Let me start off by saying that planning destination weddings is basically my thing.
I love everything about it. Providing guidance, resources and planning tools to couples that are miles away from the Island and have no idea where to begin, is definitely one of my favorite parts of being a wedding planner. So just imagine my excitement when Esther and Mike contacted me to, not only plan a wedding, but plan a multicultural destination wedding… And what a wedding!
Egypt meets Puerto Rico.
Esther and Mike met unexpectedly, on a chilly Michigan night of 2018 at Dave & Busters. He’s Egyptian, she’s Puerto Rican and after a year of building a solid friendship they both realized there had always been a special connection between them. Fast forward two years and Mike finally popped the question in December 2020.
Only six months until the big day.
They reached out to me in October 2021, just six months prior to their wedding date. The plan was to have the party at a big house they own near the coast of Camuy, which is north of the Island. However, even though they were sure the reception would take place in the house, the ceremony location was still TBD.
Finding the perfect ceremony venue
I quickly began reaching out to churches near the area and asking if they perform Coptic Orthodox ceremonies, but none of them did. We had a priest, but we were still missing the location. Luckily, during one of my visits to the north of the Island I drove by the perfect spot for Esther and Mike’s wedding ceremony; Hotel Guajataca.The priest agreed and we immediately booked.
Design, rentals, food, electricity, parking space, traditions, reception layout…
So many elements go into planning a house event of this magnitude, but as we do with all of our couples, we developed a clear plan to tackle each of the details in the months to follow and avoid missing a thing. Here are some of the things to consider when planning an event like this one:
…And a lot more.
After six months of creative design and strategic planning, the wedding day was finally here!
On the wedding day, we arrived early at the house and started working on the setup with the amazing team of designers from Stem Events. It was a beautiful sunny day, without a single drop of rain but a whole lot of wind. And even though things got a bit complicated due to the wind, we managed to have everything ready one hour prior to the event’s starting time.
At Hotel Guajataca the decorations were all set, water bottles were in the cooler and the music was playing.
Guests began to arrive and were guided by our assistant coordinators to their seats. A few minutes later, the bride arrived in a gorgeous white vintage car.
One of the most significant differences is that in a Coptic Orthodox ceremony there is no processional song; Instead, there is a hymn that is being sung by the priest and bishops as they walk down the aisle, followed by the groom, the wedding party and the bride. As you can imagine, the ceremony was absolutely breathtaking.The priest spoke three different languages throughout the ceremony and made a beautiful mix of both cultures. As soon as it was over, all guests proceeded to enjoy cocktail hour at the house while the newlyweds had a romantic sunset photo and video session. Photographer Jose Ruiz and videographer Zuriel made sure they captured every second and every detail of this day to perfection.
Back at the house everything was ready for the party.
It all looked exactly as the bride and groom had envisioned it; bright colors and boho chic decorations with a touch of Mediterranean vibes. It wasn’t long until guests began to arrive and were all in awe of how beautiful everything was. A well known mixologist, a cartoon artist, 360 spinner, live band, batucada, fireworks and late night brick oven pizzas were just a few of the amazing elements that made this a night to remember. It was without doubt, one for the books.
Our vendor list: