If you’re a fan of brilliant hues and #meaningfulmoments, you may just want to pull up a chair. Anna and Marc’s hacienda wedding in the Puerto Rican rainforest is simply overflowing with color and texture – stucco, terracotta, tiles and tropical fronds! But as much as a visual treat their special day is, it’s the personal details that really pulled at our heartstrings. Be on the lookout for the personalized quotes at each guest’s place setting (and cue the tears). Thanks Evan Rich Photography for capturing these moments!
From the bride, Anna: After countless weekend visits through the New York tri-state area, the perfect wedding location for us seemed more elusive than ever. There were dazzling venues everywhere we looked, but throwing a familial celebration that truly expressed “us” was becoming a manufactured process. We were close to choosing when Marc suggested we make a little getaway to Puerto Rico to visit his family and see of this little-known Spanish horse farm/inn nestled in the foothills of the El Yunque rainforest. Navigating the winding dirt road before reaching the horse farm gave us little expectations that this could be a place to invite friends and family, but when the sunlight illuminated the “open concept” hacienda the next morning and we stepped onto the Spanish tiles surrounded by the native coqui frogs of the island, we absolutely knew.
Marc and I both share a Latin heritage, I’m Brazilian and his mother (who passed away and couldn’t be with us) is Puerto Rican. His parents met and married on the island 30 years earlier. As Norma, the Hacienda innkeeper showed us all the quirks and turns of the hacienda, it was apparent that this was the location that could represent who we were best. Even better, we could bring all our loved ones together for three days in a way that just wasn’t possible back home.
We worked with Maribel Ramirez at Creating Weddings Group and she truly saw our vision through! In addition to helping us personalize the entire event, she did an incredible job on our florals, incorporating the organic greens of the hacienda throughout with bursts of color on the archway and table settings. I had a front split tailored into my Monique Lhuillier dress to give it a bit more of a Latin feel (it’s a tailoring trick not many may know is available!) topped with a gorgeous crystal comb handmade and shipped from Italy. Marc wore a deep blue Hugo Boss suit, Aldo shoes, polka-dot socks, tie and floral pocket square from J. Crew, giving a nod to the modern, floral feel of the space.
The letterpress invitations, all the paper goods, and Spanish tile favors were meticulously designed and illustrated by my husband Marc (former graphic designer) and printed by Czar Letterpress. He captured the welcoming Puerto Rican feel of the hacienda and infused it with personal touches for everyone. A special touch was embossing handwritten sentiments from old cards our parents and grandparents gave to us throughout the years as well as hand-illustrating the island with personal landmarks like the church where his parents got married and more. We also hand-crafted personalized quotes and Spanish tiles for everyone’s place setting, we wanted the wedding be a celebration of everyone that helped us along the way. Our beloved pup, Lella, was there in spirit as a fully personalized cake topper, so true-to-her the only thing missing was her little wet snout urging a pat on the head.
Marc’s sister married us and his uncle served as the legal officiant. Our celebration was religious in nature, but we also wove in passages from The Little Prince and my godfather read a poem dear to our heart, How Falling in Love Is Like Owning a Dog. We played a quick hand of ‘rock, paper, scissors’ to determine who would read personal vows first, followed by a Spanish guitarist playing us out to the reception area where the party began.
During cocktail hour a Brazilian bossa nova band had my family who made the long trip from Rio trading samba moves to Brazilian classics. We served a delicious mix of Puerto Rican, Brazilian and Italian foods to represent our heritages from the gregarious Chef Enrique Pineiro, a local chef with his own television show on the island. (Menu items included island sweet plantains in dark rum sauce, paella-style chicken with local chorizo and smoked paprika, mofungo and a churro bar complete with various toppings mixed according to your own imagination!) Cuenta Regressiva & DJ Joel took turns playing a combination of American, Brazilian and Spanish music from Celia Cruz, E O Tchan, along with an acoustic version of John Legend’s Stay with Me, our wedding song. Conga lines developed, ‘caballito’ dancing happened – at times we simply had to step back and pinch ourselves as we saw family members salsa-ing the night away who hadn’t seen each other in 15 years!
Quite possibly our favorite memory of the night, though, was when the heavens opened up and the rain came down on all of us on the dance floor for a few minutes – a passing rainforest shower that’s so typical to the area. We looked out at our parents and friends laughing, dresses soaked, throwing all caution of the slippery dance floor to the wind. From watching my mother wade through the water fountain, to seeing Marc’s father slow dance with his sister, we were able to capture a 3-day moment of happiness that just wasn’t possible back home, thanks to this little gem in the rainforest that instilled the soul of the island into all of us.
Photography: Evan Rich Photography
Videography: NDF Films
Event Planning and Floral Design: Maribel Ramirez of Creating Weddings Group
Venue: Hacienda Siesta Alegre
Dress: Monique Lhuillier from Borrowing Magnolia
Hair Brooch: Elibre
Hair: Javier Moreno
Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss
Socks: J. Crew
Shoes: Aldo Men’s Brown Millera
Catering: Chef Enrique Pineiro
Stationery: The groom, Marc Cutillo
Letterpress Printing: Czar Press