This Los Lavaderos at La Quinta Real Wedding Was Bursting with Color

April 15, 2023 | justine

Shelby and Joey were set on a Los Lavaderos at La Quinta Real wedding, and the reasons made themselves obvious immediately. Aside from having a special connection to the location, it’s a breathtaking city with a rich culture and great food. Set in one of the most beautiful historical spots in the area, their destination celebration was bursting with color, whimsical decor, and playful energy!

Surrounded by pomegranate trees in front of the stone gazebo, the couple tied the knot under a chuppah made from colorful fans and ribbon tassels. It was the perfect contrast to the formal setting. After the ceremony, they kicked off the festivities with a traditional wedding parade and walked along the cobblestone streets to the reception venue. It was a magical transition from the streets as they treated their guests to a stunning and romantic setting filled with candles and vibrant lanterns. The atmosphere didn’t stay serene for very long as the mezcal flowed freely and they danced all night long!

With every detail reflecting their love for each other and for the city they chose to celebrate in,  this couple’s Los Lavaderos at La Quinta Real wedding was a dream come true,. This is all thanks to the behind-the-scenes hard work of their trusted team. And if you and your partner have been dreaming of saying your “I dos” in a beautiful faraway place and need ideas, keep scrolling. You’re not going to want to miss these beautiful images captured by Junebug member Carlos Elizondo.

The Couple:

Shelby and Joey

The Wedding:

Los Lavaderos at La Quinta Real, Oaxaca, Mexico

Why A Los Lavaderos at La Quinta Real Wedding

Having our wedding in Oaxaca was a threshold decision and one that was made very easily. We’re from different cities (New York and Chicago), so we figured lots of guests would be traveling regardless of where we had it, so why not have it further away? We both always loved the idea of a destination. You have more time to hang with all your favorite people, all your favorite people get to hang with your other favorite people. And by the time the actual wedding rolls around, everyone’s met one another, you’ve had a chance to spend time with everyone and it’s one big, giant, cohesive party.

They Had A Meaningful Connection To Their Wedding Location

Our first “big” trip together was to Oaxaca. We had both been to Oaxaca before but had spent our time in the city or on the beach. On that first big trip, we spent lots of time traveling around rural areas and super small villages, meeting mezcaleros and getting a unique feel for the region and its people. After that trip, I joined the board of directors of an organization called S.A.C.R.E.D. (founded by our friend Lou, who led us around Oaxaca on that fateful trip) that is focused on improving life in the regions of Oaxaca and elsewhere in Mexico where mezcal and agave spirits are made. We have such an affinity for the culture, the people, the place, and of course the food and drink, so it seemed like a natural choice, albeit a somewhat inconvenient destination. That just meant that all our friends that made the trip wanted to be there, and they showed up. 

They Wanted A Fun-Filled Los Lavaderos at La Quinta Real Wedding

Our main goals were to keep things light and bright and unselfconscious, and we put together a mood board that inspired our thinking. We wanted to dance for our first dance (Joey is an incredible dancer) and went for an unconventional, disco-inspired first dance song—”Adore You” by Jessie Ware. Our tables featured baby agaves that were replanted in mezcal-producing communities after the wedding through S.A.C.R.E.D. We wanted to pour mezcal made by the folks we’d met on that first trip, including some pechuga (a festive mezcal often consumed on celebratory occasions) and Lou came through for us in making that all a reality.

Setting The Tone With Their Wedding Invitations

We love the vibrancy of Oaxaca, you can’t help but have an incredible time there. We wanted to piggyback on that and keep our wedding bright, fun, and not at all stuffy. Our invites were inspired by papel picado, cut paper bunting often strung about in Mexico for celebratory occasions. We wanted an indicator of the unabashedly festive vibes awaiting our guests in Oaxaca. 

Leaning On Their Wedding Planner To Bring Their Wedding Vision To Life

Since we were choosing a destination quite far away with a native language neither of us speaks, we knew we’d need lots of help. We received a recommendation for our planners, Oaxaca Destination Weddings, and after our first call with them, we were sold. The ODW team was nothing short of fabulous. They got a great feel for us and our vibe from the get-go and came equipped with suggestions and opinions, while always honoring our preferences and intentions. Our planners were truly a godsend. We were so distracted by everything going on in our lives, but they kept us on task and worked with us on all aspects of our incredible weekend, including helping us pour mezcal delivered to us in gasoline containers straight from the source into the bottles from which it would be poured liberally at our reception.

Personalizing Their Ceremony By Incorporating Jewish Elements

Our ceremony was led by our friend Marcus. The whole thing felt like us, as we and Marcus built every aspect of it and weren’t beholden to any particular routine or regimen. We incorporated a couple of traditional Jewish elements, including circling (though we chose to each circle one another, and then circle together) and the smashing of the glass at the end. My sister-in-law and Joey’s sister each did a reading. In Joey’s sister’s case, the reading was made at his parent’s wedding. We wrote one another “schpiels” (the order of reading determined, in customary fashion, by a game of rock paper scissors), while Marcus wrote and led us in vows that were simple and heartfelt. The guitarist played an acoustic version of “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for our processional and “Love Cats” by the Cure (which Joey played when he proposed in a callback to our first-ever communication) during our recessional. Our son was front row, delivering highly enthusiastic claps at somehow perfectly-timed intervals during the whole ceremony.

