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Intimate Old San Juan Wedding

I’ve never been to Old San Juan, but after spending some sweet time with this destination soiree, it’s now nearing towards the tippy top of my must-see list. It’s the colors, the culture and the rich, rich history that have my heart, and won’t let go. Momentus Special Events planned the whole destination day to perfection with Vanessa Velez was there to capture, and you’ll find much more right over here!

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Spring
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Resort

From the Bride… We decided to get married in Puerto Rico because we have a passion for traveling. We have always talked about having a destination wedding and we wanted a location that was close to the U.S, but would not require our guests to get a passport. We have friends who spoke very highly of Puerto Rico. They raved about the food, the beaches, the people, the activities, etc. So, we decided to give it a shot. After further research, we fell in love with the hotels and quest reviews of other brides and couples. Seeing pictures of Old San Juan, sealed the deal. You cannot create that setting any where and we knew we wanted to have Old San Juan as a background for our pictures.

Our inspiration for the day was focused around intimacy. We wanted to have a small intimate ceremony/wedding that focused on nothing but us, our vows, our close family, and friends. We wanted everyone who was there to actually feel our love. You can tell we accomplished this by the sounds of people sniffling because there was not 1 dry eye in the crowd.

Having a Spring wedding, I fell in love with the coral/aqua color palette. To me, these colors screamed “destination” and went so well with Old San Juan. They reminded me of the colors of the buildings. The color theme was all about a romantic, vintage/rustic look. I wanted to have colors that were not your traditional wedding colors. Having the girls in 2 different colors and different dresses inspired them to be themselves and to be comfortable.

The groomsman’s suits played off the color of the girls dresses. I wanted to the dresses to stand out against the khaki color. Also, our taste is very “vintage”. Our home is decorated the same way. There is something about it, that screams intimacy and love. For our ceremony, we went very simple because once again we wanted to have that Old San Juan background. It wasn’t about flowers or decorations, but more about our moment and wedding. Simple is sometimes better!

Photography: Vanessa Velez Photography | Dress: Enzoani - Dakota | Ceremony Venue: La Concha Resort | Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Jewelry: Handmade by Alyssa Beverly | Bridesmaids Dresses: J.Crew | DJ: DJ Rockhand | Men's Shoes: Sperry | Officiant: Pastor Corey | Decor: Siod | Men's Suits: Bachrach | Private Dinner: Marmalade | Wedding Planning: Momentus

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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.

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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

San Juan Destination Wedding from Envi Photo

Fairytale romances?  They start out with a bang.  A chance meeting in a Las Vegas bar kind of bang that you kind of think only happens in the movies, but when it comes to this darling NYC duo, it’s a seriously awesome reality.  One that was followed up by a long-distance romance, a cross-country move and a San Juan wedding that will, put simply, blow you away.  It’s a day that was made for the big screen, complete with the planning expertise of Momentus and one image after another of pure pretty from Envi Photo. See them all in the full gallery.

From the Bride… I (a native Texan) was living in Los Angeles, working for a boutique hotel in Beverly Hills… and Devin (a life-long East Coaster) was living in New York, working as Director of Business Development for a cross-channel digital marketing company – when our worlds collided in a Las Vegas hotel bar on January 28, 2008.

After a few short months of cross-country dating and endless hours of long-distance phone calls (thank goodness for unlimited plans!), we decided to see what would happen if we lived in the same city – in fact, in the same apartment! By July of 2008, I (and all of my earthly belongings) had landed in Brooklyn, and we never looked back!

In 2010, while on vacation in Puerto Rico to celebrate my 40th birthday, Devin charmed me into a midnight walk on the beach. He had managed to keep the proposal and the ring a complete surprise – I had no idea what was happening! The next thing I know, he is on one knee. After a few squeals and joyously running around in a circle (my trademark), I accepted.

We immediately chose San Juan for the wedding, not only to commemorate the location of our engagement, but also to honor Devin’s family from the island. Devin (definitely the romantic of the two of us) selected January 28, 2012 for our wedding. On that date, guests from New York, California, Spain, Florida, Sweden and Texas converged on Puerto Rico for a sunset wedding, written entirely by us.

