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Old San Juan Love Shoot

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good engagement session as much as the next girl. But, I’m also a big believer in needing no excuse to snap some photos with the one you adore. *Enter* this Old San Juan love sesh from IYQ Photography. They’re the “just because” captures every couple so deserves, and you can see moment after moment in the gallery right here.

From IYQ Photography… Kristen, Cainneach and I well all drawn to the sleepy town of Old San Juan as the backdrop to this fun, flirty, dreamy love shoot. Both Cannaich and Kristen live in NYC and were in PR for a mini-vacay. We all met by chance at a private inn we all were staying at just outside the city. I was immediately drawn to their kind spirits and romantic hearts. Theirs is somewhat of a modern day love story- they share the kind of love that we all read in fairy tale books growing up. We spend sunrise in the city- wandering the empty streets and getting lost inbetween the cracked sides of pastel buildings. Afterwards, we headed over to a palm tree heaven to wrap up this dreamy shoot.

Photography: IYQ Photography | Old San Juan: Puerto Rico

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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!


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.

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

Travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico with Kimberly Chau

Our Livings editor, Jacquelyn, is a travel junkie. Me, not so much. I think when you have two smelly kids, the idea of being too far from home suddenly becomes a bit more, well, daunting. But honestly? Seeing these gorgeous images from the lovely Kimberly Chau from her trip to Puerto Rico sort of makes me want to throw caution to the wind and pack up the whole family. Almost. This trip is beauty defined and there is so much more right here in the gallery.

From KimberlyMy husband and I were married last year in July and we planned our honeymoon a few months later in October. We wanted to travel within the U.S. territories and found a city with a lot of culture, history, shopping, and great food. In the end, the decision and wait for San Juan, Puerto Rico was so worth it!

Our accommodations were at El Convento, a charming old world hotel in the heart of Old San Juan. The stay was a stone’s throw from food and shopping and provided gorgeous views of the city. We walked the historic streets of Old San Juan and they were filled with quaint and lively little shops, boutiques, and old buildings. Many of the owners run small businesses here and were very friendly and welcoming to tourists. Likewise, almost everyone spoke English.

The Puerto Rican food on the island was phenomenal, of course. My hubby and I still crave for the chuleta can can (Puerto Rican-style pork chops) and mofongo (mashed plantains) that were traditional dishes in the area. Both dishes are popular on the island and can be found at a reasonable price (and they accept U.S. Dollars).

During our trip, we also toured the Castillo San Felipe del Morro (or El Morro), a famous fort used the defend San Juan from enemies in the sea. The views towards the ocean and over the island were simply beautiful and amazing. Most people can walk to these sites, but there is the option of public transport as well.

I highly encourage travelers to pack light and to find a good pair of comfortable walking shoes when visiting Puerto Rico. Most of our travels were by ground and we knew we would come back heavier with all the available shopping. I chose to photograph my trip entirely in film and I’m so glad I chose this medium to journal our trip. I love how the film preserved the atmosphere, colors, and views of San Juan to its best integrity. I would love to go back and explore more of the island one day!

Photography: Kimberly Chau

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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