How did you come to decide on your wedding date? Is there meaning behind it?
We decided that a destination wedding would be more appealing during winter months so our friends and family could escape a very cold Chicago. December 5th happened to be the day we first met (in 2012), and we loved that we could make it our official anniversary and celebrate with sunshine.
Describe what it was like working with the wedding coordinator at the resort? What went well? Any challenges?
We booked our wedding without seeing the resort in person, which was a huge leap of faith! Because of this, we leaned heavily on the wedding coordinators based in Miami to give guidance and advice from previous Hard Rock weddings. The only challenges we faced were due to the changes put in place due to Covid-19. We had originally wanted a buffet meal at the reception, but for safety we had to choose plated. It actually made a lot of decisions easier because we only had 1 option instead of many (I suffer from analysis paralysis). A month before the wedding, the Miami coordinator transitioned us over to the wedding coordinators onsite in Cabo to finalize it all before our arrival.
Describe the booking process for your guests. Did they find that to be easy to navigate?
We sent our save the dates with information about our wedding website about 11 months prior to our wedding to encourage early booking and direct guests to the FAQ page. Having all the information online (with our catchy domain/website name) made it so seamless to book, or at least bookmark the page until they were ready to book.
What were some of your biggest fears or things you worried about as your wedding date drew near? How did you get through this?
As our wedding date began to approach, the US was seeing rises in Covid-19 cases. We had already lost a good number of guests because of the uncertainty of travel, and we wanted to ensure that it was indeed safe to travel while communicating to our guests that we were continuing on with our wedding as planned. The key to getting through it was continuing to email our guests our intentions, any research or data we had come across to highlight the safety protocols taken by airlines and the hotel and assure them we understood if they needed to cancel. Luckily, we ended up with a solid group of 48 people!
Describe the meeting you had with the onsite wedding team when you arrived at the resort.
No detail was overlooked in the wedding process, and I was confident our onsite meeting would be seamless – and it was! We arrived later in the evening, so our wedding coordinator planned a morning meeting with us the day after we checked in. They put up a picture and welcome note to us on their huge lobby projector when we showed up for the meeting. It was so thoughtful!
We showed the coordinator all of the décor we brought from home: table numbers, placecards, frames, and other items for the reception. I hadn’t had room for a gift/card box and they told me they could bring one for me – a relief! Then we ran through every detail with timing for our welcome party, ceremony, and reception. This gave us an accurate timeline to reflect back to our wedding party. Finally, we walked through each venue booked for welcome party, ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. Although I’d been curious enough to go check out the venues the evening we arrived, it was nice to walk through with the coordinator to know where the tables would be situated, which angle our ceremony would face in the garden, and that the grass would be watered and maintained before wedding day.
Were your guests wowed by the resort and the all-inclusive concept? What was their reaction upon arrival?
We had a mix of guests who had either never been to a Hard Rock resort (us included!) or an all-inclusive resort in general, so we were excited and a little anxious to hear everyone’s experience – especially knowing there were some restrictions in place due to Covid. Every single guest raved about the resort. The food was delicious (and plentiful! Portions were not small). There were several restaurants at the resort plus unlimited in-room dining. The swim up bars were closed at the pools but this didn’t affect anyone’s experience. Masked and gloved servers everywhere taking your order and bringing to you directly in the pool.
How easy/difficult was it to travel with your wedding dress? Did you carry-it on, where did you store it? Did you get a lot of comments at the airport?
A friend of mine who had a destination wedding asked me how I planned to tote my dress to the wedding. I hadn’t thought of it prior and just planned to bring the dress in the bag it came with, but she assured me I wanted something sturdier and let me borrow her dress bag. It folded up and was able to fit atop the carry-on bags in the overhead compartment on the plane, and I carried it like a duffel through the airport. Since the bag was pretty inconspicuous, I actually didn’t garner any comments or attention at the airport – which I preferred!
Tell us about your wedding – did you have a traditional wedding with a cocktail hour, dinner reception and dance? What was different about a destination wedding compared to a wedding at home?
We chose a destination wedding for it to be a little less traditional than a wedding we’d host at home, but we still ended up with a pretty standard cadence of events on our wedding day. Our ceremony was officiated by my husband’s father, lasted no more than 15-20 minutes, and we used music from Spotify for it all (low key!). After the reception, our guests were led up to our reception location for a cocktail hour with light appetizers. After that, the bridal party entered, we cut our cake, and were served dinner with speeches in between each course. Our wedding coordinator was insistent that we wait until sunset to start our first dance, so the dinner portion felt like it lasted quite a while but as soon as the dancing started – it never stopped! We had no formal events or activities as soon as dancing started (no bouquet toss, garter toss, etc), but ended the night with a whole-group karaoke session which was the most memorable part of our whole wedding.
What was the best part of having a destination wedding?
This is a big question! Our original hopes for a destination wedding would be that it provided a vacation/relaxed feel for our friends any family. Because so many people hadn’t traveled in 2020, it was even more appreciated, celebrated, and relaxed! The only real requirements for our guests were to attend our welcome party and reception, but the rest of their trip was completely up to how they wanted to spend time in Cabo!
In what ways did Romance Travel Group make the planning less stressful for you?
All of the travel details! I used to manage travel for consultants at work and I know the tedious nature of collecting information, sending updates, and orchestrating all the fine details. Shelli and Heather were incredible through the whole process from information gathering, sharing pictures and videos of resorts, communicating with our guests, and even troubleshooting flight discrepancies while we were all at the resort. They mail every guest a packet of travel documents before the trip with advice for packing, tipping, etc. It was wildly helpful and really helped everyone focus on having FUN!
