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Wedding Planner Spotlight: Rebekah from A & B Creative

In this month's Wedding Planner Spotlight, we are so excited to introduce the talented Rebekah Carey McNall, owner of A & B Creative. She lives with her husband Alex and two sweet pups in Oakland and they spend part of the year in Oregon, where they are both from. We love the styling for the different weddings, events and shoots she has been a part of. She shares with us several great wedding planning tips, insights about the latest wedding trends, the right questions to ask a wedding planner and much more.

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Rebekah Carey McNall A & B Creative

How did you get your start in wedding planning?
My foray into wedding and event design began with designing store vignettes and window displays. It was so much fun to create a little story within each look. That joy along with the fact that I have always loved and been fascinated by people's stories led me to desire being able to tell a couple's story through their wedding design.

What is your forecast for 2014 trends? Any trends in particular are you loving right now?
I'm really a fan of the organic pared-down style that we're seeing right now. I love wild floral arrangements that seem like they're still growing out of their vessels, linens that look like they were hang dried in the sun, and even a little wrinkled. I think weddings in 2014 are going to continue to be more and more bespoke with focus on very special and important details for the couple.

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Rebekah Carey McNall A & B Creative
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Rebekah Carey McNall A & B Creative

Best favor you’ve seen?
I loved the honey favors one of our couples gave their guests that was harvested from the bride's family farm, which was also the wedding venue. Another that was just plain cool was almost three years ago when a groom 3D printed little airplanes for all of the guests, I had never seen that technology at that point.

Tell us one detail you cherish at a wedding.
I can't get enough of vows. Watching a couple's eyes when they're locked on each other and they're professing and promising their love for each other is so intense, and it feels so incredibly intimate (and lucky) to be able to witness that again and again. It's also invariably the moment when I turn to Alex (my husband and partner who I work with at every one of our weddings) and say, "let's get married again!"

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Rebekah Carey McNall A & B Creative

Do you have an ideal timeline for planning a wedding?
I really don't! I have worked with couples whose weddings are over a year away all the way to just eight weeks before. The ideal time to plan your wedding should be as much time as you need not to feel overly stressed and pressured.

How do you ensure a bride and groom’s personality is reflected in the wedding, rather than the wedding planner’s personality?
Honestly, making sure that the couple's personality is reflected in the wedding design is my first and foremost concern. I start by finding out what is most important to them, any inside jokes, their "story" and any cultural elements they want to incorporate. With learning those details in the beginning I can help them to make sure that their big day does in fact feel truly theirs.

When someone is looking for a planner, what are some good questions to ask at the meeting?
Definitely being up front about your expectations right from the beginning is huge. Everyone works differently so asking specific questions will help you to get a better feel for your planner. Also, keep in mind that all through the wedding planning process, however long yours is, this is going to be the person you communicate with the most. Make sure that you really like them as a person in addition to trusting them to advocate for you both.

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Rebekah Carey McNall A & B Creative
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Rebekah Carey McNall A & B Creative

Tips for brides and grooms planning their wedding.
Honoring your family is important, however don't forget that this is your wedding. From not being pressured into choices you're not on board with from family or friends, to really, the internet. There are so many beautiful blogs and magazines and places to gather wedding inspiration, that it can be overwhelming. I recommend having a cut-off date from looking at those items before your wedding. If you choose some of those designs last minute they'll be out of impulse and not because they're special or significant to you and your partner.

For a lot more wedding ideas, inspiration, styled shoots and to get in touch with Rebekah, visit her A & B Creative website.

Photo credits:
* Photo of Rebekah by Erich McVey 
* Family tree and table set-up photos by Kris Holland 
* Couple photo by Jessica Roberts
* Drink display photo by Paige Jones
* Long table with garland photo by Delbarr Moradi 

Lakeside Wedding

Pauline and Rusty were married by Binnewater Lake at a private estate in Rosendale, NY. Their goal for their day was to "make the wedding weekend as much "ours" as possible and just have fun” our Bride explains, “…we tried to keep it not fussy, romantic and playful.” The couple and their guests even had a 5k race the morning of the big day. Read more highlights from their fun filled DIY Lakeside wedding below.