Four years to the day after walking into a bar in Vegas (in my “I love boys” t-shirt), I walked down the aisle and married the love of my life (this time I was in Vera Wang).

A destination wedding is certainly no easy feat – especially for a detail fiend like myself! I approached the planning and the event itself the way I would have if it were going to be in New York. I am very hands on, and we both really wanted something classic, yet modern – and most importantly “us” – which meant some fun and quirkiness added in.

I can’t seem to leave anything alone – even our Save the Dates, I hand-cut a layer of vellum and tied each one with a platinum ribbon. As inviting guests for a Destination Wedding is a substantial undertaking, we wanted to ensure that our guests had as much time as possible to plan – and we also hoped they would make an extended trip of it, and truly enjoy the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. Although we selected a classic design, we included the note: “partypants required” which our friends and family loved.

The invitations were a critical component of the wedding for us. I found out through this process that my husband is as big a paper snob as I am! We both wanted letterpress, however, quickly decided it was well out of our price range. After weeks of searching, I simply could not get this ONE letterpress design out of my mind. We bit the bullet – and it was truly one of the best decisions we made. The invitations were exquisite… the design a perfect match of classic and modern. Of course, I couldn’t leave them alone – as gorgeous as they were. I wanted them to be absolutely one of a kind and set the tone for the entire weekend. I mounted each invitation on charcoal gray cardstock, and cut wide bands of the most stunning handmade paper that I had found in an art shop here in the city. And for my NEXT trick – I lined each and every last envelope by hand on our kitchen table – not only the invitation envelope, but also the RSVP envelope. I handmade the menus – using the same cardstock backing, and bands of the same paper that went around the invitations… details that were not lost on our guests – we had so many compliments!

Devin’s sister Cristina, also the Maid of Honor, was instrumental in organizing a number of group activities leading up to the wedding. More than anything, we really wanted to give everyone a sense of the island and to have multiple opportunities to meet and bond with each other before the wedding. We had a welcome happy hour at La Taberna Lupulo in Old San Juan, a guided rum tour at the Bacardi Distillery, and a sunset catamaran tour among others.

The day of the wedding was just happy. Everything had come together, and it truly just felt RIGHT. There were a couple of minor issues, but by the big day absolutely nothing could bother me. I think I may have floated down the aisle. Devin and I had spent hours and hours crafting our wedding ceremony. We wrote the ENTIRE ceremony, beginning to end. Our officiant said that in his almost 30 years of performing weddings, no one had EVER handed him an entire wedding ceremony. Especially as it was destination, and with a complete stranger performing the most important ceremony in our lives – I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. We were able to take all the very best parts of who we are and who we want to be – and write a ceremony and vows that celebrated all of that, while including all of the amazing friends and family that have supported us and helped us become the people we are. It was so powerful for the both of us.

I also made the programs – MORE handmade papers and platinum ribbon – which included the story of us, as well as passages from the wedding, and favorite pictures and quotes. Although a lot of work, I truly enjoyed making each one of them knowing that a very special loved one would have this memento of our day to take with them. We had guests ask for extras!

The reception, the dinner and dancing – was all better than we could have hoped. For our table numbers, we decided to pay homage to hotels that had played a part in our story together. The Avalon Beverly Hills (where I worked when we met), The Rio Las Vegas (where we met), The London NYC (where I worked upon landing in NYC), The El San Juan (where we became engaged, and rounding out the group The Ritz-Carlton (the site of our wedding). It was such a magical night, and sharing it with friends and family from quite literally all over the world was simply overwhelming and humbling. To have these incredible people, from different parts of our lives all in one room sharing our joy and wishing us well – it was heaven! We sent our loved ones off to bed with a gift bag which included: an ultrasuede eye mask, bottle of water, advil, tylenol pm and emergen-c. We received MANY “thank you’s” the next day as everyone was recovering!

