Who is Tabitha and where is Toledo and what on earth did Tabitha ‘do’ in Toledo? Please let me introduce you to Tabitha. Tabitha is the dress and this is her 12th wedding. Yes, you did read that correctly – her 12th wedding. OK, this isn’t actually the wedding. This is one of the many, quite spectacular images from the Trash the Dress session held after the wedding. So, let’s start from the beginning shall we.
As photographers in Belize, we regularly get requests to do something for nothing. Oddly enough it seems that many people believe that photographers don’t actually need to earn a living. But when we received Alex’s email telling us about his amazing adventure with Lisa and their goal to get married 30 times, all over the world, experiencing different cultures and generally having a blast, it just caught our eye. If anyone knows Conch Creative, they know that we love romance and what could be more romantic than wanting to get married 30 times. So, we just had to say yes. Sounds easy enough, but then there was the crux. They were getting married in the Toledo District at the very south of Belize. Alex didn’t hesitate a moment and said ‘We’ll be there with Peggy to pick you up’. Peggy? Now this marriage thing is getting a bit complicated. First, Tabitha and now – Peggy? We can now introduce you to Peggy, the 25 year old camper van they picked up in Canada and drove through the USA and Mexico to arrive in Belize. Apparently, they had already done 11 weddings previously including an Vampire themed wedding in New Orleans and a drive through in Las Vegas. I think you can see how we couldn’t resist being part of this amazing adventure.
So after a 200 mile road trip in Peggy to get to Toledo for the wedding, it was time to pretty up Lisa in Mopan Maya style. In the 1600’s the Mopan were converted to Catholicism but that doesn’t mean that many of their traditions do not remain. The clothing, earrings and decoration all have significance and Lisa was dressed traditionally by a beautiful Maya woman, who loaned her hand made wedding clothes and did her hair.When she was ready, it was time to present herself to the world, looking fabulous and happy, having enjoyed such special treatment by her generous Maya hosts, Luciana and Reyes, who helped to plan everything. They are part of the Toledo Ecotourism Association and are just the nicest people ever.
While Alex, scrubs up nicely, he didn’t quite jive with the Maya tradition the way that Lisa did, but never mind. Getting married next to a waterfall, at a Maya village, in 2012 is quite enough excitement for one day.
Part of the Maya marriage tradition involves being wrapped in a red ribbon.
We’re not sure that this is the purpose for which the red ribbon is intended, but hey, when in doubt, improvise.
After the nuptials, it was time to party – Mopan Maya style. Get your dancing shoes on and boogie on down to the sound of the traditional marimba. Or just make out in the corner. Whichever you prefer.
Before it all ends, there is always time for a romantic moment. When four of you (Tabitha, Peggy, Lisa & Alex) travel so far to marry next to a waterfall in a tropical rain forest among the Maya people, you really must take time to appreciate it. Although it seems like Lisa and Alex felt that Peggy and Tabitha needed a break, because they had a big day coming up.
When Peggy arrived at this location for the Trash the Dress shoot, she must have thought this was the end of the road for her as it appeared to be a car graveyard. Who would have thought that it would be the perfect place to showcase the beautiful Tabitha in all her glory. Of course Lisa helped.
Luckily for Peggy, this wasn’t her last stop. She was just being cared for in the car hospital while Tabitha came out to play in the car graveyard. It turns out that they don’t just send cars here to die. Boats find their way to this resting ground also.
We had to remind Lisa that this was not in fact a resting ground for tired brides. Yes, we know that 12 weddings is quite remarkable but buck up girl – you’ve got another 18 to go before your finished.
While Alex held Peggy’s hand (ok, she doesn’t have hands, she has tires, but it adds to the drama), Lisa and Tabitha explore a new and fabulous land of junk and glory.
As the dark clouds rolled in, the four of them (Peggy, Tabitha, Alex & Lisa) knew that it was time to hit the road and prepare for wherever their next adventure would take them. They are nearly half way to their 30th wedding and there truly cannot have been a more epic, romantic and wonderful wedding adventure. We’re so glad that they came to Belize for a truly authentic Maya 2012 wedding experience and we’re ever so grateful that they loved our work enough to include us in the fairy tale. Bon Voyage Alex, Lisa, Peggy and Tabitha.
