Cindy and Mark Benezra’s original journey to the altar started a little over two decades ago, with a gondolier singing a love song in Venice, and Mark getting down on one knee with a ring box in one hand. “Obviously, I said ‘Yes,’” says Cindy, “and we both ended up on our knees kissing and crying while onlookers cheered from the sidewalks. So romantic! We still get teary eyed just thinking about it!”
The couple can easily sum up their years together with the lyrics from a Frank Sinatra song: “Love is lovelier the second time around; Just as wonderful with both feet on the ground.” Cindy and Mark knew each other in passing for 13 years before they started dating; and during their first official date, they knew they were meant to be together.
“Twenty-one years later, we still laugh at how we threw caution to the wind and trusted what our hearts said.”
“Twenty-one years later, we still laugh at how we threw caution to the wind and trusted what our hearts said,” Cindy shares. “Being older, we always admired how we weathered life’s ups and downs with humor. There was a natural ease, a comfort level between us. A way of just ‘being’ that we had never shared with anyone else. It was magnetic like a soul recognition.”
Ever since their wedding over 20 years ago, Cindy and Mark decided to renew their wedding vows every ten years to honor the values we created together. Since they have a blended family with four children, they felt that to a degree, they were all getting married; and, as a family, they all made a vow to live in harmony, and to establish love and respect for one another.
For their wedding and following vow renewals, the couple’s daughters have been bridesmaids and their sons have been groomsmen. At first, their youngest son walked his teddy bear down the aisle. But for their latest celebration – a tropical vow renewal in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – he was able to walk his mother down the aisle.
“It was so precious in every meaning of the word,” Cindy adds. “One of the main reasons we chose to renew our vows at the One & Only Palmilla is to embrace my Mexican heritage and share it with our children. We also wanted to be in a resort of world class service and cuisine, so it was a perfect fit. We had always wanted to say our ‘I do’s’ on the beach and to hear the ocean in the background. We choose tropical colored florals and walked down the aisle paved with Mexican carpets and lanterns to light the way. Latin love songs played as we toasted each other with the finest of champagne.”
The bridal party and handsome groom wore resort wear for the vow renewal, and the bride walked down the aisle in a Rue de Seine dress. Originally, Cindy wore a $300 dress off the rack for her wedding day, as finances were much tighter back then with the merging of two families. So, for this destination vow renewal, she decided to have the full bridal experience, shopping for a “real wedding dress” with her daughters. It was an incredibly special moment to experience together. To further personalize her dress, Cindy had an heirloom from her mother stitched into the dress to serve as her “something blue.”
“Our two favorite pictures were a selfie with our pastor and a photo of our beautiful family on the beach with the sun setting,” says Cindy. “Champagne and fairytale dreams is the way this family has been saying ‘I do’ over and over again. We can’t wait for the 30-year renewal and many more!”
Location: One & Only Palmilla, Los Cabos, Mexico; Planning & Event Design: Elite Events, Seattle, Washington; Photography: Sara Richardson Photo, Los Cabos, Mexico