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Waterfalls, Rum and Marimba at our traditional Mopan Wedding in Belize

So after our crazy drive across Belize we arrived back in San Antonio at 3.30pm and still had a good list of jobs to do.

We hadn’t managed to get in touch with the cacao plantation until the morning of the wedding and so hadn’t been able to confirm the location of the wedding to anyone…including the pastor, the marimba players or even Reyes! Everybody THOUGHT the wedding would be at the plantation…BUT…sadly we just couldn’t afford it! Our budget is so small and although the cost was nominal things very easily add up.
We had decided on the waterfall as our location as it was so beautiful and had the cover needed for if the persistant rain returned.
The wedding was due to start at 3pm and Alex still had to go and collect the Marimba and players from Diegos (the place where we got the van stuck in the mud!), I still had to get ready, Alex had to get ready, we had to get everyone to the waterfall and we couldn’t find Reyes… Oh and the recently fixed suspension was making a new god almighty banging noise.
Traditional preperations! Traditional Mopan clothesAlex set off with Peggy rattling anyway to go for the Marimba, I was invited into the house by Luciana and dressed in my beautiful hand made Mopan outfit. My lack of hair was a bone of contention but Luciana managed to do something with it for me with a splash of gel and a few pins. Her hair flows like beautiful black treacle when she lets it loose and I wished just for that day to have long hair again.
As Luciana was getting me ready Reyes appeared on his bike and then set off to the waterfall to meet Alex and the Marimba.
I added the last piece to my outfit, my handmade earrings and once I was ready Luciana gathered up buckets of bread she had made for us, a drum (no exaggeration) of home made cacao drink and a huge chocolate cake fit for 30 people! Alex finally arrived back and we loaded the van as he got ready and then it was eventually time to have a wedding!
Beautiful ceremony by the waterfallWe drove to the waterfall and emptied the van to the sound of the Marimba. We all stood and listened and then Venustiano invited us down to the waters edge to hold the ceremony. He looked so smart in his crisp white shirt and black trousers. The ceremony was a traditional catholic ceremony and as we said our I do’s for the 12th time we looked into each others eyes and listened to the water splash behind us.
Luciana had been so kind as to lend me a hand sewn sky blue skirt and embroidered white vest with the traditional Mopan stitch around the neck. She had also very thoughtfully lent me the veil she had held at her wedding to Reyes 23 years ago and that Reyes mother had worn at her own wedding another 20 years previous to that. It was bright turquoise with bright coloured silks at each end. I was proud to wear the outfit and hear Luciana and Fernanda giggle as Alex and I sneaked a kiss during the ceremony.
Who's the boss? ChillingOnce we had exchanged vows Luciana followed the Mopan tradition and as our witness joined us together with a red ribbon and we were allowed to kiss to seal our commitment. Every body cheered and took pictures as we balanced on the rock at the waters edge.
Luciana and Fernanda handed around bread and cacao and the Marimba started up again in celebration.
We went for a paddle with Maya for some pictures and then the dancing started!
Before we knew it the sun had dropped, we had all eaten huge wedges of cake and had a total sugar rush after our cacao wich was like nothing I have ever tasted. I asked what was in it and the list was extensive, I remember pepper and mace being involved but whatever it was, it was fantastic.

Marimba band Can't have your cake and eat it. Sadly it had to come to an end and Alex still had the Marimba to take back to Diego’s…and all the players so they all piled back into Peggy while the rest of us sat at the waterfall and watched the stars appear one by one before our eyes. It was pitch black by time Alex got back for us and we laughed as we heard him before we saw him. Peggys new noise was growing louder than ever as she bumped down the road towards us through the mud.
group photo! Reyes and family. We dropped Reyes and Luciana home and continued on to PG where we had a hotel booked again.
We ate out to celebrate with Maya and had an amazing fish dinner and as always, absolutely exhausted we hit the hay early ready to drive the 200 miles back to Belize city in the morning.
Nobody said planning a wedding was easy but it was certainly worth it!

I really hope more people will consider the Toledo villages for weddings. Venustiano would love to spread the love outside of the church walls too and this is only ONE of the beautiful spots for a marriage in Belize!

Photography – Conch Creative | Planning – TEA Belize

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  1. Jacquie says:

    I could imagine the sounds of the waterfall, the mirimba beat and the dancing. You were looking every bit the part of a Mopan bride, Lisa….very pretty too.

    I could even conjur the taste of your special chocolate wedding cake 🙂

    I’m pleased for you that the rain held off and also would add your photos again are very interesting. My favourite has to be the one of you, Lisa, looking through the lace curtain in the doorway…a very imaginative and beautiful spot for a piccie.

    The two of you on the rock is next on my “like” list. Your location is beautiful…and the simplicity of your flowers seemed exactly right with your accompanying traditional dress. Lovely blog, once again 🙂

    Happy trails. xx

  2. Lorena says:

    Congratulations on your 12th wedding!!! What a beautiful location! What a beautiful ceremony!

  3. Jo Atkins says:

    Wow – just wow. Happy 12th wedding! X

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