This wedding was made possible by the wonderful people at the Toledo Ecotourism Association.
If you’d like to follow Alex and Lisa (and Peggy and Tabitha) on their further adventures, tune in to 2people1life
If you’d like to see sneak previews of our work, please join our Conch Community on our Conch Creative Facebook page
and of course
you can follow all of us on Twitter.
The New Year is nearly upon us. 2012 will be a huge year for Belize, as the heartland of the ancient Maya civilisation. Couples from all over the world will be coming to Belize to marry at one of our many stunning and mystical ancient Maya temples. This is Xunantunich, a city which was first occupied by the Maya people over 2000 years ago.
Xunantunich means ‘Stone Woman’. The name is Mayan, but was not used until the late 19th century after local people started to report stories of a ghostly woman seen dressed all in white, on this ancient site. According to some accounts, she was witnessed ascending the stairs of the El Castillo pyramid and disappearing into a stone wall. There are other versions of this legend. Dr. Jaime Awe, one of Belize’s most prominent archaeologists and Director of the National Institute of Culture and History recalls one; “In the 1880s, in fact, probably in 1887, a gentleman from the village of San Jose Succotz, by the name of Urbano Pat, came up to hunt at the site and the legend claims that at the base of the Castillo, he saw this beautiful young maiden, who was resplendent in bright light and the rays of the sunlight. This maiden appeared to him, and he was scared by the apparition, so he dropped his gun and ran back to the village. When he got to the village, he talked with the native priest, the Chac, as they call him, and the priest decided to come up to the site with him. They came back and they found his gun, but did not see the maiden. And thereafter, several other people have claimed that this young maiden has appeared to them, but nobody has ever been able to follow her into the cave that supposedly goes into the Castillo.”
The Maya people are still very much a mystery, but by studying their ancient civilisations and architecture, the long and fascinating history of Belize comes to life. El Castillo is 130 feet tall, the second tallest man made structure in Belize. Up the north side of El Castillo, there is a wide terrace, which at one time had buildings standing along its outer edge. The wide stairway that you see here leads up to this terrace. Above the terrace rises a high platform on top of which the ancient Maya built two more temples which are visible even now. Imagine getting married in a place so steeped in ancient civilisation.
To get to Xunantunich, you cross the clear waters of the Mopan River on a hand pulled ferry. There are, of course, rumours that a bridge may eventually be installed, but until then the ferry is all part of the unique experience of a wedding at an ancient Maya ruin. Xunantunich is believed to be the largest ceremonial center in the Belize River Valley. The hilltop location provides a panoramic view of the surrounding Cayo District and even across the border into Guatemala. Spanning time from the early Protoclassic to the Terminal Classic Periods, Xunantunich consists of three ceremonial plazas enclosed by house mounds, pyramids, and palaces, the largest decorated with friezes and masks of Classic style. If you are looking for the authentic 2012 Maya experience, there aren’t many places you will find with such a rich history and so few tourists. What an amazing experience!
Of course Xunantunich is an inspiring location for us as Belize wedding photographers. We know that the sort of couples with an adventurous spirit, who wish to document their once in a lifetime experience at an ancient Maya temple in 2012 are the sort of couples that we love to work with. With so many believing that 2012 will be the end of the world, true Maya researchers understand that the significance of 2012 in the Maya calendar is about new beginnings. A ceremony, committing two people in love will never be forgotten if that date is 2012 and the location is Belize.
Happy New Year. May 2012 bring you much love, happiness, peace and prosperity. If you are planning to marry in this historically important year, we invite you to Belize – the heart of the Maya civilisation – for an experience that will connect the ancient with the present and which will provide you with memories and images that you will treasure into the future. Conch Creative specialises in intimate and unique weddings in Belize. Contact us for more information on Belize wedding photography.
This couple were able to have this unbelievably fabulous Maya ruins experience due to the hard work of ‘I Do’ Belize Weddings.
If you have enjoyed our blog, you might just really, really enjoy our Facebook page, where we put up sneak peeks and previews. Conch Creative Facebook Page