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Garden-Inspired Puerto Rico Destination Wedding

When a wedding is set in a location as gorgeous as the St. Regis Bahia Beach, it rises in ranks pretty quickly. But add in Maria Lugo’s magic touch and a dress this stunning and well, we’re happy wedding campers. Our Labor Of Love captured the whole celebration, from fun first looks to dancing the night away thanks to The Flash Dance – see it all in our VAULT right this way!

Al Fresco

From the Bride… Even though this was technically a destination wedding planned from NY, marrying each other in Puerto Rico really felt like home. Both John-Michael’s mother and father call Puerto Rico home, so it’s always had a special place in his heart and had real significance to his family. Ironically, my family had vacationed in Puerto Rico for several years, even before we had met. We spent New Years 2012 in San Juan, and joked that when we get married one day, we would bring all of our family and closest friends back to our favorite place. Once we got engaged in August 2014, it was a no brainer choosing where our wedding would take place, so we flew out to San Juan and toured a few venue options. When we drove into the gates of the St. Regis Bahia Beach in Rio Grande, we knew we would be so lucky to be married there. We hired Maria Lugo, an incredible wedding planner based in San Juan, and she helped bring our entire weekend vision to life.

We brought in the incredibly talented Yeah! Weddings from LA for our photographer, videographer and DJ. We knew they would capture our day perfectly and we wouldn’t settle for anyone else. We worked closely with Arquetipo for flowers and decor – they completely blew our mind and brought our garden-inspired, rustic-elegant vision to life. When we first saw the table presentation about a month before the wedding, it actually made me cry! Throughout planning the wedding, we really focused on the details – from the steel band and cigar roller at our Friday Night Welcome Dinner, to the incredibly fun Rumelier, authentic Puerto Rican cuisine, personalized sunglasses, and cocktail napkins featuring our English Bulldog Norman, we really wanted to make the wedding feel intimate and put our “stamp” on it. We had hand painted menus, laser-cut gold calligraphed names for every guest which we set on their place setting, and even found a late-night grilled cheese truck which served hot grilled cheeses inside brown paper lunch bags with a sticker caricature of our faces on the front. The 16-piece band (locally-based Cuenta Regresiva) was absolutely incredible and kept everyone dancing all night (they were the band that actually played on New Years 2012 when we first promised each other we would return to PR to get married!). It felt like Spring Break all over again with our best friends; it was wild! Everyone was in vacation-mode; our childhood friends from near and far were swimming and eating and dancing and drinking with our aunts and uncles and grandparents and college friends – we just felt so much love all day, every day of the entire weekend. Our favorite part of the weekend was just that – the fact that we had an entire weekend to celebrate with our family and best friends, each day was better than the one prior. I think we both kept waiting for it to pour or for there to be some minor disaster, but the weekend was flawless from start to finish. We felt calm, excited, not one bit of anxiety and kept thinking to ourselves… “We’re just SO lucky.” It really was a dream and we wouldn’t have changed a thing.

Vault CTA

Peruse more Puerto Rico weddings here!

Photography: Our Labor Of Love | Cinematography: Shark Pig | Event Planning: Maria Lugo | Floral Design: Arquetipo | DJ: The FlashDance | Venue: St. Regis Bahia Beach

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Style Me Pretty Destination Welcomes Our Advertisers + A Discount!

Saturdays are pretty amazing, but when you throw in a meet and greet with RebeccaMarie Photography, it takes it to an entirely new level of awesome.  I’m talking an entire day devoted to gorgeous imagery that just so happens to be overflowing with love, emotion and, of course, pretty.  Spend some time getting to know her, lovelies… and don’t forget to check out her sweet discount below.

From RebeccaMarie Photography…  RebeccaMarie started learning about photography at the age of fifteen and excelled from there working alongside some of the best in the business, since 2004. Destination travel is a deep passion of hers and so is love. RebeccaMarie believes in combining the two, to capture your love story and has had the opportunity to travel internationally throughout her career.

RebeccaMarie Photography has been published numerous times together with her international friend Isabelle Kline Design, producing beauty through each image.  Her style has been known to be organic, vintage, ethereal and romantic.  A lover of travel and meeting new people.

Check out RebeccaMarie on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.  

Discount!  RebeccaMarie Photography is offering a $500 print credit to all couples that book in the month of June and July and reference this SMP welcome post.


Puerto Rico Wedding from 13:13 Photography

I’ve decided that I need a vacation.  I mean, don’t get me wrong… I love this crazy gorgeous fall weather we’ve been having, and all of the hot cocoa sipping that goes right along with it.  But doesn’t a trip to the lovely land also known as Puerto Rico sound just soooo awesome?  Especially if that trip was anything like this drop.dead.gorgeous wedding captured by 13:13 Photography, a literal non-stop day of pretty with one totally fun party. See it all right here in the full gallery.

Al Fresco

From the Bride… This hot blooded Colombian-American girl met her Norwegian viking skier, John, in Denver, CO in 2008. He turned my world upside down, and he proposed in the arctic frost of Norway in 2010.

The biggest challenge for John and I was deciding on the destination to celebrate our special day with friends and family from across the globe. As we were wedding planning from Norway, we decided to choose a neutral territory where we could combine traditions from our American, Colombian, and Norwegian upbringings. We chose the island of enchantment, Puerto Rico, and more specifically Hotel El Convento, a timeless and traditional restored luxury hotel nestled in the heart of the charming and mysterious Old San Juan.

While planning our wedding we kept our priorities relatively simple. We knew we wanted great music, an all-night dance party, and readings from my brother, and John’s sister during the ceremony. Our ceremony was held in a large courtyard at Centro de Estudios Avanzados next to the Hotel El Convento. The courtyard has beautiful arches, blossoming trees, and the refreshing aura of the Puerto Rican sun and breeze.

Following the ceremony we played in the cobblestone streets in Old San Juan while our wonderful photographers from 13:13 Photography captured our first moments as husband and wife. A cocktail hour, consisting of abundant and fruity sangria and a Puerto Rican cigar roller, was held al fresco for our guests in the elegant Patio Del Nispero of The Hotel El Convento, in the shadow of the hotel’s famous century-old, nispero fruit tree. Following cocktail hour, the guests were invited into the ballroom for dinner, speeches, and dancing. Our fabulous live band played the perfect mix of latino dance music combined with catchy tunes from Europe and the U.S.A. Everyone was on their feet, moving to the music, with the last bite of their dinner.

Around 11 pm, we surprised our guests with the arrival of drummers playing ‘batucada’ (a substyle of samba and refers to an African influenced Brazilian percussion style). This began the Colombian tradition of ‘hora loca.’ All the guests were provided props such as masks, silly hats, sunglasses, and whistles, to join the live drummers on the dance floor. The Puerto Rican rum was flowing, the dancing feet of our loved ones were rhythm to our ears, and we cannot imagine a night better spent surrounded by our favorite people from 12 different countries.

When the venue closed down, we crossed the centuries old cobblestone streets to a local dive bar, and continued to the wee hours of the morning accompanied by our closest friends and our new friends from 1313 Photography, for some local beer and laughs.

Photography: 13:13 Photography | Ceremony Venue: Centro de Estudios Avanzados | Reception Venue: Hotel El Convento | Cinema & Video: Blink and Sin Pictures