One UnBELIZEable Wedding

Cahal Pech 1
Cahal Pech/ Jose Luis Zapata Photography
Cahal Pech 11
Cahal Pech/ Jose Luis Zapata Photography

The year that supposedly hosts doomsday—technically when the Mayan Calendar marks the end of a 5,126-year era—is upon us: 2012.

And, with the Mayan calendar being surprisingly accurate much of the time, the fast-approaching year has most people in a tether, worrying that humanity has seen its better days. Sure, Hollywood hyping up the occasion with several movies depicting the year as one full of catastrophic events on par with the extinction of the dinosaurs hasn’t helped. But, for one crowd, it’s just the opposite, and the woman in charge says the date is actually a year to celebrate—and she plans to do so in the most Mayan way possible.

Lara Goldman of 12 Productions Belize and Romantic Travel Belize is honoring the significant Mayan date by producing a massive and magnificent Mayan wedding ceremony on 12.12.12, and she’s inviting brides and grooms from around the world.

“What better way to begin your life than at a time like that?” said Goldman, originally a Philadelphia native. She went on to explain the differing beliefs of the United States and Belize.

“When I first started this, I said to people, ‘Are you familiar with 2012, the day that the Mayan calendar comes to an end?’ Everyone from the United States thinks it’s doomsday, but no one here believes the world is ending. Instead, it’s a positive and uplifting time. A time of renewal,” explained Goldman. “That’s the whole culture of the Mayans. It’s about starting over again.”

Goldman, along with famous New York wedding planner Lisa Light, has planned quite the wedding and, as part of the event, portions of the proceeds will be donated to several charities.

On Dec. 12, an estimated 36 couples and more than 200 of their close friends and family will take part in a special “Mayan Marriage of Many” wedding celebration to be performed on an ancient Mayan Temple at the 3,200-year-old Mayan City of Cahal Pech.

“It’s beautiful and not many people know it’s the only place where you can get married on Mayan ruins,” said Goldman. The English-speaking country also boasts the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere. “Belize is very distinct and nothing like its Central American neighbors. It’s amazingly diverse and, for this event, we are bringing together all cultural aspects.”

Bridal parties will arrive on Dec. 9 for a five-day experience. From the moment the guests get off the plane they will be immersed in Mayan culture. Native dancers will welcome the group (each couple will be able to invite six of their closest loved ones to the wedding celebration, from Dec. 9 to Dec. 13), which will then head to a cocktail reception. From there, they can take in Belize in a number of ways ranging from zip-lining, Mayan massage, medicine trails with Mayan shamans, cave tubing, and exploring ancient caves where the Mayans made their sacrifices.

On the wedding day, a shaman, a priest and a minister will be on site to administer the marriage ceremony. Brides and grooms will line up all at once among the ancient Mayan temple, draped with watermelon-colored silk fabrics, and adorned with silk pillows decorated with fire elements. There will be music and dancing with a catered reception fit for a Mayan princess.

“It will be the biggest event that the country has had,” said Goldman. “It’s like our Olympics. We are pulling out every stop.”

On hand will be Dr. Jaime Awe of the National Institute of Culture and History, who will help make sure the event preserves the ancient Mayan cities during the festivities. An expert on Mayan archeology, he has designed the excavation process.

Following the wedding, the newlyweds will embark on a honeymoon dubbed a “mini-moon.” For five nights, the bride and groom will be transported to San Pedro (who’s singing Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” right now?).

As an added bonus, designer Chris Kole of Long Island’s The Cotton Bride is creating a Mayan-inspired wedding gown which will be for sale on the website. One gown will be given to a lucky winner.

Goldman says the wedding is a first-come, first-served sign-up with an average price tag of $16,000—a steal for the 10-day vacation and wedding for eight. Couples can sign up on the official website, 2012weddingsbelize.com. So, who’s going?