A Lavish Lima, Peru WeddingWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Dmitri and Sandra Photography
For Los Angeles couple, Karen and Sean, a destination wedding was something they had looked forward to for years. Sean is originally from Lima, Peru and his bride had fallen in love with the city, so it was a no-brainer to hold their wedding there. “[Sean’s] whole family lives there and he only gets to see them once a year,” says the bride. “I had been teasing the idea to my family and friends for a couple years and I knew they would be up for the adventure. Given that Lima has been a big part of my life and now will be for the rest of my life, I wanted my family and friends to experience it.”
Thankfully, the couple’s soon-to-be guests couldn’t have been more excited about their decision to host a destination wedding in Peru. “I feel incredibly blessed because everyone had a positive reaction,” recalls Karen. “At no point did I not feel supported. There were a few people who couldn’t make it for financial reasons, having small children etc., but they were honest with us and we, in turn, of course understood as flying out of the country for a week for a wedding isn’t something that everyone is able to do.”
While the planning process came with some challenges, Karen and Sean took them in stride. “You have to be willing to release some control, which I know can be difficult for a bride,” says Karen. “For us, the challenges were 100% worth it. It was such a rush to be with our friends and family from the States as they explored Lima – the food, the architecture and the history…they were blown away and still talk about our wedding every time I see them.
“If you have the option to have a wedding planner, I would absolutely recommend it. It’s worth the money. Otherwise I would imagine it to be a bit more stressful, especially if there is a time difference, language barriers, etc. Having a planner that knows the best vendors for quality, experience and cost is key when planning a destination wedding. Through many phone calls, hour-long Skype sessions, and a week-long trip out to Lima a couple of months before the wedding, everything came together.”
A lot of planning time was spent on making their guests comfortable and the trip to Lima as streamlined as possible. “We provided a shuttle bus for the wedding from start-to-finish, as well as for the dinner and lunch we hosted separately,” says the couple. “Traffic in Lima can get pretty hard to manage and we wanted people to be comfortable and be able to enjoy riding through the city without worrying about battling the sometimes chaotic traffic. We [also] arranged for cabs to pick up groups by name at the airport.”
Speaking of wedding events, the couple hosted several parties for their guests surrounding the actual wedding day. “We hosted a black-tie dinner two nights before the wedding for all the out-of-towners and Sean’s family, a lunch in Santa Maria the day before, and a brunch the day after the wedding.” Karen and Sean definitely went to great lengths to ensure their guests got the most out of their time abroad.
Come W-Day, the couple got exactly the ceremony and reception they had been envisioning since before they were even engaged. “We wanted a very traditional ceremony which we had at a gorgeous 16th century chapel with a long aisle and a choir,” recalls the couple. “Our reception was outside on a cliff overlooking the ocean and with the Lima skyline in view.”
The couple had a breathtaking wedding from start-to-finish…complete with a stunning, gilded ceremony, and a reception dripping with gorgeous details. The reception bar and dessert table alone are worthy of any Pinterest page. The other stand-out? The gorgeous gold, pink and deep red floral centerpieces seen throughout the couple’s event were perfectly complemented by romantic candlelight.
Looking back, Karen and Sean have no regrets about their decision to travel from Los Angeles to Lima for their destination wedding. “By having a destination wedding you are giving your loved ones the opportunity to experience something magical,” recalls the bride. “The trip is for the wedding, but they gain so much beyond that. I do think that the positive vibrations that I felt the whole week were amplified by watching our friends and family fall in love with Lima. The experience made everyone feel special, which made it all the more intimate and unforgettable.”
We think it’s safe to say that Karen and Sean pulled off the wedding of their guests’ dreams and the newlyweds have some advice for other couples planning a wedding away. “Start planning well in advance,” says Karen. “There are often more complications with logistics and figuring out vendors with a destination wedding, so you need to give yourself plenty of time to think through things. I am also not someone that enjoys working on wedding stuff every night, so I was glad to have time to spread it out and enjoy being engaged.
“I also put myself in my guests’ shoes, especially with the out-of-towners – it’s important to be as hospitable as possible. They’ve traveled far for your wedding and, while the wedding is about you and your spouse, it’s an experience for them as well. Lastly…make sure you let yourself get excited, but not overwhelmed. Our wedding was an unreal experience. I kept saying, ‘Is this heaven?’ out loud on the dance floor.”
Vendors: Photographer: Dmitri and Sandra Photography, Ceremony/Reception Site: Iglesia San Pedro/Private Residence, Wedding Planner: Arturo de Noriega with La Fete Event Planning, Florist: Monica Gahate, Videographer: Zeid Films, Catering: Lucha Parodi Catering, Cake: Cucha Corbetto, Tent/Rentals: R&T Arquitectos, Violinist: Elvira Zhamaletdinova, DJ: Alonso Valencia, Gown Designer: Kenneth Pool, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Hugo Boss, Bridesmaids/Groomsmens’ Clothing Designer: Anthropologie/Hugo Boss
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