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Planning a Destination Wedding - Avoiding Disaster

Posted by Quentin Carmichael on Sat, Jun 20, 2009 @ 09:51 AM

Good morning everybody,

Happy Friday to you.  Whenever I come across something interesting I try to share it in a post.  We received some new testimonials for our site, from couples that just returned from their DWs, and something caught my eye.  Several of them had encountered some type of problem along the way that could have led to BIG problems, but didn't. 

Often I get calls from couples that got in over their heads planning a Destination Wedding, and they now want help.  That's OK as long as it's fairly early-on in the process where we can actually help, but if it's last minute and we weren't involved from the beginning - there is rarely anything we can do.  I cannot stress this enough: If you are planning a Destination Wedding - use the services of an experienced planner.  Make sure they have the experience and power to fix things that can happen (hotels overbooked and are going to move 1/2 the wedding party to another hotel 30 minutes away, hotel messed up wedding dates and wants to move your wedding to the next day but some guests are leaving that day, etc).  Do your research and look for things like # of DWs planned total, # of DWs planned per year, and industry awards.  Look to actual quality-monitoring organizations like the Better Business Bureau to see if they are accredited (versus relying solely on chat rooms and blog posts)-these organizations are there to protect you.  Finally, if you have questions...just ask.  Don't be afraid to ask a planner these tough questions, it's an important event! 

Finally, here are the comments that got me going on this track (and a photo from one of them - great shots!):

planning a destination wedding

"We were scheduled to get married at the Aventura Spa Resort in Mexico, but due to everything going on in Mexico (global "Swine Flu" travel advisory) we had to change locations. I was so frustrated because I didn't want to go anywhere else, but our Destination Wedding Specialist recommended the Paradisus Palma Real Resort in the Dominican Republic. I could not have been more pleased! She knew the type of wedding I wanted to have and she matched the resort to my wedding expectations (elegant, romantic and relaxing). She made all the travel and wedding arrangements, all we had to do was show up and have a good time!"

"The month before the wedding we ran into some rare and unexpected difficulties with the on-site resort wedding coordinator. Our Destination Wedding Specialist reassured us and guided us through the crisis, ensuring us it would all work out fine and truly going to extra mile to make sure our special day went off as planned. Thanks to her, travel impressions and destination weddings, the issue was resolved and everything turned out amazing. The level of service provided was absolutely beyond expectation. Having someone with your best interests in mind is the only way to go about planning a destination wedding."

"I work in the marketing and events field, but let me tell you planning your wedding in a different country can be exciting and confusing at the same time. There are a lot of questions, preplanning, decisions, and much, much more. Our Destination Wedding Specialist helped put all of those concerns in order, into action, and most importantly into a reality."

"A few of our guests opted to not use Destination Weddings for their travel and if we had it to do all over again, we would have made that a stipulation of guests coming to our wedding. Everyone who booked through our Destination Wedding Specialist had a wonderful travel experience, a few of those who chose another vendor or to book it on their own had a less than stellar experience."

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Where are couples planning a Destination Wedding?

Posted by Quentin Carmichael on Thu, Jun 18, 2009 @ 11:45 AM

When I'm talking to brides, one of the most common questions I get is "Where are the most popular spots?"  It only took me 4 years of hearing it almost every day to have the idea to do a blog post for it.  You asked for here you have far for 2009 here are the most popular destinations that our Destination Wedding Specialists are booking for couples planning a Destination Wedding.

planning a destination wedding1.  Cancun/Riviera Maya Mexico.  Big surprise?  No, this one is always on top!

2.  Jamaica.  No problem mon! 

3.  Dominican Republic.  This great destination is always in close running for #2 with Jamaica.

4.  Cabo, Mexico.  Another great Mexican spot for planning a Destination Wedding, especially for those on the West coast.

5.  Purto Vallarta, Mexico.  Ditto to #4.

6.  Nassau, Bahamas.  I'm partial to this one, considering I had my DW there last year.  Great spot!

7.  St. Lucia.  Before we were engaged, my wife and I took at trip to St. L and loved it.  That's the thing...there are so many great options!

8.  St. Thomas/St. John, the beautiful US Virgin Islands!

9.  Aruba, the land of endless sun.

10.  Antigua.  Again, I'm partial to this one as well, because I took my honeymoon there.  Check out my other post on Sandals Grande was amazing.


