Weddings are magical, but can also be exhausting. I’ve had the honor of being in several weddings (over a decade ago now), and my favorite is still my little sister’s big day. The problem is: I don’t really remember all of it… the day was such a whirlwind of emotion, busyness and people. She had the big traditional wedding that little girls dream of: cathedral church, slim lace gown with a ten-foot train, full wedding party with photographers and a reception that included the chicken dance, toasts, a dance with our dad and even a garter throw. I remember being nervous for my speech, bawling my eyes out when my dad walked her down the aisle and that’s honestly about it. Everything else is a blur that was luckily captured in pictures from the entire day.
My sister and I are peas in a pod and were attached at the hip when we were in college together. If you’d have told us that our weddings would have been so different from each others’ at that time, I wouldn’t have believed you. But we were both engaged around the same time, and planned weddings around the same time in 2009. The difference is that I made plans to escape to paradise with a small, close group of family instead.
Destination Wedding planning can be just as complicated (or even MORE complicated) as you want to make it. Putting together an event that is thousands of miles away could become extremely difficult, and I can see how it would be a daunting task for any couple planning a wedding. But I’ll let you in on my secret: it can also be the easiest way to plan a wedding, and that is what we did for our big day.
Most All-Inclusive resorts have a wedding department. Either one amazing person or a team of people are on hand to help you with every part of your wedding day, and it’s all bundled up into one price. So you essentially get a wedding planner, photographer, venue, food, flowers and ceremony as a package. We chose to travel to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for our wedding and followed it up with a week-long honeymoon at the same resort. In the months leading up to our trip, I emailed and called our wedding planner as often as I felt I needed to, to arrange all of the details of our event. She was always excited to hear from me, and was so easy to work with. When it came to choosing my bouquet, she sent me ten or so pictures of options, and I chose the one I liked best. Forget being bombarded with the choice of every flower on the planet to use in your bouquet! Which of these ten designs suits you best? Easy.
Because we saved so much money on the wedding planning, photographer, venue and food (All Inclusive Resorts bundle all food into your per-night price, so dinner, dessert, drinks and service cost NO extra money), we decided to use the rest of our wedding budget to fly our closest family members down for the long weekend. My husband’s brother and his girlfriend, my sister and her husband, his parents and my parents were invited. That’s it. At the end of the day, everything for the wedding (including my dress and his outfit), two weeks at the resort to claim residency and then honeymoon, plus flights for ten people and three nights at the resort for our eight family members came out to cost us less than $15,000 total.
There was no stress. I walked on the sand with bare feet to be given away by my father, and our ceremony took place right in front of the ocean. We migrated to one of the on-site restaurants after the wedding, where we all ordered exactly what we wanted and followed it up with cutting our cake at the table. Being at such a beautiful resort with the beach as our backdrop, the photos basically took themselves.
I’ve heard people talk about their weddings and have a list of things they would do differently. I can honestly say that, if I were to get married again, I wouldn’t change a single detail. Everything was perfect, nobody had to worry about anything other than showing up on time, and I was so relaxed that I actually remember the entire day. If anybody is looking to get married with beauty and just pure happiness in their heart, then I really recommend looking into an All-Inclusive Destination Wedding. I’m so glad that we did.