Intimate Wedding at Lake Atitlan, Guatemala

Meeting Claudia and Martin felt extremely natural as we talked over details about her culture and everything she wanted to incorporate on this beautiful day. It was clear that their philosophy was powered by love and they lived it through beautifully.

It was an honor to hear their love story, to see it and document it, and to be apart of this eventful day along the water of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

Claudia's getting ready location was at the Kula Maya, a beautiful boutique hotel and spa. The natural elements designed with the lake in mind encompassed a unique and serene feel. Martin got ready at a nearby AirBnb called a "Peace of Heaven". A villa that holds true to its name with beautiful architectural structures of the home while providing great amenities.

Although the ceremony location was a short walk along the beach, we didn't want to risk ruining Claudia and her bridesmaids attire!

Between locations, we hopped on one of Guatemala's necessary transportations over the lake-- a shuttle boat, also known as lanchas. There are no roads that circle the lake navigate from one village to another. Shuttle boats are available as a quick transportation to travel over the waters and visit other villages along the lake.

During the boat ride, Claudia shared a heartfelt moment with her bridesmaids and thought of those celebrating with them from above. Of course a little dance party ensued to bring a gorgeous smile back to her face as we headed towards Martin for their first looks. There aren't words that can describe the love you can feel in the photos from when they see each other for the first time that day.

This part of the ceremony was kept short to follow the Cacao Ceremony that follows. The couple stood in front of their loved ones and shared the story of how they met, their love story, and their promises to each other.

Ka'Kaw was the original name that Mayans gave Cacao as they viewed it as a magical plant. Cacao is used in a ritual as an offering to the Gods. In a marriage ceremony-- it is offered as a drink to share in shamanic circles. It allows for loved ones to get together in a circle and create a space for person inquiries and deep transformation.

To initiate the ceremony, the couple must be presented by a shaman. The Cacao Ceremony will be guided by shaman as he is in person who is in total connection with the universe and the Mayan worldview. His purpose is to bring forth and draw in good for the community around him.

From there, it seems like there are several ways the Cacao Ceremony can be done from the research that I've done. For Claudia and Martin's, we all sat around the fire that was surrounded by flowers, fresh fruits, and other sentimental items as the ritual celebrating their love and wellbeing continued. It was the most beautiful and heartfelt celebration I have ever experienced.

The Cacao drink is being prepared and shared to those that create the circle. You can see Claudia and Martin adoring one of their daughters who was more than excited to share the hot medicinal drink to everyone in the circle.

The ceremonial drink itself tasted like chocolate with a hint of bitterness and grit. It's not like Hershey's chocolate. Instead, it is meant to keep its original properties and many beneficial nutrients. It is minimally processed and "pure". It's said that the drink is heart-opening. The intention is to increase vitality, uplift moods, and open the heart and spirit. After you receive your cup, you are encouraged to take a moment to reflect upon yourself and set your intention as you a are guided by a blessing.

As the sun started setting and the circle was only lit by the fire, a few more rituals were performed to bless the couple and celebrating their marriage.

Here you can see volcanoes behind the couple along Lake Atitlan

The night continued on to celebrate love and happiness.

Food was catered by Vida Cocina and also made the couple's cake.

I will forever remember this day as my first destination wedding, seeing a beautiful culture being incorporated into a special day, and an experience to never forget.

Location - San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala

Bride Getting Ready - Kula Maya Luxury Hotel

Groom Getting Ready/Ceremony - Peace of Heaven AirBnb

Food - Vida Cocina

Dress - BHLDN