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WEDDINGS

Destination wedding FAQs: PART 2

By ALICE HAWKEN / 18 NOVEMBER 2022

Are you getting married in Mexico but clueless how to start the planning process? Welcome to Part 2 of our Destination Wedding FAQs! This time we’ll talk weather worries, wedding planners, who pays for what and everything in between. Just like last time, we’ve cobbled together our top Destination Wedding FAQs with a few random tips and tricks from some of the most experienced wedding planning professionals in the field…take a look!

But first, meet the experts…some of them are back for round 2!

  • Faviola Vazquez has been a wedding planner at luxury 5* resort, Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya, since 2011. Since 2019, having come back after maternity leave, Faviola became the hotel’s Groups and Wedding Supervisor. It’s hard to keep track of how many weddings she has under her belt, but around 500 wouldn’t be far off the mark! AKA wedding guru at your service.
  • Bertha Cano is director of Cancun based Ocean Weddings. She has over 10 years of experience in the wedding planning field and is certified by 4 separate organizations! For almost 14 consecutive years now, Ocean Weddings has hosted El día del Wedding Planner (The Day of the Wedding Planner), a date that is widely recognized and highly regarded in the wedding planner world and an event attended by various wedding planners and coordinators from all over Mexico and the USA.

Portrait of the bride with the veil floating in Marquis Los CabosPhoto by DreamArt Photography

 

1 - How to Avoid Spring Break and the Rain

Facebook comment looking at getting married in Mexico

DreamArt’s reply:

Okay now this is an interesting one. You’ve figured out the who and the where…but now, you have to consider exactly when to say ‘I do’. Weather, seaweed, humidity, prices…spring break. There are various aspects to consider when booking your flights and having this info helps you find your ‘Goldilocks’ time for a beach wedding: not too hot and not too cold.

Good news is you’ll most likely never be disappointed with the temperature here; it’s pretty balmy all year round, peaking between May and August. Now, rainy season is May through to October and if we’re keeping it #real, there’s always a chance it will rain in the tropical Caribbean. However, downpours are fleeting and clouds blow away pretty rapidly, so it shouldn’t weigh heavily on your mind.

Take a look at the pics below…would you believe they’re from the same wedding day? Taken just a couple of hours apart. Yup. It can chuck it down one minute and brighten up in no time!

Photos of wedding at Moon Palace CancunPhoto by DreamArt Photography

So in other words: weather wise, try not to sweat it.

Now, of you want to avoid the craziness of Spring Break in March and April, well…good luck! In Mexico, Spring Break takes place during the week leading up to Easter, called Semana Santa. If you book in late March, you’re asking for it; you might as well just join in and consider yourself baptized into the booze-fuelled party-animal cult. Your best bet is to plan your wedding late April or May to be doubly sure you avoid the festivities.

WHAT HAPPENS IF IT RAINS? As we’ve mentioned above and as ludicrous as it sounds, rain should be the least of your concerns. The skies here can cloud over and clear up within the blink of an eye. Buuuuut, if it’s something you just can’t stop thinking about, it might seem obvious, but booking a venue with both open and covered options as a backup is smart; this is where booking in a resort is a bright idea. Faviola at Valentin says they always have backup locations: “We wait until the morning of the event, check the weather forecast and make the call. The plan B location could be one of our restaurants or some covered parts of the beach…it depends on the couple’s preference and the extent of the rain!”

Couple portrait in a rainy day at Valentin Imperial MayaPhoto by DreamArt Photography

Pictured above are Emily and Steve. Their wedding day spirits weren’t dampened in the slightest. The umbrella was barely opened before the sun came out again! Kind of cool as a prop for a few pictures too, don’t you think?

2 - Wedding Planner Conundrum

Facebook comment looking for a wedding planner

DreamArt’s reply:

Booking a wedding planner well in advance means you’re already off to a great start!

TOP TIP FROM FAVIOLA: “keep on track with your wedding planner, relax, go with the flow and MOST importantly, trust in the preferred vendors the hotel is in partnership with…there’s a reason why we work with them time and time again!”

track with cheers decorationPhotography by Ocean Weddings

So…the question here is this: can we recommend a wedding planner? The answer is yes. Many. However, if you’re after the most luxurious, down-to-earth and tailored planning experience, there’s one that sits far above the rest.

