Ruba in Aruba: Q & A With the Bride

Bride: Ruba
Groom: James
Resort: Divi Aruba 
Agent: Alyssa

What made you decide on having a destination wedding?

I’ve always dreamed of having a beach wedding since I was a little girl, but since there aren’t any beaches in Dallas where I live, I had to look elsewhere!

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

I decided on Aruba for a few reasons. First, my name is Ruba – I know it is silly but I’ve always wanted to go there and it seemed like the perfect opportunity! Second, my friend had told me how she had just attended a wedding in Aruba and how wonderful it had been so it got me even more interested. I’ve also had family who had visited before who also had great things to say about it. Third, when I was reaching out to venues in Aruba, I heard back from an event planner in Aruba who showed me pictures of all the amazing weddings they had hosted at the venue that she works out of, and she showed me what she could do which gave me more faith in having the wedding in Aruba. 

What was the biggest difficulty in planning your destination wedding? 

Trying to get guests to RSVP on time – there were several who didn’t bother to tell us no so it was hard to get an accurate estimate on number of attendees. Without an estimate, it was difficult to assess how many goody bags needed to be prepared, how many guests would need transportation to the hotel, how many for the rehearsal dinner, how many meals were needed, etc.

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

I would tell her to pick a place that isn’t too expensive for guests to fly out to.

 

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

The highlight was seeing all our friends and family coming together and having a great time meeting and hanging out with each other in such a beautiful setting. This was most apparent when we booked a sunset cruise for all the guests two nights before the wedding. Everyone was relaxed and dancing since it was a vacation for all! We got to spend real quality time with everyone before the wedding which doesn’t typically happen at a non-destination wedding. The biggest surprise was seeing all the cactus growing in Aruba!

How was the resort and your Onsite WeddingCoordinator to work with?

My event planner was amazing! She is based out of the resort that we had the wedding at so she knew all the staff and had all the hookups. She was very organized as well. The resort where we had the wedding was very beautiful! There was a great place for the beach ceremony, and then the reception building was only a few steps away that also overlooked the ocean.

Was there anything that you would change looking back?

I would still probably do a destination wedding, but I would probably choose a more affordable/closer destination for the guests. I also probably would have moved us to a different resort after the wedding so that we could have a true honeymoon to ourselves – we kept running into the guests after the wedding since the resort was so small.

Is there anything else you want to add about the resort or your booking agent?

I think having a travel agent made travel arrangements much easier as there was less to worry about when it came to the hotel, flight, etc. I also think it encouraged people to come who otherwise wouldn’t have if they had had to book everything themselves. The resort we stayed at was perfect for the event – small enough that we could spend time with all the other guests staying there, but big enough to accommodate all of us at dinners, beach, pool, etc.

One Fine Day at the Finest Playa Mujeres

Bride:  Kristin
Groom: Trevor
Resort: Finest Playa Mujeres
Agent: Audrey

  1. What made you decide on having a destination wedding?  We wanted a small, affordable wedding and beautiful pictures.  The way we looked at it was that your wedding goes by in a blink.  The pictures and memories are what you have forever.  Who forgets a vacation with all of your closest friends and family?  
  2. What made you decide on the destination/resort/venue? We ‘d heard good things about the sister properties (Beloved & Excellence) from friends who had stayed there.  The beach area there is private, so it wasn’t going to be as busy.  Plus, I really liked the stone gazebo!  
  3. What was the biggest difficulty in planning your destination wedding?  Not having seen the resort first hand, really trusting my wedding coordinator, and being patient.  The coordinators have at least one wedding a day, so be prepared to be put on the back burner a little until it’s closer to your big day. Destination weddings are truly meant for the stress-less, go-with-flow bride.  I must add.. They handled everything beautifully!
  4. What was the highlight of the experience and what was the biggest surprise?  The COST!  We NEVER could’ve had a wedding that beautiful in DFW at that price.  AND the SPA! It was incredible. The biggest surprise was how much all of our guests (even those who weren’t otherwise acquainted) mingled before and after the wedding. It made the wedding reception that much more fun!
  5. How well was the resort and your Onsite Wedding Coordinator to work with? See question #3.  She pulled it off, but there were times where I had to remind myself that she knows what she is doing.  There were a lot of details that I was certain of until the day before the wedding.
  6. If your best friend were planning a destination wedding what would your advice be to her? DO IT!  Other than that, I would tell her to make decisions (flowers, cake, music, etc..), and email them to your wedding coordinator as early as you can.  I procrastinated, and it made things a tad more stressful.  Also, do your research!  I did quite a bit of poking around vacation forums to find out about the experiences of others who had gotten married at Finest.  It helped me make lots of decisions along the way.
  7. Was there anything that you would change looking back? I would’ve invited more people and given them at least a year notice.
  8. Is there anything else you want to add about the resort or your booking agent? My agent, Audrey, was a lifesaver!  When I called her, I had no idea what I was doing.  I knew I wanted all of my guests to travel to my wedding, but I had no idea about how to decide on a resort or what information to give them.  She gave me tips that I never would’ve thought to ask.  I never worried about the travel arrangements.  It was the easiest part of my wedding planning experience.  She took great care of us and our guests!  Our resort, Finest Playa Mujeres, was just gorgeous!  Very clean, delicious food, great entertainment, and attentive staff.  We are already planning an anniversary trip!  As are several of our guests!

