There seems to be a common thread linking a few of our tropical, destination weddings. Often, as in the case of today’s couple, a destination wedding presents itself as the ideal option when you have friends and family scattered all over the world. The bride and groom decided on the island of Puerto Rico as the one place they would gather all of their loved ones for an unforgettable night. Choosing a sophisticated black and white palette with hints of gold, a warm, elegant affair was soon celebrated in the heart of San Juan. Many thanks to 13:13 Photography for gracing our blog with these stunning images!
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 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 planning the wedding in 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 sunshine 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 which refers to an African influenced Brazilian percussion style). This began the Colombian tradition of ‘hora loca.’ All the guests were provided with 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 a 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, 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 as well as our new friends from 1313 Photography, for some local beer and laughs.