Our last hurrah, was our shoot in Old San Juan. I simply HAD to have pictures amongst the history, architecture, and colors of this amazing city. Enuel Viera of Envi Photo met us two days after the wedding, and we ventured all through the cobblestone streets shooting amazing pictures to complement our wedding day images. Of COURSE, as we met in a bar – we ended our shoot at a bar there in Old San Juan – and toasted our new chapter.

Wedding Photography: Enuel Viera of Envi Photo | Wedding Venue: The Ritz-Carlton San Juan | Floral + Event Design: Gadiel Valentin of SIOD | Cake + Cupcakes: Vanilla Bean Cupcakery | Wedding Coordination: Momentus | Invitations: Elum Design Letterpress | Handmade Papers: Lee’s Art Shop | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Sash: Yaneth & Co. Bridal | Veil: VeiledBeauty | Shoes: Silver (Wedding Day) Kate Spade + Red (Old San Juan Shoot) La Fenice Venezia | Groom’s Suit: Ted Baker | Hair + Makeup: Javier Moreno | Manicure + Pedicure: Edouard de Paris Salon and Spa | Musicians: Camerata Filarmónica | DJ: DJ Rockhand | Welcome Reception Venue: La Taberna Lupulo

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Vieques Island, Puerto Rico Wedding from Lexia Frank Photography

I often ask myself what my wedding would be like if I had a total do-over. And while I haven’t quite worked through all the details, I know it’d look a lot like this. Somewhere totally secluded and completely romantic. With only our nearest and dearest to bear witness. Throw in the ultra modern W Retreat & Spa plus the natural beauty of Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, and you’ve got my own little slice of wedding heaven. Believe me when I say this beauty from Lexia Frank is one perfect wedding you don’t want to miss.

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From Lexia Frank PhotographyDana and Timo- two transplant Germans living in New York- planned their beautiful destination wedding on the tiny island of Vieques, off the coast of Puerto Rico.  The only resort on the island- The W Hotel- was a perfect location because it blended the soft pastel colors of the island with bright modern pops of color. The interior of the ultra modern hotel was designed by Patricia Urquiola, and was the perfect backdrop for the wedding. Dana and Timo wed on the cliff overlooking the turquoise waters, and had their intimate reception down on the private beach itself, with everyone barefoot and dipping their toes in the water while they ate.  After dinner they celebrated with a live guitarist, a bonefire (with soft blankets and pillows to cuddle with), sparklers and a flying paper lanterns to end the night!

Photography: Lexia Frank Photography | Floral Design: Stem Events + Flowers by Anabelle (flowersby@stem-pr.com) | Ceremony + Reception Location: W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island | Event Planning: Ross Fatemi (ross.fatemi@whotels.com) | Makeup: Zoraida Deltoro for AWAY Spa Vieques | Music: DJ Paul Vieques 9dj.paul.vieques@gmail.com) | Officiant: Wendy Lum (vieques.propertypartners@yahoo.com) | Wooden Cake Topper: Morgann Hill | Calligraphy Wedding Guest Book: Quotesand Notes | Wedding Menu Cards + Programs: TheMemoryTrunk  | Ring Pillow: Bluepearl | Wedding Dress: Lusan mondangus via Wedding Atelier New York | Shoes: Vintage D&G | Jewelery: Adriana Orsana | Rhinestone Crystal, Pearl + Lux Satin Bridal Sash: Simplybridal1

Puerto Rico Wedding from Kimberly Chau Photography

Destination weddings are pure genius to me. I mean, what beats a trip with your nearest and dearest to celebrate your love? I honestly can’t think of much, expect maybe having Kimberly Chau Photography on hand to capture every sweet moment of the weekend unfold. These two genius cuties had just such a plan, and the result is one beautiful gallery of memories.

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From Kimberly Chau Photography… Vanessa + Ariel’s destination wedding to Puerto Rico was very simple, intimate, and easy going. The wedding day was flawless and oh-so-beautiful. The bride put together a lovely evening in the island of Vieques and it was nice that the whole family came to celebrate. Puerto Rico is just full of loveliness and I cannot wait to go back!

Thank you, Vanessa + Ariel for inviting me to the wonderful island to photograph your wedding! You and your families were so courteous and attentive to my stay and experience. I wish you two the best in your marriage!