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Grand Velas All Suites & SPA Resort for Mexico Weddings

Posted by Guest Blogger on Wed, Jun 17, 2009 @ 10:30 AM

Destination Wedding Specialist Judy H. walks us through her recent trip to this resort and why it's a great choice for Mexico weddings.

affordable mexico weddings

The Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort Riviera Maya is a luxurious All-Inclusive resort, located 5 minutes away from downtown Playa del Carmen and 35 minutes from Cancun International Airport. It offers the very best of everything from hospitality to dining to magnificent views, all catering to great Mexico weddings. The Grand Velas is a "Green" property, with the capability of producing 75% of its own electricity. In addition to several highly recognized accolades, it is a member of The Leading Hotels of the World.

beach mexico wedding

The Grand Velas offers 3 ambiances (sections) within the property: The Zen, Ambassador and Ambassador Grand Class. Each ambiance offers an experience unique to that ambiance.

  • The Zen is surrounded by jungle and water canals. The convention center and Spa (considered the best in the area) is located here. This is a family-friendly section of the resort.
  • The Ambassador is also Family oriented. The accommodations are all ocean view and it encompasses the largest inventory of ocean view rooms in the area. Coral colors set this section apart from the more neutral colors of the Zen.
  • The Ambassador Grand Class features the Adult Only section of the resort. Although there are only 18 of these ocean front rooms, they have plunge pools and all face the ocean. This is a cozy, romantic and "boutique" section for Adults Only.

destination wedding

There are wedding packages offered, based on the size of the wedding group. In addition to the fine amenities and inclusions from each package, the bride and groom are also given the opportunity to design their own wedding ceremony site. This allows for very unique Mexico weddings.
beach wedding
With a picture perfect beach, fabulous infinity pool, 5 restaurants, beautifully kept grounds, flowers, and accommodations, why go anywhere else? They offer a superb Kids Club. Babysitting is also available at $16 per hour. The staff are attentive to all of your needs. This is what paradise is all about.


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Mexico Weddings by El Dorado Maroma Beach

Posted by Guest Blogger on Tue, Jun 16, 2009 @ 02:12 PM

Take a virtual walk through the El Dorado Maroma Beach, courtesy of one of our Destination Wedding Specialists and see why this property is great for Mexico weddings.

maroma mexico weddings

With only 72 rooms this boutique property is ideal for a romantic couples get-away, which also makes it perfect for intimate Mexico weddings.  Adults only and children age 16 or older will love beautiful Maroma Beach with all the facilities of Marina Maroma right next door. Property is 40 minutes from airport and 10 minutes from Playa del Carmen by taxi (about $20)

mexico wedding

The lobby is small and simple. After a welcoming glass of champagne we were shown around the beautifully landscaped grounds with artfully blended driftwood and flowers and natural stone waterfalls around each corner. There are plenty of beach beds scattered around the grassy area fronting the beach. This is a green property with solar power and chemical free detergent used in the laundry room.

mexico weddings chapel

Karisma has their own judge whose office is at El Dorado Royale. This means that they can perform civil weddings 24/7 and weddings can be confirmed quickly. Mexico weddings can be performed on the beach or in the beachfront chapel.
Blood tests are conveniently done on site.

destination weddings

All rooms but the older section have private, outdoor showers with showerheads that look like driftwood, open to the stars above.

There are 4 suite categories:
The original Mi Hotelito 24 beachfront suites are closest to the
lobby, pool and beach. They have balconies and patios but no
Jacuzzis or outdoor showers.
16 jacuzzi junior suites, ocean view with private balcony and beach bed.
12 swim up Jacuzzi suites
20 infinity pool Jacuzzi suites- very romantic with candles.

All accommodations include: CD/DVD player, shower, coffee maker, telephone, radio, room service (24-hour), balcony, smoke detector, hairdryer, refrigerator, television, air conditioning, safe deposit box, ceiling fan, sprinkler system, mini-bar and alarm clock.

At night you can see the twinkling lights of Cozumel across the water.

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El Dorado Seaside Suites for Mexico Weddings

Posted by Guest Blogger on Mon, Jun 15, 2009 @ 08:46 AM

Our Destination Wedding Specialists recently took a trip to Mexico to inspect resorts for weddings, and thank you to Valerie B. for the following review and photos on Mexico weddings at this popular resort.

Gazebo Mexico Weddings

Distance from the airport : Minimum of 45 minutes
Maximum of 2 weddings a day. Bride & Groom must arrive 3 days prior, and Sunday weddings are available. No Catholic Mexico Weddings available at this property.

Several Wedding sites are available (see pictures) plus a Gazebo with paved area for bride with "heels".

Receptions available in outdoor locations with open air covered theater area for "rain" disruption. Can bring own photographer using the "day pass" charge.

Mexico Weddings at El Dorado

Adults only resort with 282 rooms, Garden, Swim up, ocean view & ocean front plus 3 Honeymoon suites that share their own pool.

