Q&A with Bride Crystal

Bride: Crystal

Groom: Trent

Resort: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Travel Advisor: Hannah

 

What made you decide on having a destination wedding?

We both knew that we wanted something different. I, originally wanted to elope just the two of us. And then we decided we would just invite immediate family. Well, that quickly escalated to cousins, and nieces and nephews, so we decided to just have a wedding! A destination wedding was the best of both worlds. We had the intimacy we wanted, and the destination.


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

Hannah did an awesome job of giving us many options when it came to picking the location of the wedding. For us it was important
that the resort was small so we could see our guests everyday, as well as cost effective for all of those traveling. We ultimately ended
up choosing Dreams Riviera Cancun because it was:
A: On the smaller side
B: Only 30 minutes from the airport. This was important to use because we had a lot of guests that had never traveled to Mexico.
C: Amazing wedding reviews
 

What was the biggest difficulty in planning your destination wedding?
 
The most difficult thing for me was waiting until 3 months prior to speak to our wedding coordinator at the resort. 
By 3 month before the wedding, a theme is already planned, without any actual planning. Bridesmaids dresses 
were picked, wedding dress, groomsmen attire. It as difficult to envision what the wedding would ultimately
end up looking like without fully understanding what the options were. Thankfully, my planner was amazing
and everything came out wonderfully.

 

 What was the highlight of the experience and what was the biggest surprise?
 
Honestly, everything! I was just completely blown away with the details that went into each event
starting with our rehearsal/welcome party, the cocktail hour, and the wedding. Fernanda (our wedding
coordinator) has fantastic taste, and everything came together beautifully. It rained everyday while we
were there so we had to go with plan B for our ceremony and reception and moved it all inside. I was
so distraught over it on the day of the wedding, but it was all amazing. You couldn’t even tell that our
reception was being held inside of a Mexican restaurant!
 
 
 
How well was the resort and your Onsite Wedding Coordinator to work with?
 
AMAZING. Poor Fernanda, I was so stubborn when it came to the idea of moving the wedding inside.
She did not miss a beat on any of the plans that we had made. She even found sparklers for us last
minute on the day of! The details, I feel like the pictures don’t even do them justice. She was always
available and had great communication. I can’t rave about her enough.
 
 
If your best friend were planning a destination wedding what would your advice be to her? 
 
DO IT! Don’t listen to anyone. The people that want to be there will be there. Get a travel agent
aka Hannah because she will make your life so easy and also those of your guests. Those 4
days surrounded by loved ones on the beach have been no doubt, the best days of our lives
and we wouldn’t do a thing differently. 
 

 
Was there anything that you would change looking back?
 
NO! Honestly, even the dates because of the rain. We got amazing pictures and everything
worked out how it was supposed to.
 

 

Q & A With Bride Sarah: Now Onyx

Bride: Sarah

Groom: Christopher

Resort: Now Onyx

Travel Advisor: Alyssa

 

My husband (love saying that now) and I had our DREAM wedding in Punta Cana on May 7th, 2018. I always knew I wanted to have a destination wedding. Just the though of having our toes in the sand, a beautiful beach setting around us and a sunset during our reception was too perfect to pass up. As all of this sounded great in my head, when it came to planning it… I got extremely overwhelmed immediately. I guess I should start with the fact that I am a planner, I love planning parties and I do it with stride. The fact that I got stressed out immediately trying to narrow down a location, date, venue and pricing made me want to give up and just have it in Dallas. I felt like I would have more control. Venting these frustrations to a random stranger at my daughters school, she recommended me to Legacy Travel. Contacting Alyssa changed my life overnight. 

 

 

She recommended many different resorts, contacted the resorts for available dates, sent me wedding packages, pricing and more. Once I was able to narrow things down, which took me about a week, I felt 100% better about the entire process. The main issue I was having with resorts is A. they don’t respond B. they want a ton of information from you before answering any questions C. You cannot talk to a coordinator until you lock in a date and deposit. Alyssa took care of A, B, and C for me. When I locked down the resort after reviewing my options, she then introduced me to our Wedding Coordinator, Manuela, at Now Onyx Punta Cana. The process was smooth sailing from there.

