Destination I Do
Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Real Romance in Riviera Maya

Words by Lauren Ertl
Photos courtesy of MLE Pictures

The reasons to choose “destination” over “hometown” when it comes to a wedding truly abound. Jacklin and Steven only needed one reason though: it’s what they wanted for their nuptials!

“First and foremost, it’s more us,” the couple says. “We love to travel, see new places, experience new cuisines, etc. We figured, why not bring everyone along for the ride?”

Jacklin and Steven also knew the opportunity to spend a three-day vacation with close friends and family all in one place would likely never come again. Finding the ideal spot quickly became a priority for the couple, so they began their search in Mexico.

“We wanted somewhere that was really naturally beautiful, creating epic scenery for all of our wedding events,” Jacklin says. “This meant we could put less effort into decor, because the surroundings are beautiful as is.

Quite a few resorts made the potential venue list, but one really hit it out of the park for Jacklin and Steven: UNICO 20°87° in Riviera Maya. 

“The main things that drew us to it:

  • The resort itself is stunning – I lovingly describe it as West Elm meets Mexico. From the rooms to the grounds to the event spaces, the resort is thoughtfully curated and gorgeous at every turn. 

  • The food and drinks are bar none. I’ve been to a lot of all inclusive resorts, and the food and drinks at Unico truly blew me (and all of our guests) away. The presentation was gorgeous, everything was fresh and innovative, and there was a great variety so there was something for everyone!  

  • They do a lot of weddings, so they have a dedicated wedding department and coordinators to help things go smoothly. They also have pre-vetted preferred vendors to help make the otherwise daunting task of picking vendors a bit easier. All of the vendors and staff were so helpful, patient, and kind.”

With such a stellar venue lined up, the to-do list finally began to dwindle. But, beyond selecting the destination, Jacklin admittedly did not know what to tackle next. That’s when she joined destination wedding planning Facebook groups and gained tons of helpful insight from other brides who shared their experiences and ideas.

Nailing down the decor and details brought some fun into the planning process for the couple. In fact, Steven got to put his graphic design skills to the test creating the entire invitation suite! Along with cutting costs by taking on some DIY projects, the couple recruited a vendor team all local to Mexico and earned surprise rewards from the resort.

UNICO 20°87° gave us kick backs in the form of free event time based on the size of our room block, so we were able to earn enough free event time that it drastically cut our expenses,” Steven says.

When the wedding weekend arrived, travel logistics felt easy breezy. This the couple attributes to their devoted travel agent who handled everything from negotiating the room block to arranging airport transfers for guests. 

The couple’s three-day soiree offered endless fun in the form of a welcome party, the wedding itself, and a cabana party the next day. Intimate moments and joyous memories spread the length of a weekend proved all the more that Steven and Jacklin made the right decision.

Now, having successfully planned a destination wedding herself, the bride would like to pay it forward and share some advice of her own: 

“Delegate! Whether or not you have a bridal party, delegate certain tasks (grabbing the card box, ordering snacks, taking photos/videos on an iPhone, etc,) to a trusted friend or family member to reduce your stress as much as possible.”

Vendors: Photographer: MLE Pictures; Wedding Planner: Cynthia and Nazareth of UNICO 20°87°; Venue/Cake: UNICO 20°87°; Florist: Tulipania; Hair & Makeup: Sorellina Beauty; Gown Designer: Wtoo by Watters; Groom’s Attire: Suit Supply; Groomsmen Attire: Generation Tux; Bridesmaids’ Dresses: David’s Bridal, Revelry, Birdy Grey, Kennedy Blue, Revelry & Windsor; Videography: Gold + Sage

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