Destination I Do
Friday, July 22, 2011

Destination Wedding Puerto Rico: A Small Island Affair

Words by Courtney Kellar
Words by Courtney Cox
Photos courtesy of Diana M. Lott Photography

Choosing to have a destination wedding sometimes means added complications, but with that comes an unbelievable event and memories to last a lifetime. For Sara and Reuben, a destination wedding was a no-brainer. It was always Vieques, Puerto Rico for this couple. They met there at a mutual friend’s wedding and have since gone back several times for vacation. To top it all off, with her family from New York and his from Texas, travel was inevitable.

Sara and Reuben knew going into the process that not all of their guests would be able to make the trip to the small island off the coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico. Accepting this fact early on made the process go smoother and the couple understood that for those who could make it, their wedding was a great opportunity for the guests to take a tropical vacation.

The couple held both their ceremony and reception at a private beachfront villa. This made day-of travel logistics non-existent and ensured they would have an intimate passerby-free ceremony. Martineau Belle Playa made a beautiful backdrop to the day’s festivities. However, Sara and Reuben’s celebrations weren’t limited to just one day. They also hosted their guests for a welcome party, rehearsal dinner and farewell party.

Choosing such a remote location can cause some issues, but because Sara and Reuben have friends on the island, the planning process was somewhat simplified. “Since Vieques is a small island it was more of a challenge to get certain things, such as a tent and dance floor, but we were persistent and got everything we needed in the end,” says the couple. “It also helped that we have a few friends that live on the island so we were able to ship things down in advance which made things easier.”

Sara and Reuben took the planning process seriously and say that organization was key since they didn’t have a professional wedding planner. They made spreadsheets for their budget and deadlines so that they could easily stay on top of everything. They made a scouting trip shortly after getting engaged to pick out their vendors, but negotiated everything else from afar.

“After [our scouting trip] all of our communication with the vendors was done via email and phone,” says the couple. “We made sure to stay in touch with all of the vendors and to follow up with them regularly, just to make sure we were all on the same page. We also went to Vieques a week before our wedding just to make sure everything was in place and to tie up any loose ends.”

Safely arrived in Puerto Rico, the couple waited patiently for their guests. Because Vieques is such a small island, guests had to fly into San Juan and then hop a small plane or ferry to the island. The couple put as many details about travel options on their wedding Web site as possible in an attempt to make it easier for their guests.

Once arrived, Sara and Reuben’s guests were met with a wedding welcome bag which included a map of the island, an itinerary for the week, a beach towel, Tums, bug spray, snacks and bottled water. What resulted was a week filled with family and fun, all capped off with a beautiful destination wedding!

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