Chloe Leung and Garrett Cuff knew they wanted their destination wedding to be unforgettable. “We’re a pretty adventurous couple,” says Garrett, an engineer at an oil company. “We do a big trip each year [for] three or four weeks and go to a few countries at once, and wanted to share that experience with our family and friends.” They never even considered getting married near their home in Calgary, Canada, nor did they want a typical all-inclusive Caribbean or Mexican resort. Seeking a real thrill, they opted instead for a country—and in Garrett’s case, a continent—they’d never seen before their nuptials.
But if adventure is one thing they care for deeply, another is aesthetics; Chloe is an interior designer. Trying to communicate her bridal vision across 6,000 miles and a language barrier was difficult, but she found a way: “I made a 12-page presentation for my wedding planner, focused on decor more than anything else,” says Chloe. “This is what I want. How can we make it happen?”
Ahead, the couple explain how they plotted their aesthetically cool celebration at a vineyard one hour away from Santiago, Chile, for 40 guests last December.
Fall in love with the destination
The couple knew off the bat that they were interested in South America. “I first touched South America in 2007, when I went to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands, and I’ve been to Peru and Argentina since then. I just fell in love with the culture and people in these places,” says Chloe. “I wanted to share the beauty of South America with my friends and family.” In their research, they found themselves drawn to Chile in particular. “I’ve always loved the Patagonia region, and the Atacama Desert just looked so cool,” says Chloe. The country offered a hip capital city in Santiago, nearby beaches, stunning mountainscapes, an abundant wine country, and the opportunity to pursue their hobbies of hiking (Chloe) and golf (Garrett).
Amid the four days of wedding activities they planned for their guests was an afternoon of either wine tasting with the bride or golfing with the groom. Since it was such a long haul from Canada and the U.S., many of the group extended their trips into other parts of South America. “A lot of our friends went to Peru and saw Machu Picchu, some others hiked Patagonia, and some went off to Brazil or Argentina,” Chloe says. The motivation for attending their wedding led many to create once-in-a-lifetime trips.
Find a bilingual wedding planner
Pretty early on, the pair knew they were interested in getting married in Chile’s beautiful wine region, much of which is conveniently located within a short drive from Santiago. Once they started reaching out to wineries, though, they quickly realized they might be in over their heads.