Today’s location has really blown me away. Just wait until you see the lavender fields on top of the mountain with volcanoes in the background! Wow.
Paola and Ruben were married outdoors at Jardines De Provenza followed by a reception at Ruins of La Recoleccion in Guatemala on the 4th January 2019. As already mentioned their ceremony setting was gorgeous (it’s also where they held an emotional first look) enhanced with dramatic boho flowers, consisting of a pampas grass adorned triangle backdrop. So beautiful! Paola and Ruben chose to marry in Guatemala as it’s where Paola is from and the proposal took place in Mexico where Ruben is from, however they live in California so they enlisted the help of their wedding planners to make their dream day a reality. I think it’s really special that they chose locations close to their hearts for their most romantic life moments. Also you are going to love their honeymoon renamed as a buddymoon as their friends joined them, it sounded super fun.
So what else is just amazing about their day? The super stylish attire, that dream catcher backdrop and the candlelight come evening, swoon. Daniel Lopez Perez, thank you so much for sharing with us these remarkable captures of a truly wonderful wedding day.
Ruben and I had been dating for almost three years. He had already visited Guatemala (where I am from) so it was obviously my turn to visit Mexico (where he’s from). We spent the first few days in his hometown in Guadalajara and I was wondering if it was going to happen but it didn’t so I gave up hope. Our next stop was Sayulita, this beautiful little beach town. We spent the first couple days exploring, drinking beer, and soaking up the sun. He knows that I am a sucker for all day boat excursions so he booked one for us. We set off to this little private island off the coast of Sayulita. I knew he wasn’t going to propose because we weren’t able to take anything, not even our phones so how could he possibly hide an engagement ring in his swim trunks when we still had to jump off the boat to swim to the island. We got to the island, and I was so excited to swim in the most crystal blue waters I had ever seen but he stopped me and asked if we could please take a picture. I guess the tour guide had his go pro, so I humoured him and posed for a picture. Then all of a sudden he started to tear up. He told me that he had travelled to so many places and seen so many things but had never loved anything or anyone more than me and asked if I would marry him. I laughed because I am that awkward and asked if he was going to get down on his knee. He did and I said yes!
Good music. Good food. Good booze. With a little boho and minimalism. We didn’t want an over the top extravagant wedding. We wanted to make sure it was minimalist with a lot of green. We aren’t huge planners so we just wanted to make sure it was us, beautiful and that our family and friends had the most amazing time. I don’t know if that makes sense but that’s what we kept coming back to.
The Planning Process
I was in the middle of getting my masters and my husband has a very demanding job in the wine industry so I knew we wouldn’t have a lot of time to wedding plan and like I said we aren’t huge party planners. We also knew that we wanted to get married in Guatemala but we lived in California so we were going to need some help. My best friend recommended Nuptials Company, two wedding planners who are also sisters! They are the sweetest and make such a great team! We reached out to them I think a year in advance. They gave us checklists and worked really well with our budget and busy schedules. We would check in monthly and whenever we had an idea I’d send it to them right away, they kept it in mind and we would review it during our next meeting. And we did all this via facetime! We actually didn’t meet them until two weeks before our wedding but we had learned to trust them so much that we weren’t worried!
Most people don’t like to reveal their budgets, but I actually am so proud of ours! We budgeted for 20K. We always share it with people in hopes that they will feel motivated to have a destination wedding (preferably Guatemala haha!) because once you see the pictures you won’t believe that you can have the wedding of your dreams at half the cost of a wedding in the US and you’re supporting tourism and the economy in another country! WIN-WIN!
