Photobook: Bride Brittany at Couples Swept Away

Bride: Brittany

Groom: Demetrio

Resort: Couples Swept Away

Advisor: Terrah Van Meter

Photobook: Dreams Sands

Bride: Bethany

Groom: Phillip

Resort: Dreams Sands

Advisor: Terrah

Bride Q & A: Finest Playa Mujeres

Bride: Amy

Groom: Matthew

Resort: Finest Playa Mujeres

Advisor: Terrah

What was the highlight of the experience?

Highlight was having a smaller, more intimate group and being on vacation together over an extended time. All our friends and family got along and some of them had days together to hang out at the pool/beach. We had friends going to dinner together, making new friends, etc. and that was so cool to see. A big, stateside wedding wouldn’t have allowed for our friends and family from all over the country to get to know one another since the day would be over in a flash. 

A highlight from the wedding itself would be the photographers and DJ(s) – both were way beyond my expectations. The DJs were amazing and the music was SO good. Everyone danced the entire time, no one was sitting down. It was the most fun dance party of my life.

What was the biggest surprise?

There honestly weren’t any big surprises – which I think is a GOOD thing for a wedding 🙂 everything was as expected and all of our planning came together perfectly. I suppose one surprise at the resort was that we had to wait for dinner every night … even when it was just Matt and me – we were never seated right away. It seemed the restaurants might have been understaffed – or at least the host/hostesses. We couldn’t make reservations (they said we wouldn’t need them anyway) and then had to wait every night to be seated. Sometimes just 5 minutes but one night we waited over 30 minutes for a table even though there were tables empty. 

How was your on-site Wedding Coordinator to work with?  
Great! She gave us her extension after we met and explained that anyone in the resort could call her for us. She reached me twice while I was in the spa (it was fun having a phone call to take) and I felt like she had her eye on where I was – which was GREAT. She was very thoughtful, a great listener, assured us all along the way, explained everything, answered all our questions, etc.  I will say the three weeks leading up to the wedding, we emailed her twice and never heard back. I didn’t get stressed out because I knew we could finalize everything once we got there, but I could see how some brides might freak out if they are asking questions three weeks before their wedding and email is the only communication channel and you’re not getting a response.  She did tell us it was the busy wedding season and she had a wedding (or two or three) every day – so I was prepared that she might not be very responsive. Once we got to the resort, she answered all my questions and everything was fine. 

If your best friend were planning a destination wedding what would your advice be to her?
First – smart decision. It’s the best and all your guests will thank you multiple times during the trip for having a destination wedding. Also a lot of your guests will tell you it was the best wedding they’ve ever been to and that’s a really nice thing to hear from people you love. 

Advice: Have Terrah coordinate everyone’s travel 🙂 – and one thing that Matt and I wish we would have done : Communicate the itinerary and any other important details to all the guests 2-3 weeks before anyone arrived at the resort. The only stressful thing that Matt and I had to deal with was a ton of people texting us during our first three days at the resort asking where to go, what to do, what we’re doing, where to have dinner, what’s the plan, what do we do when we get to Mexico airport, etc. it was like all our guests thought we were planning their entire trip and they didn’t realize that we only had a quick cocktail hour planned Friday (people arriving Wednesday and Thursday were asking us what the plan was, etc. ) — So looking back, I wish I would have asked Terrah to send out the itinerary to everyone in early May.   Neither Matt nor I had everyone’s email addresses so we didn’t have an easy way to communicate one message to all the guests.  Matt and I thought it would be fun to share the itinerary in the Welcome Bags – like a surprise – but instead our guests felt uncertain and anxious about not knowing what to do when they got to Mexico.  

I would also be sure to let another bride to be know that the resort wedding planner will not reach out to you or be in contact much at all until about 45 days before the wedding. So you and your fiancé should be following Terrah’s timeline of picking out flowers and centerpieces and the cake using the catalogues the Resort would have sent you – but your wedding planner will likely not communicate with you at all. Compile all your questions and know that when you get close (1-2 months out) your planner will get in touch with you and you’ll get to finalize everything. Don’t freak out due to the lack of communication. The resort people are experts at weddings and everything is going to be more fabulous than you are even envisioning so chill out and let them do their magic. Trust the process. 

One more thing – if you’re having trouble getting help for things in your suite – let your wedding planner know.  Our room was hot – the AC couldn’t go below 69 and it was so sticky and humid. I asked for a fan for our room – twice. And after 24 hours still no fan. The next day I told Paola (the wedding planner) about it and within an hour there were two fans brought to my room 🙂 your wedding planner can make things happen for you !!

Bridal Interview: Caitlin at Secrets Playa Mujeres

Bride: Caitlin

Groom: Jonathan

Resort: Secrets Playa Mujeres

Advisor: Hannah

1. What made you decide on having a destination wedding?
We were drawn to a destination wedding because we wanted a smaller wedding that was easier to plan. We grew up in different states, and we wanted our friends and family to have a mini vacation. Having a destination wedding allowed us to spend more time with them before, during, and after the wedding. 

2. What made you decide on the destination/resort/venue? While talking with Hannah, we narrowed down our country to Mexico fairly quickly because there were several flights in and out of Cancun each day. We liked that Secrets Playa Mujeres was close enough to the airport but in a quieter area. We wanted an adults-only wedding, so it was a good choice for us. 