What would you do differently? What advice would you give to couples just starting the planning process?
I wouldn’t change a single decision! Both Romance Travel Group and our wedding coordinators through the hotel made the selection process easy. We didn’t have to “shop around” for vendors and negotiate contracts, nor did we have to spend time on a bunch of calls with separate vendors. If you want a chill/lowkey wedding, this is the way to go. And if you want an extravagant wedding, this is also the way to go! The options are endless and it’ll always be beautifully handled no matter what you choose.
In search of the perfect location to have your wedding next year? We have the best destinations that will be sure to please while keeping your destination wedding affordable for all.
Cancun continues to dominate the destination wedding industry for its tropical appeal, endless resort options, easy flights, and affordability. There are dozens and dozens of gorgeous all-inclusive properties we send travelers to each year, making it a preferred destination for destination weddings, family celebrations, milestone trips, and more!
If you’re looking for that laid-back, no worries vibe, Jamaica is where it’s at. Couples say “I do” here for the world-renowned beaches, adventurous excursions, and exotic property settings. Those who have their destination wedding in Jamaica will immerse all senses into the culture. Jamaica also happens to be one of the easiest destinations to get legally married!
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana is the very picture of paradise, and if the turquoise water and powder-white sand won’t convince you, we sure know the resorts will! Not only are the prices fair, but you’ll be able experience luxury and adventure all-in-one, as most properties throw in a variety of activities for free. This gorgeous Dominican destination also has some pretty incredible wedding options.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta is one of Mexico’s most amazing coastlines for its natural beauty and exotic surroundings. The mountain peaks meet the blue waters of the Pacific creating a backdrop second to none. Visitors are pleased to find a variety of reasonably priced luxury wedding resorts for adults and families that will give you a true taste of Mexico and its culture.
Do any of these dreamy wedding destinations catch your eye?
Travel agents who specialize in destination wedding travel have the tips and knowledge you can’t find anywhere else. Here are 5 reasons you’ll want to use one today!
We Live and Breathe Travel
As travel agents, we live and breathe travel all day long. We book several travel experiences for people every day. We give you our opinions and recommendations based on our first-hand travel experiences because we’ve been through it, we've been there. We help you save time, money and stress – sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?
We’re Wedding Specialists
While travel agents are fully-qualified to plan all your travel-related matters, it’s always smart to work with someone who specializes in what you’re looking for. Planning a destination wedding takes an extensive amount of research and planning – something only a true wedding travel expert could help you with.
We’ll Do all The Heavy Lifting
Don’t want to research a resort? No problem, we’ll do it for you. Not sure how to coordinate all your guests? We’ll handle it. As for the ceremony and décor? We’ve got the hookup on speed dial. The point is, hiring a destination wedding specialist benefits you in more ways than one – including doing all the heavy lifting for you.
We Can Customize
One of the greatest things about a destination wedding is that no two weddings are the same! In fact, we’re able to customize pretty much anything your heart desires to align with your budget and preferences. So that rooftop wedding you’ve been dreaming about? Yeah, we can make it happen!
We’ll Work with You
From the initial resort recommendations, to your guest accommodations, transfer services, and wedding day – we’ll be there for you every step of the way. Remember, we’re not a call center – we’re real people that are just as excited to plan your wedding as you are!
Looking for a destination wedding specialist? Then, you’re in luck! Romance Travel Group helps thousands of couples plan the ultimate destination wedding each year. To get started, simply click here to connect with us today!
With destination weddings on the rise, what better way to tie the knot than at one of these gorgeous tropical wedding venues?! Keep scrolling for some inspiration!
Sky Terrace with an Ocean View
For an elevated destination wedding experience, you and your soon-to-be are sure to love a sky wedding! Here, you and your guests can enjoy the wedding festivities on your very own private sky terrace with jaw-dropping 360-degree views of the sand and sea!
Tropical and Intimate Chapel
For a more traditional ceremony with a tropical flare, look no further than a beach chapel wedding! Many beach chapels boast artful details and colorful stained-glass windows with the sound of ocean waves nearby!
Tranquil Ocean Pier
Solidify your love for one another on a tropical ocean pier surrounded by family, friends, and the big blue sea! With a pier wedding, you’ll tie the knot atop the waves and embrace the sound of the ocean as you strut your stuff down the aisle!
Romantic Secret Garden
With a secret garden venue, your ceremony will be a true reflection of the history and culture that surrounds you! Available in a variety of botanical setups and gazebos, ranging from natural wood and stone, to vibrant florals and greenery. How romantic!
White Sand Beach
A beach wedding is certainly a favorite among our destination wedding brides! Take in your surroundings and embrace the silky sand, tropical breezes, and breathtaking views at one of our many beach wedding resorts. The destinations for a beach wedding are endless!
Exotic Nature Cenote
A natural cenote wedding ceremony is most distinctive for being rich in culture and its natural surroundings, lush tropical plants, and intimate atmosphere. Embrace the Mayan culture with this unique venue option!
Do any of these unique destination wedding venues catch your eye? Great! Then, it’s time to get started! Simply click here to get in touch with a specialist, today.
Meet The Authors
We are passionate about destination weddings and love helping couples make their wedding dreams a reality. We are the destination wedding experts.