Many soonlyweds have trouble relinquishing control of all the details when it comes to wedding planning, but not Michael and Daniel. They entrusted their parents and sisters with all the planning for their destination wedding in Ecuador, so their wedding day was as much a surprise to them as it was to their guests. But they wouldn’t have had it any other way.
With a little help from Etica Events and LH Film to capture the details, their families planned an unforgettable day in the serene Cloud Forest that began with an emotional ceremony and ended with a celebratory dip in the pool. If that’s not the best way to end a wedding, we don’t know what is!
The Love Story
Michael and Daniel expected a typical night out with friends when they both ended up at the same local bar in New York City one night. From the first moment they met, their connection was immediate, and they started dating soon after. It wasn’t long before an entire year had gone by, and Michael surprised Daniel with a trip to Iceland to celebrate their one year anniversary.
Michael planned the trip over New Year’s Eve so they’d get to experience Reykjavik’s enormous fireworks show, and so Michael could ask Daniel a question that would change their lives forever. But before they left, he needed some help. “I had coordinated with family and friends for them all to post a photo of the two of us exactly at midnight,” Michael says. “So when Daniel looked as his Instagram at midnight, it was full of photos of the two of us with ‘Will You Marry Me?’ written across them.” It was a New Year’s Eve they’ll never forget!
When Michael and Daniel were searching for destination wedding locations, they came across a photo of a wedding in the Cloud Forest on Pinterest, and they immediately knew that was the place. But it also wouldn’t be the only place. “We are both Jewish, and in a Jewish wedding you say seven blessings,” Michael says. “So we decided we would go to seven different locations and say a blessing in each one. El Encanto Resort was the main wedding event where our families joined us, but then, on our own, Daniel and I went to six other places to say the remaining blessings: Galapagos Islands, Quito, Santiago, Easter Island, Tahiti and Bora Bora.”
For the first stop in the Cloud Forest, Michael and Daniel had a traditional Jewish ceremony officiated by their sisters that was filled with personal details. A saxophonist played “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” as the grooms walked down the aisle in memory of Michael’s grandfather. The wine cup they used during the ceremony had also belonged to Michael’s brother, who passed away, and Michael’s mom used one of his shirts to make Michael’s glass breaking bag. When the grooms exchanged rings, they both exchanged rings that had belonged to their grandfathers, and Daniel’s glass breaking bag was also made from the handkerchief of his grandfather who had also passed away. So although some of their closest family members couldn’t be present on their wedding day, they were certainly with them in spirit.
After the ceremony, the grooms led the way into the reception where luxe black, white and gold details filled the room. Lush greenery hung over the head table and bistro lights were strung from the wood panels. Michael and Daniel’s places were marked with Beanie Babies, an endearing touch that they loved. For the seated dinner, many vegetarian options were available to accommodate the grooms. “Both Daniel and I are vegetarian,” Michael says. “But we also included some meat options. We had pizza appetizers, ceviche, gelato, beef, llapingachos, rollitos de corvina and tofu.”
After dinner, Michael and Daniel surprised their guests with a choreographed first song to LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It.” And afterward, everyone jumped into the pool fully clothed. “We couldn’t believe everybody did it!” Michael says. “We played in the pool and hot tub for hours while the DJ played.”