When I was in Colombia I was staggered by the popularity of Cartagena de Indias amongst brides and grooms. It seemed as if the city had become a photo-shoot backdrop for a bridal magazine.
Far away weddings are an increasingly accepted way to create that perfect day, that unforgettable moment; and international wedding destination choices are becoming more exciting each year.
I learnt that Cartagena has long been a favourite amongst Latin America’s wealthy, with VIP families trying to outdo each other with extravagance and flair; but recently North Americans and Europeans have been discovering the city as a romantic destination.
Over the course of my stay in Cartagena I managed to visit some of the town’s most popular venues, and gained an insight in how couples brought their glamorous fantasies and dreams to life. Many of the boutique and luxury properties in town were aligned with multi-lingual ‘wedding planner’ services, so couples could have everything prepared before visiting Colombia. An entire wedding industry exists in Cartagena, from florists to caterers and from musicians to photographers.
Historic venues certainly lend a romantic, fairy tale atmosphere, so it’s probably little surprise that the city’s old town is in such demand – it is certainly photogenic, whilst the varied choice of hotels have the infrastructure in place to meet the needs of international guests.
Hotel Casa Pestagua, a colonial mansion and former aristocratic home full of classic architectural features, is one of the city’s most popular venues. Interestingly it not a 5 star hotel or extravagantly luxurious, yet its antique furniture, frescoes and sweeping staircase appear to be seductive to couples, who find this small hotel the ideal backdrop for a stylish event. The mansion has a sort of ‘faded glory’ ambiance and its guest rooms and public spaces are arranged around two large central colonial patios and tropical garden. Wedding designers have a field day transforming these sultry spaces into exotic, sparkling fantasy worlds for weddings and receptions.
Hotel Alfiz is another magical venue for intimate weddings. This immacualtely presented, historic property offers a duplex honeymoon suite for a memorable stay!
Weddings are certainly big business in the Caribbean, and for those not wanting to tie the knot on a ubiquitous white sandy beach, the enchantment of Cartagena’s walled city is an increasingly attractive choice.