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A Winter Wedding in Cali Celebrating Nature and Latin Culture

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Sebastian G. Cardone

Artist Stefania Tejada and Damien Favel, an export area manager at Maison Kitsuné, met in Paris. She was visiting from Barcelona and discovering the city for the first time, and he was a local, who offered her a tour of the area. “I noticed someone sitting at the table next to mine, who had figured out I wasn’t really from France, so I asked him for some recommendations on places I should definitely discover,” she says. “Damien invited me to discover the city the next day. I honestly was not expecting anything more than probably visiting two or three places, but the following day, he showed up on a scooter, and we covered the entire city. Honestly, it felt like a scene from a film.”

He visited her for three weeks, and from then, they spent every two weeks between the two European cities. After earning her masters, Stefania headed home to Colombia, and five months apart later, he flew to the South American country to see her. They were exploring Bogotá, and after dinner at Villanos en Bermudas, he got down on one knee with a beautiful ring. 

From the beginning, the engaged pair knew they wanted an intimate, gathering-style wedding with only close friends and family, set in a natural space. “I’ve always been surrounded by palm trees, flowers, and plants, and we wanted everyone to feel completely free and really experience what the Latin culture is all about,” the bride explains. 

While having lunch at Antigua Contemporánea in Cali, which was created by a renowned interior designer and a good friend of Stefania’s mother, they decided to host their February nuptials in the natural, bohemian venue filled with treasures from all over the world. The couple took on most of the planning to create an event that best reflected them and only worked with a friend of the family, Constanza Martan, to finalize and organize things.

Stefania was not a white dress kind of bride and tried to wear a black Cecilie Bahnsen number, but her family “almost collapsed.” She then pivoted to non-bridal brands that she’d purchased things from in the past. The Scandinavian brand Ganni came to mind, and she chose a pleated georgette dress from the label, made with 100% recycled polyester. “10 minutes after—and this is a true story—Damien sent me a link with this same dress saying, ‘Maybe this one?'” she says. “If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is.”

To pair with her dress, Stefania also wore Julieta Alvarez‘s Big Oyster earrings, the Ecos earcuff, designed by LaSierra Jewelry, and her mother’s gold cylinder ring. On the day-of, the bride got ready with Tatiana Ortiz to create a glowy beauty look.

The wedding events began in Bogotá with the couples’ families and friends from Mexico and France. Then two days later in Cali, the main event was named “Gathering Flora.” From their hotel, Alko Hotel Casa Nispero, the couple walked with their families to Antigua Contemporánea, where the rest of their guests were waiting for them. 

Stefania’s sister was in charge of initiating the ceremony and started things off with meaningful chosen words that brought tears to peoples’ eyes. After more family speeches, the newlyweds spoke. The bride recited her toast in French. “The last words of my speech were, ‘The city of love gave me the love of my life. I love you always and forever,’”she says. And Damien did his in Spanish, letting her family know how fortunate he felt for the union of their two families. 

Once everyone had a chance to speak, the bride’s sister introduced them as a couple, while they shared a first kiss to raised glasses and applause. The reception began with refreshing cocktails. The tables were artfully decorated with contemporary touches by Verónica González and fashion photographer Juan Hernandez. And Stefania had created pieces of art for each person to take home.

For dinner, octopus, prawns covered with dehydrated coconut, beef tenderloin medallions, and more were served, followed by dessert of chocolate molte for couples to share, cheesecake with berries, chocolate cake, and the carrot wedding cake. 

The night continued with a performance by the group Gualajo from El Pacífico. Before every song, the lead singer talked about her culture, instruments, and the meaning behind the music. “Everyone just let go, and we danced as if we were in the middle of the jungle, surrounded by a sense of freedom,” Stefania remarks.

Then came the traditional bouquet toss, but the bride invited all of her friends—men and women, single and married–to partake. “Juan, my friend from México, jumped so high and with so much determination that he caught it,” Stefania says. “All the girls just looked at him stunned.” And dancing finally came to a close with DJ Giovanny Terranova around 1:00 a.m. 

The third event, named “Gathering: The Wild,” took up the last two days of the celebration. Close friends and family stayed with the couple at Bio Habitat Hotel in Armenia, Quindio. Looking back, Stefania says, “We ended our trip together as a family, relaxing in front of a magical view, watching the sunset before returning to France, now our home.”