Even though Hannah Shapiro and Benjamin James both attended Trinity College at the same time and even shared several friends, the two never crossed paths on campus. “Ben even studied abroad with my best friend in Rome, but we still never met,” she says. It was only after graduating, when they both moved to San Francisco that the two were finally introduced through a mutual friend and hit it off.
One day seven years later, Ben told Hannah that he had invited his boss and her husband over for dinner. “On my way home, he texted me to say our guests had arrived early and that he was having a drink with them on the rooftop of our apartment building,” she says. “When I arrived, I ran up to the roof and saw Ben on one knee—I was totally shocked!” But that wasn’t the only surprise Ben had in store; that weekend he had also arranged a getaway at the Solage in Calistoga, one of the their favorite hotels in wine country, so they could keep the celebration going.
For their wedding, the couple had always envisioned having a destination wedding. “We wanted the fun to be spread out over several days to ensure we were able to spend quality time with our family and friends,” she says. Rancho Pescadero in Todo Santos, Mexico was always their top choice, as they had already vacationed there five times before they got engaged. They planned on having several events spread throughout the three-day weekend, including a welcome dinner on the beach, a rehearsal dinner, and the wedding ceremony and reception. “All guests were invited to each event so by the end of the weekend everyone had gotten to know each other pretty well,” Hannah explains. To help plan all the festivities, the couple hired Katie Thompson of Wanderlust Weddings in Baja, and enlisted Hannah’s childhood best friend and bridesmaid Sophie Bracewell to handprint and design all of their paper suite.
Once they landed on the location, Hannah knew she wanted looks that reflected the laid back vibe of their venue. For the welcome dinner on the beach, she chose a fun, blue Saloni mini dress with ruffles. At the rehearsal dinner the following day, she went with a white, open back slip dress from Fleur du Mal paired with large blue J.Crew earrings. And then for the ceremony, Hannah chose a strapless J. Mendel dress she found at Mark Ingram Atelier, accessorized with sapphire and diamond stud earrings (a gift from her parents), and gold low, block heels from Loeffler Randall.
As for the groom, he wore a blue suit from Brooks Brothers, but keeping in theme with the beachy vibe, chose not to wear a tie at the last minute. Some of his groomsmen also went with the carefree atmosphere of the location, sporting Hawaiian shirts under their blazers.
The day of their wedding, Ben’s older brother officiated the ceremony, while Hannah’s sister and brother and Ben’s younger brother were all readers. “We said traditional vows as well as an Irish blessing in honor of my grandmother who couldn’t make the trip down to Mexico,” the bride explains. “A highlight of the ceremony was when Ben went in for the kiss a few seconds too early!”
Afterward, a full mariachi band greeted guests on the resort’s patio for cocktail hour. “At dinner, we used tequila shots as escort cards, which definitely got the party started,” Hannah laughs. A dinner of Mexican dishes such as chicken mole and black bean tamale followed, and later a local Cabo band called Totoy performed during the reception, with the bride and groom choosing “Sweet Pea” by Amos Lee as their first dance. After the dance floor had been packed for hours, pizza was served as a late night treat. At that point, the newlyweds and several of their friends retreated to the resort’s hot tub for an impromptu after-party. “Some of us changed into bathings suits,” Hannah adds. “Others jumped in the water in their wedding clothes!”