A Dream Nicaragua WeddingWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Mitch+Denice Wedding Photographers
San Diego couple Brandon and Danielle already live in a popular wedding destination, so why travel abroad? “We fell in love with the location first, not the idea of having a destination wedding,” says the bride. “Little Corn Island, Nicaragua was the first place that we traveled together and we would say it was the time when we both knew we would spend the rest of our lives together! During our time on the island we thought about how we would love to share this secret treasure with our family and friends. After the proposal, it was the first idea that came to both of our minds!”
As frequent travelers, the couple prefers more isolated locations, but knew it might be a stretch for their family and friends. “In general everyone was very excited,” says Danielle. “There are always going to be people who feel a bit uncomfortable with travel, especially to a rather remote location, but we found that the more details and information we provided, the less everyone worried.”
Despite some guests being unable to make the trek, Danielle and Brandon stood firm on their destination wedding decision. “We were sure we wanted to have our wedding there for ourselves; a wedding is one of the few times in your life when it is totally acceptable to be a little selfish. If it’s what you want to do, you should do it. Everyone will understand.”
Planning a wedding in such an off-the-grid location also created some logistical issues. “Because it is such a remote island, getting supplies and important items, like the dress, to the island was a little difficult,” says the bride. “We started planning early so that we could have our contact at the hotel get specific needed items boated in. We were also open to the idea of compromising. We had to be with this location. For example, we did not have our choice of flowers, instead we used the flowers that grew naturally on the island.”
As far as travel was concerned, Danielle and Brandon tried to make things as organized as possible for their guests. “The travel to Little Corn Island included two flights to Managua, Nicaragua, then a smaller flight from Managua to Big Corn Island, and a panga boat ride over to Little Corn Island,” explains the bride. “To assist our guests with the travel arrangements, we posted on our [wedding] website the different flight times and options which would work…we also coordinated a private panga boat for our guests to the island at the same time. The main issue we had with travel logistics was there weren’t many flights to get to Big Corn Island, so we had to plan ahead and make sure our guests purchased those flights early on. We would just recommend looking into all the travel first to make sure you have a backup plan if needed.”
Because the couple had visited their chosen destination before, it really helped them navigate the planning process with confidence, rather than confusion. “We knew that the setting and vibe on the island would create the type of wedding we imagined,” says Danielle. “The planning of the wedding was a lot of fun and very stress-free for us. I would say that [a destination wedding] isn’t typical wedding planning and if you feel you are a bride that would like to have control over every detail – it may not be easy for you. However, at a beautiful location like Little Corn Island, the smaller details like table settings and table arrangements don’t play as large of a part in the overall setting and feel.”
One decision which was easy to make was the couple’s photographer. “Mitch+Denice Wedding Photographers had just done our sister’s wedding earlier that year, so we knew we wanted to have their talent at our wedding. Luckily, they accepted and traveled with us down to LCI. We were so appreciative they were willing to do it and they were such a fun addition to our family and friends.”
While the couple didn’t necessarily save money by getting married in Nicaragua vs. San Diego, they have no doubt that the investment was well worth it. “For the same amount we were able to create four spectacular days and nights,” says the bride. “The length of time was amazing and ensured all 35 of our guests got to know each other very well. We loved being able to spend valuable time with each guest and create that many more memories. Included in that, we were able to provide hotel accomodations and some food and drink, which made the trip possible for everyone.”
These two obviously navigated the destination wedding waters with ease and have some final advice for other couples considering a wedding away. “Ultimately, you have to remember that it is your wedding and you have to do what you want. You have to make it special to you and create the wedding you dreamed of. You can’t worry about other’s opinions or concerns. It is a memory that will last a lifetime, so make it the perfect memory for you. Don’t sweat the small stuff, have fun as a couple doing the planning and make your wedding unique to you as a couple!”
Vendors: Photography: Mitch+Denice Wedding Photographers, Ceremony/Reception Site: Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa, Wedding Planner: Julia Bitton with Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa, Florist & Cake: Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa, Stationery: SC Sweets and Treats, Hair: Madison Clifford with Parlour Hair Salon in Scottsdale, AZ, Makeup: Rebecca Gonzalez with Yemaya Island Hideaway & Spa, Gown Designer: Vera Wang White, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Ted Baker, Groomsmens’ Clothing: Ted Baker
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