Cartagena de Indias at night. Photo: Norma Gòmez/Wikimedia
CARTAGENA DE INDIAS, Colombia -- Cartagena de Indias is recognized as one of the most beautiful and best preserved ancient cities of America. Today, the walled city opens its doors to thousands of Colombians and foreigners who wish to have the wedding of their dreams in a destination full of magic and charm.
Industry experts in Cartagena seek to position the destination among international tourists, offering unique and innovative wedding packages.
The wedding planners and members of the wedding tourism cluster of Cartagena reported planning over 2,000 weddings in 2013 alone. A study performed by the firm Criterium, requested by the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Corporation, reveals that the six main reasons why couples decide to tie the knot in Cartagena include romance, magic, history, locations and provision of open spaces, and the beauty of the destination, in addition to low costs in comparison with other countries.
The traditional architecture of the 17th century is part of the fascinating history of this city. Its imposing buildings and colonial mansions have been restored and turned into boutique hotels offering guests a unique and wonderful experience of history and modernity. These hotels have also become the most sought after locations for weddings in Colombia.
“Today, the beauty and romanticism of Cartagena have made the city a world-renowned wedding and honeymoon destination,” said Maria Claudia Lacouture, president of Proexport Colombia. “A wedding in the middle of a walled city, with rich colonial history and combined with modernism and style is one of the unique experiences that remind us why Colombia is Magical Realism.”
On average, a wedding planned by a professional wedding planner varies between $55,000 and $60,000 USD according to the Criterium study. That cost includes the services of the wedding planner, church costs, notary fees, locations, stationery, catering, desserts, music, “la hora loca” (traditional party accessories, costumes and music during weddings), car rental, chivas (traditional Colombian bus where parties are held, usually for after-parties), hotels, hairdressers, alcohol, fireworks, catering, spa, DJ, among other services provided by the wedding tourism cluster of the city. The figure can vary according to the selected locations, number of guests and number of days for the activities held before, during and after the wedding.
The Criterium study also revealed the best months for weddings to be February (during low season, providing lower rates) which coincides with Valentine’s Day, August, (summer vacation time in the Caribbean) and December (many prefer it for the Christmas season).
The sixth version of Tendencias to take place during Bridal Week in Cartagena
Tendencias 2014 Cartagena Bridal Week is the latest edition of an annual event that will take place from September 9 to 12 in Cartagena.
This year, industry experts will contribute to the show’s objective to showcase updated and innovative trends of the wedding industry and count with the participation of distinguished industry experts including caterers, event and wedding planners, photographers, designers, and editors.
For Simone Lejour, co-director of Tendencias 2014 Cartagena Bridal Week, “this event has managed to raise awareness among the unions and other government institutions about the importance of the Wedding segment. Proexport, Cotelco, Turismo Cartagena, Cartagena Convention Bureau and the Chamber of Commerce of Cartagena recognize it as an industry that generates employment, income, destination image, tourism and hotel occupancy rates in the country.”
Lejour says, “Cartagena is an ideal destination for weddings for its romanticism and its historical places that can be adapted to create wonderful events.”