 

 

After choosing a “package” she then sent me a 90+ page PDF of options for the wedding. This included table linens, chairs, centerpieces, decorations, charger plates, flowers, cakes, gazebo options, etc. Ladies, please note that planning a destination wedding isn’t a year long process, I learned this quickly. It is 100x easier so you do not start planning until 2 months prior. I locked down our date about 8 months out, reviewed the PDF catalog for about a month or so and sent Manuela my “tentative” options to get a budget together. Once I had my budget, I reviewed that catalog for the next 4 months until we started finalizing the plans 6-8 weeks before the wedding. The greatest thing about this, was I didn’t stress about a wedding for 8 months. During the months I wasn’t planning, I was gathering information from Alyssa on pricing for my guests and got all of that sent out immediately to get everyone the best price possible. About 80% of our 52 person wedding guest list went through Legacy, the others used their points.

 

 

Why did I choose Now Onyx? A few reasons… I have an 8 year old so I needed the resort to be family friendly but I didn’t want 100 children running around everywhere as most of my guests do not have children. I wanted a nice resort (this is one of the newest properties in Punta Cana) but I needed it to be reasonably priced for our guests. Now Onyx offered it all. They were affordable and had everything I was looking for including an adults only sister property next door, Breathless. Guests were able to resort hop and enjoy pool parties next door. Most of us spent our time at Breathless. However, NowOnyx is a nicer resort as its much newer. 

 

 

I guess I should talk about the wedding now. 🙂 The wedding was PERFECT. You will see pictures attached to this blog. Everything was beautiful, the weather, the set up and the service. I knew it would be gorgeous but I didn’t expect it to look as amazing as it did. My husband and I were so pleased with everything. I did change a few things on the menu as I didn’t want your typical steak, mash potatoes, and green bean dinner. We did a pizza bar. This included 5 different types of pizza, pasta salad, a salad bar, wings, fruit and more.

 

 

 

Our wedding was completely magical. We spent an entire week with our closest friends and family which was so special to us. Everyone had such a great time. Writing this blog has me tearing up because Now Onyx went above and beyond for everyone. We are extremely thankful.

Recommendations: The day after the wedding we took everyone out on a 3 hour long party boat to go snorkeling and to a sand bar where other boats doc and party. We had unlimited alcohol, sandwiches, and a DJ! I highly recommend this if you have it in your budget. I am pretty sure this was everyone’s favorite part of the trip. We were thanked a million times for adding this in. 
The company we used was La Barcaza Even Boat: https://www.facebook.com/LaBarcazaEventBoat

 

 

Budget: 12k

Guests: 52

Upgrades: We upgraded every possible thing you can think of!

Only regret: Not making everyone go home 2 days after the wedding. We had zero alone time.

 

Q & A with Bride Adrienne- Dreams Tulum

Bride: Adrienne

Groom: Pablo

Resort: Dreams Tulum

Agent: Alyssa

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

We decided on Dreams Tulum because of its location in the Riviera Maya; the fact that it is a luxury, all-inclusive hotel; has beautiful ambiance; English and Spanish languages are spoken; and their wedding staff has a lot of experience coordinating weddings.

 

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

The biggest highlight was how perfect and fun our wedding was.  After months of back and forth emails with the coordinator Landy and our travel agent Alyssa, our vision for our wedding was brought to life!  The biggest surprise for us was all of the added fees and costs at the venue. 

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

Start planning early and plan a wedding that not only meets you and your fiancé’s needs, but the needs of your guests as well.  

 

Was there anything that you would change looking back?

If I could change anything, I probably would have visited the venue prior to the wedding. I was riddled with nerves about the size of the reception hall and the actual look and feel of the chapel.  However, when we arrived to the venue a few days before the wedding, everything was absolutely perfect! I wish I wouldn’t have spent so much energy leading up to the big day worrying about things that ended up being even better than I could have imagined.

Lexi and Juan’s Dream Punta Cana Wedding

Bride: Lexi

Groom: Juan

Resort: Dreams Punta Cana

Agent: Nicki

I chose a destination wedding because I’ve always dreamed of getting married on the beach in a beautiful tropical atmosphere. My husband is from the Dominican Republic so it just made sense to have it in his native country. I chose Dreams Resort and Spa in Punta Cana because their wedding packages seemed to give you the most bang for your buck.