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Pauline recalls the day being a major group effort to pull off with everyone pitching in to help. The major highlights of the day for her was seeing everything come together, "... all the details from hanging the lights in the tent and setting the tables to Rusty (the Groom) and friends building and decorating the chuppah the day of the wedding and especially when I saw my friends out skinny dipping in the lake later in the night! I truly have amazing friends and family!"

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“Words of Wisdom” for couples currently planning their wedding?

If you don't have a huge staff of people helping out, delegate tasks to people! Everyone wants to help out to be a part of your day and want to make sure you are not stressed. Since our wedding was a DIY wedding, it was key to have someone taking care of "day of" tasks. Luckily, my friend Leah is an amazing event planner and was essential in helping to coordinate everything that day.

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Bride & Groom chose the Modern Day Love Invitation Suite for their wedding stationery.

Wedding Venue: Binnewater Lake - Private Estate | Photography by Wendy Plogger

Wedding Inspiration: Wreath Invitation

Today's inspiration board comes from our Wreath Wedding Invitation design. We love the simple and universal design this invitation can create. For this board, we created a soft romantic theme which incorporates Vintage aspects as seen in the pews and tables to the Floral Crown the bride wears, this look is timeless.

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Wreath Wedding Invitation Inspiration

Photo Credits
Row 1: Del Barr Moradi Photography via Style Me Pretty | Laura Goldenberger Photography via 100 Layer Cake | Jose Villa via Green Wedding Shoes | Row 2: Michael & Anna Costa via Style me Pretty | Wreath Wedding Invitation by Love vs Design | OneLove Photography via Green Wedding Shoes | Row 3: Patrick Moyer via Style Me Pretty | Jose Villa via Style Me Pretty | Mel Barlo and Co. via The Knot

Event Planner Spotlight: Lauren Wells Events | New England

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Lauren Wells Events

We are thrilled to introduce New England Based (and Beyond) event planner Lauren Wells, of Lauren Wells Events. We were lucky to meet Lauren a few years ago while we worked with her on her own wedding stationery. Lauren is not only a joy to work with but is full of energy and creative ideas. From photo shoots to event designs to weddings, any lucky person or couple who works with Lauren and her team will be in awe as they help bring your details to life.

Find out more from this wonderful event planner in our Q&A with her and enjoy getting to know a little more about Lauren Wells Events!

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Rustic Wedding

How did you get your start in wedding planning?

While planning our own wedding in 2012, I fell in love with the entire process. Having 6 years of experience in client management/media planning in the ad agency world, much of my professional experience still proved useful, with the addition of an amazing creative outlet.

What types of locations or settings are very popular now?

In New England, there is definitely a trend towards the more rustic, barn and camp type venues, although the beach will never go out of style here. Boston has great potential for really neat, brick and beam industrial spaces, and I would love to see a push towards more of those!

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bridal shower
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table decor

What are your favorite color combos?

On a personal level, I am drawn to neutrals and soft grays. Clean, with lots of light. On an event level, I love playing with color, and really can't pick a favorite combo!

What are some wedding details you “insist” couples include or try to avoid in their wedding?

I insist on meaningful details - I try to understand which details will truly highlight the couple and bring smiles to each of their guests, and really mean something. In terms of details I try to avoid, that is a trick question! There can never be too much attention to detail.

Is there a wedding favor you’ve seen that’s been your favorite?

I am going to sound incredibly biased, but I would have to say the favors my husband created for his groomsmen. He handmade survival kits out of cedar, with a hatchet, matches and engraved lighter inside.

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groomsmen favor

What is one detail you cherish at a wedding?

The moment the ceremony starts, the excitement is silent and palpable, and the bride begins to walk towards her groom - my heart literally melts, and I cry every time.

What is the most important thing you tell brides?

