Colorful La Casa de la Ruina Wedding Full of Small Personal Touches

June 10, 2024 | justine

Jamie and Sami fell in love with Antigua when they got engaged there. As they planned their wedding, they wanted to capture the adventure, excitement, and love they felt during their first trip. They knew they had to share the beauty of Guatemala with their loved ones. Set in a luxurious historic venue, their La Casa de la Ruina wedding featured a vibrant color palette, showstopping florals, and festive decor that perfectly complemented the old-world atmosphere of their unique location.

A standout moment of the wedding was the ceremony location. The stunning courtyard ruins provided an enchanting backdrop for the couple’s heartfelt vows. And that’s not all. A Mariachi band serenaded and led the entire wedding party through the quaint streets to the garden reception. The tables were meticulously adorned with vibrant centerpieces, each adding a pop of color to the already picturesque setting. However, stealing the show was the unique and vibrant dance floor, where the newlyweds and their guests had a blast all night long.

Even though it was a destination wedding, the pair were determined to infuse it with the cozy familiarity of home and the vibrant spirit of Antigua and Central America. They wanted their guests to feel like they were stepping into their backyard for a relaxed and intimate celebration, and they succeeded brilliantly. Thankfully, Manuel Aldana was there to capture every moment, ensuring that the essence of their special day would be beautifully preserved for all to see.

The Couple:

Jamie and Sami

The Wedding:

La Casa de la Ruina, Antigua, Guatemala

Recommended Reading: Everything You Need To Know About Wedding Dress Shopping

Crafting a Meaningful La Casa de la Ruina Wedding Ceremony Through Personal Touches and Emotional Surprises 

For the ceremony, we opted for a short, non-traditional approach. My uncle officiated, incorporating a brief meditation, poetry readings, and a unique passing of the rings ceremony, where each guest blessed the rings with well wishes. We exchanged heartfelt speeches and custom vows, adding a personal touch to the moment. With the help of our planner and our vendors, I surprised Sami during the ceremony, executing the plan flawlessly. We had the talented local violinist Mariana Bustamente play a playlist we curated together, covering everything from Harry Styles to beloved Harry Potter soundtracks. As a nod to Sami’s love for Lord of the Rings, I suggested incorporating “Concerning Hobbits” into our walk down the aisle, a moment that moved Sami to tears, as expected.

Honoring Roots and Adding Extra Flair Throughout Their Big Day

We had a lot of favorite moments throughout the day. As we walked from the ceremony to the reception venue, a Mariachi band serenaded and led the entire wedding party through the streets—a nod to Jamie’s time in New Orleans, famous for its Second Line celebrations. Stepping into the reception venue for the first time filled us with awe, seeing all the small details we’d discussed come to life. We laughed our way through but successfully nailed our choreographed first dance—a huge triumph. After that, the wedding party let loose on the amazing dancefloor for the rest of the night, having an absolute blast. We especially enjoyed joining in with the belly dancers we brought in, paying homage to Sami’s Middle Eastern roots and adding an extra touch of fun to the celebration.

Destination Wedding Essentials: Why You Need a Wedding Planner

If you’re planning a destination wedding, hiring a wedding planner is a must! I Do, Guatemala were instrumental in making our weekend unforgettable. They helped us connect with local artists and vendors we would have needed help finding. Remember, it’s your day, so there are no rules. 

How They Made Their La Casa de la Ruina Wedding Truly Theirs

Our favorite wedding moments always revolve around speeches, so we spread them throughout the events, giving each one value and importance without overwhelming guests. Instead of traditional Father-Daughter/Mother-Son dances, we invited our families onto the dancefloor, creating unforgettable moments. Later in the night, we had belly dancers, and our DJ seamlessly integrated traditional Middle Eastern music into the playlist. Our menu was eclectic: ceviche, Thai food, a ravioli bar, steak, and a taco station. Groomsmen wore their own suits, and bridesmaids picked their own dresses. By focusing on what mattered most to us, we created a day that was uniquely ours, ignoring many traditions to stay true to ourselves.

