This gorgeous Los Cabos wedding began with a poolside cocktail party. We agreed to make coral the central theme and motif for the party, incorporating both the vibrant color and fabulous sculptural quality into seating, tables, and centerpieces. We were determined to “coralize Los Cabos,” and the results were sexy, sleek, and modern. From the lighting to the tables, the bars, and seating, pops of coral and crisp white popped against the whitewashed Marquis Hotel and sandy beaches of the Baja Peninsula.

For the ceremony, we built a walkway that led several feet out into the reflecting pool and connected the large stage that would accommodate the floating altar, so it appears to be adrift on a sea of love. A stunning archway of white roses mimicked the arch of the hotel. Suspended from the arch was a striking cross, made of crystals threaded with fishing nylon. Tall spindles of greenery filled with fragrant freesias, gardenias, and crisp white roses stood at attention at the front of the seating area. Along the aisle we stretched a runner custom-painted with a Florentine-inspired border.

Caramel satin covered the ceilings at the reception, anchored with a spectacular crystal chandelier. Long tables had a gold damask underlay with an opulent mint, emerald green, and gold beaded overlay with heavy brocade trim. Round tables had gold damask cloths that hung to the ground topped by olive green silk overlays finished with charming scalloped edges. Gold ballroom chairs had matching tufted olive cushions. Centerpieces included gold and crystal candelabras, small gold floral containers, votive candles, and a mix of luscious orchids, roses, magnolias and tulips.

Given that the bride owns a marvelous Los Angeles restaurant of her own, she knew that she wanted the menu at her wedding to exhibit excellence without the fuss. Taking her request very seriously, I enlisted chef Geoffrey Zakarian to prepare the meal, and as anticipated, the food was superb. The dinner was light and summery, starting with a course of silky, chilled cauliflower bisque garnished with Beluga caviar and cucumber cream. The second course was a lightly roasted striped bass dusted with candied fennel and pink grapefruit essence. Our third course was a pine nut and rosemary clafoutis with an olive oil gelato and crispy praline. All accompanied by Dom Perignon 1990 champagne. Cutting the cake, which was beautifully designed in our elegant Florentine pattern and garnished with edible gold leaves, by genius baker Polly Schoonmaker, seemed almost criminal, but we had miles to go before we slept, and it would all begin post-cake!

Just before midnight, we invited our guests to move on to an extravagantly fun after-party. At 12:01, it was all cha-cha-cha! In the hotel’s adjoining business center, we painted the ceilings gold and the walls a lively apple green. A great big dance floor at the center of the room seemed to whirl in the kaleidoscopic lights of fifteen fantastic, different sized disco balls hanging from above. We had sleek banquettes and couches covered in turquoise silk with corresponding tiger print skin. A tiered dessert station (imagine every cookie, macaroon, and candied jelly known to mankind) was covered in those same fabrics. Glowing Lucite tables, such as the ones we’d used for the poolside coral party, provide spots for Ximena and Alejandro’s friends to linger over drinks.

We brought in a large gold leather bar from which Dale DeGroff, one of the most celebrated cocktail mixologists in the world, could serve his most legendary concoctions. The signature drink of the evening was one of my favorites – the 120 MPH cocktail – with two parts tequila, one part espresso, and a liberal sprinkling of Tia Maria all tossed into a martinis shaker, then poured into shot glasses rimmed in orange oil, powdered chocolate, and chili pepper. Believe me, if you’re looking to jump-start a party, that’s definitely the winning solution!

Those who stayed for the whole after party had only about three hours of rest before the celebration continued with the next morning’s farewell brunch. There, guests enjoyed freshly squeezed tomato juice, huevos rancheros, huevos Mexicanos, and a few more coral-colored memories that will last for the rest of their lives.