Destination I Do
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Joyous Puerto Vallarta Wedding

Words by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of Style Art Life

NYC couple Taya and Adam knew from the beginning they wanted more than just a single day with their wedding guests. Between this and living in the pricey Big Apple, they decided a destination wedding was the perfect decision for them. “A wedding is one of the few times a couple will have all their friends and loved ones in the same place at the same time,” says the bride. “For that reason, we selfishly wanted to enjoy our most cherished circle as much as possible.”

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While Taya originally had her heart set on saying “I do” in Italy, the couple ultimately decided it wasn’t practical to ask their guests to travel such a great distance and commit to such an expense. The couple decided on Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in the end because it was convenient for their guests coming from near and far and the newlyweds got great bang for their buck! Taya and Adam continued to keep their guests in mind when it came to planning the wedding of their dreams.

“We purposely gave nearly two years notice so our guests would have plenty of time to plan accordingly (find babysitters, save money or ask for time off work). We also spent months looking for a venue which could provide flexible accommodation options since our guests’ income levels varied significantly.

At first glance, some of our guests found the rates to be expensive. To help them understand the overall value, we broke down the daily costs and included the breakdown on our wedding website. By doing the math for them, we helped alleviate their financial concerns and many of them realized the weekend in Mexico would not cost them any more money than had we decided to marry in New York City.”

Because the couple didn’t have a wedding planner, the details were left to them to handle. Taya and Adam were given peace of mind when they took on the responsibility of the most important details themselves instead of depending on their Mexican vendors. For the things which were most important (a candy bar, the Chinese lanterns, linens etc.) the couple brought them themselves from the states.

The bride has some other tips when planning your own destination wedding: “…you have to be extremely clear when communicating your vision. Sharing Pinterest boards really helped give our vendors an idea of [what we were wanting.] Also, my advice would be to set response time expectations [with your vendors] upfront, so that everyone is on the same page.”

Interestingly enough, Taya and Adam found TripAdvisor to be a “fantastic resource.” Taya reached out to other brides who had held their wedding at the Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa and she found their insight helped her to set realistic expectations for the hotel and overall experience.

After two years of planning, the big weekend arrived and the couple’s guests were greeted at the hotel by “Guest Books” in their rooms that the couple had put together in advance. “The ‘Guest Book’ included a photo of each guest, where they were from, how we knew the individual and a witty paragraph describing him or her,” says the bride. “Our friends and family loved this for a number of reasons: 1. individually acknowledging each guests made that person feel loved and included; 2. as guests met each other, they immediately had something to talk about, and 3. guests could easily remember each other’s names.”

In the end, all of Taya and Adam’s hard work paid off and they enjoyed the wedding of their dreams. An added bonus was the money that they saved by hosting their event in Mexico instead of New York City. “For certain, the wedding we had would have cost two-to-three times more in the Big Apple,” says the couple.

After all the planning, partying and reflection, the couple has some final, wise words of advice for other couples considering hosting a destination wedding. “We believe a bride and groom can plan the wedding they desire, but can still make their guests number one. We made the decisions, didn’t look for outside advice and the wedding was true to our personalities. We often times kept our ideas to ourselves so that we didn’t hear negative feedback from people who wouldn’t like our vision, and we recommend that strategy to any couple.

Keeping the details to ourselves brought us even closer during the planning process and we had fun planning it together. However, even with prioritizing our desires, our guests’ consideration was a high priority as we wanted them to enjoy our day as much as we did. It is possible to do both and we believe our wedding weekend was a good example of the outcome when you plan the wedding you want and still make your guests a priority.”

To see the couple's gorgeous event from another angle, please check-out their wedding film by Hakim Sons Films, below.

Taya & Adam Highlights | Cinematic Destination Wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico from Hakim Sons Films-Dallas HD Films on Vimeo.

Wedding vendors: Photography: Style Art Life, Ceremony/Reception Site: Garza Blanca Preserve Resort & Spa, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Gown Designer: Dennis Basso, Groom’s Clothing Designer: Tom Ford, Florist: Iris Design, Linens: Wildflower Linens, Orange County, California, Videographers: Hakim Sons Films

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