Ocean Weddings. A stunning private property in Cancun. Picture this: a large, sprawling garden with palm trees dotted around an infinity pool and a beautiful hand made palapa close by. 70m of ocean front, perched on the cliff overlooking the crystalline, turquoise waters of the Caribbean ocean…sound pretty idyllic?

Bertha Cano is the owner and CEO of this little piece of Cancun paradise and she has been managing the company for 14 years. Ironically, this is a property that was originally bought 27 years ago, together with her husband, as nothing more than a family home, somewhere to spend weekends and host kids’ birthday parties.

But, after catching the attention of passers by over so many years, Bertha’s somewhat spontaneous decision to embark on a 6 month wedding planning certification she came across in the local newspaper and her husband’s masterful vision, Ocean Weddings was born. A business that started somewhat accidentally that has now blossomed into the most beautiful boutique wedding and events business, where each client is nestled right at the heart of the planning process.

We chatted to Bertha about her top tips for destination wedding planning and let us tell you, there are some real pearls of wisdom here. Take a look…

BERTHA’S TOP TIPS

1 - See your wedding venue in the flesh 

We know it can be difficult to just jet off to Mexico for the weekend. Buuuuttt, it’s kind of necessary if you want to check out your wedding destination before the day itself. Make sure you factor this time into your schedule. Bertha says:

‘first and foremost, I would highly recommend for couples to see the location where they want to get married. Pictures are totally different from physically seeing the location in person.’

Wedding gazebo in front of the oceanPhotography by Ocean Weddings

She couldn’t stress this enough. And we get it! Would you choose your wedding dress off ebay and not try it on until the morning of your wedding? We think not. Get on that plane ASAP!

Wedding venue in a gardenPhotography by Ocean Weddings

 

2 - Develop a bond with your Wedding Planner

Ocean Weddings provides an exceptionally tailored wedding planning experience for each couple. The relationship Bertha strives to create with her clients is really quite special; they feel comfortable and secure in the fact that their planner will be there at every moment of the day, ready to reply to any worries or concerns 24/7.

“Having been a Wedding Planner over 14 years, it’s not just another wedding; it’s starting a bond with our couple, getting to know them, listening to what they want and giving them that trust and confidence that they need. That’s our role. It’s really worth it and most importantly, it’s not about the money. It’s about the most important day of their life.”

Wedding table decorationPhotography by Ocean Weddings

The reality is that your wedding is a super intimate celebration where you have to have an inmense level of trust with your planner for the process to run smoothly. This is a relationship that’s difficult to develop over email and here is precisely where boutique, private wedding planners differ from wedding coordinators at larger hotel chains or resorts. In the latter’s case, for the most part, the first time the couple will meet their wedding planner (AKA the person who’s made it all happen), will be on the morning of their big day! It’s almost like going in blind!

Ocean Weddings are the complete opposite: zooms, in person tours, mock-ups of reception tables sent back and forth, food tasting at the property, 1:1 meetings with florists, DJ, band, caterers…it’s all a super personal experience.

“You take the red carpet out for every single bride”

First dance surrounding of fireworks

Photography by Ocean Weddings

3 - Break the ice

Be aware that sometimes, the couple’s families might not know eachother that well. This is totally normal! Bertha’s advice is this:

The bride and groom may have met abroad or one might be from Mexico, the other from Canada. I would always suggest having a rehersal dinner or welcome cocktails to break the ice.”

The celebrations don’t have to stop here though. Bertha also recommended a trip out the day after the wedding too…it’s been super popular over the years to rent a yacht for 30 people, sail to to Isla Mujeres or Cozumel and relax out on the water. Soooo…what you’re saying is a 3 day wedding? Sign us up!

4 - Be flexible

What starts with a list 50 guests can quickly turn into 100…be aware your guestlist may start to spiral out of control. For this, it’s good to put contingency plans in place, make sure you stick fairly close to budget and account for the fact your numbers may creep up. Just something to bear in mind so that you don’t get frazzled should the moment arise. After all, Bertha’s right:

“When someone gets an invitation for a wedding, and its in Cancun, believe me…they’re going to want to come!”

5 - Everything goes in the contract!