Relax, and have fun. Remember what it is all about: you and the love of your life, celebrating this incredible relationship you have built with one another. The second you lose sight of that, and begin to focus more on Pinterest than the person sitting beside you, you are in it for all the wrong reasons.

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Up Anniversary

When someone is looking for a planner, what are some good questions to ask at the meeting?

I think it is important to ask personal questions, to see if you connect with the planner. You don't have to be best friends with whomever you hire, but you do want to like that person enough that you are excited to spend the biggest weekend of your life with them. I would definitely ask to see past client reviews, as well as past events. I would also ask for an understanding of the entire process, and how things generally work. More than anything, I would recommend you ask whatever questions you may have - that is what we are here for!

Your Top tips for brides and grooms planning their wedding?

Focus in on what is most important to you, in order, and prioritize those wants. Budgets are real, and they matter, so having a list of what means the most to you will make it easier to stick within that budget and still have the perfect day.

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Lauren Wells Events Team

Photography by: Cambria Grace Photography | Our Labor of Love

Rain Blessed Wedding

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mountain view

Today’s real wedding features Jenn and Paolo, who were married on the beautiful island of Oahu, Hawaii. Having each moment captured by their photographers, One Love Photo, this couple showed us what the day is truly about, even when some unexpected moments arise. Read more from the Bride about the vision for their special day and experience their moments in a tropical paradise filled with splendor, family and fun.

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wedding dress
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observing
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assistant

Jenn tells us about their choice in venue: "We had a few hiccups with our location. Originally, we were planning on a church wedding with the reception somewhere else (that's actually what is printed on our invitations) but we made some last minute changes (thank goodness for RSVP websites) and ended up having the ceremony and the reception at the Dillingham Ranch. It's a beautiful venue that has a lot of charm and it was perfect for us because we didn't have to do anything to make it gorgeous. We left the property do all of the wooing and it worked!"

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before seeing each other
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first look
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beach walk
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happy

Our ceremony was really special to the both of us. It was full of so much love, a few surprises and lots of happy tears. Our best friend officiated the ceremony for us, my uncle opened up with a prayer and a blessing, my dad surprised us with an amazing song that he performed with people from both of our families and we wrote our own vows. It was really important for us to be authentic to ourselves as individuals but to also honor and respect the love we have for one another and for our family and friends.

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bubbles
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brides entrance
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surprise song
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tears of joy
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married

What advice can you offer to couples who are currently in the planning stage of their wedding? "Do what works best for the both of you. It's hard to really strip things down and try to figure out what you want, when everyone has an opinion, but honestly do what works best for the both of you. I got caught up in things (menus, seating charts, signs, straws, etc) and at the end of the day none of that was actually important to us but it was still hard to let go of the idea of what I thought I wanted for the wedding. Stay true to your love and do what makes you happy."

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bridesmaids
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hugs
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groomsmen
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cake cutting
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rings

The biggest highlight of the day for the couple was their first dance in the rain. They tell us, "We pushed back and held our own about not renting a tent for the day and I know that it gave a lot of people anxiety but it was hands down the best decision we made about rentals because it resulted in the most magical moment, ever."

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outdoor
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rain
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first dance
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The Minimalist Invitation

Photography by: Heather & Jon Almeda / One Love Photo / OneLovePhoto.com | Wedding Venue: Dillingham Ranch, Hawaii | Wedding Invitation: The Minimalist | Floral Design: Marie Blooms | Wedding Dress: Dress Theory, Seattle | Catering: Island Lu’au | Rentals: Hawaii Tents & Events |DJ: Mobile DJ Services | Lawn Games: Ever After Events

DIY Ranch Wedding on Style Me Pretty

We are excited to share this Real Wedding of Brittany & Aaron, a lovely couple whom we were happy to work with on their wedding day stationery. They were recently featured on Style Me Pretty, which highlights their beautiful wedding day photos and video. Visit Style Me Pretty for more photos taken by our friends Studio Castillero.


Brittany and Aaron choose our Just My Type Wedding Invitation & Response Card for their wedding stationery.

