‘I Do, Guatemala’ creates dream weddings amid Antigua’s romantic settings
With volcanic backdrops, a signature arch, cobblestone streets and centuries-old ruins, La Antigua Guatemala couldn’t be more picturesque.
Diana Sciarrillo of Guatemala City and colleague Romie Black of Atlanta (USA) want those and other images unique to Guatemala in wedding albums around the world. So last year they started “I Do, Guatemala” to entice engaged couples abroad to tie the knot in Antigua.
“It’s just breathtaking—very romantic, majestic,” Sciarrillo said. “When foreigners come here, they fall in love with the place.”
Black and Sciarrillo arrange every last detail of a wedding to remove the burden from the couple and to give them and their guests a lifetime of fond memories.
In recent celebrations, couples in wedding attire have kissed under the Santa Catalina Arch, strolled through the Antigua market and exchanged vows in the splendor of Convento de Capuchinas and the Cathedral of San José.
I Do, Guatemala has dispatched happy couples and their guests across the country for visits to Tikal, Lake Atitlán and the beach. Guests have ridden from the ceremony to receptions in uniquely Guatemalan style, too, such as tuc-tucs and a chicken bus.
“Antigua was all we had dreamed of and more,” said newlywed Dave Kopetsky of Denver (USA). “The geographic setting was fabulous with the volcano and rooftop views. The city architecture hasn’t changed much over the years and it feels like you’re walking back in time. … At the same time Antigua possessed many of the modern benefits —technology, restaurants, transportation—that made our guests feel comfortable.”
For Kopetsky’s rehearsal dinner, Sciarrillo arranged for a traditional Mayan fire ceremony—unbeknownst to the couple.
“She translated what the Maya priest was saying, and our family and friends gathered all around us in the blessing. That was truly special to us and quite a surprise. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room,” Kopetsky recalled.
Although relatives and other guests were initially reluctant to travel to Guatemala, based on rumors and warnings, Kopetsky conveyed the positive experiences of friends who had traveled here and loved it.
“Some guests of ours, including my family, had never even traveled out of the country before. So in a way I could understand their reservations,” he said. “By contrast the information we received from friends of ours who had actually traveled there was that they felt safer in Antigua than they had anywhere else in the world. We would definitely echo that after our experience, as would our guests.”
Every wedding package has something special—be it an indigenous ceremony, an appearance by Antigua’s beloved “Cigar Lady,” salsa lessons or a marimba band. At a January wedding, Black and Sciarillo gave the lighting of the unity candle a twist by incorporating a Mayan globo into the ceremony and launching it into the sky.
“We try to give each couple more than they expect,” Sciarrillo said.
Activities such as mountain biking, golf, volcano climbs, and even cooking classes are also options. And while weddings are the focus, Sciarrillo also orchestrates anniversaries, birthdays and corporate events.
Guests have been pleasantly surprised and often speak of returning, Kopetsky among them.
“Antigua was a traditional, beautiful and inexpensive destination for us. We couldn’t have been happier with our decision,” he said.
And even though Kopetsky tries to visit a different destination on every vacation, “Guatemala is so special to us now, though, that we might need to make a trip back for a future anniversary.”
For more information visit www.weddingsinguatemala.com