Golf carts are available to get around if needed. Computers available at $6 an hour, but no internet access in rooms. The layout of the resort is great.  Beautiful pools with lots of beach area, 95 beach beds. The beach does have the enlarged sand bags. There is also a quiet pool area. Especially liked the Swimup Junior Suites with their location near a swim up bar plus a large pool with another swim up bar.
Beach wedding

For the Romantics there is a Candlelight dinner on the beach available. Also 3 times a month they offer a "sky candlelight dinner in the elevated massage platform.
Very nice property, however not available for wedding parties with children. This is 4-5 star & mid to higher price.

destination weddings


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Mexico Weddings at the Excellence Riviera Cancun

Posted by Guest Blogger on Fri, Jun 12, 2009 @ 08:38 AM

We took our Destination Wedding Specialists on a trip to Mexico recently to tour resorts for weddings, and thank you to Valerie B. for the following photos and info on Mexico weddings at this lovely resort.

mexico weddings in a gazebo

Distance from the Airport: 25 Minutes
Resort offers two weddings a day. Bride & Groom must arrive at least 3 days in advance for legal Mexico weddings & two days for symbolic.

Free Mexico weddings are available with a minimum 7 night stay in an Excellence Club Junior Suite Ocean View. Other Wedding Packages are available, and this hotel is part of our Circle of Love program that offers many more bonuses.

No Catholic Weddings are available.  There are many wedding sites available, on the beach & a Gazebo location. There are also several reception locations including the restaurants. Depending on the day of the week a restaurant is closed and the couple can have a reception in that restaurant.

mexico weddings

Adults only location. Resort offers the Excellence Club at additional charge which entitles other benefits including a private lounge & private pool plus private checkin.

Three pools of the six are heated in the winter. There are several room types available all are Junior Suites. Rooms start with pool & spa view & Ocean View is available with the Excellence Club. Wifi is available in all rooms. Spa facilities available.

This is a very nice property with a 5 star rating, however no children are allowed.

Mexico weddings on a budget

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Mexico Weddings at the Catalonia Playa Maroma

Posted by Guest Blogger on Thu, Jun 11, 2009 @ 10:23 AM

We took our Destination Wedding Specialists on a trip to Mexico recently to tour resorts for weddings, and thank you to Paula D. for the following photos and info on Mexico weddings at this lovely resort.

mexico weddings on the beach

The Catalonia Playa Maroma is a four star property with a typical European style and all inclusive family friendly resort. It is located thirty five minutes south of Cancun in the Mayan Riviera on the beach of Punta Maroma. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. It's a twenty dollar cab fare to the closest town of Playa del Carmen.
mexico weddings

The resort has 376 superior rooms and suites; all rooms have a balcony or terrace.
All rooms are equipped with:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cable TV
  • Complete bathroom w/ hair dryer
  • Safety deposit box
  • Direct dial phone
  • Mini cooler

affordable mexico weddings

There are three bars and four restaurants located on hotel property; International Buffet, Mediterranean, Mexican, and litefare.

Bride and groom should both arrive three days prior for both legal and symbolic Mexico weddings. They do not perform catholic weddings. Weddings are held in a garden area or on either end the beach. They set up arbors with floral arrangements in colors of the bride's choice. Special amenities can be set up for the bride and groom such as a lobster dinner or massages with special request. Free Mexico weddings are provided with a minimum of booked nights.

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Mermaid-style Destination Wedding Dresses

Posted by Guest Blogger on Tue, Jun 02, 2009 @ 03:27 PM

One very popular style of wedding dress is called the mermaid style. It is basically as it sounds. The wedding dress is tight on the top and through the hips. After the hips and around the thigh to knee area, the dress then goes out, like mermaid fins. mermaid-style destination wedding dressesNot all women will find this style of dress flattering though. You have to be willing to show off your curves to pull this kind of wedding dress off.

A mermaid dress is also known as a trumpet dress due to it's flaring style at the bottom. Mermaid style destination wedding dresses can have a variety of different necklines and styles for the top half of the dress. They can be sleeveless, halters, spaghetti straps, and even short sleeves.

Another variation that makes each trumpet wedding dress unique is the flare on the bottom of the dress. It can start above the knee, at the knee, or right below the knee. It can have a dramatic flare, or it can be a more subtle one. A mermaid dress may even have a slight train in the back.

Lastly, mermaid style destination wedding dresses can be made from a variety of fabrics. They can be slinky silk dresses or they can be ornate lace dresses. If you chose a silk mermaid dress, just know that it will show more of your body than a heavier fabric or lace one will.

There are tons of different mermaid style destination wedding dresses to chose from. Once you know that this is style dress that you want for your wedding, pick out the dress that fits your style the best.

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