Latin America

Among the Reefs, Ruins, and Rainforests, "I Thee Wed"

written by | Posted on June 1st, 2010

meson panza verde Colorfully exotic and wildly romantic Guatemala has an irresistible wedding option—getting married in colonial Antigua and honeymooning on spectacular Lake Atitlan. As one of the most stylish and sophisticated boutique hotels in Antigua,Meson Panza Verde offers couples an intimate and historic setting. Ceremonies are held in the tropical patio garden with the bride entering from a sweeping staircase, or in the Zen stone courtyard with its own private staircase descending from Master Suite #7, reserved for the bride and groom. Clients can choose from three terraces with volcano views for a sunset cocktail party before gathering for a celebratory dinner. A savvy wedding team tends to flowers and photography, massage, couple’s yoga and decorated horse-drawn carriage—whatever the couple orders up and programs are catered to keep all budgets in mind. Meson Panza Verde also offers a Mayan Wedding, presided over by a Mayan shaman (a traditional healer) whose moving ceremony unites the couple with nature and with each other. The ritual, blessed by copal incense and pre-Hispanic horn-shell music, calls on the energy of the universe to bond two people with everlasting love. Other elements of the package, priced at $2,860 based on 20 persons, range from champagne, wedding cake, flowers, and a 3-course dinner, to a couple’s massage, a yoga class, suite accommodations, breakfast, and late check-out. Meson Panza Verde’s sister property, Villas B’alam Ya, offers the option of a terrific wedding combination with a honeymoon on the magical shores of Lake Atitlan. A 3-night package, with a fourth night complimentary, is priced at $930.

portofino A Belizean resort with European flare, beachside Portofino on Ambergris Caye, is a lovely place to be. Its quintessential romance is showcased in its second-story honeymoon suite—a.k.a. the Royal Orchid Suite—a beautifully appointed, 800-sq.-ft. suite with an “emperor” bed, jacuzzi, double sink bathroom with jungle rainshower, all opening onto a huge 225-sq.-ft. balcony with wide-angle Caribbean vistas. While weddings are customized affairs, the style seems to be elegantly casual, with barefoot-on-the-beach ceremonies. The bride walks down a sandy aisle strewn with sea shells, palm fronds and flowers, to cross a Japanese bridge leading to a dockside wedding. Or, nuptials are held under the garden’s natural flower arch of bougainvillea and roses. The maximum number of wedding guests is 35, and customized catering goes from assistance with marriage certificate to arranging the minister, the photographer, flowers, live music, the meals, the cocktails, and the champagne. Portofino’s 7-night Honeymoon package is an ideal add-on to a wedding ceremony and covers accommodations of choice, daily breakfast (room service if requested), candlelight dinner on first night with wine, massage for two, and excursions such as a beach bbq with reef snorkeling and fishing, a full-day jungle tour and Altun Ha ruins visit. Additionally, the package features champagne bottle on arrival, daily en-suite fresh flowers, welcome cocktail, local air tickets from Belize City to San Pedro, personal transfers, and more. (Costs are additional for reef diving and atoll diving.) Priced per couple from $3,893 in the Royal Orchid Suite, from $3,478 in a Beach Cabana.

tabacon grand spa thermal resort For a memorable and distinctive destination wedding, the rainforest and hot springs setting of Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort at the base of the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica is designed by nature to create special and lasting memories. While the great outdoors beckons with birds of exotic plumage, waterfalls, horseback rides and tours, inside, Tabacon pampers her wedding guests with suites that offer impressive views of the volcano or the surrounding rainforest, private balconies—some with jacuzzis—luxury amenities and lovely decor highlighted with local artistry. Catering to weddings with as many as 30 guests, this destination wedding choice offers special ceremony settings. There’s an outdoor flower-filled tent in the rainforest, an open-air bungalow in a garden setting, and the spiritual center of the Iskandria Spa. A resident wedding coordinator works with couples to provide a wide range of customized services and the wedding team is skilled at creating innovative, hot springs, luxury weddings at the Arenal Volcano. The basic Tropical Wedding package is priced from $2,259 and includes a 3-night stay in a honeymoon suite, wedding souvenir, dinner with wine at Los Tucanes, $100 spa bonus pp and a Temazcal spa ritual for two. The package also features private bungalow ceremony arrangements such as champagne, floral decoration, wedding cake, decoration, legal and civil fees, and wedding coordinator services. There is a deluxe version of this package that adds little things such as chocolate-covered strawberries, wine, and rose petal decorations en-suite on arrival.