I do not enjoy being stressed out so having everything put together for me made life a lot easier. What I’ve learned from my experience is to roll with the punches. Unexpected things are going to occur and if you let it bother you, it will interfere with your wonderful experience. Your special day comes and goes so quickly so you have to enjoy every moment.

I did not have a lot of people attend my wedding although I invited quite a few. A few friends and family decided to wait to the last minute and the resort sold out so please tell your loved ones to book in advance. I also had friends and family that were unable to go but I didn’t find out till the last minute. This definitely altered my plans and bridal party but I refused to let that interfere with my special day. Keeping a positive attitude is key when having a destination wedding. The service was wonderful at the resort and I know I made the right decision.

Ashley and Randy’s Dream Wedding

Bride: Ashley
Groom: Randy
Resort: Dreams Sands Cancun  
Agent: Lesley
 
What made you decide on having a destination wedding?   
 
It was the most cost effective option that gave us a dream wedding and honeymoon all-in-one at a fraction of the traditional wedding price tag!
 
 
What made you decide on the destination/resort/venue? 
The free wedding package, awesome and romantic honeymoon suite, it was kid friendly which was a must for us since my 11 year old son would be joining the celebration, and the beach! The white sand and clear blue water is why I picked the resort. It had the best beach of all the resorts I looked at… and I looked at A LOT! 
 
 
What was the biggest difficulty in planning your destination wedding?
 
I planned my destination wedding in 2 months start to finish… I didn’t run into complications but I would say that what took me the longest was picking the destination and resort. We initially wanted a Jamaica wedding for a legal ceremony with out the blood tests, etc that Mexico requires. In the end we decided to get married in Cancun to save money. We did the symbolic wedding to avoid the mentioned requirements and our guests were non the wiser. We got married in the court house privately before we left. We had no issues at all. 
 
What was the highlight of the experience and what was the biggest surprise? 
Highlights let’s see… the food was AMAZING! The staff was great (you MUST visit Armando the bar tender at the ocean side bar, he’s the best ever! He is so friendly and remembers every guest name! He makes your bar visit feel personal like you’ve been a regular for years.) The beach was perfect, so beautiful and clean! The rooms were the best I have EVER stayed in and my wedding was everything I wanted it to be. Ruby and her staff went above and beyond to make my wedding so nice, I can’t say that enough!! The night of our wedding the staff surprised us by having our room decorated with rose peddles, champagne, balloons, etc. 
 
 
How well was the resort and your On site Wedding Coordinator to work with?  
 
  The Resort staff was very accommodating. Ruby our wedding coordinator was beyond amazing! She took care of everything and when I couldn’t afford a few add-ons to our package she surprised me the day of with the few extra touches at no additional charge. I really think Ruby and her staff went above and beyond to make my wedding stress free and wonderful. We also added the Amber photography package and the photographer was great! I get complements all the time that our wedding photos look like something that should be in an add magazine. We are both very happy with the way our wedding photos turned out!
 
If your best friend were planning a destination wedding what would your advice be to her?
 
I have recommended a destination wedding to everyone I know. I am very happy we skipped all the traditional wedding stress and family drama with our choice. We had 12 guest come to our wedding, so with the bride and groom our total wedding party was 14 people. I feel like we had the perfect turn out!… Especially with only 2 months notice!
 
Was there anything that you would change looking back?
 
 The only thing I would have changed is that I would ask the wedding coordinator to do a walk through before hand. My son walked me down the isle and I wasn’t exactly sure where to walk, then once down in front the three of us (my husband, son and I) kind of felt lost as to where to stand. A walk through is the only thing that could have made my wedding more comfortable. 
 
 
Lastly I want to speak praise over my travel agent Lesley. She was Amazing. She helped me plan travel arrangements for 14 people and was there at every turn to aid and assist. I never had to worry or stress about anything. She always made me feel like I was her top priority. I never felt like she was too busy for me or that she was hard to get ahold of. She also had very good advice when I asked for it and was never pushy or over barring. My husband and I both decided that she will be planning all of our family and anniversary trips from here on out! Thank you so much Lesley for all you help and support.