Since we got engaged in Mexico, Ruben was so supportive and agreed to let us get married in Guatemala. My whole family is in Guatemala and it was important to me to be able to celebrate such an important life event in a country that I had called home and had left 9 years earlier. So, we had the country and we both loved the little town, Antigua. Antigua had so many beautiful venues so we needed to find the perfect one. Ruben’s sister had sent us the website of Daniel Lopez Perez Photography a long time before we had even booked them. Following them helped me see the different venues that Antigua had to offer. I remember seeing one picture with a bridal party standing with ruins behind them, I had never seen anything like it and I also noticed that while they did a lot of photoshoots there, I hadn’t seen an actual wedding reception. Uniqueness was important, so we decided let’s celebrate where not a lot of people have done it. Reception venue (La Recoleccion), done! The ceremony venue was the hardest. I didn’t want it to be the in the same place, but we were also not sure we wanted a religious ceremony. We wanted a ceremony that made us a family and that exemplified love but the way we believed it should not with the many controversial constraints that sometimes comes with religion and the church. Plus, we didn’t like that one of the many rules that sometimes comes with a religious ceremony is that we have do to it inside a church. I mean, shouldn’t love be seen and heard on top of a mountain? So we did just that. We decided to get married in some lavender fields on top of a mountain with Guatemalan volcanoes as the perfect backdrop. (Jardines de Provenza to be exact)
Your Outfits & Accessories
I wore a wedding dress by Lillian West and Ruben wore a blue suit by Hugo Boss. For me, the actual dress wasn’t a big deal. How and with who I chose it was what was important. Like I mentioned, I lived far away from my family. The Christmas before the wedding, my mom was going to visit my sister in Arizona, and I figured that was my chance to go dress shopping with the two most important women in my life. I went to one store with my mom. My main goal was something simple and flattering. I tried on a couple but my mom didn’t love. Then I tried on the Lillian West one. We didn’t have a big emotional reaction but what my mom said was “That’s it. That’s your dress. I don’t get why you would look for others. This is it.” If you knew my mom, her reaction would make so much sense to you. My sister had to work that day so I waited until the next day when she could see it on me. She came and said the same exact thing as my mom. I wasn’t 100% convinced about the actual style but what made it so special to me was that I got to say yes to the dress with them. Soon I realized that the dress actually went perfectly with the venue, I loved the low back and the lace on the train that flared out. It was simple yet had some unique details.
In a similar way, it was important to Ruben to be able to choose his suit with his best friend and best man. They made a day date out of it. Just them two like old times, it started out with some beers and ended with him picking an amazing suit by Hugo Boss. I remember him telling me he had his emotional moment. He put on the jacket and realized that was the suit he was going to get married in. So special.
Make up: Atelier Make Up
Hair: Ruben’s best man and best friend has actually been doing my hair for a couple years now and as his gift he offered to do it for me that day. My favorite part was that we were able to switch it up. We were actually curling it in the ruins behind the DJ stage before we walked in for our first dance.
The Readings & Music
Ruben is Mexican and I am Guatemalan so we had a nice mix of both. For the ceremony, Mariano Castro y sus Violines Magicos (check them out on facebook) played beautiful pieces as our guests walked in and throughout the ceremony. The moment the ceremony ended, mariachis started playing to start the cocktail hour full of tacos, tequila, and margaritas! For our reception, the traditional Guatemalan Marimba played for our guests as they settled in and enjoyed some appetizers.
Finally, we danced and celebrated our butts off with this amazing musical group, Merequetengue! They DJ’ed all our favorites while also bringing out a batucada which is live drums in the middle of the dance floor. A huge highlight of the night!
We owe every beautiful thing about our décor to the most talented Bea of Addy Florales! Funny story, I actually hired her a month before our wedding and she was actually supposed to be on vacation on our actual wedding date but we hit it off and she was willing to postpone her vacation a couple of days! I absolutely love her! We met for beers on a rooftop bar in Antigua the week before the wedding and we talked pampas grass, greenery, and white flowers. She went above and beyond and even set up these huge dream catchers as a backdrop for the dance floor. I also asked for a custom triangle for our ceremony and it complimented the volcano behind it perfectly! I CANNOT RECOMMEND HER ENOUGH!
The pictures speak for themselves! Dani and Mishka of Daniel Lopez Perez Photography were another favorite part not only of our day but of the entire wedding process! We asked then to be a part of our pictures and took shots with them because we loved them that much! They were a dream to work with and I still cry every time I look at the beautiful pictures they took! They were able to deal with a wedding party of 20 people and paid close attention to detail. We are forever grateful!
The groomsmen all wore blue as well but Ruben let them stay a little relaxed and forgo a tie.
This was one of my most favorite details. My bridesmaids all wore Studio II which is my best friend’s fashion brand in Guatemala. We worked almost all year on the styles. She gave my bridesmaids a couple different options for the top portions of the dress and the bottom part was a beautiful tulip draping. They all wore nude wish brown shoes to match mine. With make-up and hair, I let them do their thing. I wanted them to feel comfortable and like themselves. It was fun to see each of their styles come through.
It meant a lot to us that our friends were willing to fly out to a random country to be a part of our big day so we wanted to do something special for them and with them. We decided to have a buddymoon. We rented a big house on Lake Atitlan and cooked together, drank together, napped, and spent the day on the lake! It was magical. Ruben surprised me with a night at Casa Palopo which is also on the lake.
The pizza is the best!
Again, we wanted simple and delicious! Maria Andree Couture Cakes did just that!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Daniel Lopez Perez
Kelsie Wolfley Designs
Paola and Ruben thank you both so very much for sharing your very romantic wedding celebrations with us xo Lou