Crafting La Casa de la Ruina Wedding Luxury Within Limits

We weren’t aiming for a million-dollar wedding, and we ensured our wedding planner knew our budget and expectations. Despite that, our day felt like pure luxury, both in the moment and looking back at the photos. Before meeting with our planner, we researched wedding budgets and read blogs from weddings we admired to set realistic expectations. We found it helpful to break down our budget into specific items rather than seeing it as one big expense, which helped us stay on track while choosing vendors and details. Though I spent more on my wedding dress than planned, I saw it as a special treat for myself. Setting up payment plans for big expenses was a lifesaver, with our wedding planner handling 75% of the payments. We were incredibly fortunate to receive help from both sets of parents, which we hadn’t expected when we decided on a “big” wedding. Throughout the year leading up to our wedding, we saved and budgeted our personal finances to cover most of the costs, making our dream day a reality.

Discovering Antigua’s Charm: How They Found Their Dream Wedding Venues

We selected our venues after exploring Antigua on a scouting trip with our planner. Over three days, we toured various locations, from city streets to mountainsides, all meticulously prepared by Diana based on our preferences. We envisioned a natural, outdoor setting that embodied the unique charm of Antigua, a UNESCO World Heritage city known for its preserved ruins and gardens. Among the many ruin sites available, we sought lush vegetation and symmetry for our ceremony—a traditional aisle. Eventually, we settled on two venues: La Casa de la Ruina Santa Rosa for the ceremony, where Sami instantly fell in love during our scouting trip. Its allure was further enhanced by the option to rent the entire property for the weekend, providing accommodations for our loved ones. For the reception, we took a leap of faith with Jardin Real de Santiago, a chosen sight unseen due to Antigua’s in-person reservation process. Despite initial reservations, the space exceeded our expectations with its expansive, private setting enveloped by beautiful trees and verdant foliage. This strategic choice allowed us to allocate less of our budget to florals, freeing up resources to focus on other decor elements.

The Wedding Team:

Photography – Manuel Aldana
Second Shooter – Javier Piedrasanta
Assistant + Drone Pilot – Abner Piedrasanta
Event Planning – I Do, Guatemala
Ceremony Venue – La Casa de la Ruina
Reception Venue – Jardin Real de Santiago
Floral Design – Fileas
Catering – Fresh & Local Catering + Evelyn de Batres
Cake – Diamond Cakes
DJ – Project Vibez
Live Music – Mariana Bustamente
Videography – Gaston Bevaqua
Makeup Artist + Hair Styling – Gaby Aguilar
Wedding Dress – Pronovias via White Magnolia Bridal
Bridal Accessories – CBG Designs
Rings – Jewelry Studio of Wellfleet
Rentals – Relaxed Lounge Service + Vla Fabric + Art Deco Eventos Guatemala
Lighting – Erick Trujillo
Dance Floor – Imagen
Belly Dancers – Rashida
Tour Guides – Trips and Tips Guatemala
Hotel – Los Pasos Boutique Hotel


Congratulations to Jamie and Sami on their vibrant La Casa de la Ruina wedding, brimming with heartfelt personal touches! A sincere thank you goes out to Manuel Aldana for skillfully capturing the beauty of every moment and the intricacies of this joyous celebration.

Make your wedding truly special by embracing what makes you and your partner unique. The key to tying all of those elements together into a cohesive theme? A reliable team to bring your vision to life seamlessly. With careful attention to detail and a touch of creativity, your wedding will create unforgettable memories for both you and your guests.

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  1. Lovely photos and an amazing venue!

  2. I’m a wedding photographer in Brazil and I always follow the posts here on the blog. This wedding in particular caught my attention due to the beauty and lightness of the images and photographs that were created in the ruins. The decoration with the light colors, and the bride and groom’s clothes combined in a way that made everything very light and harmonious. Congratulations on the article.

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