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!! 🙂

 

  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 🙂

 

Q&A with bride Barbara: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Bride: Barbara
Groom: Kevin
Resort: Dreams Riviera Cancun
Agent: Hannah

Amazing wedding at Dreams Riviera Maya - Moshi Moshi Photography - Moshi Cabo Photography

 

What made you decide on having a destination wedding? 

We actually both envisioned ourselves having a destination wedding.  We had each been to a couple of them and loved the idea of spending multiple days with family and friends.  Another big factor was how much easier and less stressful it would be to plan a destination wedding!

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

We narrowed our location down to the Cancun/Riviera Maya area due to the number of beautiful resorts, the amazing look of the beaches there, and the cost of travel for our guests!   We did a little bit of research before contacting a travel agent, and fell in love with the layout and look of the rooms at Dreams Riviera Cancun.  I searched for the top rated destination wedding travel agencies in DFW, and Legacy Travel came up during my search.  I contacted them, and Hannah Cote was so quick to respond!   After giving her our list of wants/needs she sent back a list of resorts that met our requests with great prices for our guests.  Dreams Riviera Cancun was one of those resorts!  It was a great price point for what you get (beautiful rooms, nice resort layout, plenty of restaurants, many activities)!  The icing on the cake was that Dreams Riviera Cancun are known for their weddings.  They do an amazing job!  More than anything, we wanted this to be a vacation for our guests with a cool wedding on top of it!

 

Amazing wedding at Dreams Riviera Maya - Moshi Moshi Photography - Moshi Cabo Photography


What was the biggest difficulty in planning your destination wedding?

I didn’t feel like planning a destination wedding was very difficult for us.  I was a very laid back bride so I didn’t need to ask our wedding coordinator a lot of questions during the planning phase.  The thing I realized about planning a Destination Wedding, is that you can make it as easy or as difficult as you want.  One thing that might be difficult would be waiting for the wedding coordinator to contact you regarding the wedding details.  Depending on the resort, some of the wedding coordinators typically don’t reach out to you until about 3 months before the wedding.  They are so busy planning other weddings, but when your time comes, their focus is on you!  I actually liked that they waited so long to contact us.  I can’t even tell you how many times I changed my mind about what I wanted.

 

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

Our wedding day!  Both our ceremony and reception were beautiful and more than I dreamed of!  We had our reception in the ballroom and it had a WOW factor!  Our flower arrangements were large and beautiful, the lighting was amazing, and everything was put together so well! 

 

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

Dreams Riviera Cancun is a well-oiled machine!  They know exactly what they are doing when it comes to hosting weddings.  Our wedding coordinator, Natalia, took care of everything for us!  Natalia, the wedding department, and the service team were amazing.  The DJ, the food, really everything was fantastic!  They also have so many options to choose from when it comes to planning your wedding.  We chose to add a cigar roller and that was a hit!

 

Amazing wedding at Dreams Riviera Maya - Moshi Moshi Photography - Moshi Cabo Photography

 

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

A destination wedding is the way to go!!!  Definitely get a travel agent to handle all of your guests travel arrangements!  I would highly recommend Hannah with Legacy Travel!  She was amazing and answered every question we had.  Having a travel agent handle our guests travel arrangements was one less thing for us to worry about.  Plus they sent these awesome fliers out with the resort information so that our guests had Legacy Travel’s info when they were ready to book.  Our guests had nothing but great things to say about Hannah and how easy it was for them to book.  Another piece of advice would be to research weddings at different resorts they are thinking about.  I think the reason I did not stress about how our wedding would turn out, was because I saw so many pictures and read many reviews of different weddings at Dreams Riviera Cancun.  I knew they would make my wedding vision a reality.

 

Was there anything that you would change looking back? 

I don’t think there is anything we would change!  Our guests still rave about how much they loved the resort and the entertainment team there.  They even talk about how beautiful our wedding was!

