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Destination Wedding Tips

  |  By Stephanie Gray
The Royal Playa del Carmen

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend my first destination wedding. The wedding was in Mexico, at the Royal Playa del Carmen, an all-inclusive resort. The only other time I have been to an all-inclusive was during my stay at the El Dorado in the Riviera Maya. The resort was on a gorgeous beach, had a fantastic spa and tons of dining options. The pool and beach were always packed with people and during my stay I probably saw at least 7 brides (mind you it was also 10/10/10).

My favourite thing about the wedding I attended was the details the bride and groom put into their celebration. They put a lot of thought into their gorgeous save-the-dates and invites. The save-the-date was a rolled-up map, designed to look like a sailing map, since they both love to sail. The formal invite came in a carefully wrapped box, and had the colours of their wedding throughout. When it came to the actual wedding, the two exchanged vows under a gazebo, right by the ocean. The bridesmaids wore v-neck silver cocktail dresses, which were equally flattering to all girls. The bride herself splurged on a stunning strapless Vera Wang gown, which had ruffles around the neckline, train and pretty details on the back. At the  dinner table every guest had a name card, held in a small silver sailboat, with a favour box beside filled with Jelly Belly's (also in the colour scheme). For flowers, she opted for pink lilies, both for bouquets and centrepieces. About 25 people in total attended the reception, and as a guest I definitely enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the celebration.

{The silver sailboat place card holder they used. Available at}

To be honest a few things surprised me and when if you're thinking about a destination wedding, I suggest you keep these things in mind and definitely ask your travel agent what to expect, so you're not surprised when you get there!

1. The beach is windy (and can be packed!). While I was laying on the beach mid-afternoon I noticed beside me (Ok, not directly, but very close) a couple walking down the aisle to say "I do." If you want privacy, a beach may not necessarily fit the bill. Plus, do you want to be looking at strangers in their swimsuits while you say your vows? If not, definitely find out what the beach situation is like if that's your dream place to get married. Also, the beach was really, really windy. Something also to take into consideration.

2. How many weddings? As I mentioned earlier I saw about 7 brides around the resort during the 3 days I was there. On 10/10/10 I saw three weddings on the property (apparently there were 10 in total), all within viewing distance of each other. If being the one and only bride is something important to you, staying at a smaller resort may be more suited to you. Just keep in mind, at a large resort you won't be able to control how many weddings are on the same day as yours!

3. And then the music stopped. The ceremony happened at 5 p.m., followed by a cocktail hour in which the couple got their photos taken, then it was dinner, which ended at about 8:30 p.m. Then it was time for dancing! Sadly the music ended at 9:30 p.m. due to the resort's noise policy. In total we had about 1 hour of dancing, which to a lot of guests was disappointing. If you want to dance into the wee hours of the night, definitely find out the resort's policy.

Need more destination wedding advice? Check out our Destination Weddings Guide.

This article was originally published on Oct 12, 2010

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