Destination I Do
Friday, February 20, 2015

Beachfront Wedding in Mexico

Words by Natalie Long
Photos courtesy of Dean Sanderson

“One day, we were doing groceries and discussing ideas for upcoming travel plans and I happened to just throw out the idea of – why don’t we invite all of our closest friends and families on a trip and get married on the beach,” says Amanda. “This was strategic, I might add (wink). I guess it was a proposal Erik couldn’t refuse. [Suffice it] to say, we decided to do a destination wedding because we wanted to share this special day with those who are nearest and dearest to us, who have (literally) seen us grow up together and to keep it personal (not some huge extravagant event that Erik really didn’t want).”

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So, these high school sweethearts packed their bags and traveled to Playa Del Carmen to start the beginning of their new lives together with their closest family and friends. 

“The majority [of our family] knew that Erik wasn’t keen on big weddings so I think they were just so excited that after so many years, it was actually going to happen,” says Amanda.

“It was a no-brainer to decide where we wanted to do the wedding,” says the bride. “It is also easier to plan something when you can picture the area. This helped a lot when we were planning because we could place different venues, understand the maps, and explain how to get from the airport, transport, restaurants, shops, etc.” 

“We also decided to do an off-resort wedding; therefore, it was going to be more complicated because there weren’t cookie-cutter options. But, that’s what we wanted – our unique wedding but in Mexico.  Without the help of Maria Tripaldi, our wedding planner, it would have been nearly impossible.”

The couple put a lot of effort into making their guests feel genuinely comfortable in the new surroundings. “Erik went to the Cancun airport and stayed there to greet all our guests coming in, then he arranged transportation for each group from the airport to Playa del Carmen. I then greeted the guests at either the condo or hotel upon arrival. This way, everyone was greeted personally. This made everyone feel very looked after.”

When planning a destination wedding, always try to be one step ahead. “From Ottawa to Cancun, our bags didn’t arrive so we were without everything for at least 24 hours, including a full suitcase of wedding stuff,” says the bride. “Thankfully, we planned to arrive four days before the day of the wedding, so we did get everything in time; however, this was extremely stressful. Always carry the most important things in your carry-on. My wedding dress, Erik’s outfit, the rings, other jewelry, shoes, etc. went into the carry-on, just in case. I’m very glad we did that, otherwise I would have freaked out when our bags didn’t arrive.”

The bride has a background of event planning and loved to use Pinterest to create beautiful wedding ideas. “I created a guestbook – not just your typical guestbook, but one that was a type of scrapbook that took our guests through our relationship using a the theme of “over the last 14 years we have…” says Amanda.

The relaxed beach wedding turned out wonderfully and it was another great memory to add to their 14 years of love. “It was honestly so much fun and people are still talking about it to this day,” says the bride.  

 The bride's tips:

  • Organize a welcome party. It’s not just about the wedding day, but the whole wedding experience.
  • Hire a wedding planner – one who is working for you and your needs.
  • If you want simple, a resort wedding might be the best option but if you could make it work, an off-resort wedding is simply amazing and unique!
  • Don’t skimp on your photographer. Make sure you trust them wholeheartedly.
  • If planning a beach wedding, really consider hiring a professional hair and make-up stylist. They know how to handle the heat, humidity and climate.
  • Don’t forget that this is ultimately your day. Everyone wants to get involved, sometimes it’s worth compromising but sometimes you need to stick to your guns to make sure you are happy. Determine what is most important to you. 

Vendors: Photographer: Dean Sanderson, Wedding Planner: Maria Tripaldi, Weddings in Playa, Ceremony/Reception Site: Indigo Beach Club, Stationery: Paper Studio (Ottawa, Ontario), Hair & Makeup: Sarah Garnier, Gown Designer: Ella Rosa, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Banana Republic, Bridesmaids/Groomsmen’s Clothing Designer: BCBG Max Azria, Hotel: Playa Palms Beach Hotel, Condo: Natz Ti Ha, DJ: DJ Diego.

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