Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Destination Wedding Mexico: A Riviera Maya MasterpieceWords by Courtney Kellar Words by Courtney Cox
Photos courtesy of Choco Studio
After hearing dozens of destination brides’ stories, it has become clear that every woman has a different approach and strategy to making her wedding dreams come true. Vika is no exception. She admits she’s a “Type A” personality and had to really learn to let go of the reins when it came to planning her destination wedding. Despite experiencing “an overdose of DIY projects” she and her husband Igor know that their wedding couldn’t have been held anywhere else besides Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Vika and Igor were the last couple of their group of friends to get married and wanted to do something completely different than their friends. They ultimately headed south of the border to Barcelo Maya Palace with 50 of their closest friends and family. For them, the decision was an obvious one, but not all their loved ones were immediately on board with the idea.
“We got our fair share of negative reactions, but we were always honest about why we chose a destination wedding,” says Vika. “It was definitely hard to have to explain and defend our decisions and choices, but at the end of the day we really didn’t want to regret our wedding day. Besides, when else can you get 50 of your closest friends and family to travel to another country and spend a week drinking tequila on the beach?”
The couple went to great lengths to making traveling as easy as possible for their guests since they were making the long trek. They had guests flying from both coasts, so Riviera Maya ended up being a fair location for everyone. Vika and Igor chose Barcelo Maya Palace because they wanted a resort which was large enough that their guests wouldn’t have to go anywhere else.
A travel consultant made booking rooms a breeze and got the couple and their guests a group rate. All the guests emailed their travel confirmations to the consultant who then created an itinerary of arrivals for Vika. This way the couple knew about the safe arrival of their guests without having to organize dozens of flights themselves.
The couple was able to pull of their dream destination wedding, but they couldn’t have done it alone. Along with a travel coordinator, Vika and Igor also hired an external wedding coordinator. Because of all the personal details and outside vendors, the bride felt this was a must.
“I was really happy with this decision because she responded quickly, got us local wedding favors and showed up at our first meeting with a huge binder completely organized with all our information, timelines, vendor contracts and pictures that we had sent,” says Vika.
The couple’s biggest concern was that their vendors wouldn’t come through with what was promised and that their ideal wedding vision wouldn’t be brought to fruition. They came up with a clever solution and one that it easy for any future destination wedding couple to replicate.
“It’s extremely difficult not being able to meet with the vendors in person and clearly explain what you envision,” says Vika. “I realized that the best thing to do is to send as many pictures as possible and to have the vendors confirm that they can provide something that at least resembled what I had sent.”
While the bride and groom received wonderful help in the form of their travel coordinator and wedding planner, the bride deserves some serious credit for the thorough theme and unique details. Besides making her own custom passport invitations, Vika also sent guests pre-travel packets with customized luggage tags, brochures and a wedding itinerary. (Click here for Destination I Do's take on DIY, custom luggage tags.) Once everyone arrived safe and sound, they received an “out of town bag” with personal labels and the couple’s wedding logo. The bags included a hangover kit, first aid kit and beach kit.
Thanks to these fabulous DIY projects and a smaller guest list, the couple not only got their dream destination wedding, but saved money in the process.
“Overall we spent less money due to the fact that we had 75% less people than we would have had locally,” says Vika. “However, our cost per person was significantly higher due to the fact that we hired external vendors, extended our open bar, had a Mariachi band and fire dancers. I’m sure [a local wedding] would have been great, but we would probably wouldn’t get together 8 months later and laugh at the guy who stepped on a sea urchin, our uncoordinated attempt at pool aerobics or the guests who were nowhere to be seen the morning after.”
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