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A January Wedding at the Plaza de la Proclamacion in Cartagena with Lots of Traditional Colombian Touches

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Adriana Rivera Miranda

|Planning by 

Gema Weddings & Events

After Ana Guaracao and Roberto Nava got engaged at the PAMM in Miami, the pair moved to Madrid and began brainstorming where they should host their wedding. “My family is mostly based in Colombia, and it was very important for them to be able to join us, so that quickly threw our ‘intimate wedding in Spain’ plans out the window,” Ana explains. Cartagena ended up being the perfect choice. “It’s a beautiful destination, has a small, historic town feel, and, most importantly, gave us the possibility of using its picturesque public squares as an unconventional venue, something we were after.”

As many brides before her, Ana chose a wedding dress far from her original mood board. The Vera Wang gown, which she found at Ever After, was classic with a twist, light and airy, and covered enough for a church ceremony. And on the day-of, Ana borrowed her aunt’s floral amethyst earrings, as that is Rob’s birth stone, and wore Wandler shoes from Mytheresa.

The bride found her mother’s Pepa Pombo dress via Instagram, and it complemented her own perfectly, while her sister wore a design by Colombian designer Camilo Franco. “We kept the Colombian tradition of having flower girls and ring bearers as opposed to bridesmaids and groomsmen,” Ana explains. The girls wore traditional Spanish alpargatas (espadrilles), which the bride bought with her mother in Madrid.

“I must admit one of the reasons we chose Cartagena as our wedding destination was for the men to be able to wear white dinner jackets,” Ana says. “We both really love that look.” And Rob completed his look with Del Toro black velvet slippers.

For their #RobbedAnasHeart wedding, they hired Yami Yidios of Gema Weddings & Events, who suggested the Plaza de la Proclamacion. The historic plaza had been under construction for a couple of years and was scheduled to be completed months before the wedding date in January, 2020. The couple only received final approval to use the space two weeks before they said, “I do,” and were the first people to use the space after its renovations.

In San Pedro Claver Church, the couple walked down the aisle with their parents and were married in a traditional, yet short, Catholic ceremony. “My grandma had passed away a few months before, and my family became really close to Father Rodolfo Abello who guided us throughout that time,” Ana remarks. “It felt very special to have him be the one to marry us.”

As is typical Colombian custom, guests were greeted outside of the church by traditional palenqueras (folk dancers) and drummers. Small paletas were served in white ice cream carts, while Ana and Rob snuck away to take photos. Initially, the cocktail hour was going to be held in Simon Bolivar Park in front of the plaza, but the permit was denied by the city the Thursday before the wedding, so they shifted their sights to the cloister.

After drinks, the palenqueras led everyone to the plaza, decorated with tropical greenery by Florarte. “We never disclosed the location of the venue,” the bride says. “It was a huge surprise to everyone.” Then the dinner, made by Adriana Santos and inspired by Colombian staples, was served with dishes including arroz de coco and lomo a la Cartagenera and finished with a wedding cake by Ely Gourmet.

As for entertainment, Rob worked closely with the band, Rubén y la Cartagena’ Stars, and DJ to perfect their sets, and the dance floor was never empty. The newlyweds had their first dance to Natalia Lafourcade’s and Eugenia Leon’s cover of “Burbujas de Amor,” and halfway through the party, Ana changed into an Acler dress.

At around midnight, there was the Hora Loca—a staple in every Colombian and Venezuelan wedding. Friends wore hats and headpieces inspired by the sombrero vueltiao and made out of Iraca palm, while maracas and aguardiente shots were passed around. “We worked closely with artisans to create an all-white hat for Rob with little mirrors to reflect the light from our disco ball,” the bride explains. “We were conscious about where we were getting our favors and sourced the alpargatas and maracas from locals.”

Dancing in the plaza lasted until 3:00 a.m., but the celebration didn’t end there. With their last few standing friends, the new Mr. and Mrs. headed to an open bar in the old town to ride out the last few early hours.

After their magical wedding, the couple’s African spring honeymoon was unfortunately postponed due to COVID-19. They’ll soon be traveling again but are thankful to have had such a special celebration with their loved ones.