So there I was on a flight bound to Belize, Central America. My mind filled with all the picture-perfect images that my website searches had revealed. My boyfriend Ruiz and I were heading to Ambergris Caye, an island parallel to the second longest barrier reef in the world. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine my toes covered in white sand as clear sapphire-blue waters washed on shore at sunset. I could almost taste the frozen strawberry margarita in my hand. My imaginings made the two hour flight seem like an eternity. Little did I know that, not only were my vacation expectations going to be exceeded, in Belize, my life would change forever.
Our arrival at the Costa Maya Reef Resort that January afternoon brought my visions of tropical splendor to life. The dinner that night introduced me to the best in Belizean cuisine, courtesy of the talented resort chefs. I was so full Ruiz had to convince me to order my strawberry margarita! The drink arrived adorned with a hibiscus blossom and surrounded by beautiful local flowers, and Ruiz picked out one for me to put in my hair. But as I did so, something shiny caught my eye. The rest happened so fast…Ruiz on one knee…Ruiz telling me he loved me…Ruiz asking me to marry him. “Yes!” I said.
During our vacation-turned- engagement in Belize, my fiancé and I fell even more in love with each other…and with Belize. So when it came time for us to plan our wedding, we immediately thought of the country’s natural beauty, delicious food and the friendliest people you can meet.
Planning and preparing for a wedding is stressful, whether you are two miles or two thousand miles away. But thanks to local wedding coordinator Valerie Woods of Belize Weddings and Events, our special occasion was an unforgettable experience.
Surrounded by family and friends, Ruiz and I exchanged vows in the charming serenity of the San Pedro Catholic Church. Our beach reception at the Costa Maya Reef Resort was awash in tropical colors and flowers (including the hibiscus!) and personalized decorations in my favorite pink. Complementing the breathtaking ambiance of the Caribbean Sea, with warm winds billowing through coconut fronds on a private beach, was a tantalizing buffet of our favorite Belizean specialties, including the freshest seafood in town. And as the evening turned to night, we danced and partied barefoot in the sand and under the stars and a full moon to the tune of our own laughter and music from the DJ who played all our requests. Every moment of our wedding was amazing and un Belizeable!
So here I am, at home in the United States, reliving my incredible Belize memories and imagining what it will be like introducing this beautiful country to the newest member of the Castillo family.