Joanna Sue Photography » Lifestyle photography based out of Raleigh, NC

Meagan and Gustavo

My usual wedding preparation process was  a little different this time around. I got an email from across the world from a girl in the Peace Corps planning a wedding in Durham, NC from a small village in Paraguay. Instead of getting together over coffee, we emailed back and forth and schedule international phone call. I was so excited when we finally got to meet to hash out the details. Meagan and Gustavo were very considerate of both their families. They actually had already gotten married in Paraguay where they help a traditional Paraguayan ceremony, but they enlisted me to capture their celebration state-side.

It became clear that for Meagan what most people consider hurdles like language differences, miles of distance, and staying within budget for planning a perfect wedding became catalysts for richly diverse and beautiful day. They had friends and family flying in from all over the globe, and even Gustavo’s family  tuned through Skype (Thank the Lord for technology). One gesture that struck me was in the speech of a bridesmaid. She recounted Gustavo and Meagan’s first wedding in Paraguay and how the scene was flipped. Meagan’s parents were the ones Skyping in that day, and even though they weren’t physically present to support their daughter, they got dressed in their best suit and dress and attended that big day with every effort they could. Hearing that and seeing so many friends and family gather from accross the world was a huge testament to Meagan and Gustavo.  This bilingual, multi-cultural, and fiscally AFFORDABLE wedding was by far one of my favorites this wedding season, but instead of hearing me blab about it, I’ll let Meagan do the talking:


J: How did you and Gustavo meet?

M: Gustavo was actually one of the first people I met in the small town of Fulgencio Yegros, where I would live for 2 years. I had come to visit before swearing in as a volunteer, and the volunteer that was just about to finish up her 2 years took me around town to meet people in the community. Gustavo and a group of young adults that worked to improve the community through beautification and infrastructure projects were holding a movie night at her house. I wasn’t too interested in meeting guys my age (it seemed too complicated because everyone wanted me to have a boyfriend!), but I do remember that I instantly was attracted to his smile – so big and kind. Eventually Gustavo and I ran into each other a few more times, and after convincing me to come meet his older sister who he thought I would get along with (he was right! She is one of my best friends now) I began to spend more time with him and his family. The rest is fate!

J: What about you guys coming from two different backgrounds and cultures made your wedding day so special?

M: We have had two weddings! Our first in Paraguay, and the second in America, which were both so different but both so wonderful. I think the beautiful thing about it is, is sharing with our friends and family how important these other parts of us are, which is an adventure in both countries. We could have gone purely Paraguayan in Paraguay and purely American here but it wouldn’t have reflected us, our love, our lives – and we want to be as real about that as possible. I think everyone who attended either wedding appreciated the sacrifices we’ve made to be together and the richness that in turn those sacrifices have given us.

J: What was your favorite thing about your wedding day?

M: My favorite little detail was on the arch where we said our vows I had made a sign in the three languages that our lives revolve around English, Spanish and Guaraní (an indigenous language widely spoken in Paraguay) that said I Love You, Te Amo and Rohayhu. It was just another special detail to reflect this journey we have been on, and so many people have told me that they thought it was such a wonderful idea. Oh and having to do everything in English and Spanish (Gustavo is still working on getting English down!), ha that made the day so fun and really true to our lives, which I loved.


Getting Ready Location: Airbnb

Venue: Spruce Pine Lodge

Caterer: City Barbecue


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