Wanderlust Inspired Destination Wedding in Puerto Rico | Shevaun & Dawn
Bride and Groom: Shevaun and Dawn
Destination: San Juan, Puerto Rico
Ceremony Venue: Casa de Espana, Old San Juan
Reception Venue: Caribe Hilton
How they met…..
Wanderlove: a mashup of Shevaun’s wanderlust and Dawn’s love. It wasn’t until their second encounter that Shevaun and Dawn both knew their budding friendship could blossom into something great. Initially meeting at a training for work and reconnecting a year later, their lives kept them in separate locations. Neither wanted to let communication lapse, so they kept in touch and spoke daily. Their friendship blossomed a full year before they met again.
What sealed the deal…..
“Third times the charm’ perfectly describes Shevaun and Dawn’s next encounter. Meeting in Puerto Rico, they had an unbelievable chemistry. That trip is the reason they chose Puerto Rico as the backdrop for their nuptials. To this day, Shevaun still recalls their initial embrace and Dawn’s wide grin when they first saw each other. That trip was the beginning of their long-distance romance, which culminated in Dawn’s proposal a year and a half later. Read all about Shevaun and Dawn, and their island chic, travel-themed wedding in Puerto Rico.
What is special about the destination you chose? Puerto Rico was special for Dawn and I because it was the first place we traveled to while dating. We are both from different islands in the Caribbean and wanted a location that was both special to us and convenient for our guests.
What did you love most about the destination you chose? I loved that Puerto Rico was a convenient destination for all of our traveling guests. It also has a great mix of Caribbean and Latin influences, so there was enough Caribbean flair to make us feel at home and enough Latin flair to make it feel like we were in a totally different place.
Tell us about your wedding dress. My dress was a strapless lace, fit and flare, Maggie Sottero gown with a small train. I wore a jeweled belt around the waist and paired it with a cathedral length veil. My favorite part of the dress was the crystal buttons down the back of the gown.
Describe your wedding day decor. We wanted “island chic” and purple is our favorite color. I made it clear to my wedding planner that I wanted minimal flowers, and preferred candles instead. Because of that, we chose to use simple vases with floating votives and orchids as decor. My bridesmaids carried custom made fans, adorned with feathers and pearls, instead of flower bouquets. My favors were plum-colored pina colada jelly beans enclosed in little boxes covered in the print of a map; this was meaningful as the venue, Caribe Hilton, where the pina colada was invented. Per family tradition, we chose a one tier cake to be shared between my husband and I, with multiple tiers of cupcakes for our guests enjoyment. My cake was decorated on theme with the print of a map, and the topper was a couple kissing and standing on a suitcase: perfectly capturing the essence of our relationship.
What unique elements did you include in your event? The most memorable ones were the fans used by the bridal party, which were functional for the outdoor ceremony and common in Spanish culture. We also used post cards from different countries as our guest book and named each table after a place we traveled together. The post card included a photo of us in that place and said why it was special. My mother is from New Orleans, so it was also important to incorporate that part of my culture into the ceremony. Guests received umbrellas or handkerchiefs to be used in the traditional New Orleans secondline we had to kick off the dancing part of the reception.
What cultural aspect(s) (if any) of the destination did you incorporate in your wedding? The cultural aspects of Puerto Rico in our wedding were the Spanish guitarist, who performed as I walked down the aisle and during the ceremony, the pina colada jelly beans favors, and the ceremony location, Casa de Espana, located in Old San Juan. The old Spanish architecture of Casa de Espana was so beautiful that minimal decor was needed. Local Puerto Rican beer and rum punch, the signature drinks served at the reception, were also a hit.
What were your favorite moments from your wedding day? When my husband turned around, saw me for the first time and couldn’t stop smiling. He whispered to tell me how beautiful I was.
What was your favorite memory from your wedding or wedding planning? I have so many favorite memories from that day. I incorporated people who were special to me as much as possible and in every aspect of my wedding. Seeing our closest family and friends bonding with each other was another favorite. I also loved the surprise toasts done by groups of friends and the dancing with my dad. My husband and mom getting down on the dance floor was also unforgettable.
What advice would you give to other brides or engaged couples planning a destination wedding? I would advise you to have a wedding planner on the ground and plan visit the location at least once, if possible. Also, opt out of traditional wedding events and plan events for your guests that will make your wedding weekend special. Lastly, choose your dates wisely.
Dress Designer: Maggie Sotero
Hair: BeautybyMelissaT of the Beauty Lounge (Minnesota)
Makeup: Hollis Roberts Delancy of Hollis Cosmetics International (Bahamas)
Photography: Alfredo Gotay
Wedding Planner: Aidita Echevarría
Florist: Aidita Echevarría Weddings
Cake: Federico Becerra for the Cake and Vanilla Bean Cupcakery for Cupcakes
Event Designer: Aidita Echevarría Weddings
Videographer: NDF Films