Wedding Date: May 5, 2023 ~ Resort: Breathless Riviera Cancun ~ Photographer: Ambar + Alejandro Photography ~ Bridal Gown: BHLDN ~ Tux Salon: Black Tux ~ Beauty: Backstage Hair & Makeup
How did you select the resort? What were the deciding factors?
Selecting a resort initially felt daunting. There are SO many in the Cancun area. RTG was a huge help, even on ultra specific things like “which resorts have a brown wooden gazebo by the ocean?” We ultimately chose our resort for its reputation for being lively, its on-site club open until 1am, and the aesthetics of the wedding venues available (including our gazebo!)
Were there any objections from your wedding guests about your decision to have a destination wedding? If so, how did you handle overcome those?
We definitely had some nerves and even a touch of guilt about having a destination wedding. It felt like a big ask of our family and friends to take 3-4 days off of work and invest in the trip. The reality couldn't have been more different, though. We got more RSVPs than we expected and most of our friends and family were enthusiastic about the much needed vacation. We chose an adults only resort, so there were naturally some objections from our immediate family about kids not being present. We heard everyone out on this, but also helped them understand how the logistics of having kids presented detracted from the quality time that we were hoping to have with them as adults. We also made sure all of the grandmas and grandpas that stepped up to babysit felt special and appreciated!
How did you come to decide on your wedding date? Is there meaning behind it?
Since Rick and his family are Mexican, part of the reason we chose a destination wedding in Mexico was for the opportunity to celebrate the food and culture. We figured we might as well go all-in and have it on Cinco de Mayo! Even though it’s a very Americanized holiday, it made for a fun theme and gave us an anniversary that will always be easy to remember.
Describe what it was like working with the wedding coordinator at the resort? What went well? Any challenges?
We were initially surprised that the planning process with the on-site coordinator didn’t start until 3-4 months before the wedding. In retrospect, however, we now realize that these resorts host tons of weddings and have it down to a science. They can bring any vision to life in just a few weeks and months. We would advise other destination wedding couples to just trust the process and avoid being antsy when you’re 4+ months out and want to get started (we know the feeling.) Once we kicked off the process, our coordinator was always very responsive and we worked out all the details in a large planning document. It worked really well to keep everything organized and trackable in writing.
Describe the booking process for your guests. Did they find that to be easy to navigate?
RTG set up a unique booking page for us with all of the info that our guests needed to book travel. Our travel agent, Heather, helped with payment reminders, travel info, and questions throughout the process. RTG did a great job giving our guests a smooth booking process, but we found it helpful to also be proactive with our guests alongside RTG by sending our own text messages and emails to our guests reinforcing deadlines and FAQ. There is no such thing as too many reminders! :)
What were some of your biggest fears or things you worried about as your wedding date drew near? How did you get through this?
Having a destination wedding is a total trust fall. We were naturally anxious to be placing so much trust in our resort and our coordinator without meeting the vendors that they sourced on our behalf, seeing our florals ahead of time, meeting our DJ/MC, etc. It was helpful to keep reminding ourselves that we were getting married in paradise and that everyone would be in vacation mode and full of tequila. Nothing can go that wrong in that kind of magical setting, right? Sure enough, it was a total dream. Trust your coordinator and the process :)
Describe the meeting you had with the onsite wedding team when you arrived at the resort.
Leading up to the wedding, we worked with our coordinator in a detailed planning document that reached 30 pages! It gave us peace of mind that everything was in writing and so well organized. During our one hour on-site meeting, we went through the document and timeline together item by item to make sure we were on the same page. Everything was so well planned before that meeting, there were really no surprises. We also brought all of the items that we transported to the resort ourselves like cake topper, guest book, etc. to that meeting in a suitcase and handed them off to our coordinator.
Were your guests wowed by the resort and the all-inclusive concept? What was their reaction upon arrival?
Yes! It was especially fun to hear the reactions from our guests that had never done an all-inclusive, or at least one as nice as Breathless. One of our guests told us that they felt like there was a resort employee handing them a glass of champagne at all times from the moment they stepped on the property, which made us laugh. It really was true though - our guests were offered drinks in the shuttle to the resort, at check-in, at the start of each of our private events, and the moment we walked out from our wedding ceremony. You truly want for nothing at an all-inclusive and it was so fun to watch our guests feel pampered, surprised and delighted the whole weekend.
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?
The fun part of a destination wedding is that it lasts multiple days. We hosted a private welcome dinner on the beach the day everyone arrived (included in our Beyond Memorable wedding package) that felt like a whole other wedding on its own. Then the day of the wedding we hosted our ceremony, a cocktail hour, and a 4-hour reception. We used a separate venue on the resort property for each event which allowed us to create different vibes throughout the day from beachy and casual cocktails to an elegant rooftop reception.
What is your most favorite memory of your wedding experience?
Guests just behave differently at destination weddings. They are in vacation mode and their inhibitions are totally down. We felt like the energy level at our reception was off the charts, and there are so many little moments that encapsulate that. One was when our crowd engagement package from Drums in Paradise arrived, giving our guests the opportunity to bang on “water drums,” which are exactly what they sound like - drums that are full of water that shoots everywhere when you bang on them. People were drenched and cracking up and smiling ear to ear. One guest walked up to me and told me that it was “therapy.” The moments when we got to see our guests really let loose were absolutely our favorite.
In what ways did Romance Travel Group make the planning less stressful for you?
RTG added value from the very beginning in helping us avoid overwhelm when choosing a resort. They can answer any question you have about resort selection down to the tiniest detail. We feel like we ended up at our perfect match of a resort with their help. They also took the stress off our plate related to travel entirely - we knew with confidence that when guests came to us with questions or needs we could redirect them to our RTG agent and they would be in great hands.
What would you do differently? What advice would you give to couples just starting the planning process?
We really don’t have regrets about the process. The final outcome was beyond our wildest dreams and will live on as one of the best weekends ever. Any changes I would make are minor - one suggestion is that I forgot until I got down there how useful tumblers are at all-inclusives. We put a coozie in our welcome bags, but I wish I had gifted tumblers instead so that guests could use them at the swim up bars vs. the standard little plastic cups. Our only other regret was not investing in a videographer. I realize in retrospect that destination weddings tend to be a bit more lively / experiential than traditional ones. Our photos also capture that, but video would have been worth a thousand words. Luckily much was captured via phones :)
Congratulations, Cheryl & Rick!! Wishing you the best always!
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