A Spectacular Summer Wedding in Lima, Peru

In March of 2016, Michael Barrocas headed to Miami on a mission to find Raquel Ackerman, a girl he’d met back in college in Boston. The risky and romantic gesture paid off, and Raquel fell in love with Michael quickly. Less than nine months later, while on the beach in Puerto Rico, Michael and Raquel got engaged with another grand gesture. “He told me we were heading to an outdoor workout class, and instead I found hundreds of red roses spelling out ‘Marry Me’ in the sand, along with music and champagne,” Raquel remembers.

The bride’s family is from Lima, Peru, and she and the groom loved the idea of having a personal connection to their venue. “The architecture of the city is incredible,” Raquel describes. They planned an elaborate weekend-long celebration—from intimate family gatherings to the elaborate wedding for 600 guests on August 12, 2017. The parties were filled with bright colors, local accents, and elegant details, immersing Michael and Raquel’s family and friends in Peruvian culture.

Keep reading to be transported south of the equator, with photographs by El Marco Rojo and planning and event design by J Group Events.

To kick off the weekend, Raquel and Michael hosted welcome cocktails and a dinner full of Peruvian touches. Cocktails were set up like a traditional market, with fruit and vegetable stalls and vendors showcasing hats, blankets, and strands of pompoms. Tables were layered with colorful linens, and blankets were set out to keep guests warm as the sun set.

Guests sipped Pisco Sours as they sampled ceviche and listened to live Peruvian music. A pair of llamas created the ultimate photo booth!

As dusk set in, Raquel and the women in her family lit the Sabbath candles before heading to the amphitheater for a horse show.

As a surprise for the guests, Raquel and Michael made their entrance into the amphitheater on horseback, before letting the pros take over with dancing and tricks.

The welcome party ended with a formal dinner beneath a colorful installation of quipus, an Incan handicraft historically used for counting.

Long tables were set with vibrant arrangements of local pink flowers, and heartfelt toasts brought the happy couple to tears before they called it a night in preparation for their big day.

The next morning, Raquel slipped into her Liz Martinez tulle gown festooned with floral appliqués. “I saw the dress on Instagram and fell in love,” says the bride. “I found the designer’s phone number and messaged her via WhatsApp in Hebrew, telling her I wanted to wear the dress for my wedding!”

Raquel paired the gown with a matching cathedral-length veil, also edged in floral appliqués. The bride walked down the dramatically-lit aisle with her parents, carrying a bouquet of baby’s breath.

With such a large crowd, Michael and Raquel opted for a ceremony in the round, with three illuminated aisles for the bridal party and the bride herself. Instead of a traditional chuppah, the couple’s brothers brought the tallit down the aisle and draped it on an elevated frame, which suspended the traditional cloth high overhead.

A tunnel of candles led to the reception, housed inside a 30-foot clear cube (inspired by Damien Hirst’s Mammoth) decorated with suspended arrangements of flowers overhead. “We created an elevated area in the back with a 40-foot custom bar and DJ, specifically for the younger adults in attendance,” says Raquel.

After a fusion menu of Peruvian and Asian dishes, guests headed to the dance floor, where a DJ was accompanied by live instruments. Says Raquel of the hora, “The view as we were hoisted above our loved ones was absolutely incredible!” Of course, the pair had to honor South American tradition with an hora loca later in the evening! A room full of desserts kept guests full all night, and in the wee hours, those left on the dance floor were treated to a typical Puerto Rican breakfast (a nod to the couple's engagement location).

Wedding Team

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