Patricia and Erik, madly in love but spontaneous, fun and more interested in a small, family affair, decided to keep it simple -and secret- in their destination wedding plans. They selected Puerto Rico because of Erik's roots: he has family in Puerto Rico, so the island is very special for them as a couple. Also, it's a beautiful place to elope or to host a destination wedding. During their wedding planning, they made four big decisions.
1. Booked a Cool Airbnb at Historic Old San Juan
Instead of choosing a big wedding venue, they wanted only close family and friends. So a venue would be too big and formal. They wanted a place where people would feel comfortable and they could have a casual affair, so they booked an Airbnb in the popular area of Old San Juan.
2. Hired a Chef, Pleneros, and a Florist
Having a great time was important for them, so they had a chef over to cook for them and their family, which incredibly appreciated their amazing Puertorican food. They had Pleneros del Mas Allá as a surprise after the ceremony was finished, and everyone -Puertorican or not- had a great time dancing to this traditional drum rhythm. Finally, Maribel Ramirez, one of my favorite florists, designed amazing table centerpieces that eventually turned into a bouquet full of ferns, anthuriums, philodendrons and other tropical plants.
3. Invested in Wedding Photography
Although it was a relatively modest and simple event, wedding photography was a priority service for them during their elopement in Puerto Rico. They wanted someone to capture all the memories, and also walk them around town for a quick portrait session while their guests enjoyed music and cocktails. So they googled around for wedding photographers in Old San Juan, and they found me!
4. Kept it a Secret
Probably, the most challenging part of this event was that they wanted to keep everything a secret. So Patricia's family thought this gathering was just an excuse to meet Erik's family; while Erik's family thought of it as an engagement party, a celebration that's popular to have before the actual wedding in Puerto Rico. Needless to say, some people seemed a bit confused with my presence event. I think eventually they thought I was a friend of Patricia's that loved to take photos.
Everyone was incredibly surprised when suddenly, Patricia and Erik stood in front of each other, with Patricia's brother in the middle, as he started to officiate the wedding. Some guests took longer than others to pick up what was happening, and suddenly everyone was just one big excited giggle. Afterward, we just enjoyed each other's company, while guests took turns to select the music on someone's phone until the pleneros arrived. Shortly after, appetizers started to move around, and that was our queue to leave for a while for the newlywed photos in Old San Juan.
It was a beautiful, refreshing event, and I'm so happy I got to capture it for them.