3. What was the biggest difficulty in planning your destination wedding?There wasn’t much difficulty in planning! We spent an afternoon going through the Excel document and choosing among the various options the resort sent us. My husband started a new job and we moved across the U.S. right before the wedding – that was the only difficult part.
4. What was the highlight of the experience and what was the biggest surprise?
Being with friends and family for a few days was the best, especially knowing we were moving so far from them. We decided to kick off the weekend with a beach bonfire on Friday night, and we passed out our welcome bags during it – this was very easy and it allowed us to greet each of our guests! 

Our friends decided to rent a catamaran the day after the ceremony, and that turned out to be such fun! My favorite part/biggest surprise was the resort’s minister. Her words were perfect, and our family and friends commented on how it was one of the best ceremonies they had been to. We recently watched our ceremony video and cried all over again! 

5. How well was the resort and your Onsite Wedding Coordinator to work with?Claudia Solis, our wedding coordinator, was so easy to work with! She always responded to our emails in a timely manner. Meeting with her in-person was even better. She is a professional and has a calm presence – so helpful when talking to a worried bride. 
Secrets Playa Mujeres was wonderful! It was small enough to where we were always running into people we knew, but big enough to where we had space. Dreams, the family-friendly resort, is right next door, and it was great to eat at the Brazilian steakhouse there our last night.
6.  If your best friend were planning a destination wedding what would your advice be to her? If you’re looking for a fun, meaningful wedding without a lot of stress throughout the planning process, this is absolutely for you! 

7. Was there anything that you would change looking back?Wedding-wise, we wouldn’t change anything at all. In terms of communication, we would have emailed our guests about a week before the wedding and asked them to download an app, such as WhatsApp or GroupMe. We would have added everyone to the group so everyone could stay in touch. 

Interview With Bride Danielle

Bride: Danielle

Groom: Blake

Resort: Secrets Capri

Advisor: Audrey

What made you decide on having a destination wedding? We decided to have a destination wedding for several reasons. The first and biggest reason was that we didn’t want to have the same type of wedding that everyone else has. It just wasn’t the right fit for us as a couple. Second, we also wanted to have more of an experience and more time with our guests. With having the bonfire (aka rehearsal dinner) on Friday and the wedding on Saturday we were able to spend much more time with everyone who attended. Lastly, we just love to travel. We got engaged in Europe and consider travel to be a very large part of our lives. Since traveling is such a big part of our lives why wouldn’t we pick a destination wedding? 

What made you decide on the destination/resort/venue?  Audrey, our wonderful travel agent, helped us narrow down the giant list of resorts to about 5 that she and the team at Legacy Travel had been to personally. This insiders information was what gave me the trust and knowledge that I was making the most informed decision that I could. Looking online at the website can only tell you so much, but having a group of people who had been to the resorts and knew the wedding coordinator made the world of a difference. We decided on Secrets Capri mainly because keeping my guests budgets in mind was at the top of my list. However, I cannot say enough good things about this resort. It was fantastic and surpassed my expectations in every way. 

What was the biggest difficulty in planning your destination wedding?
The biggest challenge was getting all of my younger guests to book and planning/coordinating the wedding from miles away via email. A lot of the problems that I have heard about destination weddings are about the long wait times when communicating with the wedding coordinator. This was NOT a problem  at Secrets Capri with Angie and Maria. They are very quick at communicating with you via email (quick replies as in 1 day, but no more than 2). This was SO important.   

How well was the resort and your On site Wedding Coordinator to work with?
Secrets Capri- The Resort:
We had read all of the reviews on this resort and some were good and some were bad, but this is typical for every resort. So, we went in with honest expectations as this was reasonably priced resort. The resort although older is lovely. It is a fun hacienda style (very yellow) and offers a little bit of everything for a big group of people (47). For us, we loved that our younger friends could go to the sports bar at night until 1:30 AM and that our parents friends could have a quite night in or join us at the bar. Everyone loved the smaller size as this resort is not as large as most of the other ones in Playa del Carmen & Cancun. Secrets Capri was the perfect combination of fun for everyone as we had all ages at the wedding (19 to 75). One complaint that we heard was that a lot of people think that the pool is rundown. We honestly didn’t spend any time at the pool, so I cannot review it more than to say that its pretty. However, this resort is all about the beach. It is fantastic. So, you will not need the pool with a beach like the one here. Go ahead and rent a Bali Bed they are 50$ a day and extremely nice to have. Lastly, the service overall at Capri is amazing. My father in law loves Dr. Pepper and asked that they have it for him in the rooms mini fridge. He was so surprised, all week long they had Dr. Pepper stocked for him. We loved that they had this level of service. If you ask for something at this resort they will do their absolute best to make it happen. 

The Wedding Coordinator: Angie and her assistant Maria were 100% on top of everything. They were organized and professional at every step of the planning process. Everything concerning the wedding was put into a contract and signed at the bottom whenever a change was made. This made the planning transparent and there were no surprises once we arrived at the resort for the wedding. These two women made both the Bonfire and the Wedding so much better than I thought they would be. They thought of everything and spent so much time and effort making our day perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a better wedding coordinator.      

What was the highlight of the experience and what was the biggest surprise?
The highlight of our wedding was the wedding! The bonfire was a huge surprise as I had no idea that it would be as nice as it was.  

If your best friend were planning a destination wedding what would your advice be to her?
Find a place you like and book it. Don’t listen to anyone else besides your significant other. A wedding is between the bride and groom no one else. 

Was there anything that you would change looking back?
I wish we had added more days to the trip!

Is there anything else you want to add about the resort or your booking agent Audrey?
Just book it! It will all be worth it once you get there. The memories you will take away with you will be ones you will cherish for the rest of your lives.