Q & A: Elizabeth and Kelly at Valentin Imperial Maya

Bride: Elizabeth
Groom: Kelly
Resort: Valentin Imperial Maya
Agent: Hannah

  1. What made you decide on having a destination wedding?

 

 

My husband, Kelly, and I have always dreamt of getting married on the beach, barefoot in the sand, ever since both of us were little kids. But, we didn’t think it would be financially possible. After meeting with Hannah and contacting a few resorts to get an idea for the package cost, plus extras, etc., we discovered that our dream wedding on the beach was possible!

 

  1. What made you decide on the destination/resort/venue?

 

We ultimately decided to choose the Valentin Imperial Maya for several reasons: (1) The cost for our guests to stay 4 nights was reasonably affordable; (2) We read SO many raving reviews of the resort from people who were first time visitors, as well as repeat customers who don’t stay anywhere besides the Valentin – some of which had gone back 5, 7, and even 9 different times!; and (3) A few years ago I had spoken with a Cheap Caribbean rep about potential resorts for a vacation with friends and he told me that him and his wife are loyal Valentin customers – it’s their favorite resort of all the resorts they’d ever visited. They went for the first time for their honeymoon, and liked it so much they’ve been back every year since!

 

  1. What was the biggest difficulty in planning your destination wedding?

 

The most difficult part of planning was probably figuring out the transport situation for all of the decorations and welcome gift items we were bringing with us. I had done an enormous amount of research online about the best way to transport the items, and it sounded like shipping them ahead of time was too risky, so we checked everything on the plane. But even with all of the prep work, taking a spreadsheet listing out each group of items with their respective costs, we still encountered a little pushback in the Cancun airport customs area.

 

I think we were flagged because Kelly and I had checked 5 large bags between the two of us – 3 for decor/welcome gifts and 2 personal bags, plus my dress and other carryons.  Luckily Kelly speaks a little Spanish and was able to explain to the customs agent that the items in our bags were gifts for our 65 wedding guests! He was prepared to charge us $1,000 extra tax for the items since we were carrying more than $500 worth of items per person (he asked for the total value of the items so I pulled out my spreadsheet.) After about 15 minutes of the agent searching through all 5 of our checked bags, he let us go, but it was a nerve racking experience to say the least.

 

I would recommend to any destination bride who is bringing a significant amount of decor/gift items with them, make sure you ask 2-3 family members or bridal party members to check the extra bags under their names so that you don’t get flagged in the first place. But also make sure you have a list documenting the cost of each item with a grand total, just in case they ask for it. And make sure each person isn’t checking more than $500 worth of stuff.

  1. What was the highlight of the experience and what was the biggest surprise?

 

The biggest highlight was when I was walking down the aisle and initially saw Kelly for the first time at the altar. The sun was about to start setting in the sky, the waves were crashing behind him, all of our closest friends and family was there – it was truly the most perfect day and a moment that I’ll never forget!

  1. How well was the resort and your Onsite Wedding Coordinator to work with?

 

Our wedding coordinator at the Valentin, Leslie Robledo, was unbelievable!! I started emailing with her in January and finished the bulk of the planning by the end of August, for our wedding on November 5. I’m a perfectionist so it helped that Leslie has amazing attention to detail because she understood how important the details were to Kelly and me.

 

Together, we planned every single detail of the ceremony and reception, and upon my request, she quoted costs up front for every extra expense that was above our package cost so that I could easily track expenses for my parents throughout the process.

 

And when it came time to execute our incredible vision, Leslie and her team carried out every tiny detail to perfection! She even surprised me by throwing in the gold sequin tablecloth that I wanted for the cake table at the reception but had to nix early on. It put the finishing touch on our glamorous reception – what an awesome surprise!

 

I would highly recommend working with Leslie. She never said “No” to any of our requests, she always said “Let me see what I can do,” and we really appreciated that. Leslie and her team made our dream wedding come true!! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

  1. If your best friend were planning a destination wedding what would your advice be to her?

 

Do it! And never look back. So worth it!

  1. Was there anything that you would change looking back?

 

No way! Every detail of our wedding weekend was absolutely perfect! All of our guests had a blast, too. A few of them told Kelly that it was the most beautiful and fun wedding they’d ever been to ๐Ÿ™‚