Q&A with bride Heather: Dreams Tulum

Bride: Heather
Groom: Alfredo
Resort: Dreams Tulum
Agent: Audrey

What made you decide on having a destination wedding? I did not want some complicated and ridiculously expensive wedding that I had to invite all these people to. I wanted something small and intimate and something that wouldn’t just be a 4 hour event. I wanted lasting memories with my friends and family and I wanted my friends and family to get to know each other.  A vacation together was the perfect way to do that. 

What made you decide on the destination/resort/venue? Originally, I had wanted to have the wedding at this resort we had stayed at in Playa Del Carmen recently. We saw lots of wedding while we were there and it just seemed so perfect. However, Audrey described Dreams Tulum and we kept coming back to it in our conversations. I did LOTS of research and by far Dreams had better reviews. Plus, Dreams is in Tulum, which is a much quieter area and cleaner than where we were planning. And I would NEVER EVER change back to that other venue

What was the biggest difficulty in planning your destination wedding? Waiting for people to book the trip. I couldn’t do much planning without the numbers. We sent out invitations in June for the next May. Some people booked like a month before….including my dad. 

What was the highlight of the experience and what was the biggest surprise? The highlight was definitely the hotel itself. It was a beautiful place, delish food and drinks, the staff were so nice, nighttime was super fun, and the beach is so beautiful. There were no surprises…..everything was more than what I expected it to be. I guess I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the spa. Usually don’t go to the spa that much if at all….but I think I was there everyday. It was so relaxing.

How well was the resort and your Onsite Wedding Coordinator to work with? Landy – my wedding coordinator – was fabulous. I didn’t have any concerns regarding decor or anything like that, but I misread a lot in the wedding package I chose and so I definitely misbudgeted. So I got really frustrated and she was always nice and accommodating. 

If your best friend were planning a destination wedding what would your advice be to her? Destination wedding….all the way. Very very easy. I feel like I was NEVER stressed. I highly recommend this hotel to. There is absolutely nothing I would change. My hair and makeup were perfect, the ceremony the reception the photos the video the food everything was amazing. Plan ahead!

Was there anything that you would change looking back? I would really read the various packages and not just skim it in a hurry. lol. I didn’t realize a dance floor and lighting didn’t come with my package and few other things so I was a mess when I found out I had seriously under budgeted. But that is all. I would still do it all the exact same. We didn’t get a DJ we brought our own speaker and computer and used spotify, but if you have a large group (we had 25) I recommend a DJ. But we had no problem getting and keeping our party going. 

Q&A: Dreams Tulum Beach Wedding

Bride: Angela
Groom: Daniel
Resort: Dreams Tulum
Agent: Audrey

  1. What made you decide on having a destination wedding? We love the water and wanted a scenic beach wedding.
  2. What made you decide on the destination/resort/venue? We discussed our options with our travel agent, Audrey, and decided that Tulum was the best fit for us.
  3. What was the biggest difficulty in planning your destination wedding? We didn’t have any difficulties. Legacy travel and our agent, Audrey, made the entire process very easy.
  4. What was the highlight of the experience and what was the biggest surprise? The highlight of the experience was our wedding ceremony. The biggest surprise was how our room was decorated by the staff on the day of our wedding. 
  5. How well was the resort and your Onsite Wedding Coordinator to work with? The resort and the onsite wedding coordinator were fantastic. Upon our arrival, our wedding coordinator met us in the front lobby. She sat down with us and confirmed all of our arrangements. 
  6. If your best friend were planning a destination wedding what would your advice be to her? Book at Dreams Tulum. It is worth every penny and then some.
  7. Was there anything that you would change looking back? We would have stayed longer.
  8. Is there anything else you want to add about the resort or your booking agent? The resort staff was very attentive. All of the restaurants served amazing food. The transportation service to/from the airport were very prompt. Last but not least, the excursions were a lot of fun and very well organized.

Photobook: Mexican Beach Wedding

Bride: Heather
Groom: Michael
Resort: El Dorado Casitas Royale
Agent: Audrey