Q & A with bride Rachel: Dreams Tulum

Bride: Rachel
Groom: Scott
Resort: Dreams Tulum
Agent: Hannah

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

We chose to have a destination wedding for several reasons.  Both of our families live out of the country (South Korea and Scotland), so we figured they should get a vacation if they were going to fly half way across the world for our wedding.  Destination weddings are also a great way to have an intimate wedding with those that you cherish and love. 
We also loved the idea of getting married on the beach.  Another great plus was the cost savings.  If we were to get married at home, we would have to invite way more people, which in turn would cost much more for a less spectacular wedding.  I also loved the idea of not having to do everything (choosing vendors, photographers, etc).  It was really nice having to make less decisions and still getting exactly what I wanted.

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

We had been to Riviera Maya twice and loved it both times.  We actually considered going to the same resort, but after looking at all of the options Hannah sent us, we chose Dreams Tulum.  We wanted an intimate experience with a gorgeous setting, and we got both!  The resort is absolutely gorgeous and made us feel like royalty the entire stay.  I highly recommend Dreams Tulum.  We talked about coming back every year to celebrate our anniversary!

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

The biggest difficulty for me was imaging what everything would look like.  I am a perfectionist and need to see/touch things, so emailing pictures and communicating my vision was challenging.  I also like to do everyone myself, so trusting the wedding coordinator was tough.  Nayeli, the wedding coordinator, definitely pulled through though.  I did not have to worry about a thing.

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

The highlight of the experience was the weather.  It was all sunshine up until our wedding day.  The forecast was terrible – there was a 50% chance of rain during the ceremony and 90% during cocktail hour and reception (everything was scheduled to be on the beach).  Nayeli knew that I wanted a beach ceremony unless it was pouring, so they switched out the chair cushions multiple times to make sure our guests had dry seats to sit on.  By some miracle, it only sprinkled during the ceremony and cocktail hour.  The dinner reception got moved into the convention center due to the weather, and Nayeli more than made up for the venue change.  It was absolutely gorgeous and romantic!  It was more beautiful than I could’ve imagined.  I was breathless.

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

The resort went above and beyond to make us feel welcomed and well taken care of.  Everyone from the bartender to the housekeeper had warm smiles and truly looked happy to take care of us.  Nayeli, the onsite wedding coordinator, was patient, thorough, and made sure everything was perfect.  She really made me feel at ease by making sure I did not have to worry about a thing.

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

My advice would be to trust your wedding coordinator.  She will take care of everything.  Also, make sure to spend time with your loved ones and show them how much it means that they came to celebrate this moment.  Soak in the entire day.  It goes by way too fast.  Upgrade your photography package and get the one that includes all of the photos, it’s worth it.  Book a hair trial.

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

Not spending too much time in the sun the day before the wedding!  The back of my dress is gorgeous.  Unfortunately, I had a very obvious tan line on my back and didn’t get as many pictures as I would have liked.

 

Q & A with bride Sage: Dreams Sands Cancun

Bride: Sage
Groom: Luke
Resort: Dreams Sands Cancun
Agent: Hannah
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1. What made you decide on having a destination wedding?
 We love to travel! The idea of a all inclusive, week long celebration with our closest friends and family sounded like the perfect fit for us. We also understand how expensive weddings can be. When weighing the options and looking at the cost of a wedding in our city compared to a destination wedding, it was a no brainer for us!
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2. What made you decide on the destination/resort/venue?
I had heard from a friend that had stayed there and said it was wonderful. Also my awesome wedding planner Hannah just planned a wedding for another couple there and she said it was beautiful as well. This made us feel comfortable choosing Dreams Sands. 
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3. What was the biggest difficulty in planning your destination wedding?
I would say the biggest difficulty would be just basing decisions off of pictures and actually seeing it in person. It was a little bit difficult at the time but i think it was the best way for me. I am not a big planner and can get overwhelmed when i have too many options. You just have to trust your wedding planner.
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4. What was the highlight of the experience and what was the biggest surprise?
The highlight of my experience was how absolutely stunning the ceremony and reception was! I could not have asked for a better wedding day. The reception was amazing i would definitely recommend the light up dance floor, all 50 of my guest danced all night long, it was a blast! The best surprise was during our first dance they had fireworks shoot up behind us, it was magical! 
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5. How well was the resort and your Onsite Wedding Coordinator to work with?
The resort was perfect, every single person was so accommodating and so friendly. I can not rave enough about our onsite wedding coordinator Rubi. She is the best! She made sure everything was perfect for us on our big day. If you get a chance to work with her you are in good hands.
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6.  If your best friend were planning a destination wedding what would your advice be to her?
The best advice i have is don’t stress. Your wedding planner and wedding coordinator are professionals. They do this all the time and will make sure your day is amazing so just trust them!
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7. Was there anything that you would change looking back?
  Honestly, i wouldn’t change anything! The entire week was the best week of my life. When i look back i could not think of one thing that would have made it more perfect. Destination weddings are the way to go!

