I can't go any longer without describing our week in Puerto Rico - for me it was 10 days of perfection. There were parties and drinking and revelry that so far in my life is completely unmatched. We even had a mani/pedi party at 9pm at a spa/cocktail lounge - drinking while we got our feet massaged and toes painted - life seriously doesn't get much better than that.
My parents rented an apartment in Viejo San Juan, right next to where the cruise ships dock - a perfect location that allowed for short walks into the heart of the city to enjoy the beautiful buildings, stone forts, blue cobble stone streets and yummy fried foods.
(This is actually the church where my grandparents were married - it's been under renovations for years but it's still a beautiful landmark in Viejo San Juan)
The wedding itself was held at the InterContinental San Juan Resort and Casino, located about 10 minutes away from Viejo San Juan in an area called Isla Verde. And it was perfect in every way - the staff was more than helpful and friendly and when they found out I was the bride - congratulations and more smiles and friendliness that made me feel like a star. We were actually fortunate that The Normandie decided to close for renovations back in June 2009 - this hotel was far superior and we were able to have both the ceremony and reception in one place, which helped bring the logistical stress down a few notches.
The rehearsal was the first moment I felt really overwhelmed and nervous - true butterflies in my tummy. There were tons of people milling around the lobby, asking questions, wanting to chat, while we waited for Maria, our wonderful coordinator. I grabbed Ana, my beautiful chubby little 6 month old niece to calm my nerves amidst the commotion. She was the perfect antidote with her big beautiful brown eyes with doll like eye lashes and her constant happy grin. She was just what I needed and then we got down to business. Because the wedding was New Year's Day, we had the rehearsal and dinner on the 30th so it wouldn't conflict with New Year's Eve celebrations. The weather that day was horrible: windy, overcast and rainy but Maria said she'd never had it rain for any of her brides so I hoped I wouldn't be the first to break her trend. Just in case I knocked on wood and said a few extra prayers. Once we were out on the boardwalk, running through the technicalities, the whole thing started to take shape and my giddiness skyrocketed.
The rehearsal dinner was amazing. We got dressed up and went into Old San Juan to a tapas bar called Rosa de Triana. Sangria was handed to us as we walked in the door and flowed all night long. Delicious appetizers to begin with followed by the best paella I've even had - filled with all kinds of seafood and meat. As we finished our dinner we had a private Flamenco Dancing show and Jason and I were brought up onstage to learn one of the dances. The night finished with rich flan and a few drinks out on the town. It was great to finally see some of our friends that we literally hadn't seen in over 3 years!
*The pictures I'm using are a mixture of my own and family and friends...I'm happy so many people have shared their pictures from the week as well!