If your version of a gorgeous wedding goes deeper than simply admiring the aesthetics of a beautiful gown and stunning bouquet, this Guatemalan soiree certainly delivers the depth you’ve been on the hunt for. A soul-felt, intimate affair, this Shaman-led ceremony overlooking Lake Atitlan has us feeling truly connected to Mother Earth. And for the visual junkies, the canoe swing boat, blush-toned walls, and classic rustic thatched roof make for some real eye candy too. With its unrefined, rustic approach to architecture and everyday living, Guatemala is the kind of place that feeds your soul. In the case of this couple, Rachael and Jason wanted to share that calming, healing vibe with their closest friends and family, basking in that energy throughout the course of their wedding celebration.
Extraordinary photographer Phil Chester was along for the ride and agreed, “Their wedding was nothing short of magical… it felt remote and as connected to nature as it gets.” The first look, blindfolded, was especially magical for the duo that fell in love during their first trip to Lake Atitlan.
Photography by Phil Chester
By booking a weekend full of culturally rich experiences and bringing in a Shaman to lead them through the ceremonial part of the wedding, this adventure-loving couple said they were able to share their, “favorite experiences and set the mood for true connection and reflection, which is what we have always experienced on our trips to Guatemala."
When the two were searching for a wedding venue, this special part of the world was easy to put at the top of their list. They wanted a wedding that was intimate and laid-back, steeped in natural beauty, and full of culturally enriching experiences. Bonus points that they’d be able to book boat rides, day trips, and multiple shared meals with all their guests throughout the weekend. So they turned to Lake Atitlan’s Isla Verde – a sprawling eco-friendly retreat complete with wood cabins, lakeside gardens, cozy hammocks, and multiple gathering spaces.
Lest we forget about the cool ceremony they had, let’s talk about that Shaman. You may be wondering about what really happens when your Shaman brings the heat, and we don’t just mean the fire (as in the case of Rachael and Jason’s ceremony). Shamans can cover as much or as little ritual territory as a couple is seeking, and they’re often versed in traditions across cultures and geographic locations.
There’s more to a Shaman-led ceremony than burning sage and beating drums, though that’s certainly part of the experience. Spirits may be called on with candles and chants, symbolic gifts may be exchanged, hand binding might be incorporated, or the choir of guests may be invited to participate in the ceremony. If you’re looking to bring a Shaman into your wedding day, we recommend determining your time constraints and working outward from there to decide which rituals to include.
We can’t think of a better way to get out and gather than by sharing the experiences we love with the people we love, and this wedding did exactly that. The incredible setting, rich in scenery and culture, was such an epic backdrop for a wedding that’s almost as gorgeous as the people it united.
Photography: Phil Chester | Venue: Isla Verde Lake Atitlan, Guatemala | Event Design: bride + groom | Event Planning: bride + groom w/ the help of Isla Verde staff | Florals: bride’s aunt Julie | Dress: Hermione de Paula | Hair: Kerri Spiteri | Makeup: Sheyssa Rosado | Paper Goods: Jennifer Fisher | Catering + Cupcakes: Isla Verde
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