Something that comes up frequently is this: are there any hidden costs I need to be wary of when booking abroad? This is where having a wedding planner is kind of a godsend because all your negotiation with vendors and suppliers will be through them. Bertha says:

“I suggest that everything you & your Wedding Planner have agreed on should be written in your contract. Inevitably, there are always extra services that crop up during the process…these should all be annexed to the contract & signed by both.”

Essentilally, just keep on top of things.

Wedding decoration reception

Photography by Ocean Weddings 


WHEN SHOULD I START PLANNING? Faviola says that although you can plan 1-2 years in advance, she normally starts the process 6 months prior to the wedding. Send your planners an email to get this convo started! They are your wedding fairy godparents after all…

 

3 - The Search for the BEST All-Inclusive Resort

Facebook comment Looking best inclusive resort

 

DreamArt’s reply:

Okay, here we go. If we’re being frank here, picking between the hundreds of all-inclusive luxury hotels in this part of the world is…well, its overwhelming. You need insider info. And oh have we got a good one for you. Heard of Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya? It’s an adults only, 5*, all-inclusive luxury hotel with all the vibes of a modern Mexican hacienda. Nestled right in the sweet spot between leafy green palm trees and golden beach, this is a grown-up’s paradise. The kids will have to stay at home for this one!

TOP ACCOMMODATION TIP: stats show that, on average, destination weddings have a 50-80% attendance rate. In other words, 20-50% of the guests you invite won’t come – more often than not, this is due to budget. Accommodation costs abroad can be financially crippling and it just isn’t affordable for many young twenty-somethings; having said that, accommodation is also the place where you can MAJORLY cut down the price tag. You just have to be smart about it. Think about block-booking hotel rooms at a range of local hotels of different price points. When you book 10 or more rooms, more often than not, you can secure a discount on the room rate…sometimes up to 50%!! That way, you can help make the rooms more affordable for your guests who have tighter budgets. Smart, right?

Newlyweds portrait of Valentin Imperial MayaPhotography by DreamArt Photography

Valentin has over 18 locations that can be used for ceremonies, cocktails or dinner. So, quite frankly, you’re spoiled for choice! There are 4 wedding packages on offer; it totally depends on numbers, vibe, reception type etc. We chatted to Valentin’s wedding planner, Faviola, about the most popular package available:

“Our Heavenly Moments Package includes ceremony, cocktails with nibbles, a 4 hour reception with an open bar and 4 courses. Numbers start from 30 people, and you have 45 minutes of live music included, plus a romantic dinner on the beach for the couple, hair and makeup, couples massages…whatever you can think of, it’s probably included! It’s our most complete package and by far our most popular.”

 

Wedding Venue at the Beach of Valentin Imperial MayaPhotography by DreamArt Photography

Wedding venue reception at Valentin Imperial MayaPhotography by DreamArt Photography

But this might not be for you. After something a little more low-key? Valentin’s One and Only Package caters for 20 people and it includes the ceremony and a cocktail hour. Short, sweet and simple. Faviola explained to us that this was for more casual, no-fuss couples who didn’t want a formal, sit-down dinner. Much more mini wedding vibes or for those wanting a no-frills elopement with their nearest and dearest. Cute!

After more info on Valentin’s wedding services? Head to their website or enquire at weddings.vim@valentinmaya.com to contact them directly.

SHOULD I PAY FOR ALL MY GUESTS TOO? Now this is a FAQ that will never leave the party. It’s a bit of an awkward one and to be honest, one that is totally variable depending on the bride and groom’s personal situation. But, we will do our best to offer some agony aunt advice. Firstly, the couple is not responsible to pick up the tab for their guests’s airfare. Because THAT would be extortionate. Same goes for lodging…it also gives guests more flexibility to control spending. To be honest, a destination wedding for the guests should be treated as a vacation. But just like any vacation, there’s a price tag attached! Whatever you do, make sure you’re transparent with your guests when it comes to money, before you ask them to attend. Be upfront with what you’re covering, the price of accommodation and any other additional meals or activities you’re planning. Honesty is the best policy.

Newlyweds dancing in the wedding reception at Valentin Imperial

So, there you have it; our top destination wedding FAQs and some random top tips if you’re planning on getting hitched in Mexico.

Happy wedding planning!

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