When Daniel Stinson first laid eyes on Tara Makarechi at a celebrity putt-putt tournament, he immediately recognized her and knew it was destiny. “About a week before the event, [I] visited the fundraiser’s Instagram page to check out details about the event, and happened to notice an attractive girl while scrolling,” he reveals. The two exchanged numbers and eventually fell deeply in love. After only four months of dating, Daniel asked Tara’s parents for their blessing as well as for their help in planning the perfect proposal.

Three months later, the Atlanta couple flew south for their nuptials to fulfill Tara’s dream. “I have known since 2008 that I wanted to get married in Antigua, Guatemala. It’s a place very special to me because of nearly 10 years of volunteer work I have done there,” the bride smiles. Over 130 guests received welcome bags upon arrival and gathered for the couple’s ceremony, which highlighted special traditions. “My family is Persian, so we knew we wanted to incorporate Persian touches through music. [Our] recessional song was the famous Iranian wedding song, ‘Mubarak Baad.’ We also had this song play when we were announced at the reception,” she remembers. The pair honored their shared faith by performing a salt covenant. “[It] speaks to the preservation of our love and the bond with God. We used the same salt Daniel’s parents used at their wedding 40 years ago; his older brother used the same salt 22 years ago, and we have kept the salt to pass down to our kids for their weddings one day,” tells Tara, who donned a gorgeous Liancarlo gown featuring Spanish lace.

A grand chandelier and elegant floral arrangements created a luxurious ambience for the reception. “Antigua is so rich with beauty within all the ruins and ancient buildings, [but] we still wanted it to be worthy of a formal, glamorous affair,” she says. Everyone enjoyed the signature cocktails, delicious food, and watching the Persian knife dance that traditionally begins the cake cutting. “All the bridesmaids dance with the wedding cake knife, taunting the groom until he offers them money. They are to refuse the money and pass the knife along to each other until they hand the knife off to the bride,” Tara explains. The celebration continued to the sounds of a playlist created by the couple for the evening, which ensured everyone hit the dance floor. “It was an epic dance party that we all still talk about!” shares Tara.

While many couples spend months, or even years, planning their fairy-tale wedding, Tara suggests the opposite. “You don’t need that long to plan a great wedding,” she promises. “In fact, the less time you have, the quicker you make decisions and make things happen.”