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5 events you can host during your destination wedding week

One of the many reasons why couples choose to tie the knot in the tropics is to spend some quality time with all their loved ones and bring two families together. In addition to planning your big day, your Wedding Vacations Consultant can help you arrange additional activities to entertain you and your guests throughout the wedding week!

From chic cocktail parties to tropical excursions, read on for a list of our favourite destination wedding events where your guests can meet, mingle and make memories in paradise.

Welcome your guests to paradise with a cocktail party

Barcelo Gran Faro Los Cabos

Kick off your celebrations with a welcome cocktail party! Hosting a cocktail party on the first day of your wedding vacation is a great way to welcome your guests to the tropics and introduce everyone before their week away together. Whether you host a semi-private event at a trendy bar or a private party at one of the resort’s à la carte venues, this event sets the tone for your destination wedding week and provides a perfect opportunity to hand out wedding week itineraries or welcome bags!

Royalton Luxury Resorts offers a welcome party add-on experience which includes a bar serving an array of drinks including a signature cocktail of your choice, two trays of hors d’oeuvres, a microphone for speeches and more!

Toast to your big day in the tropics at a rehearsal dinner

Rehearsal dinners are a staple event for local weddings that can definitely be celebrated in destination as well. Depending on your style, you can opt for a casual barbecue by the beach, a poolside buffet or a private plated dinner at an upscale à la carte venue – some resort packages even include a rehearsal dinner. Want to add a tropical twist to your rehearsal dinner? Incorporate your destination’s local flair by including tequila tastings or dance lessons after dinner!

Whereas local wedding rehearsal dinners are usually limited to immediate family, the wedding party and out of town guests, it’s customary to extend the invite to all of your wedding guests for a destination wedding.

Celebrate your single send off in style

Rachel Lindsay’s epic bachelorette party at Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica

Many couples choose to take advantage of their tropical settings and host their bachelor or bachelorette parties in destination before their big day! No matter which resort you’re staying at, you can take advantage of the incredible on-site facilities and celebrate your bachelor or bachelorette party in style. You and your squad can get pampered in paradise at the spa, host an epic pool party or tear up the dancefloor at a trendy nightclub – the options for epic bachelor and bachelorette parties in destination are endless.

Celebrating your big day with RIU Hotels & Resorts? Book one of their #BACH Party social packages for an unforgettable party in paradise. Available for groups of ten and under, RIU’s #BACH Party packages include a two-hour private beach party complete with an open bar and DJ, a special cake and a bottle of sparkling wine to toast to new beginnings, plus a group dinner at one of the resort’s à la carte restaurants and more!

Explore your destination with a group excursion

Take advantage of your tropical settings and treat your guests to an exciting excursion! Choose from a wide selection of activities and experiences that your destination has to offer. For instance, if you’re getting married in Mexico you could cruise along the coast on a luxury catamaran, snorkel off the coast off Tortuga Island in Costa Rica or climb up a famous waterfall in Montego Bay. No matter what activity you choose, planning an excursion for your guests is a perfect way to thank them for joining you in destination and can even be gifted as an alternative to traditional wedding favours.

Host a farewell brunch

Jewel Grande Montego Bay

Before heading home, make the most of your last day together in the tropics and host a farewell brunch. Arrange for one last group gathering at one of the resort’s restaurants to thank everyone for joining you in paradise! You and your guests can dine under the sun at an al fresco eatery, recap favorite moments from your tropical celebrations and cheers to your week away with mimosas!

 

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Destination-inspired Wedding Entertainment

One of the (many) great things about hosting a destination wedding is that you can offer up unique entertainment options that you likely wouldn’t get back home. It’s also a great way to incorporate your destination’s culture, traditions and specialties into your wedding day!

To help you get on top of this growing trend, we put together a sampling of some of our favorite destination-inspired entertainment options that are sure to wow your guests.

Pro-tip: Your Destination Wedding Consultant can help you coordinate add-on entertainment options for your big day, whether it’s through your resort or with external vendors.

Fire dancers in Mexico

Add a more sparks and glow to your big day in Mexico by having fire dancers perform during your reception. Dating back to the Aztecs in Central Mexico, fire dancing is a popular form of entertainment where skilled entertainers use juggling, fire eating and more to put on a jaw-dropping show. The flames look especially stunning on the beach at night! Make sure to have your wedding photographer take a few photos of you and your new husband or wife with the fire dancers in the background.

