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#429399 - 02/03/12 02:12 PM 30 Weddings in 30 Countries
Marty Offline


Imagine taking a two-year trip around the world – what a great opportunity! Now imagine that in the two year span, you get married 30 different times, in 30 different countries. That’s precisely what Alex Pelling and Lisa Marie Gant are doing.

The following is the declaration made by Alex on his blog:

“OK so my name is Alex and I’m getting married to the girl of my dreams. A girl I’ve been dreaming of marrying for the last 10 years of my life; Lisa.

In fact I’m so excited about marrying her, I wish it could happen again and again. Imagine being able to re-live the best day of your life as many times as you wanted (without getting arrested for polygamy).

So that’s exactly what we’re going to do. For two years we’re going to travel the globe exchanging vows in the most unusual and unique wedding locations we can find.”


Luckily for Lisa and Alex, Belize offers any manner of locales to get hitched, for the first, fifth, or even thirtieth time. The nuptial junkies chose the southern district of Punta Gorda and with help from the Toledo Ecotourism Association they exchanged vows in a a traditional Maya wedding. For their photographs, they chose Conch Creative.

Click here for the rest of the story and more pictures in the San Pedro Sun

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#429631 - 02/05/12 02:26 PM Re: 30 Weddings in 30 Countries [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Nice blog article on a wedding and the Toledo Ecotourism Association.

We started planning a wedding in Belize with the help of the Toledo Ecotourism Association (TEA), we had contacted them via email and come into contact with Reyes Chun, the TEA chairman. It wasn’t until we got to Punta Gorda (PG) and got to speaking with Reyes that we really realised the extent of the work that the TEA do in PG and the surrounding villages. It is thanks to Reyes and his enthusiasm for the project and helping the villages that this wedding was possible at all.
I’d like to explain to you about the TEA and their goals and philisophy and I also wanted to know more so I asked Reyes a few questions and hope you don’t mind me sharing the answers with you at some point in the future. I find it humbling and inspiring to hear of such projects and the people behind them and I hope you are inspired too.

The TEA is a community-based ecotourism operator and is owned and operated by several local villages. The Mopan, Kek’chi and Garifuna villages work together as an association to plan, control, develop and profit from ecotourism. The structure of the TEA is there to ensure that the benefits and profits from tourism are shared as widely as possible. It ensures that no single village or family is favoured over another, that the tourism is evenly distributed and that the standards of the guesthouses and programmes offered are kept to a standard.
The idea came about in 1990 and with virtually no funding the Toledo villagers volunteered their labour and services to build 5 guesthouses in Maya and Garifuna villages. They gathered most of the materials from the surrounding jungle and the TEA was born. Since then with some funding (less than a good annual salary in the UK), the villagers have again volunteered their labour to help build more guesthouses, repair the old ones and create new concrete watertanks.
Once these buildings were in place the families had a way to invite tourists into their villages and show them their beautiful country, teach them the skills that their ancestors passed on and share with them an understanding of their way of life.
The list of things you can do in support of the TEA and therefore the villages is astounding. From jungle tours, cave exploration, drumming, dancing to the Marimba, jewellery making, cocoa grinding, cooking, dancing,basket making, farming…I could go on! All of these things are far more exciting (certainly to me) than going somewhere like Alton towers for the day and paying a fortune to be made to feel sick! And the beauty of it is that you do all of these things with someone who knows the caves like the back of their hand, someone who has weaved baskets their whole life or the man who has been playing Marimba since he could walk AND you are making a difference!
The people here are so very friendly and are desperate to show you the natural beauty of their land and the lives that they have here. Their hardworking lives are of simple things, very few belongings, hammocks for beds and mostly without electricity but they have so much to offer you as a tourist and you have so much to offer them too.

The TEA is run entirely by volunteers. That means every single member GIVES their time freely to keep the TEA in operation. I have to also point out from experience that these volunteers have to travel some serious miles and some pretty terrible dirt roads to get to the TEA office. Not many people drive as the petrol is so expensive (80p a liter and the average wage is £30 per month) and the roads so poor that nearly everyone travels by bus.

