got engaged in early 2008 and I immediately started to research. After a few weeks of intense online searching, I found photos that took my breath away. They were photos from a beautiful wedding in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.

In May of 2008, Don and I boarded a plane to Zihuatanejo to plan our wedding. Upon our arrival, we were a little apprehensive about our first impression of this small Mexican town. It wasn’t until the next day when we met with our wedding coordinator, Francisco Ibarra of Ixtapa Weddings that we started to fall in love with Zihuatanejo. He took us to all the beautiful wedding venues in the area and we kept falling more and more in love with this small town. At the end of the day, we arrived at the final venue (the one I found online). Casa del Arbol, a private home that can be rented to vacation at or for a special event. This is more than just a home, it is an architectural gem. The minute we walked up the hill onto the grounds of the house, we knew this was the perfect place for us to get married. We spent the next two days with our wedding coordinator visiting florists, and the small local markets to get more ideas for our wedding.

We also established our wedding date – January 23, 2009.

Weclome Fiesta

After months of hectic and stressful planning, it was all worth it once January came around. We were ready for the biggest celebration of our lives. On the first night of our wedding festivities, we hosted a Welcome Fiesta at La Perla Restaurant, a perfect way for all our guests to mingle and get to know each other over food and drinks. Beautiful tables were arranged on the sand lit by candlelight.

Snorkeling Excursion

The next morning, we arranged for a snorkeling excursion to Manzanillo Bay on a private catamaran through Picante Crusises. Our friends and family enjoyed a morning of snorkeling throughout the bay and relaxing on the catamaran.

The Rehearsal Dinner

That afternoon, the wedding party rehearsed at the local church in “El Centro” followed by a rehearsal dinner at Casa del Arbol. Our wedding party and closest relatives enjoyed a delicious tapas style dinner catered by the famed Mexican chef, Edmond Benloulou of Zihua Blue Restaurant and Lounge. Everyone dined and drank overlooking a breath-taking view of Zihuatanejo Bay.

The Big Day

Friday was our wedding day. The women were prepped and pampered on the outdoor living room of Casa del Arbol, overlooking the bay. The constant breeze was very soothing and calming. This was one of my favorite memories of the week. Spending time with my mom, my soon to be in-laws and closest girlfriends before the most special event of my life. By noon, our guests boarded buses to take them to the small town of Petatlan where the Church was located about 45 minutes away from Zihuatanejo. After the ceremony, Don and I stayed behind with our photographers from Front Room Photography to take photos in the streets of Petatlan. They really captured the simple beauty of this tiny town in Mexico. Our favorite photo is of Don and I with locals sitting in front of their house enjoying the afternoon. Our photos are beyond words.

The Reception

Following our ceremony, the buses took all our guests to our reception at Villa de la Selva Restaurant in Ixtapa. The guests were stunned by the amazing view once we stepped into the doors of Villa de la Selva. We didn’t want to take away from the natural beauty, so we kept our tablescapes fairly simple. With beautiful red, orange, and yellow linens, we were able add a splash of color. We also chose very simple centerpieces of glass cylindrical vases with branches suspended in water topped with floating candles for a romantic glow after the sunset. Upon arrival, a traditional 10-piece mariachi band that played throughout our cocktail hour greeted our guests. After a delicious dinner, we danced the night away to the sounds of DJ Luis Zuniga. We ended the night with a spectacular firework show that surprised all of our friends and family.

The Final Day

On the final day of our wedding festivities, Don and I hosted a casual pool party at Casa del Arbol. We arranged for tacos, beers and margaritas to be served as our friends and family relaxed poolside. This was our last chance to spend with them before everyone left the next day. We ended the night with drinks at Zihua Blue for a final farewell.

Although we planned and envisioned our perfect wedding for months, the actual outcome exceeded our expectations. It was much more beautiful than we ever imagined possible. Thanks to all the help of Francisco Ibarra and the coordinators at Casa del Arbol, our dream wedding came true. Just when I thought we would never find the perfect small, quaint Mexican town, Zihuatanejo seemed to find us.

Beauty services by Kimberly Nichols
Videography by Emartevisual
Photography by Front Room Photography