Destination I Do
Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Lovely Nicaraguan Nuptials

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Amazonas Photography

Being a frequent traveler, I can speak from experience that some places grab ahold of you and won’t let go – in a good way. This is just the case with destination wedding couple Julia and Devin. “Long before we met, Devin pictured himself getting married in Nicaragua,” says the bride. “He had lived in the country during his Peace Corps years and, needless to say, it had a special place in his heart. We had visited the country together long before the proposal and were both in awe of its beauty and the warmth of its people. When the question of ‘will you?’ came up, there was no question of ‘where?’”

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While the couple had a unique bond with their chosen destination, most of their friends and family did not. Thus, they were understandably hesitant. “We definitely received a few negative reactions to having a destination wedding in a not-so-easy to get to and remote place,” says the couple. “At first, some of our guests were put off by the country of choice and the remoteness of the venue. In response, we encouraged those select few to extend their stay past the wedding weekend itinerary and make a true vacation out of the trip by visiting other countries in the area.”

Because the travel was going to be a bit complicated for their guests, the couple did everything they could to make the planning process for their loved ones as easy as possible. “We decided to go completely digital with our invites, RSVP’s and anything else wedding related. We were faced with a challenge to coordinate logistics for guests from all over the world. Having a one-stop website for everything was very helpful in providing a plethora of travel options suitable for someone coming in from Beijing or traveling in from L.A.”

When it came to planning the actual wedding weekend, the couple was much more laidback. “Our motto was to remember to have fun. As stressful as it had the potential to get, we just didn’t let it boil to that level. We were fortunate enough to be in a position to do a pre-wedding scout, which helped to answer and finalize a lot of TBD’s months ahead of our wedding date. In a way, having a destination wedding narrows your options. We chose to look at that in an optimistic manner and adopted a more laissez-faire approach during the planning process.”

There was another reason the couple remained pretty stress-free throughout the destination wedding process: their wedding planner. “Did we mention that a wedding coordinator for a destination wedding is necessary like ice in your ice water? There really is no way around it and it’s one of the best luxuries that a destination wedding makes you enjoy.” To really get their W-Day vision across, the couple pulled together lots of visual inspiration for their vendors.

“Not wanting to run the risk of the language barrier or being lost in translation, we relied heavily on images,” says the couple. “Pinterest and Instagram were key in providing ideas and making it easy to communicate our vision with our wedding coordinator and photographer.” While a language barrier might be viewed as a con, there were certainly way more pros for Devin and Julia in hosting the wedding where they did. “There are certain aspects of destination wedding costs that could be comparable to a large city venue in the U.S.,” explain the newlyweds. “However, the bottom line is a destination wedding allows you to explore some options more freely – largely due to the fact that they are cost friendly. Fireworks was one of the surprises for our guests that we were able to arrange with the help of Rancho Santana for a fraction of the price that it would normally cost stateside.”

After their beautiful, intimate destination wedding in Nicaragua, the couple doesn’t express any regrets. In fact, they have tons of helpful tips to encourage other couples to host a destination wedding. “Maybe it goes without saying, but pick your vendors not only based on their skill, but also factor in your compatibility with them. This could be a long and tedious journey, but it makes a world of difference if you are surrounded by true professionals that you like. They will likely get to see you at your best (just married!) and at your worst (reading your to-do list a week out).

“Our wedding coordinator (turned therapist, life coach and interior designer) wore many hats throughout the process and mastered them all. Our photographer seemed more like a childhood friend that made us feel completely at ease during all the delicate moments she was able to capture on our wedding day. This, in turn, helped us enjoy every moment of that day that flew by in a blink of an eye.”

Vendors: Photographer: Amazonas Photography, Wedding Planner: Erik Wetz with Rancho Santana, Ceremony/Reception Site/Cake: Rancho Santana in Nicaragua, Florist: Esmeralda with Rancho Santana, Hair: Lilianija, Makeup: Christina Villa, Gown Designer: Pronovias, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Ralph Lauren, DJ: DJ Hot Sauce, Music: Joselito

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