They Kicked Off The Festivities With A Traditional Mexican Wedding Parade

The calenda was magical! We left our ceremony and were met outside by a brass band, dancers, giant paper-mâché puppets of us, a huge balloon with our names on it, and, of course, bamboo shot glasses to be worn around our necks to drink mezcal while we paraded. We danced and limboed through the streets, drinking and being merry. The parade ended outside of our reception venue, and looking through the doors when we arrived at Proyecto Murguia, into the atmosphere our decorator had created was one of those moments we’ll never forget. One of our friends loudly proclaimed “wow, I want to go in there,” and another responded, “I think we are going in there.” Cloud cover had begun to build during the calenda, and it started to pour about four minutes after we all made it inside the venue, creating an electric feeling under the tent, all together in this otherworldly environment.

Having Their Son Present Was The Most Special Moment Of Their Los Lavaderos at La Quinta Real Wedding

Having our son there was not something that we had envisioned when we started planning our wedding in 2019, but it was so special for him to be a part of it. We decided to forego a wedding party and had our siblings walk our son down the aisle, with each of us accompanied by both parents. He was somewhat overwhelmed for parts of the evening, but he was able to take part in our calenda and share a first dance with mama before he was whisked off to bed. The only thing missing from the day was our perfect pup, Quiote, who is named after the stalk of an agave plant and a now-closed restaurant in our Logan Square neighborhood of the same name, which is where we had our first date.

Wedding Advice: Be Sure To Plan For A Wedding That You And Your Partner Will Enjoy Every Moment Of

With the countless details you have to consider for your guests, as well as the logistics and aesthetics of the day, it can be easy to lose sight of your actual experience. Design a wedding you’re going to love. Everyone has more fun when the newlyweds are having a blast, so make sure you’re setting yourselves up for that. Do whatever you can to be sure you’ll be present in the moment. The little things won’t matter at the end of the day, but you’ll want to look back and know that you enjoyed every single second of it and spent real, quality time with the people you love most in the world. Don’t rush through things you don’t want to rush. And don’t dwell on things that you think you’re “supposed” to do but aren’t meaningful to you. Lastly, leave ample time to be relaxed and unscripted with your friends and family.

Having A Themed Welcome Reception Was The Best Way To Start The Celebration

We’ve always loved a theme party, so from the beginning, we were set on having one for our welcome reception. We settled on a Lotería-inspired dress code for the occasion. We and our son were dressed as the sun, moon, and stars. Our guests got into it, dressing as roses, spiders, mermaids, deer, various fruit, and even death. As we suspected, it was an amazing ice breaker—though our friends are all quite gregarious, it was awesome to watch the room come together, deer chatting up a shrimp in one corner, a violin, and drum in another, all friends of ours who hadn’t previously met one another.

Gifting Their Guests Local Crafted Mezcal Cups That Doubled As Table Decor

We gave each of our guest’s black clay mezcal copitas made in San Bartolo Coyotepec, which were left at each place setting. We wanted our guests to have a proper vessel from which to drink mezcal both during and after the wedding and wanted to support local artisans as well. Unfortunately, a good number of them didn’t make it back home since they were used just a little too well at the wedding.

The Wedding Team:

Photography – Carlos Elizondo
Event Planning – Oaxaca Destination Weddings
Ceremony Venue – Los Lavaderos at La Quinta Real
Reception Venue – Proyecto Murguia
Floral Design – Ornato Eventos
Catering – Origen
DJ – DJ Ramirez Mix
Live Music – Luis Daniel Herca
Videography -Invitation Design – Iinviteyou
Makeup Artist – Yayo Hernandez
Hair Styling – Manuel Jiminez
Wedding Dress – Dimitra’s Bridal Couture
Bridal Accessories – Ms Couture Chicago
Groom’s Apparel – Suit Shop
Rings – Christopher Duquet
Favors – 1050 grados


Congratulations to Shelby and Joey on their Los Lavaderos at La Quinta Real wedding. And a special thank you to Junebug member Carlos Elizondo for capturing every well-thought-out detail and special memory this couple will cherish for the rest of their lives. To see more incredible celebrations like this one, check out his profile in our directory of the world’s best wedding photographers.

If you’re considering a wedding in a stunning and exotic location like Mexico, we’ve got you covered with our list of picture-perfect venues to help you start planning your big day. And to take your planning game to the next level, don’t miss our ultimate guide to planning a wedding in Mexico. We’ve got all the top tips and creative ideas to turn your dream destination wedding into a reality.

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