ABC Planner: Maria Lugo, AWP™, Maria Lugo, Dorado, Puerto Rico, marialugopr.com, mariaalugo@gmail.com

Years in industry: 9

Photography: Jose Ruiz Photography


Businesses: Plazoleta de La Rogativa (ceremony), Hotel El Convento (venue), Brides by Tatiana (hair/makeup), Lorraine’s Flowers, C+M Cake Designers, Cory Casterton (officiant), DJ Rockhand (ceremony/reception music), NDF Films, First Class Chauffeurs, Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino (welcome activity)

Wedding date: July 17, 2015

Guest count: 43


The couple: New Jersey residents Emily and Sergio dated briefly in high school and reconnected 10 years later through Facebook. Wanting something different than a cookie-cutter wedding led them to select Puerto Rico as a destination. They took pride in hand selecting each element of the day, eliminating traditions from which they felt disconnected. Emily had studied color theory, typography, and painting in college, but pursued a career in wine/spirits sales. Throughout the planning, she learned about the wedding industry and how it uses the creative and business side. I encouraged her to explore a career change. She is currently researching and studying to become accredited in wedding planning. We keep in touch, and I learned a lot from her as a client and about myself as a mentor.

Involvement: Full-consulting


Inspiration: The couple had an exciting and unique vision I had never executed. Not wanting to “transform a space,” it focused on accessorizing the venue’s beauty to incorporate aspects of their personal style. Loosely inspired by former New York City nightclub, Bungalow 8, the couple wanted a chic, modern affair where bold simplicity created a wow effect.

Aha” moment: I was influenced by the energy of the bride and her determination to give attention to every detail. She was as interested in the process as the result. By using multiple communication platforms and numerous templates, I felt connected and fully embraced their vision.

Most unique design element: A vibrant color palette of red and teal combined with the bride’s signature black-and-white stripes were utilized everywhere. Wearing a kilt, the bride’s father led her down a custom, striped aisle runner. At the reception, tables atop the black-and-white marble floors were adorned with dark teal linens and an antique-gold sequin table runner. Tall black vases topped with huge palm leaves created a tall canopy of greenery.


Color palette: Black-and-white stripes, red, teal, and gold

Budget: $45,000

Staff hours: 100 plus

Planning time: One year and three months.


Client meetings: Two visits to Puerto Rico and numerous Facetime and conference calls.

Revenue breakdown: 100% planning


Biggest challenge: At our first meeting, the bride came prepared with printed copies of inspiration boards, including pictures, bullet point lists, and Pantone color chips. She had done her research and knew exactly what she wanted down to the specific chair style name. Finding the exact items became the biggest challenge, and hiring the right decorator was instrumental. She was able to not only source what the bride requested, but embrace and integrate the couple’s style into every element of the day.
Learnings: This wedding reinforced the importance of communication. The bride’s attention to detail led us to use multiple planning templates and inspire new ones. By sharing these details with vendors, everyone was well versed on the expectations, which created anticipation. We were as excited for the wedding as the couple!