“Baxter [Box] and I dated for more than five years, and we own a mid-sized tech company together, so by the time we got engaged, we were really ready to be married,” says rewardStyle co-founder and VenzEdits blogger, Amber Venz. “We knew that we wanted to get married in Cabo, Mexico, and that the best weather there is between the months October and May. We also wanted an intimate wedding so we quickly decided to get married on May 2, which provided just a two-month engagement.”
The couple referred to their wedding as a “secret wedding” because their guests found out about it just a week before the big event. “By keeping it under wraps, we hoped to offend less people—you can’t be mad about a wedding that already happened,” says Amber. “Most people found out about the wedding via our hashtag, #TheBoxKnot.”
Baxter’s sister and her husband are ex-pats living in Cabo with their three kids, and his parents have a Cliffside villa there, so the two have spent a lot of time in Mexico. “It feels like our second home,” says Amber. “The landscape is magnificent, and we love the slow, easy-going pace and getting there is simple—it’s just a two hour flight from Dallas.” They wanted to do a small destination wedding because an intimate wedding in Dallas would have been impossible. “Baxter and I both grew up and went to college in Dallas, so our networks here are large,” says Amber. “Our company is based here, and our employees and their spouses alone would have accounted for about 150 guests. Achieving a small guest list in our hometown would have been really difficult.”
As soon as they decided on the location and the date, Amber texted the stationer the dimensions, paper weight, font, and text for the invitations. She also quickly emailed an engineer friend in London to ask that he start working on their custom wedding website, which then went live later that week.
Ever the entrepreneur, Amber quickly went into super party planning mode—creating a Google doc to keep track of every detail and ordering branded event goods with their wedding logo, “A&B.” “We had branded napkins, cars, golf carts, games, spirit jerseys, towels, boat flags, and a logo mat for the pool,” remembers Amber. “We joke that it looked like I was launching a new tech product called ‘A&B.’ ”
RewardStyle hosts many events through the year, one of which is a week long vacation in Cabo for their top bloggers called #rSworkTrip. “We use a local coordinator who does a lot of celebrity events, and I engaged her for my wedding weekend as well,” says Amber. “This year, the #rSworkTrip was from April 27 to May 1, so they handled both events—one right into the next, as my guests arrived on May 1.”
Two weeks before the wedding, Amber and Baxter held their second annual rewardStyle: The Conference, an event that brings 200 publishers and 100 retailers from 18 countries to Dallas for three days of seminars and networking. Once The Conference began, all communication between Amber and her coordinator had to come to an end because she was completely tied up with the business at hand. “At that point, my mom and mother-in-law thankfully stepped in to confirm all of the final details,” says Amber. “My mom is a musician so she chose the music for the ceremony, and Mrs. Box hosts beautiful parties so she chose the furniture for the reception.”
Like a lot of women, Amber has always kept a private Pinterest board of her favorite gowns. “Two of my favorites are a look from Elie Saab Spring 2014 Couture and one from Valentino Fall 2013. Both have classic circular necklines, long, thin sleeves, an A-line waist, and a floral pattern. These two pieces gave me very specific ideas about the silhouette and details of my dream dress,” says Amber. “I wanted a very 1940s silhouette with a long languid shape and strong shoulders, reminiscent of something Lauren Bacall or Katherine Hepburn would have worn.” Enter custom Dallas dressmakers Watters Designs. “They created a custom piece for me that was an ivory silk blend charmeuse sheath dress with long sleeves. Baxter had asked for a sexy dress though. So, knowing that the shape I chose was more modest than he would have preferred, I asked the team to play with opacity to create a sheer plunging neckline and sheer legs. The pattern on the dress was created by using the burnout technique that is often referred to as devoré. It is a fabric treatment where mixed-fiber undergoes a chemical process to dissolve the cellulose fibers, creating a semi-transparent pattern against more solidly woven fabric. My custom pattern was created in-house and took sixty hours to develop.”
Amber also had a clear vision of what everyone else should wear. “I wanted my guests to arrive looking like they were walking into a Vogue event, like the Met Ball,” admits Amber. “I always knew I wanted the men to wear black tie, so that was a no brainer and a decision I made very early on in the planning process.” On her wedding website, she created a section called “inspiration” where she posted images of men and women from various events. “I wanted everyone to get a sense of what I was going for. I was very active in the wardrobing of my family for the weekend—I even styled my grandmother, who looked like a mini Coco Chanel!”
Amber and Baxter decided to have their wedding ceremony on Friday night. “To get it out of the way so we could relax and start the party,” according to Baxter. For the first event of the weekend, they transported their guests to the privately owned mountaintop “Mirador” for a cocktail party. The floor of the venue was covered in perfectly manicured, plush green grass, and there was a stone cross at the Northern edge and 360 degree views of the Boca de la Sierra mountain range and the Sea of Cortez. “We had seventy guests and most of them only knew ten to twenty other people so the pre-party allowed them to meet each other before the ceremony in a relaxed, social setting,” says Amber. And, it worked. Everyone was in high spirits when our families arrived for the ceremony. I could hear the guests cheering when Baxter came down the aisle. Our one-year-old flower girl, Bea, ran to the middle of the aisle and started clapping as well.”
The reception was held at a private Spanish-style residence twenty yards down the mountain from the ceremony space. The back of the home is all glass pocket-doors, which were collapsed to create an indoor-outdoor venue. It has what Amber dubbed an ‘infinity backyard’ as the pool and lawn both drop off into a view of the Sea of Cortez.
The next day, guests were taken to the Cabo San Lucas Marina at the southernmost tip of Baja California del Sur where they departed for the White Party. “My inspiration for the boat party came from two images: a photo of Kate Moss at her wedding where she’s surrounded by children wearing flower halos in neutral clothing and an Instagram photo I found of Tatiana Santo Domingo with her bridal party on a boat in Monaco,” says Amber. For the outing, Amber wore an Isabel Marant mini dress and Iro booties. And then to set a celebratory tone on the boat, A&B towels were laid across all of the loungers, and there were bundles of them throughout the deck for the guests to use after swimming. There was a DJ, and Mexican food was served for lunch. “We toured the coastline for several hours, stopping at Lovers Rock and Chileno Bay for snorkeling,” remembers Amber. “One of my favorite memories was watching our relatives have flipping contests off the back of the boat into the clear water.”
Following the wedding weekend, Amber and Baxter stayed in Cabo for five extra days at a private home near where the ceremony was held. “We only got out of the bed or off of the loungers to order food or freshen our cocktails,” jokes Amber. “It was so nice to rest!”