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Prairie Home Wedding

”Being surrounded by the people who love and support us was the ultimate gift that made the day so memorable.” – Aimee & Christopher

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Our Real Wedding Bride and Groom, Aimee and Christopher, share their special day in Alberta, Canada, at the home of the Bride's family. When planning their wedding, their inspiration grew from the location not only because of the beauty and the simplicity the prairie held, but because this is also the same place the couple met and formed memories. The bride tells us “The rustic, handmade whimsy of the theme seemed to go hand in hand with our personalities, and the surroundings.”

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The ceremony was on a scenic hill overlooking the Red Deer River, where guests sat on straw bales overlooking the river valley, and witnessed the couple take their wedding vows. Aimee tells us "Our ceremony turned our to be more beautiful than we could have imagined. Because we had an outdoor ceremony, we hired accordion player, Penny Sanborn (from Calgary, AB) to serenade guests, and accompany hymns. It was absolutely beautiful."

Afterwards a cocktail reception was held in a tent placed in the yard of the Bride's Parents. With the Groom being from Australia and Bride from Canada, the couple chose a cocktail style reception with no formal seating to ensure their friends from both sides got the best opportunity to meet and mingle. This provided a very relaxed, warm, and inviting party; which progressed into an awesome night of merriment!

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Aimee’s advice to couples who are preparing for their special day: “Embrace the things that go unexpectedly, it makes for some pretty great memories.”

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Wedding Venue: Broadview Ranch | Photography by: Rachel Boekel

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Bride & Groom chose our Rustic Country Wedding Invitation for their wedding stationery.

Idyllic Lakeside Wedding

Today’s Real Wedding features Love vs. Design’s own, Willem and his bride Saskia. The two were wed in their home country, the Netherlands, which set a beautiful setting with it’s natural beauty.

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the outfits
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”the

Looking to do something unique for their wedding day, Willem rented a retro VW t2 to make their entrance to the beautiful lakeside venue, he remembers “it was so good to arrive at the venue with such a cool car.” When selecting their venue, the two felt that their biggest wish was to get married on a sunny day outside in the open air. They were immediately drawn to a beautiful historic location, Huis Nieuw Rande, Geb&Gaia (The Netherlands) that was just outside the city they live in. Also, because it rains a lot of times in The Netherlands they needed a location that they would be able to hold the wedding inside as a backup. This location can be described as idyllic, romantic, dreamy and rustic, the perfect place for their vision.

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picking up the bride
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off to get married

At the ceremony, Willem and Saskia also added a personal touch to their wedding ceremony by writing vows for one another, which is not a typical thing to do in their country. Willem recalls the reciting of their vows saying, “We were both so excited to say yes to each other in front of our family and friends…it surprised our guests in a super positive way with some of the guests wiping away tears. This was a really special and unforgettable moment for us.”

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the venue
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the aisle
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marriage certificate signing

Following the ceremony, to create the ambiance, a music band with their own repertoire played at the beginning of the wedding party. But a really special moment was when the band started to sing a love song that Saskia wrote for Willem. Some other memorable reception moments for the couple were the personal and humoristic speech Willem’s father wrote as well as the song Saskia’s father and brother wrote for them. To the couple’s surprise, before the wedding their guests prepared a libdub (a type of video that combines lip synching and audio dubbing to make a music video.) It really set the mood for the beginning of our party as they had all of their guests dancing out of nowhere, they couldn’t believe what was happening especially seeing their 87 year old grandmother dancing! It was a memorable day we’ll never forget.

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the kiss
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flower petals
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the couple

Advice they give to those currently in the wedding planning process: “Choose the things you like the most and what’s close to yourself, it’s your special day. Start planning your wedding early so you are able to relax before the wedding is there. Also have someone to coordinate the wedding. We choose our brothers to be masters of ceremonies. They were the contact point for all of our guests and lead the whole day. This made it a lot easier for us to just enjoy our day and not worry about practical things.”

 

Bride & Groom chose the Heart in Hand Photo Save the Date and City Life Wedding Invitation for their wedding stationery.

