When planning a destination wedding, Antigua, Guatemala might be the last place an LGBTQ+ couple looks. Rightfully so, same-sex marriage is illegal in Guatemala.
A note from photographer Joseph Nance;
Here the Catholic Church owns many of the wedding venues. The general discrimination against same-sex couples in the country can make planning a wedding in this beautiful city a nightmare. However, there are wedding vendors here who are working to open up Antigua Guatemala as a place that is welcome to all couples in love regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexuality in the hopes that our affordable and beautifully unique wedding destination will become home to more diverse weddings in the very near future.
Along with a team of all women wedding vendors (an anomaly in the male-dominated society of Guatemala), I got together this month to put on a styled shoot that showed the type of artistic expression and diversity we want to see more of in Guatemala. The team consisted of a coordinator, a baker, and floral designer from Guatemala; a dress and suit maker from Colombia; and a loved-up couple who originally hailed from Venezuela and Israel, and are of Christian and Jewish faith, respectively.
We used an unopened to the public venue to host our creative love event and put our creativity to the test. Thinking up ways to make this session the most beautiful possible in Guatemala. Even with this team of visionaries, we experienced our share of challenges in planning and putting on this styled session.
For people living in LA, London, Paris, Melbourne, etc., it might be hard to imagine just how taboo just two women kissing can be in a country like Guatemala.
Despite the younger generation’s protests in the capital to be a more progressive country. The country still has a long way to go in becoming an equal opportunity place for love – especially for Guatemalan-born people.
The mere suggestion of an LGBTQ+ wedding was so offensive to some of the vendors we approached for this session that they insisted they would not be working with us in the future for other weddings. A cake maker refused to work with us. Our usual furniture supplier was suddenly out of stock of everything we needed, despite being low season for weddings. And our location canceled on us the day before the shoot. Leaving us at a loss for the type of discrimination couples who may wish to get married in Guatemala or other Latin American countries may face when trying to plan a wedding or elopement.
Yet, we made it happen. The team pulled strings and made last-minute adjustments to bring our ideas to life in an effort to normalize love of all kinds in our country. We used a never before seen (or used) venue, made a custom dress and suit for the couple, and got creative with floral decorations.
Photography by Joseph Nance