Archive for Lara Varona

Parting is such sweet sorrow…

Travel » Destination Weddings

Photography courtesy Stacey Clarke.

Wow, I really can’t believe that our six-month blogging journey has come to an end!  It has been so much fun sharing my wedding planning experience with all of you, and Karlo and I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone again for reading along!  We truly appreciate each and every one of you…

Now, since the wedding ceremony in Jamaica has passed, and our Vancouver reception just took place last weekend, I feel the best way to wrap this up is to give you my Top 10 “If I could do this all over again” list.  Here goes:

If I could go back and do this all over again, I would:

1. DEFINITELY still get married in Jamaica! Our wedding ceremony, in fact our whole trip, was absolutely perfect in every way and was even more than we’d ever dreamed of. For those of you considering a destination wedding, I would recommend Jamaica (specifically, the Riu Palace Tropical Bay in Negril) wholeheartedly.

2. Definitely still write our own vows. I can’t imagine what our ceremony would have been like if we hadn’t had the chance to say our vows in our own words. If you have the opportunity to write yours from scratch, I’d highly recommend it.

3. Make sure to hire a travel agent who has extensive knowledge and experience with booking group travel arrangements, specifically wedding trips.  Sadly, our experience with our travel agent was not a good one, and this was pretty much the only stressful part of our planning experience.

4. Hire a local photographer based on peer recommendations. Since we were hiring a photographer from so far away, we didn’t have the luxury of meeting her ahead of time. All we had to go on was her online portfolio and the reviews of her work that I found on the Best Destination Wedding Forum. In the end, we couldn’t have been happier with our decision—our photographer Stacey Clarke did a magnificent job and she was so incredibly wonderful to work with throughout the whole process.

5. DIY as much as possible! Towards the end, I ran out of time and had to let go of some of the DIY projects I had planned. So if I could go back, I would definitely have planned my time better and gotten a few more DIY’s in there. Read the rest of this entry »

Give me your Forever…


By far, writing our own vows was the most meaningful and touching part of the whole wedding process for Karlo and I. We had a religious ceremony, so we still did the standard vows that we all know by heart (“for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part”), but we also had a chance to insert our own personal vows into the ceremony and in the end we couldn’t have been happier with that decision.

We wrote our personal vows the night before the wedding, because we wanted them to be as natural and organic as possible and not seem dry or rehearsed. We decided to follow a simple format (one that I’d read somewhere a long time ago), and simply state three reasons why we love each other, followed by three promises to one another. If given the chance, I’d shout my vows from the rooftop, because I’d like the whole world to know how much I love Karlo. Instead, I’ll just share them here with you now… Read the rest of this entry »

OOTs, AHRs & RSVPs—oh my!


So unless you are also planning a destination wedding, you’re probably wondering what the heck an OOT or AHR is—I myself hadn’t heard of either until we started planning our wedding last year. OOT is the abbreviation for basically the best loot bags ever—the Out Of Town bags, which we’ll be giving out to all of our guests in Jamaica. AHR is the abbreviation for the big party we’re planning right now—the At Home Reception.

So first, the OOTs! I would just like to say, if you’re one of our guests coming to Jamaica—PLEASE STOP READING NOW! Read the rest of this entry »

Getting That “Bridal Glow”

Fashion & Beauty

I’ve always had problem skin.  As long as I can remember, I’ve been plagued with every skin problem imaginable—acne, extreme dry skin and eczema have been my biggest problems. It got to the point when I had to quit past jobs because something at the workplace was causing my eczema to act up. Luckily, over the past few years working with my new dermatologist, I was able to get my skin to a manageable point and hadn’t had many flare ups of any of my skin issues…

Until 2 weeks ago. Read the rest of this entry »

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet…


Photography courtesy of A Spring Wedding on Etsy.

…unless it’s a fake rose, that is! For the most part, I am avoiding fake things on my wedding day—no fake nails or fake hair or anything like that. I am, however, going to be “faking it” with the flowers—all of our wedding florals will be made of artificial “Real Touch” flowers that are extremely common for destination weddings (thanks to all the ladies on Best Destination Wedding Forum for helping me come to the decision that fake is the way to go!)

Since I am knowingly and willingly bringing fake flowers all the way to Jamaica with me, you might be wondering why I made that decision, so I’ll tell you! Read the rest of this entry »

The DIY Birdcage Veil Experiment

Fashion & Beauty » Veils & Accessories

Ok, so I called this post the The DIY Birdcage Veil Experiment because I wasn’t really sure I could pull this off from the get-go.  Before you read on, I will happily report that the experiment was a success, thanks in no small part to the multitude of DIY websites and forum posts that I found on the subject.  I tried a few of these out (like this one from and this one from but in the end came up with my own simplified version of this project by Made by Amy, which I have laid out step by step for you here. As you can see, the supplies and steps in this project are minimal. I trimmed down the one by Amy because, well, with all the millions of things to plan for the wedding I figured the easier, the better! So here you go, my DIY Birdcage Veil… Read the rest of this entry »

A Wintery Wonderful Proposal…


After the big snowfall in Vancouver in December 2008, Karlo and I decided to go to the park and play in the snow. I’ve always loved the snow and being in that park, making snowballs and snow angels, made me feel like a little kid again; I was so happy just to be there. When Karlo suggested that we build a giant snowman, I was skeptical, because the snow was too powdery and wouldn’t stick well enough to build a good one. But Karlo was insistent, so we tried… and tried…and tried. Finally after about an hour of trying, we had only produced a teeny tiny snowman that stood about two feet tall. Not wanting to leave the adorable little guy behind, we picked him up and brought him back to our place with us. We set him in front of our front door and went back inside. Read the rest of this entry »

Tropical Paradise


LaraFirst off, I’d just like to say that I’m a Vancouver gal through and through. I was born and raised here, and I have no intention of ever moving away. Why would I?  We live in the most beautiful spot on earth, in my opinion, and I want my future kids to have all same pleasures that I’ve had while growing up here.  Now, you may be asking why I’d waste 64 words on describing my love for Vancouver when I should be getting down to the nitty gritty of my wedding planning?  Read the rest of this entry »