John & Dawn’s Incredible Wedding Weekend – Good Times With Great People

I have so many pictures of the past few days that I need to make the story short.  And it’s fitting.  The couple met, became engaged in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and now wed in just about 6 months!  Love in Belize.

John Kennedy and Dawn Dartez met last year in San Pedro, Belize.  Both fun, smart expats with big personalities living on a small island…they were bound to get together.  I’ve known John for a couple years now – we met on a bus in Mexico.  And I wasn’t going to miss Scooping his wedding for anything.

Here are the basics.  John and Dawn were taking about 30 of their friends, from the States and from the cayes to the mainland, the Cahal Pech Resort in San Ignacio, Belize.   For their wedding at the Cahal Pech Maya site and a reception at the beautiful San Ignacio Resort.

Many of us took the water taxi from Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker to Belize City to kick off the journey.   Bride to be Dawn donned her appropriately rose colored glasses for the trip.  (Let’s not make this about me…but it’s also a kinda cool selfie!)

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Once in Belize, we were met by Rosalie Staines and her camera man, who were filming the entire wedding for a talk show she hosts for Belize TV called “Oapn Paki”.   She was shooting a 2 hour Valentines Day special that is going to air today on local tv.  She is a CHARACTER.  Flamboyant and a bit nutty.   The “Oprah Winfrey of Belize” was with us for the whole event.

Apparently John and Dawn don’t go halfway on anything!

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We loaded into this air-conditioned van pulling a trailer for all of the luggage…

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Bonnie, a woman serious about her drinks, had a few bottles of vodka and mixers and well…the drinks started flowing on this party bus.

IMG_8662 IMG_8663With quite a few pit stops, we made it to San Ignacio in a few drunken hours, walked by the Cahal Pech Resort pool and it’s huge pterodactyl…

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and checked into our rooms.  There was a bachelorette party to get to!   Dawn put on her light up tiara, flashing ring, bride sash and we hit the town.

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A few drinks, a goofy list of Last Single Night To-Do’s (get a random guy’s boxers, drink three shots in a row…you’ve been to these things), some dancing at the local shady night club, Blue Angel…

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the snack options – would you like some Vienna sausages with your Courvoisier?  Wait!  Another selfie!…

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and a trip to the casino.

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The next morning was not an early one for most.  Everyone ate breakfast at the hotel, napped and lounged around the pool.   John nervously reviewed his vows…

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We walked around the bend to the Maya site for a short tour before the wedding started.  It’s really a beautiful place.  And while there even more guests arrived.

Sharrilyn and Margie.

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Steve Schulte of Tropic Air and his beautiful girlfriend Joanne.  She also wins best dancer at the Bachelorette Party.

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Here are Tom and Polly Gruber.  Tom was an executive for McDonald’s and BlockBuster (there is quite a bit about him on-line) and Polly was John’s assistant when he worked in Marketing at McDonald’s.  Lovely couple.

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And two of the best people in the world.  John Harvey and his wife of Robin’s Kitchen in San Pedro.  THE BEST jerk chicken.

IMG_8700Really just a beautiful spot.  We climbed over into the wedding area…

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Amazing.  The cameraman Dennis was setting up…

Torches burning.  A gorgeous woven palm frond arch.

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IMG_8709So so so pretty.  I couldn’t stop taking pictures.  But I’ll try to spare you most of them.

IMG_8714And then the beautiful music on this Maya marimba.

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IMG_8731And then the wedding…

IMG_8740IMG_8749Dawn looked beautiful in the dress that John picked out for her.

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And then the beautiful, perfect for Belize, ring made by Mr. Dimas Guerrero in San Pedro from a rare conch pearl.  I LOVE IT.  This picture does not do it justice.

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He also made conch necklaces for all of the guests.  With the wedding date on it.

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Beautiful vows, beautiful ring, beautiful people.  There were many misty eyes.

IMG_8771Lots of hugging and kissing and congratulations.  We then made our way down the hill (in taxis!) to the San Ignacio Resort.

IMG_8784Mojitos for everyone.

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And the bride and groom!

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Music by Amaurys.

IMG_8796Tommy from Caye Caulker did an excellent, heartfelt Elvis tribute to “his Colonel Parker”.

IMG_8804John and Amaurys danced to La Bamba.

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Toasts…cigars…champagne.

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After saying good-byes, the ladies went up to the honeymoon suite to take a peek at the room…

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And at the beautiful almost full moon.

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I know that John Kennedy is a good guy.  A great guy.  One of the smartest I’ve met in Belize.  And this super cool group of people that he brought together is a tribute to that.  Everyone had a great time.  And though I’ve just known Dawn for a few months, she is warm and funny and well…I know that they are going to be together, and having fun, for the rest of their lives.

So glad to be a part of this.  Congrulations John and Dawn.  What a great party.






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  • charlotte

    Looks like such a wonderful wedding. John and Dawn look so happy together. Great job recapping all the key moments.

    • Belize Blog

      Why thank you. I never really could picture getting married at a Mayan site…but it was perfect. I get it!

      • charlotte

        It is a unique “venue.” Maybe the bride and groom were channeling the well wishes of the ancient Mayan Lords. Lol

  • Nicole

    I love your blog! This post really made me smile for so many reasons. I don’t know any of these people at all, but I can see the love and everything that was so special. I’m a photographer, so I loved seeing the location of this wedding, as well as all the little details like the mojitos and the wedding ring! I will be visiting Cahal Pech in June for the first time! My husband and I were married on Ambergris Caye on July 4, 2002 (at what was the Sundiver Beach Resort when Tazmara and her family owned it). We’re excited to be headed back to Belize to celebrate our 12th anniversary. This time we’ll be staying outside of San Ignacio and then traveling to Caye Caulker. We only sailed there from AC on our last trip for a few hours, so I’m excited to see more of this island. I’ve been reading all of your blog posts about CC! Keep posting! 🙂 Nicole

    • Belize Blog

      Thanks so much Nicole! I love that you are coming back for your anniversary…and I think you are going to love Caye Caulker. It’s really the cutest island…I’m going back more and more and wondering why I didn’t. It’s only 25 minutes away!

      • Nicole

        We’re super excited to be coming back! We originally talked about doing it for our 10th anniversary, but then the Sundiver had closed, or at least wasn’t open in its same format. I heard it may be back open again? We loved our time spent there, paddling out to the reef in a kayak, snorkeling for hours. We’re going to CC because we like the small charm the little island with the dirt streets has. We’ll be staying at Colinda Cabana’s which we’re pretty excited about. When we’re in the San Ignacio area we’re trying out Parrot’s Nest. It’s going to be an amazing trip! Is Los Cocos still open on AC? That was our favorite little local restaurant back in 2002!

  • Omaha Dave

    Hi Rebecca !
    All of your posts are great but I think I enjoyed this one the most !!! – Why wouldn’t I = 2 selfies ?!?!?

    • Belize Blog

      Ha. Selfies! I’m easing into them slowly…accidentally really…

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