A Small Wedding in Old San Juan, PR

A Small Wedding in Old San Juan, PR

Jordan and Jake wanted a destination elopement, without the passport. So Puerto Rico was a natural choice. They planned a small wedding in the heart of old San Juan and celebrated with their closest family and friends.

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About This Small Wedding in San Juan, PR

Photography by Matlai Photography

“Situated in the heart of old San Juan, Hotel El Convento acted as a home base for a remarkable day of wandering. We explored the cobble stone streets, ventured out to the old Spanish Fort, El Morro, overlooking the port, and bought some tasty juices on the street all before an intimate ceremony back at the hotel. Late October brought some mild morning rains, but nothing that would stop the abundant energy of the day.

It was also Halloween! Jordan and Jake are HUGE movie fans, and wanted their day to resemble some fantasy and playfulness. So the 10 guests were encouraged to dress up and play along. The Mad Hatter was the start of the show, doning an outfit that he had put together himself.

After the ceremony on the terrace overlooking Hotel El Convento the couple hosted a private sit down meal consisting of 3 courses inside the hotel. The entire day was seamless, full of joy, and had an element of playfulness unlike anything I had ever really worked with before.” [Rose, the photographer]

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LNT and Permits When Getting Married in San Juan, Puerto Rico

“As with most hotels and privately owned spaces, it is important to ask for permission before photographing inside. We consulted the concierge of the El Convento hotel if we could use the various spaces for photos and it was an easy yes! I had been doing some research as to scenic places in downtown San Juan, (aside from the cobblestone streets and vibrantly colored buildings) and El Convento’s sister hotel – Hotel El Palacio – had an incredible rooftop with views of the old domed church and old town San Juan. I asked if we might be able to go up there for 30 minutes or so, and they happily directed us there. We had the entire rooftop to ourselves, and Jordan’s barefoot jubilations there were so much fun to photograph!

With photographing at El Morro National Park- like any national park – they do require a permit to photograph inside the fortress. On the day of J + J’s elopement, they allowed us to photograph on the perimeter of the building but not inside. It was still beautiful. Downtown San Juan was extremely clean, and LNT principles regardless of whether you’re in the backcountry somewhere or in the city are always a priority.” [Rose, the photographer]

Learn more about planning your wedding in Puerto Rico!

Top Tips For Eloping Here

“Eloping in San Juan really means being prepared for the weather. Being a Caribbean island, humidity is often high and rain storms are common and regular. I would definitely suggest just being flexible with the rain (we waited out a brief spell for 30 minutes or so) and then also just being aware of your body and how it might react (lots of sweating!)

The people of Puerto Rico are tremendously welcoming and kind! Everywhere you go, there is an attitude of joy and community. I recommend knowing a bit of Spanish, if you have some, but otherwise most people in the city speak English too. If you have the time, you can take in both the rainforest and the beach in a single day. Puerto Rico is not a large place, but there is tremendous eco-diversity and it makes for some pretty incredible adventures.” [Rose, the photographer]

Picking a Destination For Their Wedding

“J+J really wanted to celebrate somewhere where their financial contributions would be felt by the local community. Puerto Rico is poorer than the rest of the United States, and so they wanted to bring their wedding celebrations there in order to support the local community. They also knew that going somewhere where passports were not necessary was a big element to some family attending. Lastly, they wanted to be centrally located near an airport, the beach, and a vibrant nightlife for celebrating after their I – dos!” [Rose, the photographer]

Explore more places to elope.

Details From This Wedding

“I loved the decor of the dinner setting! J+J got married on Halloween, and that was absolutely on purpose. They wanted a bit of a Beetlejuice theme, as they’re big fans, and I think the way that the decor came together absolutely nailed it. I also loved that Jordan wore a floral headdress, in part to celebrate her heritage. There were multiple elements of Native American heritage tied into the day, and while I did not entirely understand the significance of each of them, I appreciate that she tied in her background so effortlessly to the day. This is one small way in which you can make your elopement unique, without having to travel or include large groups. By incorporating elements of your heritage, you can build community and intentionality in your day.” [Rose, the photographer]

Memorable Moments During This Wedding

From the photographer:

“For the entire day they were on cloud 9, and no matter the weather, a late start to photos, misplaced flowers or any other element could deter them from their focus on each other. They were quite literally obsessed with each other and the photos tell a story of that effortlessness. I always encourage my couples to relax, take in the day together, and try to ignore that I am there for parts of it – to celebrate with each other- and J+J really nailed this. It was so much fun to be able to be part of it! They couldn’t keep their hands off one another!”

Final Words From the Photographer

“I think that Destination Weddings add such a unique element to a wedding, because nothing is entirely familiar but altogether wildly exciting. Being somewhere new, with your love, is really what makes my heart sing. I think if you’re considering a Destination Elopement, there are certainly components that can and will go wrong, in the sense that you’re traveling, you don’t have the same access as you would at home, and hiccups happen. But I am a firm believer that attitude shapes everything- and if you’ve got a strong attitude towards adventure then nothing can stop you from having the time of your life!” [Rose, the photographer]


Photography | Matlai Photography

Hotel | El Convento

Planner | Island Life PR

Florist| Natalia Liriano 

Photos From This Wedding

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