Every wedding has its charm. In the past, we’ve spoken about this or that specific detail—perhaps a set of dazzling lamps, a coffee station, the perfect menu, a couple that dances until the sun rises. But what if everything is perfect? What if the weather plays nice, what if the music never ends, what if the desserts are the sweetest you’ve ever tried? What if you plan a destination wedding in Roatan, and every single detail is executed to perfection?
It happens. It did happen, on a sun-drenched beach in the Caribbean, the sand warm to the touch, the water quiet and calm, the sky blue like you’ve never seen before. This is the story of Fabiola and Luis Carlos, and their magical wedding in Roatan.
Let’s rewind a little, maybe six months before the wedding. I met Fabiola and Luis Carlos over the phone as we planned a food tasting on the island. We met up at Ibagari, a beautiful, modern boutique hotel nestled away in West Bay. Over drinks and delicious bites to eat, we talked, and laugh, and for a minute, I forgot I was working.
Planning a destination wedding in Roatan can test the nerves. The Caribbean weather is unpredictable: burning sun can disappear in a second, replaced by torrents of rain. OK, maybe that’s a little bit of an exaggeration, but planning such an event implies a Plan B in case of clouded skies.
But Roatan behaved beautifully, as if the island were celebrating the happy couple too. The couple arrived to the reception on a yacht, stepping down onto the pier as a traditional Garifuna musical group played the drums, dancing upon the sandy shore. The dance floor lay before a pool filled with natural rose petals (each delicately placed upon the shimmering water just hours before), and as the sun bent low in the sky to kiss the water’s edge, the couple began to dance.
Can you picture it? Can you picture the golden light that suffused the entire scene? Picture happy couples dancing barefoot on the sand. Listen to the quiet lap of the waves upon the island. There is salt in the air, but there are also bubbles: standing before the ocean, a bar of Moet Chandon awaits the guests. The couple loved champagne, and we decided on this detail from the very beginning, finding a way to procure each bottle and have it make its way to the island. It was a small, intimate wedding, and the bride and groom toasted time and time again, as the sun gave way to brilliant starry night.
We’d set up a table of desserts, a sweet detail that Fabiola had dreamt of. The table was surrounded by orchids and tropical flowers, which mimicked the Roatan sunset: coral reds, violent oranges, pure, blissful whites like the wisps of cloud that danced across the sky.
There were flowers everywhere. We used the pools as a decorative element; for the first, we covered the entire surface so that it resembled a majestic rug. For the second, we placed delicate lights, individual candles floating upon leaves.
Roatan is beautiful during the afternoon, her lush greenery sparkling in the daylight, but as nighttime draws nearer, the sky is pocked with shining dots a million miles away, winking at the couple, as if telling them, this night is yours. Somewhere close to midnight, the sky lit up. Fireworks, like you’d imagine at Disney World, like you’d imagine on the last day of the year as you count down and wait for the ball to drop…
And they danced. And they laughed. And I look at the pictures, and I still can’t believe how perfectly everything happened. Fabiola and Luis Carlos, I wish you many more perfect days and nights—some along the beach, some filled with flowers, all filled with champagne.