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Vibrant Colombian Wedding with Traditional Aspects

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This savvy couple had an international wedding with friends and family from all around the globe. Read on to find out how they incorporated traditional Colombian aspects into their 2 week wedding!
Vibrant Colombian Wedding with Traditional Aspects

Courtney + Ricky

Cartagena, International
- 03/05/2023
Total wedding budget $15,013

Budget Breakdown

Below is an estimated wedding budget breakdown provided by the couple.

  • Partner 2 Attire
  • Hair & Makeup
  • Table, Chair & Linen Rental
  • Partner 1 Attire
  • Catering
  • Miscellaneous
  • Music/Entertainment
  • Photography
  • Planner
  • Alcohol/Bar
  • Reception
  • Total wedding budget
Groom with Wedding Guests
Bride with Bridesmaids drinking champagne
bride and groom smiling
wedding guests taking a selfie
groom and bride laying on bed laughing

What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?

Ricky’s suit was the suit that Colombians wear in Cartagena when they get married. I wore a pant and crop top outfit. We had 2 parades that we didnt tell anyone about so they were a surprise, and they are also tradition Cartagenero/ Colombian wedding parades – the caminata and hora loca.

What was the biggest thing you did to save money?

We didn’t rent a wedding hall or venue. We didn’t have any decorations or a cake – Cartagena is a beautiful city and the views were decoration enough. We also didn’t get exclusivity at the venues; we saved $60k by sharing the spaces with other people, and our guests got to experience the Colombian culture this way.

What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?

Don’t pay for all those things that don’t really matter. No one eats the cake and no one cares if you have the right kind of flowers!

groom with wedding guests
groom with wedding guests
bride with two bridesmaids
groom on flamingo pool float

What was your biggest splurge?

Dinner at the most Cartageño restaurant in Cartagena was our biggest splurge, and it still was only $100 per person. The parades were also a splurge, but it was less than $1000 for both of them.

What is the most memorable moment of your day?

The most memorable moment of our day were the parades! It really separated our wedding from any other wedding.

Describe your wedding in detail.

We did a 2-week, 4-city, 57-person wedding in Colombia! We started off in the high jungle of Minca, where we stayed in glamping yurts. Then we went to Tayrona, which is a Caribbean coast jungle and protected park, where we stayed at the Senda hotels and trekked through Parque Tayrona to Cabo San Juan. We took a party bus to colonial city Cartagena, where we rented a double-building boutique hotel called Casona del Colegio and Casona del Porvenir. We have fast-paced lives and are always moving so we took our guests on a little ride for this trip!

bride with wedding guest drinking champagne
bride with bridesmaids
bride with parade dancers

We wanted our guests to experience Colombia, not just stay in a wedding hall with all the people they already knew, so we made a huge thing out of it. We had the wedding ceremony on the rooftop of Casona del Colegio, and then directly after, dancers from Barranquilla (where Shakira is from) met us in front and we surprised the group by a traditional dancing parade down the streets of Cartagena to a very Cartageñero and fancy restaurant Candé.

After Candé we moved the open bar to a rooftop bar/restaurant/club called Mirador. It has amazing views of the city, and at 11:00PM we surprised the group again with another Colombian tradition: La Hora Loca (or “The Crazy Hour”). Ricky wore a traditional Cartageñero suit and hat, and I wore white pants and a white crop top with all gold embellishments and jewelry (gold is huge in Colombia). The day after the wedding, we did a yacht trip to the Rosario Islands. We left the day after for our 24-person “honeymoon phase” in Medellin, where each dinner was a tasting menu at the finest restaurants in Medellin.

bride drinking with wedding guests
bride and groom with wedding guests
groom with father

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

The ring we used was my mom’s who died in 2020.

Ricky had lipstick all over his face (and his white shirt!) after the kiss.

15 of our friends have flamingo tattoos because I take the 6×6 foot flamingos on all of our international trips. The 15 people are from different groups and got to meet each other for the first time on this trip – you’ll see the flamingos in the pictures! People are floating on them in their semi-formal attire. My dad and Ricky’s mom did the ceremony, along with one of my Colombian friends.

Three other couples got engaged on this trip – it must have had romantic vibes!

For more information on Colombian tourism and weddings, see Courtney’s travel blog, Boots for Walking.

wedding guests dancing
wedding guests taking a selfie
groom dancing with wedding guests
bride on grooms back walking in parade