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Destination I Do
Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Charming Colombia Real Wedding

Words by Hope O'Brien
Photos courtesy of Amanda K. Photography

There are times in life where moments seem to come full circle, little parts of our past make their way back into our present. This was true for Gelly and Nick when their beautiful wedding in Cartagena Colombia mixed the perfect amount of their past with their vows for a loving future.


Gelly and Nick met at Stanford University after some roommates convinced them to sit together at a dinner party, and from there they had a blossoming college love story.

“Being the location for the entirety of our first year together, in addition to the place we met, Stanford has always been a special place for us,” the groom says.

Seven years later Nick was proposing in the privacy of their home as Gelly wasn’t fond of extravagant surprises or being the center of attention.

“I decked out the house with flowers, pictures from our 7 years together, string lights in the backyard, and the topper: I dressed our dog up in a tuxedo to match my formal wear as I waited for her to come home from work,” the groom says.

Having been to ten weddings the year before their engagement, the couple knew that a destination wedding turned mini-vacation was the route they wanted to take. Just a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic broke out across the world, they had their fairytale ceremony.

Gelly grew up in a Colombian household and often visited Cartagena for vacation, and Gelly’s sister had even married there, so the Colombian city was an easy pick. With the location set, the couple started their circle as they traveled back to where it all started for their engagement photos; Stanford.

The engagement photos, much like the location they were taken at, were simply the starting point of the couple’s magnificent journey. Yet there was still much to look forward to as everyone made their way to Cartagena for the big weekend.

The wedding didn’t start in a regular way as they decided to host a welcome party and beach day before the ceremony itself. Their 200 guests joined on the first night for a party on the rooftop of the Bastion Hotel.

“Gelly and I watched in amazement as people from all parts of our lives mingled, danced and laughed together,” the groom says.

Bright and early the next morning, guests shuffled onto the yacht and were taken to the private beach resort Casa Cordoba that the couple had rented out for the day.

“Colombian musicians and dancers decked out in the most beautiful colorful dresses waved and danced as we pulled up,” the groom says.

The entourage’s tropical beach day boasted everything from a fully stocked coffee cart to beach games and jet skis. When the party came to a close, the guests returned to the resort and prepared for the final rehearsal dinner before the big day.

Gelly and Nick’s love story came full circle as they hosted their rehearsal dinner with the theme “Our Story; Falling in Love at Stanford.” This grand gesture of their loving past included Stanford seating charts and an 8-foot-tall Stanford logo made out of flowers.

The next day, they would finally share their vows at the Cathedral of Cartagena. During the couple’s first look, the moment became real – they would be each other’s “forever.”

“The moment I turned around, let’s just say it’s a good thing she was the one wearing makeup,” the groom says. “The nerves vanished in an instant, replaced by giddy joy and excitement, and before we knew it, it was time to head to the Cathedral.”

The final stop in their full circle journey took place at the altar as the same priest that had once married Nick’s parents 33 years prior was the one to ask the couple to say “I do.”[c] After vows were read, the party of a lifetime began as the couple were led through the city by dancers and drummers.

“People flocked from every building we passed to join in on the celebration,” the groom says.

The fun continued late into the night as Colombian coffee was served and Nick celebrated a love he had known early on would be one he would cherish forever.

“I had known she was the one for a while,” the groom says. “My forever person.”

As the music dimmed on the night where their past and present came full circle, a new loop of love and memories began.



Vendors: Photography: Amanda K. PhotographyWedding Planner: Mary Cueter Bodas y Eventos; Videographer: Compania AudioVisualWedding Dress: Monique LhullierEngagement Ring & Wedding Band: Peter Norman JewellersBeach Day Dress: ZimmermannTuxedo/Suits: Enzo CustomReception Venue: Casa 1537Beach Day Venue: Casa Cordoba BaruProduction and Sound Team: RhitmoFlowers: Vivaflor Events Food (Reception): Restaurante DonjuanFood (Beach Day/Reception Dessert): Pasteleria MilaReception Band: Elan Artists / The Social Dance BandReception DJ: Kike SerranoBartending/Fancy Drinks/Coffee Cart: Bartending ShowAlcohol Supplier/Cultural Elements (Cigars, Coffee, Chocolate): Naos CompanySaxophonist: Sax & LoveHora Loca: Grupo Ekobios

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