Wedding Photography: Kimberly Chau Photography | Ceremony Venue: Paradise Edge at W Retreat & Spa in Vieques Island, Puerto Rico | Reception Venue: Living Room Deck at W Retreat & Spa in Vieques Island, Puerto Rico | Officiant: Sandy Malone from Weddings in Viennese | Floral Design: Patricia Suero from Puerto Rico Wedding Flowers | Wedding Cake: W Retreat & Spa | DJ: DJ Ricky from DJs of the Islands | Wedding Dress: Legends by Romona Keveza | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaid’s Attire: Odylyne | Bridesmaid’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic | Groom’s Shoes: Johnston & Murphy | Groomsmen Attire: Zara | Groomsmen Shoes: Calvin Klein | Hair + Makeup: Away Spa at W Retreat & Spa

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Puerto Rico Wedding from Dziekonski Photography

I am totally obsessed with our Travel features on SMP Living. My travel bucket list grows every week, and today it’s growing even more. We’ve got a wedding in Puerto Rico that is seriously a piece of art. Dziekonski Photography captured the Old San Juan wedding in a way that has left me speechless and packing my bags. Before you grab your monogrammed luggage tags, make sure to visit the gallery to fully fall in love!

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Summer

From the couple … Puerto Rico! Armina and Erick live in Hollywood, Florida but lived in Puerto Rico most of their life, so it was only right to plan a destination wedding in the beautiful city of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

After ten years of having met each other and then getting lost in the distance, Armina & Erick reconnected only to realize that there was something that, unassumingly, they shared. In order to determine what was really happening, Erick who was living in Fort Lauderdale decided to board a plane en route to Puerto Rico. He was determined to find out if what he was feeling was as real to her as it was to him.

When Armina picked up Erick at the airport, she asked him: “So, what are your plans for this trip?” He replied: “Not really sure. I came to see you, so I’ll go wherever you take me or tell me to.” After the initial shock, they went to “Pal Cielo” where Erick asked her on their first date. We have the memory saved on a napkin…

Before embarking on their first trip to Argentina, they decided to go out for a romantic dinner. Erick had planned a night to remember. They went to a five star restaurant overlooking the ocean where they dined and enjoyed some fine wines for relaxation. After dinner they went for a walk on the beach: there was a full moon and the starry night was perfect. All of the sudden Erick stopped and while looking into her eyes said: “…this night would only be perfect if you would give me your hand in marriage”. Armina replied: “Yes!” The rest is history!

They where married at the historic 500 year old Cathedral of San Juan Bautista. The Cathedral of San Juan Bautista is located in the center of the city, just a few blocks from the Castle San Felipe del Morro. We didn’t find it necessary to do much decoration to the church; this would take away from the beauty of the Cathedral. After the ceremony the reception was held in the Hotel El Convento, a landmark monument of the Conquistador Age, it was originated as a Carmelite Convent 356 years ago. Our wedding colors where a light lime green, white and a light cream. Our flower was Orchids. The decoration was subtle and elegant. Since most of their dating time was spent on weekend trips between Fort Lauderdale & Puerto Rico, it only seemed natural that the wedding theme was Travel. Erick, being a Graphic Designer, created all of the artwork for the wedding including: the photo signs instead of table numbers, airport boarding signage for table setting, the guest book was a passport, favors, invitations, menu, etc. To top it off, Armina’s brother is a home brewer, so he brewed a special Beer, which we labeled as Full Moon Flight for our occasion, which we gave out as favors. it was the perfect gift.

Every moment of our wedding was memorable, I don’t think we could pick just one. Thanks to Marek’s Vision & Photography these moments are now captured forever and ever.

Photography: Marek from Dziekonski Photography | Cinematography: Pablo Patrignani | Flowers: EOS | Event design: Erick Sala | Event Planning: Wedding Agenda | Ceremony Location: San Juan Cathedral | Reception Location: Hotel El Convento | Invitations: Erick Sala | Shoes: Marc Fisher | Dress: Calista by Maggie Sottero

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