Q &A: Secrets Playa Mujeres with Elizabeth & Justin

Bride: Elizabeth
Groom: Justin
Resort: Secrets Playa Mujeres
Agent: Hannah

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

B&G – Having been a wedding/event planner for almost 4 years in my prior job, I knew what the average wedding would cost in the US as well as how much work/planning you have to put into it for it to be what you can afford. Luckily my fiancé and I also love to travel so we just knew when it was time to plan our wedding that it would be abroad for less price and less planning on our part and way more fun than a traditional wedding!

 

2.What made you decide on the destination/resort/venue? 
B&G – We tossed back and forth about the location because we wanted something exotic and a place we had never been to before, but when it really came down to choosing – we kept in mind who we wanted to attend with us and how far we could go on such limited vacation time, so we compromised on Mexico. Mostly for how close it is to Texas (for the majority of our family & close friends) so flights were a breeze for most of our guests but we knew we wanted an Adult Only – and 5 Star accommodations that we have been accustomed to traveling and wanted to share that experience with our guests. We selected Secrets because we knew the brand having been to their new location in Cabo the prior year so we knew the quality we would get for the price. We chose Playa Mujeres because it was a new resort location and off the “touristy path” of Cancun, but still close enough for guest excursions to Isla Mujeres or Cancun.

3.What was the biggest difficulty in planning your destination wedding?
B&G – Surprisingly everything was super easy start to finish, but if I had to choose the hardest part was probably just communicating with the wedding coordinators at the resort since their primary language is not English and they are super busy planning tons of weddings every week. SO it was hard for me to relax knowing they got my messages and would take care of me when it was my turn. (Trust me – just relax they got it and they will make it all happen when its GO time!)
4.What was the highlight of the experience and what was the biggest surprise?

B&G – Our biggest surprise was at the reception, we didn’t know we would have a separate M/C with the Dj. We knew we hired a Dj ahead of time and that he had our music list to play, but when we arrived at the reception our M/C Alfonso introduced himself to us and took charge of all the formalities and just asked us a few simple questions before getting started. He really helped set the mood we wanted for the reception and really was such a delight to our guests! Our friends were so complimentary of our wedding afterwards, that it was the most fun they have ever had at a wedding and that was saying A LOT because we are older than most couples so our friends have been to quite a few weddings already! We were so thrilled to keep hearing that over and over! We even had “on lookers” at the resort wanting to join in our fun!

 

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

B&G – Overall the resort was accommodating to us, with a few bumps in communication here and there. (We assumed it was because the resort was still new (only 7months old) so most things were still being worked out rather than systematic like most we have been to) but our wedding coordinator Claudia was absolutely amazing! I slightly panicked when we arrived because the wedding coordinator we had been working with for 6 months was no longer at this resort so we had to down load all of our information onto Claudia two days before the wedding but she really absorbed all of our information and requests and really made our wedding ceremony and reception perfect for us.

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

B&G – DO IT!!! For the amount money we spent, we really got so much more out of it than we ever expected. We walked away with a wedding video, professional photos (on cd and hard cover album in the mail), a plated reception dinner (4 courses!) and all alcohol all included. But most of all – the memories we made with our family and friends while we were there on the trip really made it all so worth it. These memories and experiences together are so valuable to us and we will treasure this adventure we had for our lifetime!

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

B&G – YES! We would definitely build time into the trip for “just the two of us” time. Remember it’s still planning a wedding, so there are days which you have appointments to attend/follow up with photographers and such as well as guests to wrangle and inform, a rehearsal, plus a day for the event and a day to recover. So plan some “alone time” days after all your guests leave so you can decompress after all the excitement.

E & J Wedding All