You can help them from the comfort of your armchair at home if you feel that you could? You could spread the word of the organisation, tell people who are considering travel to Belize of the exciting programmes available (and at such low cost…a one on one cooking/weaving class is £1.50 per hour!), if you have the time or skills to help the TEA build cyber parterships to enhance their profile, help them keep their online data upto date…again, I could go on.
I really hope that this blog will encourage just a few people to consider either visiting the TEA here in Belize, help them spread the word or even to visit an ecotourism group on your next holiday instead of piling in like sheep into the nearest all inclusive.

I know that the world over is struggling and even in the western society that we think is ‘stable’ people are still loosing their jobs everyday. I know that people get one holiday a year and they WANT to eat their own body weight in food. I know that I’ll probably get called from a pig to a dog for making you think about it, BUT I also know that I have had my eyes opened by these people, the way they live and their lack of even the things that we can’t go 10 minutes without such as electricity and running water! I have bitched and moaned about the crap roads and the cost of fuel but I have also seen the happiness on the faces of the families that invited us into their homes to lend me a wedding outfit, to come and play Marimba at our wedding, to make bread and cocoa for us and to come and bless us in the way of holding us a wedding ceremony. They have nothing but will gove you everything. How many people did you meet like that on your last holiday?

SOURCE


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#429973 - 02/09/12 12:36 AM Re: 30 Weddings in 30 Countries [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

No time for wedding jitters!

We woke up early again with the rooster and the children on the school field and was informed that in the night Alex had had another bright idea…I have to admit I do inwardly cringe when he says he has had an idea! But, as always, it was a good one! He had thought that as we had not had the opportunity to help out at the cacao plantation and as cacao is the cash crop of Belize that we should maybe see if we could hold the wedding at the cacao plantation.
We asked Reyes and he straight away took us to the plantation so we could have a look around. We loved it. Fruit trees all around, vines hanging from the canopy above the plantation and lots of great big cacao pods hanging in the trees. Reyes opened up one of the pods and told us to try one of the gloopy looking soggy seeds inside. The inside looked like lumpy custard and after I had watched Alex’s reaction to his mouth full of goo I tried it too. The seeds were slimy with a really sweet taste, almost like sucking a lemon sherbert! Delicious! The next tree Reyes showed us produced bright red seeds, about the size and shape of an almond in its shell. He opened one up and inside the shell was full of small seeds that stained his fingers red when he touched them. He explained that the women use this for colouring food and as a spice. The whole place was just what we wanted and we asked the carer of the plantation if she would be happy for us to have a wedding there. She had to ask permission but could not do so until her husband came home. Luckily she had a mobile phone and we arranged to call her at a certain time that evening to find out.
I explained to her that I would like to try to make some earrings for our wedding ceremony and she offered to help me. Traditionally the groom gifts his bride gold earrings rather than a wedding ring and as I looked around after learning this fact I saw that most women wore the same gold earrings. Similar to a claddagh with a heart held by two birds forming the loop. The lady showed me how to weave and sew a dried leaf into an earring and attached the clasps for me. 4 other ladies gathered around and watched as I struggled with the needle. They ummed and aahhd their approval when I was doing well and laughed at me when I wasn’t. They gossiped among themselves in Mopan just asking a few questions in English every now and then. They thought it was funny that Alex was with me as I had my craft lesson and asked for copies of the pictures when we took one of the little boy running around the front room. He was about 1 and had a clove of garlic pinned to his vest. I asked why and his Mum explained that he was ill and the garlic would help make him better. Once my earrings were finished we set off back into town with 2 of the ladies and 3 sacks of corn in the van. They asked us to drop them off down the track with their corn and we pondered how the 2 of them could carry the 3 sacks.

Alex struggled to carry one at a time and one of the ladies was easily 60 years old! We watched them lift a sack each in one arm and each end each of the third sack. Incredulous we continued on our journey…which was to be a long one.

