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Destination I Do
Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Paraiso Beach Real Wedding

Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of Rachel Skye Photo

After meeting at the gym within the community hospital they both worked at and dating for a bit, Scott took Meaghan to Mexico for their first trip as a couple. To add even more sentimentality to it, this was Meaghan's introduction to international travel, and it took her breath away!

I was blown away at the beautiful country, how affordable it was, and how quickly we got there,” the bride says. “I think from the very beginning of visiting Mexico, we knew if we were going to get married, we were going to have it in Mexico.”

When Scott proposed, the couple quickly got to work booking the ideal venue. Although they had familiarized themselves with Iberostar Paraiso Beach after making a trip every February for several years, Meaghan wanted to try somewhere new for their nuptials. 

“We did put down a down payment, however, [the other resort] ended up being a nightmare and they double-booked us,” the bride says. “Long story short, we got our money back and canceled that contract.  In the end, I think it was meant to be. We were comfortable with [Iberostar], and we could help guide our guests throughout the resort, so it was honestly an easy decision (after a little turbulence!)”

Due to the Pandemic, Meaghan and Scott’s engagement lasted 16 months before they tied the knot. As frustrating as the waiting felt, the extra time did allow the couple to ensure guests got their passports in time and could save up for the trip. 

Benefitting from the planning services of Iberostar's on-site wedding specialist, Joyce, the bride could focus on her favorite aspect of the planning: decor and gifts!

“I love DIY, so I had an entire Pinterest board dedicated to ideas of what I wanted to include,” Meaghan says. “I made all of the bouquets and boutonnieres, the wood signs, painted mini maracas and name tags for each guest.”

Travel to the resort was not without its troubles. After all, COVID times complicated things for every traveler, but especially those going international. Luckily, Meaghan and Scott had wonderful, easy-going guests who listened and helped one another each step of the way.

“There was nothing we could do about it, so we just all got together and did what we had to do. Lucky for me, I had guests who were easy, listened and helped one another.  Other than that, everything else was very smooth!

In comparison to a wedding back home in Michigan, Scott and Meaghan tell us the budget stretched much further in Mexico. In fact, the bride says, “some venue fees were the cost of my entire wedding and vacation altogether!”

After having the time of their lives with those closest to them, the couple has become major advocates for destination weddings. Here is some pointers the bride shared with us for couples in the midst of planning a wedding away:

  • “Consider the best time for a destination wedding in your location. Especially in Mexico, you'll want to avoid hurricane season.”
  • “If you have not visited a resort prior and you want to weigh your options, check and see if they offer a free one-night stay to visit their resort. Some places do! “
  • “A good point to note is I actually was not able to communicate with my coordinator until so many months prior. With my OCD, I was like ‘there is NO time,' but it all worked out. There was no need to communicate with her 16 months prior, there isn’t anything we could have handled then. So, just keep in mind you may not have any coordination until a few months before, and that is okay.”
  • “When traveling with items/gifts/décor, make sure to bring invoices and receipts for customs. I was never questioned, but I did bring all documentation with me!”
  • “Always look at what you can bring/find on sale rather than purchasing through the resort. There were some things the resort offered in a higher tier package that were beautiful, but in the end, I couldn’t bring myself to pay the price. And in the end, I only brought two extra small bags with me with added décor, etc.”

Vendors: Photographer: Rachel Skye Photo; Coordinator: Joyce Gonzalez; Ceremony/Reception Site: Iberostar Paraiso Beach; Stationery: Vista Print; Hairstylist: Sarah Crandall; Gown Designer: Jessica Mcclintock; Groom’s Clothing Designer: J Crew, Kohls, Hey Dude!; Bridesmaids Clothing Designer: Chicwish & Shein

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