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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 ...

Destination Wedding Part 2- Planning

I am finally writing part 2/3 of planning a destination wedding!!! You can find part 1 here. This post will be about planning and go into how you basically plan your entire wedding via e-mail. If you are like me and are a planner this process will drive you insaneeee, but I promise you will get through it!!!

When we ended up picking our resort we then had to pick a date and trust me, it is a lot harder then picking a date for a local wedding! Below are the things we thought about when picking our date/ time of the year to get married:

  • Weather conditions at home- this will affect travel to the wedding if its the dead middle of winter or hurricane season so we avoided the winter months. We also did not want to go to Mexico during the summer at all because it is already nice and warm at home during those months.
  • Weather conditions at your destination- this was not a super big concern because it is always nice in Mexico!
  • School vacation weeks in your area- traveling during these weeks are crazzzy so we wanted to avoid April due to school vacation and March due to spring break.
  • Graduations- this is one I didn't think of but my travel agent brought to my attention when we started thinking about late spring/ early summer. Flights will go up and fill up fast in your area when they are in high demand when family is flying in for graduations.
Image may contain: sky, ocean and outdoor

So after all that consideration we decided on May! It was perfect because summer would be around the corner and people would be itching for the warmer weather and sun! Once we picked May we thought Cinco de Mayo would be a fun date to get married in Mexico. We reached out to the wedding department at the resort and found out that the date ended up being on a Sunday and the resort did not do weddings on Sundays. So we went with the next day, Monday. It sounded weird at first to have a wedding on a Monday but when you are on vacation at an all inclusive resort all the days collide. Then you have to pick a time, and man that was tough too, lol. We wanted 5:00 because we thought that was a good time but for that day they only had 3:30 and 6:00 open (BTW at this point we were a year out from the wedding, people book their dates/ times far in advance). Also, side note- they do up to SEVEN weddings a day!! We ended up at 6:00 after googling when the sunsets in May and realized the sun would still indeed be out during the ceremony and then start to set around 7:00. We then wired the deposit over to the resort and waited confirmation and given a wedding coordinator. 

We had to pick a package and that will differ between resorts and we actually ended up going with a higher package (strawberry). They way it works is that you pay a base price for the package and that includes 30 guests and any additional guest is $70. Well, we ended up having 104 guests so we had a lot of additional guests to pay for. The one difference between this package and the lower level package was well 2 things, 1. it was $30 for every additional person and 2. the wedding was in a ballroom (aka a large convention room with carpet and no windows). We decided we were not going to have a destination wedding to be in a room with no windows so we went with the higher package with the outdoor wedding (reception).

The wedding coordinators do not reach out to you until about 3-6 months before the wedding which was really hard for me but trust me when I tell you that they can plan a wedding with their eyes closed. They seriously do it every day, year round (besides Sundays) and know what to do. They sent me a packet to with information with items to choose such as food, linen colors, cake design, etc.

I had a MILLION of questions for my coordinator and the only way to ask was e-mail and they are not quick to respond, at all. If you take away 1 thing from this extremely long blog post make sure when sending an e-mail you add all your questions into it, do not send one at a time. They take about a month to get back to one email. I would compile a list of questions and each month fire them off in one e-mail and she always answered them for me.

Some planning I did on my own while waiting for my emails/ questions to be answered:
  • Booking a photographer 
    • We knew we wanted to bring a photographer with us. I just did not like the work from the resort photographer. We ended up findings a photographer who gave us free wedding photography with 2 shooters in exchange for both of their flights and stay paid for. It ended up costing us less than what we would have spent at the resort. Most wedding photographers do this, ask around!
  • Ordering save the dates 
    • I wanted to get these out ASAP so people could book their travel when the flights came out. Because there was a lot of info the save the date directed them to our website which had info about booking travel, our travel agents info, about the resort, etc. I also made sure to put the travel agents info on the card as well.
    • On The Knot there is a function where you can send a link to people via text or email for them to fill out their contact info. This was sooooo helpful to have every ones information handy right there!
  • Creating centerpieces 
    • After looking at the prices for the centerpieces at the resort we decided to bring our own. They charge you an arm and a leg at the resort because it is convenient not to bring any of your own stuff. I stuck with dollar store vases that we brought and left there and flowers to put in them with table numbers. You don't need much, it is so beautiful already!
  • Figuring out flowers
    • Another thing was the super expensive... so we decided to do silk/fake flowers and bring them with us.
  • Creating itineraries
    • This was the hardest part and was done towards the end after asking a ton of questions. I wanted to make a timeline to be able to get all the pictures in before the wedding so we could go right into the reception. It is so hard to plan something when you have never been there. It all worked out well and I highly advise creating something like this!
  • Ordering Invites
    • We sent the invites out 4 months prior I think with a booking deadline 2 months before the wedding so we could send in final numbers and prepare. We directed everyone to our website to pick their meal as they were already in the our guest book from when they filled out their mailing info.
  • Extras 
    • There were a few extras we wanted like a huppa (tent kind of thing you stand under during the ceremony), maracas for favors, DJ, videography, and a few other things that I set up via e-mail after getting quotes from a couple of different vendors that are associated with the resort. 1 word for you all- NEGOTIATE!! I think we got our DJ down from $900 to $700 from just asking. 
Image may contain: one or more people, ocean, sky, tree, beach, outdoor, water and nature
Image may contain: one or more people, ocean, sky, tree, beach, outdoor, water and nature

Right before we left we had a call with the wedding coordinator to finalize any questions we had which was really helpful. It really put me at ease, I wish that they could have done that maybe a few times throughout the process but I get that they are sooo busy. 

Ok I am going to end this now because I can go on forever. If you have any questions please reach out! Next up will be post 3 about getting to the resort and the actual wedding (my favorite part).