You know we said it MUST get easier to arrange this wedding? Well, we had been lucky enough to find a photography company who’s work we loved but they were on Ambergris Island which is 200 miles and a flight away. After a little persuasion they agreed to fly to Belize city and we agreed to collect them from there. Conch creative‘s images are very different to any others we have seen so far and we instantly clicked with Collette and Maya via email and knew they would be perfect. So thats where we were heading…the day before the wedding. 200 miles to Belize City the day before, collect Maya at the airport on the morning of the wedding and drive the 200 miles back in time for the wedding and then the day after the wedding drive the 200 miles back to Belize to drop Maya off in time for her flight back to Ambergris! BUT, it was a price we were willing to pay for the great images!
The drive to Belize city was an easy one once we got back to the main roads and we sailed along with Peggy purring like a…erm…tiger…without her catalytic converter…and we made it in plenty of time. We stayed at a monkey sanctuary for the night and then covered the last leg of our journey to the airport in time for Maya’s flight arriving at 10am.
We pulled into the airport and saw Collette…who IS half of Conch Creative but not the half we were expecting ( no offense Collette, we would have loved for you to come along too haha). Collette quickly explained that Maya had been bitten by a dog the night before and had had 30 stitches in her leg as a result. We gasped and told Collette she needn’t have come thinking she had come instead of Maya…but as she continued to explain she told us that she had flown to the mainland with the dog and that Maya would STILL be coming to shoot our wedding! We were gobsmacked! How is that for commitment? 30 stitches at 10pm one night, flight to shoot a wedding for free the next morning at 9am! This gal is certainly one that would never let anyone down!

Maya hobbled up to the van with all of her equipment, jumped in and we never stopped talking all the way back to PG! We all got on so well and had so much in common. Maya is interested in anything that is her namesake so this wedding was perfect for her!
The drive back wasn’t as smooth and the traffic seemed to be against us but we arrived when we arrived and THEN we had to put the finishing touches to the wedding before we could hold it!

SOURCE:


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#430117 - 02/10/12 03:11 PM Re: 30 Weddings in 30 Countries [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

A Mopan wedding in beautiful 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.

Alex 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!

We 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.

Once 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.

 

 

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.

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!

Source


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#430167 - 02/10/12 04:53 PM Re: 30 Weddings in 30 Countries - Maya 2012 [Re: Marty]
collyk Offline
And if that wasn't enough excitement, they did a fabulous Trash the Dress session with us, which we have just had to share. We hope you love the photos as much as we do! Tabitha Does Toledo - Maya 2012 Wedding
_________________________
www.conchcreative.com
Belize Wedding Photography


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#430174 - 02/10/12 06:27 PM Re: 30 Weddings in 30 Countries - Maya 2012 [Re: Marty]
Judyann H. Offline
Fantastic.....The talent you have at conchcreative continues to put me in a state of awe.....Wow how do you do it?....Thank you for sharing these photos....
_________________________
My friends call me Judyann

www.blackorchidrestaurant.com

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#430179 - 02/10/12 08:26 PM Re: 30 Weddings in 30 Countries - Maya 2012 [Re: Marty]
collyk Offline
Thank you so much Judyann! That is lovely of you to say. How do we do it? A lot of work and a bit of luck for sure. We get the most wonderful opportunities with the nicest people. We love what we do and we always try to challenge ourselves. I have to say that this particular wedding was truly unique and as it is their 12th in a row, truly epic. They are getting married today in Guatemala!
_________________________
www.conchcreative.com
Belize Wedding Photography


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#430198 - 02/11/12 12:35 AM Re: 30 Weddings in 30 Countries - Maya 2012 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

Funky Junk!

With all the excitement of the last few days and planning the wedding in a village with no modern means of communication we were again humbled. The only time we could think of in our lives that had been similar was when we were kids and if you had a question for your friend or someone nearby you got on your bike and went to find them and ask the question. To make plans with our friends we would arrange to be at the phone box at a certain time to receive the call or we would make plans when we were together at school. Now we all have a mobile phone at the end of our arms and can be in instant contact with anyone anywhere in the world! Its such an amazing contrast. I don’t feel that either way is better than the other, just a completely different way of living.
We started the day after the wedding with fry-jacks and coffee and hit the road…back to the garage! Peggys rattle that had been cured only 2 days before had come back with a vengance!
While the boys were tinkering about with Peggy, Alex had the idea of taking a few pictures amongst the rotting cars with weeds growing out of their engines. You know, wreck the dress…among the wrecks! As we knew she would, Maya loved the idea and after we had asked the bewildered garage owner I got dressed and paddled into the boggy, saturated field full of rusting old cars. The sun shone properly for the first time in days but the clouds still loomed with a threat of rain. The forgotten, neglected vehicles with their inards strewn all around made a fantastic contrast to the soft, flowing Tabitha gown and the whole idea was perfect…until Alex asked me to get into the boot of a rotting car…but…why not I guess!

