Destination I Do
Friday, February 27, 2015

Elegant Puerto Rican Wedding

Words by Natalie Long
Photos courtesy of Caroline + Ben

This couple wanted the perfect combination of elegance and a good time for their destination wedding. “We wanted the wedding itself to be in Old San Juan with a more elegant vibe, but we envisioned the rest of the weekend to just be a beach party,” says bride Taryn. 

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“Javi’s family and friends were thrilled because it gave them an opportunity to share their culture with my side of the family,” says the bride. “My parents were psyched as well – they went to Puerto Rico on their honeymoon and they hadn’t been back since! Of course there were some family members or friends who couldn’t make the wedding for one reason or another, but our closest friends and family wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” 

The couple wanted to ensure guests had the best time during their stay in a new country. “We created gift bags that we left in our guests’ hotel rooms that included mini bottles of DonQ rum and Puerto Rican dulces (sweets),” says the bride. “The bags also included the weekend itinerary and recommendations for sightseeing and restaurants in the area.

The Cathedral San Juan Bautista and Hotel El Convento were amazing venues because they have so much history and old-world charm,” says the bride. “El Convento was the perfect atmosphere for the reception and that allowed us to put on a really fun party for our guests.” Having their wedding in Puerto Rico allowed the couple to elaborately celebrate the joining of two different cultures. “I said my vows in Spanish, while Javier said his in English, which had everyone in tears!” says Taryn.

“Our band, Sin Prisa, sang traditional salsa music from Hector Lavoe, but they also covered songs from the Black Eyed Peas and Pharell. In addition, one of my favorite moments was when the Planeros (traditional Puerto Rican band) came out in between the two sets. This was a surprise for Javi, and I loved seeing the look on his face when they came marching out onto the dance floor! Our families and guests loved the tributes to both cultures and it allowed all of our guests to party and celebrate together.”

Try not to stress about who can or can’t attend your destination wedding. “At the end of the day, the important people will make the trip because they love you,” says Taryn.  

This elegant celebration really brought light to the joining of two cultures and was an unforgettable experience for everyone involved. “I definitely don’t think our wedding would have been as unique had we had it here in NYC,” says the bride.

“The great thing about having a destination wedding is that it allowed Javi and me to spend multiple days with our guests and truly make a vacation out of it,” says Taryn. “We felt that our wedding celebration lasted for five days, instead of being over in just eight hours.  We were able to make five times the memories!” 

The bride’s tips: “Do all of the obsessive planning you want up until the wedding week, but after that, you have to let it go!  What is meant to be will be at that point and you can’t control everything! Just relax and have fun with all of your family and friends! It will truly be one of the best days of your life to be surrounded by all the people who care about you both all at the same time!”

Vendors: Photographer: Caroline + Ben, Wedding Planner: Rosalina Torres of Rosalina Momentus Events, Ceremony Site: San Juan Bautista Cathedral, Reception Site: El Convento Hotel, Gown Designer: Matthew Christopher, Florist: Festivo, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Jack Victor, Bridesmaids Clothing Designer: Amsale, Videographer: Diseño 3, Bands: Sin Prisa, Planeros and Café de Plena; Invitations: RSVP Today, Cake: C+M Cake Designers.

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