Photography: Photography by Elvira

Reggae rhythms in Jamaica

Sound systems and DJs are great, but why not elevate your cocktail hour with a live reggae band? Live music is an exciting way to incorporate your destination’s culture and rhythms into your wedding day. Give your family and friends a taste of the sounds of Jamaica and get them ready to hit the dance floor before your reception. Your guests can sip on cocktails and sample tasty hors d’oeuvres as they listen to the laidback island rhythms of a reggae band.

Tequila toasts in Mexico

A tequila tasting is a perfect experience for couples tying the knot in Mexico – from where this smooth drink, made of blue agave, originates. You and your guests can enjoy your very own tequila tasting during your cocktail hour or reception dinner where you’ll get to taste different varieties and learn about their origins. You can even incorporate some of the tequila you sample into your signature drink like a ‘Marry Me Margarita’.

First dance with flair in Cuba

The first dance is a time-honoured tradition for weddings both at home and in destination. While most first dances tend to be slow and simple, choreographed first dances are a great way to make a statement as a couple and incorporate a bit of your chosen destination’s culture into your wedding day. Cuba is the home of several popular dance styles including the rumba, salsa, mambo and cha-cha-cha. Surprise your guests by learning a choreographed Cuban routine for your first dance – you can either take professional dance lessons back home or see if your resort offers some.

 

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Real Wedding: Lauren & Saman

Where it all started

Lauren and Saman’s love story began when they locked eyes across a crowded club in Toronto. They were both out for the night to celebrate their friends’ birthdays and, as luck would have it, their booths were beside each other. Thinking Saman was really attractive, Lauren decided to wander over to his booth to introduce herself. Saman asked if he could buy her a drink and the pair spent the rest of the night tearing up the dance floor.

Alive Photo Studio

After dating for several years, Saman decided he wanted to plan an unforgettable day filled with surprises for Lauren’s 29th birthday – starting with an incredible helicopter tour of Toronto! While hovering over the city skyline, he revealed a second surprise; a gorgeous engagement ring! Lauren was completely caught off guard, shouting “yes” so loudly that it could be heard over the propellers. At the end of the tour, Saman revealed his final surprise; he had planned a stunning surprise party with their friends and family to celebrate his bride-to-be’s birthday and share their big news!

Alive Photo Studio

Planning the wedding

At first, Lauren and Saman didn’t know they wanted to have a destination wedding. It wasn’t until they considered how badly they needed a vacation and how great it would be to celebrate in the sun with their loved one that they decided to say “I do” in the tropics. Ultimately, the happy couple decided to revisit their first vacation spot together and host their big day at Riu Palace Mexico!

Alive Photo Studio

Day details

On May 25th, 2019, Lauren and Saman exchanged their vows on a sparkling white-sand beach surrounded by their family and friends. Their tropical celebrations were decorated in their color scheme of lilac, purple, white and silver with personal touches brought from home including ceremony fans and a fabulous welcome sign.

Alive Photo Studio

Later, at their romantic garden reception, the newlyweds shared their first dance to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John – a moment the two of them will cherish for a lifetime.

Wedding day wear

Lauren’s gown: A-line tulle gown with a lace bodice from the Ella Rosa Collection by Kenneth Winston

Lauren’s shoes: Marciano heeled sandals

Lauren’s accessories: Swarovski earrings and bracelet

Saman’s attire: Garrett Bespoke

Saman’s accessories: Harry Rosen shoes

Wedding bands: Mark Lash

The bridesmaids wore: Purple dresses from Lulus

The groomsmen wore: Suits from Moore’s

Alive Photo Studio

Small details

Flowers: Lilies, roses, dahlias and more from the resort florist

Color scheme: Lilac, purple, white, silver

Photographer: Alive Photo Studio

Hair and makeup: Renova Spa at the resort

First dance song: Can You Feel the Love Tonight – Elton John

Stationary and invitations: Zazzle

Favors: Personalized lavender fans

Welcome gifts: The couple made welcome bags filled with mints, mini hand sanitizers, itinerary cards and a personalized selfie stick

Alive Photo Studio

Tips for couples

“Do extensive research about all of your resort options! This will help you select the perfect spot that offers facilities and amenities that are important to you and your guests.”

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Ask the Wedding Consultant: Décor Edition

Our wedding consultants often receive questions from couples about how they can achieve their dream Pinterest-worthy wedding in destination. We sat down with Jessica Doutsas, Senior Destination Wedding Consultant, to chat with her about all things décor and customization for your big day. From items that you should bring from home to unique ways to personalize your resort package, read on for Jessica’s top tips.

Do you recommend that I visit my chosen resort before my wedding to get a better idea of how I can decorate my venues?

