Destination I Do
Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Destination Wedding Florida: A Combining of Two Cultures

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Kristen Weaver Photography
When Richard and Manuela said “I do” in Orlando, Florida, it was truly a merging of two cultures. The bride originally hails from Columbia and the Groom is from England, but they met stateside. Planning a wedding away does present some unique challenges, but this couple put forward the extra effort to ensure each and every family member felt included and special – despite the language barrier.

When it came time to pick a destination, the couple wanted somewhere which was neutral ground for the two families. Orlando just so happened to be about halfway between England and Columbia and was also already set to be the home of Manuela’s family’s annual reunion. There were some pros and cons to the couple’s chosen destination. For example, the families got to go to Disney World while in the U.S., but also were in Florida for the hottest month of the year.

Before their destination wedding in Orlando, the couple chose to go home to Richard’s native England for a civil union. “[When planning] we had to trust people and really just go for it,” says the couple. “I think it was harder for us because two months before the wedding, we went to England for our civil marriage. To make it legal, I (Manuela) had to live in the country for about three weeks, so the distance was a challenge. When we got back from England we just had one week to get everything ready and then pack everything to go to Orlando. We are thankful for our family as they helped in getting all the details ready.”

On the morning of the wedding, everyone awoke to gusty winds and pounding rain – a real problem for the couple as they had planned an outdoor ceremony and reception. “The day itself was very wet and windy which proved difficult to put up the market lighting and we had a few tense moments as to where we would hold the ceremony,” says Richard. “We both really wanted [the ceremony] outside, but that was look less likely. Miraculously, 15 minutes before the ceremony started the weather changed.”

While the couple had to move their outdoor reception in, they still got the outdoor ceremony they dreamed of. The bride’s father conducted the ceremony in Spanish, but it was then translated into English for all of Richard’s family. A highlight of the ceremony was when Richard surprised Manuela with a song he had written for her just for their wedding day. While the couple’s destination wedding took some extra effort, they wouldn’t change a thing.

Manuela and Richard have some final words of advice for other couples considering a destination wedding. “Find people you can trust who really want to help,” says the couple. “For us it was our family without whom we would never have pulled [our wedding] off. Also, take real care who you look at signing a contract with. They’re the ones who you have to interact with during the day and it can be a bit difficult if you work and think differently. If you have some time, try and talk to several different people for the job. Today, with things like Skype, that is definitely possible for a destination wedding.”

Photographer: Kristen Weaver Photography
Ceremony/Reception Site: Bella Collina
Florist: Vangie de la Concha
Cake: The Sugar Suite
Gown Designer: Pronovias
Groom’s Clothing Designer: Zara
Bridesmaids/Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: Zara

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