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I am so excited to finally write this blog post! If you've been following along, you might have seen a series of 5 different blog posts ...

Planning A Destination Wedding Part 1

Earlier this month I got married and had the most beautiful destination wedding in Mexico. Now that all the planning is over with I wanted to share my experience and tips for a planning a destination wedding since I read tons and tons of articles/ blog posts on it!

Mike and I met at work in 2016 and we got engaged April 15, 2018 (Tax Day!). I finished a 3 month Beachbody workout program and on the day after finishing it I wanted my favorite donut from my favorite donut shop. I pre-ordered it an everything! Mike woke up early and told me he had to go and help he grandma move something - I thought he was going out to get me flowers or something to congratulate me on finishing the program. He came back about an hour later with the box of donuts that he went to go and pick up. My initial thought was how the heck did you get these if they aren't even open yet?! I opened the box in our kitchen to dig in and found a GIANT size of my favorite donut I waited 3 months for and it said "Will you marry me" on it! No one knew but my dad! We went and celebrated all day with family and friends! He worked with the donut shop for a few weeks to pull this off and spent months reading blog post after blog post about how to find the perfect diamond which still melts my heart whenever I think about it.

Ok so after we were engaged we started looking at venues like that week. Mike had his heart set on a destination wedding and after I started to look at prices of local weddings on the beach I quickly got on board with the destination wedding idea.

The first step was trying to pick WHERE to go. We knew we wanted an all inclusive resort and we had been to Mexico together the past 2 years which made us lean towards that.We also looked into Jamaica but ruled out Punta Cana because myself and others got really sick there. We decided on Mexico and after figuring out Delta had direct flights from Boston to Cancun we were sold!

We also had to pick a date which we kind of just landed on May. When we went to Mexico previous years we always went in May or June and it was perfect because everyone is itching for summer/warmer weather by then and when you get back summer is just about starting. We originally wanted to do a Cindo De Mayo wedding in Mexico but it was on a Sunday and the resort we picked didn't do weddings on Sundays. We ended up picking Monday, May 6, 2019! When you are in paradise know one knows what day it is so I wasn't worried about it being on a Monday.

Picking the resort was probably the hardest part! If you have been to Mexico or any other tropical all inclusive destination you know there are hundreds of resorts all next to each other! Some offer free stays for the bride and groom, some offer free wedding packages, some offer very little. We decided to make a  priority list that helped us narrow down our resort.

  1. We wanted it to be affordable for our guests. Sure, the Hard Rock is gorgeous but if we wanted a lot of people to come all the way to Mexico for our wedding we weren't going to ask them to pay $350 a night for hotel only. We wanted the package for our guests to be about $1,200 a person for 7 nights with hotel, air, and transfers included 
  2. A big resort that had a lot to do
  3. A wedding package that included a lot 

We decided on the Barcelo Grand Maya resort which checked everything off the list. 

  • It was about $1,200 a person for 7 nights for hotel, air, and transfers
  • It was a stay at 1 play at 4 resort meaning that you pull into one resort but inside that resort there are 4 different lobbies/ sections (Caribe, Colonial, Tropical, and Beach). So when you stay at 1 you get access to all of them! The complex is massive and there is SO much to do because its technically like you're staying at 4 resorts that are all walking distance 
  • The wedding package included the cake, bride and groom flowers, ceremony on beach, reception, premium wristbands, hair and makeup, etc.

Once we decided on our resort we found a destination travel agent online that helped us book everything and also was able to do all of our guests bookings which was nice. She got them great deals too. Did you know travel agents are free?! It saved us so much stress not having to do the bookings/ payments for our guests ourselves. 

We booked the resort and sent out save the dates 11 months before the wedding making sure that everyone had enough time to make arrangements and make payments on their trip. A tip to save money: post card save the dates! Our save the dates told everyone to save the date and book their travel with our travel agent. It had her contact information along with our wedding website that had more information on traveling & resort for guests to read.

Something else we learned along the way is not to assume that a lot of your guests won't go because of the cost.We invited about 180 people, the same amount we would have invited to a local wedding. We expected about 50-60 to come because it is a lot to ask of people. Boy were we wrong! We ended up with 104 people which was so amazing. We still can't believe that all of those people flew across the country to celebrate out wedding with us!!

I could go on and on but I will save that for Part 2! If you are reading this and are planning a destination wedding and have ANY questions- feel free to leave a comment and ask my any questions you may have! It can be so overwhelming planning a wedding in another country and the hardest part is figuring out where to even start!

Part 2 will go into planning the wedding via e-mail for the next 11 months!