We had great fun with Alex standing by with a huge bubble wand while we paddled about in the muck and rust. The mechanics just looked at us like we were absolutely crazy…can’t blame them really!

Once Peggy was bandaged up (her front support bar had completely snapped in two) we bagged Tabitha back up and hit the long road back to Belize. Again we talked all the way back stopping only for a coffee in the cutest little coffee shop in the middle of nowhere.

We had a farewell beer with Maya and watched her board her tiny plane and drove to the nearest camp to collapse and reflect!
Maya was fantastic and I loved that even with a sewn up leg she was willing to jump in the waterfall, climb the rocks, paddle in muck and filth all in the name of getting the shots! I saw a house in PG that I LOVED, made Alex do an emergency stop to get out to take a pic and Maya took one for me too and made it beautiful!
As I say every time, and I MEAN it every time, there aren’t the words to Thank Conch Creative enough. The commitment you showed us in the face of adversity, emotion and the damn pain in the butt drive the length of the country…TWICE is remarkable and honourable!

We also can’t thank the TEA Belize enough for their help, for inviting us into their homes and for opening our eyes!

Again, thanks to this wedding we are lucky to have made great friends in Reyes and Luciana, in Maya and Colette and we have expanded our knowledge of life and the way we live it! This wedding has been more than a celebration of love, friendship and unity but also a real life lesson that we will never ever forget.

SOURCE


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#433024 - 03/15/12 01:50 PM Re: 30 Weddings in 30 Countries - Maya 2012 [Re: Marty]
Marty Offline

2 people 1 life: wedding number 12 in Belize…plus THE most amazing Trash the dress!

If you are a regular reader of the Blog you will remember Lisa and Alex from 2 people 1 life fame, who are currently traveling round the world getting marred in every country they stay in. We started following their journey in Manchester for wedding number one back in June 2011 . Then in January I gave you a run down of all of the weddings so far HERE. Today I am pleased to be able to share with you wedding number 12 which took part in Belize, as well as a rather amazing Trash The Dress Shoot which happened the day after the ceremony.

Lisa and Alex took part in a traditional Belize ceremony and were helped out by Luciana and Reyes, who helped to plan everything. They are part of the Toledo Ecotourism Association who are a voluntary organisation trying to help locals gain from ecotourism. The Photographer was the amazing Maya Popavic from Conch Creative and Lisa got to wear Tabitha her Charlotte Balbier gown once again for the Trash the dress Shoot.

Lisa has written her own report of the day.

I was 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.
The last addition to my outfit was my handmade earrings and once I was ready Luciana gathered up buckets of bread she had made for us, a drum (no exaggeration) of homemade cacao drink and a huge chocolate cake fit for 30 people!

We 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. 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.
Once we had exchanged vows Luciana 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 from Conch Creative 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.
We dropped Reyes and Luciana home and continued on to PG where we had a hotel booked.

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 to Belize city in the morning.
Nobody said planning a wedding was easy but it was certainly worth it!

The following day we started our day with fry-jacks and coffee and hit the road…back to the garage! While the boys were tinkering about with Peggy, Alex had the idea of taking a few pictures amongst the rotting cars with weeds growing out of their engines. As we knew she would, Maya loved the idea and after we had asked the bewildered garage owner for permission, we got dressed and paddled into the boggy, saturated field full of rusting old cars. The sun shone properly for the first time in days but the clouds still loomed with a threat of rain. The forgotten, neglected vehicles with their inards strewn all around made a fantastic contrast to the soft, flowing Tabitha gown and the whole idea was perfect…until Alex asked me to get into the boot of a rotting car…but…why not I guess?!

For more information Maya Popavic / Conch Creative go to
www.conchcreative.com
http://conchcreative.wordpress.com/
conchcreative@btinternet.com

 

To follow Lisa and Alex’s journey go tohttp://2people1life.com/blog/


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