From the Bride:
Chris and I lived in Bocas del Toro for years prior to our engagement so it was an easy decision for us that we would get married there and have a tropical island wedding that wouldn’t be your typical destination wedding. The timing of the wedding coincided with our decision to sell our eco-lodge and move back to the US so it was a great opportunity to invite all of our friends and family down for a big blowout celebration. We chose Popa Paradise as our venue because we wanted to have an intimate and luxurious space that could house all of our guests on site (and it has a killer pool bar…) We ended up taking over the whole resort, even overflowing to house guests on a yacht parked offshore.
Bocas is a very small town so there aren’t a ton of options for vendors but after living in the community for so long we knew exactly who to go to to get all the elements we wanted for our dream wedding. Popa Paradise took care of most of the planning and decor as well as the catering for both the rehearsal dinner and the reception. The floral arrangements for the wedding parties were cut fresh from the botanical gardens at Finca los Monos, the snickers peanut butter pies that we had for our “cake” came from our favorite restaurant in Bocas Town, El Ultimo Refugio. A friend of ours, Hannes, who DJ’s at a local bar called Aqua Lounge went above and beyond, spinning tunes until the sun rose from behind the pool bar. We brought most of the elements to arrange the guest gift bags with us from the states. We are definitely the type that loves DIY so many things were homemade. We were incredibly lucky to have met our photographer, Aurelia D’Amore through a mutual friend during Aurelia’s first trip to Bocas a few months prior to our wedding. She was able to somehow keep up with all of the events throughout the week and capture all of these precious memories for us!
Many of our guests ended up coming down the week before the wedding so we spent the days leading up to the wedding weekend enjoying all that Bocas has to offer. We went on a party boat, had a beach party at our eco-lodge with a tipsy group yoga session, went on a 4-wheeling adventure and more. On Friday we loaded up on boats to head out to the resort for the weekend. The first night we were treated to a beach BBQ rehearsal dinner complete with fire dancers! The morning of the wedding all of the guests took a trip out to the picturesque Zapatilla Islands while the resort was being transformed for the wedding and reception. We had our shoes-optional ceremony on the beach and were married by our good friend Tom O’Flaherty who is a buddhist monk and provided us with a touching ceremony that couldn’t have been more “us". After the ceremony the party moved up to the poolside lawn for cocktail hour. It was transformed into a gorgeous outdoor lounge with cafe lights strung overhead and candles floating in the pool. After a delicious dinner the party got started in the main hall but as the Panamanian heat began to wear everyone down it was unanimously decided that the reception should continue as a pool party. The DJ moved to the pool bar, the glow sticks came out and everyone got a second wind once they hit the water! When the sun went down we ended the night with wish lanterns and an incredible fireworks display.
Venue & Catering: Popa Paradise Beach Resort http://www.popaparadisebeachresort.com/es/
Bouquets and Bouteniers: Finca Los Monos Botanical Gardens http://www.bocasdeltorobotanicalgarden.com
Cake: Snickers peanut butter pies from The Ultimo Refugio http://www.ultimorefugio.com
Makeup: by the bride
Hair: Katie Fritts (bridesmaid)
Flower Crown: Handmade by the bride
DJ: Hannes Melis
Bride’s Dress: Indah Clothing dress with a beaded lace bridal belt
Groom’s Shirt: Tommy Bahama
Programs: Designed by the bride
Rings: Bride: Kate Szabone http://www.kateszabone.com (grey diamond with twig band) Groom: costco?
Necklace: Kaypea Jewelry www.kaypeajewelry.com
Barefoot Sandals: Forever Soles https://www.etsy.com/shop/ForeverSoles?ref=search_shop_redirect
Soap: Punta Coco Soaps
Coconut Oil: Produced by the local indigenous Ngobe women—Bottled by the bride
Bags: Made by the bride using an indian wooden stamp.
Coozies: Designed by the bride
Bocas Town Maps: All our favorite spots and local secrets designed by the bride and groom.