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Destination I Do
Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Mexico Vacation Wedding

Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Francisco Salas

Although Joanna and Mike met in a typical way (at a bar), their story from then on is anything but typical. Only a few short months after they started dating, they traveled to Europe together where Mike admittedly fell in love with "Jo" on a train, resting between cities. "Neither of us was looking for love, but we quickly became inseparable," the couple says. 

Joanna and Mike answered our questions so authentically that we wanted you to get all the details of their Cabo destination wedding straight from the couple themselves. So, without further ado, enjoy and be inspired by this real wedding interview!

1. Why did you choose to do a destination wedding?

We wanted everyone to have a vacation! Come for the martinis, stay for the wedding! We also wanted something more intimate and memorable and we felt we couldn’t do that with a local wedding.

2. How did your family and friends respond to the decision? If any of them had a negative reaction, how did you resolve it?

The most sensitive issue was cost. Unfortunately, it was more expensive for most of our guests and we had some that simply couldn’t afford to come. It was difficult, however, we selected an all-inclusive resort so they didn’t have to spend a single penny once they arrived and we asked them not to buy us any wedding gifts to help there as well.

3. How/why did you choose the location/destination? Did you run into any issues specific to this destination and how did you resolve them?

Cabo San Lucas is about a 2-hour flight from our hometown in Los Angeles. It was far enough away to be a destination and yet close enough where most of our guests could attend. It’s also tropical, beautiful and just plain fun.

4. How would you describe your overall experience of planning a destination wedding?

An absolute nightmare! Ha. Just kidding. We were introduced to our wedding planner from one of our friends and we couldn’t have been luckier. We simply could not have coordinated a destination wedding without a local team on-site to negotiate with our vendors, communicate clearly and coordinate all of the deliverables. They even hand-crafted all of the flower arrangements and table cards to stretch our budget further. Overall, they made it very turnkey for us and they greatly exceeded our expectations.

5. Did you use any resources when planning your destination wedding that you feel would be helpful to other couples? i.e. books, a wedding planner, referrals?

If you’re set on having a destination wedding, make sure you work with someone that speaks the local language and can fight on your behalf. Language barriers can easily cause unexpected charges, inaccurate deliverables and additional stresses.

Also when booking hotels, flights, etc don’t forget about Costco. You can buy packaged deals directly on their site and the discounts were so high that it easily made up for the costs of the membership.

6. Did you include any do-it-yourself projects in your wedding/reception? If so, please describe them.

We had a welcome table with “take a shot and take a seat.” This was really fun and we worked with our wedding planner on-site to set up the display and hand-write all of the cards with cheeky nick-names for a few of the guests.  

7. What were the travel logistics like for your guests? Did you run into any issues and how did you resolve them?

Los Cabos has a pretty well-organized airport so we were lucky not to have any travel issues that weren’t easily resolved.

8. How were you able to coordinate with vendors from afar? Did you run into any issues and how did you resolve them?

We had some trouble with the hotel in that our guests found cheaper rooms despite an initial guarantee from our hotel that they were providing our guests with the lowest rates. This caused some confusion from our guests, however, we subsequently negotiated to remove any minimum room blocks required by the hotel. Our wedding planner was also instrumental in negotiating this deal.

9. Do you feel you spent more or less money by choosing to do a destination wedding?

We definitely saved money with a destination wedding because we would’ve had twice as many guests with a local wedding. We wanted a more intimate wedding and that’s exactly what had.

10. How do you think your wedding would have been different had you not held it away from home?

We would have had a lot more guests. They can add up very quickly with plus-ones, extended friends or acquaintances that just happen to live close by.

11. Overall, do you have any special advice you would like to share with our readers to help prepare them for their day?

Yes! So often the most memorable moments are the unplanned ones, such as the hilarious sunburns, the surprise afternoon pool party, the unassuming parent taking a shot, the deep late-late night conversations and more.

Our advice to future couples: don’t over-plan your wedding day! Leave room for the unexpected to happen.



Vendors: Photographer: Francisco Salas; Planner/Florals: Bonnie Chase from Bliss Events; Ceremony/Reception Site: Grand Fiesta Americana Golf & Spa; Stationery: Lucky Lady Paper; Gown Designer: Grace Loves Lace; DJ/Lighting: Alex Dj Cabo Events; Hair & Makeup: Los Cabos Makeup

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