A Dramatic Destination Wedding in Antigua

Updated 10/20/14

Marcela Polo

In 2007, Nicole Pollard, founder of LALALuxe and Bikini Cleanse, found herself with a full schedule and absolutely no time for dating. So she turned to the Internet, where Ari Bayme's red gingham shirt and handsome smile won her over. Though their first phone call didn't go well ("We both almost canceled the date!" laughs Nicole), their first date did, and Nicole knew Ari was The One from the very first moment they saw one another.

Seven years later, Ari had a grand plan to propose to Nicole during a family Thanksgiving trip to Sonoma, but Hurricane Sandy got in the way, even on the other side of the country. Her ring was being custom-made in New York, and the hurricane left the jeweler without power to finish it in time. "Luckily, Ari had planned a celebratory trip to Maui," says Nicole, "so he proposed to me on the balcony of our hotel room, with Hawaii in the background." Nicole was so surprised that she spilled her coffee everywhere and missed the entire thing!

"I went inside, changed, and asked him to propose again so I wouldn't miss it," she says.

Thirteen months later, the couple brought 85 friends and family members to Antigua, Guatemala to celebrate their wedding in a romantic setting. Diana Sciarrillo de Pinzon of I Do, Guatemala was planner, translator, liaison, travel agent, and more, and Marcela Polo was there to photograph the celebration.

photo: www.marcelapolo.com

photo: www.marcelapolo.com

Photo: Marcela Polo

Nicole worked with Michelle New York to create her custom beaded gown. "We worked together to choose everything from the silk lining to the train," she says. Inspired by Kate Hudson, the dress included short sleeves, a wide v-neck and intricate embroidery.

The bride's dramatic bouquet included dahlias, roses, and calla lilies in deep red, pink, and purple tones. Nicole's sister, a florist in New York, coordinated with the planner and florist in Antigua to create the dramatic theme.

photo: www.marcelapolo.com

Photo: Marcela Polo

The bride adored her silver Jimmy Choo sandals. "The straps kept them on my feet, which made them perfect for dancing all night," says Nicole.

photo: www.marcelapolo.com

Photo: Marcela Polo

Ari wore a custom midnight blue suit lined with a vibrant floral pattern for a playful touch.

photo: www.marcelapolo.com

photo: www.marcelapolo.com

Photo: Marcela Polo

Guests arrived at the ceremony via Guatemala's iconic Chicken Buses, painstakingly decorated vintage American school buses. With cocktails in hand, guests gathered on the grass in front of the ruins of San José El Viejo, a 17th century chapel.

The ceremony took place in front of the chapel, where Ari waited as Nicole and her family arrived via tuk-tuk.

photo: www.marcelapolo.com

photo: www.marcelapolo.com

Photo: Marcela Polo

The altar was flanked with lanterns and arrangements of roses and hydrangeas.

Nicole's nephew, Landon, was the ring bearer, shaking hand-painted maracas as he walked. He was escorted by his mother Briana, who wore the same gown that Nicole's late grandmother had worn to Nicole's parents' wedding over 30 years earlier. "It was a special way to feel like my grandmother was there," says the bride.

photo: www.marcelapolo.com

Photo: Marcela Polo

"Ari was so excited that he kept trying to kiss me in the middle of the ceremony," says Nicole. "The guests wouldn't stop hollering!"

photo: www.marcelapolo.com

photo: www.marcelapolo.com

photo: www.marcelapolo.com

Photo: Marcela Polo

Inside the chapel, guests were seated at two long tables topped with lush deep red flowers and lit with 36" taper candles that elegantly dripped wax as they burned down. At each place was a miniature bottle of hibiscus flower liquor, which was also used in the signature cocktail, mixed with vodka and champagne.

The dinner included traditional Guatemalan dishes like ceviche and steak with chimichurri sauce.

photo: www.marcelapolo.com

Photo: Marcela Polo

Instead of wedding cake, Nicole and Ari served salted caramel panna cotta and homemade churros.

photo: www.marcelapolo.com

photo: www.marcelapolo.com

Photo: Marcela Polo

Nicole's father surprised her during the reception when, mid-speech, he pulled out a guitar and serenaded her with "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison. "He's never played a guitar in his life, but he spent three months before the wedding secretly taking lessons," says Nicole. The entire wedding party knew what was coming, and learned all the words to help him serenade his little girl.

After a wedding like that, Nicole and Ari relaxed in the best possible way: in hammocks, sipping coconut milk mojitos in Belize! "It all goes by so fast," says Nicole, "so we worked hard to soak it all in. It was wonderful to have some time to rest after!"

Ceremony & Reception Venue: San José El Viejo || Wedding Planner: I Do, Guatemala || Bride's Wedding Dress: Michelle New York || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Makeup: Makeup by Julie Severt || Bridesmaid's Dress: Tadashi Shoji || Groom's Attire: Taji || Wedding Rings: M. Chalom & Son Inc. || Floral Design: Sachi Rose, Hugo Mejicanos || Invitations & Paper Goods: The Bride || Music: I Do, Guatemala || Catering: Cocinarte || Rentals: I Do, Guatemala || Fireworks: Pirotécnia Luces Del Milenio || Videography: Brand Videography || Photography: Marcela Polo

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