This charity is dedicated to love & Marriott is helping make it all possible

Diners enjoy lunch outside at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.
Diners enjoy lunch outside at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. Photo: DANI FINE PHOTOGRAPHY

Puerto Rico has gorgeous beaches and year-round warm weather, but the Caribbean tropical paradise isn’t just popular with tourists. The island, a U.S. territory, is also a fantastic wedding destination.

Wish Upon a Wedding, a not-for-profit that grants vow renewals and destination weddings to couples facing terminal illness, is a charity founded on love – and the island has it in abundance.

The group brings together wedding planners, photographers, floral designers, bakers, and the support staff needed for a big event to make couples’ dreams come true just as things look dire. All of the members donate their services.

Wish Upon a Wedding helps couples alleviate the financial burden and time commitment that planning a wedding entails, so they can focus instead on dealing with treatments and spending time with loved ones. The group works with queer couples.

Marriott International, a hotel and hospitality industry leader, partners with the charity to host and support the couples; it also donates to the group. Recently, the Fortune 500 company invited several planners to Puerto Rico to see everything they could offer a team.

DANI_FINE_PHOTOGRAPHY Sunshine and warm weather await in Puerto Rico

Marriott is one of the companies to earn a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, a benchmarking survey and report measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace equality in the U.S.

Planners were feted at multiple properties to showcase the best the locations had to offer. At Dorado Beach, a Ritz Carlton Reserve, they ate lunch on the beach, sampling the menu and cocktails. The La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort‘s famous event space, La Perla, is beachside and gives guests the illusion of being inside a shell beneath the waves.

DANI_FINE_PHOTOGRAPHY The La Perla event space allows guests to feel like part of the island

The San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino hosted the group, as the AC Hotel by Marriott San Juan Condado proved it could provide rooms that don’t skimp on local flavor for more budget-conscious guests. Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino head chef Jannette Berrios, a lesbian, climbed her way to the top of the island’s culinary world and delighted with personal stories about how the island had changed to be more welcoming to LGBTQ+ people.

The chain also hosted a panel discussion about destination weddings, current trends in client requests, and what would-be newlyweds are most concerned about.

Maya Jain, founder of Tyrian Purple Consulting and Wish Upon a Wedding NY Committee Chair, and Tara Consolati of Tara Consolati Events and Wish Upon a Wedding’s NY Committee Treasurer, spoke about the charity’s dedication to love and why local planners and designers should get involved.

“Due to their health-related circumstances,” the charity explains, “the couples we honor have endured far more significant challenges than many of us could imagine, and we aim to celebrate their love for one another.”

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