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Heart in Hand Save the Date
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City Life Wedding Invitation

Wedding Venue: Huis Nieuw Rande, Geb&Gaia (Netherlands) | Photography by Sushilla Kouwen | Videography by Best Moments

Brooklyn Winery Wedding

Melissa, who grew up in the wedding business, wanted to steer clear of the typical old school wedding catering halls and instead find something intimate, romantic and most importantly fun. So when she and Nicky found Brooklyn Winery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, they knew the moment they stepped inside that is was the perfect venue for them.

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mr and mrs
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something blue
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pink

Melissa wanted the wedding to reflect them as a couple. Since they love hosting parties, creating an environment where friends and family could let loose and get down was their goal. Also unique to the day was the couple taking part in helping to make wine at the Winery for their special day. The couple spent a few weeks before the wedding with the staff creating a connection to the place and the employees. Melissa tells us: “The staff was SO excited for our wedding because we spent a lot of time there in the year leading up to our wedding - it felt like we were surrounded by friends all day, even with the wait staff and especially with our day-of coordinator.”

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here comes the bride
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wedding vows
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wedding cake

The most special part of their day was the vows they each wrote and spoke to one another during the ceremony, “They were funny, sarcastic, romantic and really captured our relationship beautifully.” Melissa also recalls a few more memorable moments, such as her Maid of Honor speech, which sent Melissa into tears, as her best friend pointed out the fact that the couple was getting married the same day they also met 16 years earlier. Then of course the Father/Daughter dance which was full of happy tears because “it was something my father and I looked forward to my whole life.”

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Reception
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wedding party

Our Real Wedding Bride offers the following advise to those currently planning a wedding, “RELAX and enjoy the planning process! I know it sounds cliché, but enjoy every moment of the day - no matter how cheesy it may feel at times, the memories are all you have left when it's over! And the day FLIES by. Take time to really take a deep breath and take it all in.”

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Place to Be wedding Invitation

Bride & Groom chose the Place to Be Wedding Invitation design Suite for their wedding stationery.

Wedding Venue - Brooklyn Winery, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY | Photography by - Bella Pictures

Destination Wedding Celebration

We travel overseas for today's Real Wedding, where our good friends share their destination wedding experience. Sam and Andrea chose to say their "I do’s" in the brides home country of Colombia. As most of the bride's family lives in Columbia (Cali and Bogota), it was the ideal location however another key factor for the location was it being a beachside city that guaranteed nice weather.

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sparklers

Sam & Andrea chose to marry in Cartagena, Columbia’s old city center. The couple thought the beauty of this venue would be perfect for their guests who traveled abroad. Not only was everyone able to enjoy a relaxing beach vacation, they were also able to celebrate with us in making our 'special day' more like a 'special few days'. For Sam, the highlight of the day was the time just before the ceremony (being with close close family and friends getting ready), seeing Andrea come down the aisle, and the first dance.

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the aisle

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reception

Sam and Andrea wanted their guests to have a great experience. To ensure this, they set up an itinerary full of trips and activities such as day outings to paradise like islands, cocktails at the old city-wall, a city-tour through the old city center and even a evening party-bus or better known as a 'Chiva bus' in the coastal regions of Colombia. The finale of the weekend was of course the wedding day with the evening events beginning with Sam and Andrea taking their wedding vows. Following the ceremony guests enjoyed cocktails, speeches and dinner. Then, the nights festivities were kicked off with the bride and grooms first dance followed by 'la hora loca' ('the crazy hour'), which is a carnival like hour filled with a team of carnival dancers and entertainers lighting up the party into the night.

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first kiss

For those couples who are currently planning, Sam and Andrea offer the following advise, “Don't think you might regret 'overdoing' the wedding in a huge fashion, as you should make a big deal out of the wedding. In the end, especially a few weeks afterwards, when things settle down, you will have an awesome memory not only for yourself but also for all attendees."

Wedding Venue Hotel Boutique Casa Pestagua and Spa, Cartagena, Colombia | Photography by Antonio Florez fotografia