Some couples find it helpful to visit their resort before the big day, but it’s not required. If you choose to visit the resort, your destination wedding consultant can arrange a tour with the on-site wedding coordinators so you can see various ceremony and reception spaces to help you begin envisioning your décor.

However, other couples prefer to see the space for the first time during their destination wedding week. In this case, your Destination Wedding Consultant is especially valuable in sharing their expertise and suggesting décor that will suit the space, tie your theme together and reflect your personalities.

How can we customize our resort package to make our big day more personal?

When it comes to customizing your resort package, the sky is the limit. Most resorts offer a wide array of packages that range from simple intimate celebrations to grand elaborate events and everything in between.

Also, many resorts offer a wide selection of social packages and add-on experiences that couples can utilize to customize their special day. For instance, if your resort package includes a semi-private reception dinner at one of the restaurants but you’d prefer to have a private reception on the beach, your consultant can make arrangements upgrade your package.

Am I allowed to add or change the ceremony and reception décor?

We highly encourage couples to customize their décor to fit their personal style! While most packages include the basics, your destination wedding consultant can suggest ways to enhance these inclusions to fit your vision.

For instance, most resorts will offer a simple arch or gazebo for your wedding ceremony, but your consultant can help you get quotes for additional décor if you’d prefer to dress up your venue with floral arrangements, a unique hoop altar or a tiled aisle. For receptions, you can add a spacious dancefloor, opt for different setups with high top tables or glam up your table settings with stunning centrepieces. In addition, your destination wedding consultant can provide you with photos to help inspire your vision.

Are there any items from home you recommend couples bring for their big day?

In my opinion, the more you can bring from home, the better. Bringing unique pieces from home, such as candles, cake toppers, table numbers or even silk flowers, can really help to personalize your wedding day and help you save on décor costs.

The main item I always recommend bringing to destination are your printed materials including ceremony programs, welcome letters, itineraries, place cards and menus, which can all help incorporate your color scheme and tie your whole theme together.

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Real Wedding Photo Contest Winners: Marline & Mina

 Where it all started

Marline, a teacher, and Mina, a project coordinator, are both from Mississauga and ran in similar circles but somehow their paths never crossed. Ultimately, love brought them together when their close friends got married and paired Marline and Mina to walk down the aisle together at the ceremony. Sparks flew instantly; Mina asked Marline out for dinner and drinks and their own love story blossomed.

Just Klick Productions

Marline first thought about marrying Mina while she was vacationing with a friend in Cancun. There was a couple getting married on the beach and their heartfelt ceremony made her realize how much she missed Mina and that she wanted him by her side every day, and every vacation, to come.

Just Klick Productions

During a vacation in Paris, France, Mina took Marline to see the Eiffel Tower. While gazing up at this impressive landmark, Mina kneeled to tie his shoe. Marline jokingly warned him to be careful because getting down on one knee in such a romantic setting could give a girl the wrong idea. Mina momentarily agreed with her before surprising his bride-to-be with a glistening engagement ring!

Just Klick Productions

 Planning the wedding

Both Marline and Mina knew with complete certainty that a destination wedding was the right choice. They wanted to host a celebration that reflected their unique style and to provide their guests with an unparalleled experience that simply wouldn’t fit in a single day.

Just Klick Productions

The happy couple decided that Grand Oasis Cancun was the perfect setting for their tropical nuptials. The pair fell head over heels for this resort on a previous vacation and decided that it was the ideal spot to tie the knot. Plus, they knew that their guests would enjoy the stylish accommodation options, abundance of activities and breathtaking beachfront location.

Just Klick Productions

Marline and Mina planned an array of exciting activities for their friends and family to enjoy during their destination wedding week. They wanted their guests to experience all that this tropical oasis has to offer, so they organized a picturesque catamaran cruise along Cancun’s iconic coast as well as a lively pool party for their bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Just Klick Productions

 Day details

On Monday July 29th, 2019, Marline and Mina exchanged their vows during a gorgeous ceremony at Our Lady of Guadalupe chapel at Panama Jack Cancun. This elegant venue, which is the only oceanfront Catholic chapel in Cancun, offered a tranquil atmosphere and exceptional ocean views.

Just Klick Productions

Afterwards, the wedding festivities continued at Grand Oasis Cancun. The newlyweds hosted a fabulous outdoor terrace reception decorated with luscious floral arrangements in tropical hues of orange, yellow and pink, with a stunning sweetheart table and white round tables surrounding a spacious dancefloor. Marline and Mina spent the rest of the evening basking in newlywed bliss beneath twinkling fairy lights and dancing the night away with their nearest and dearest.

Just Klick Productions

Mina’s favorite moment was their beautiful and heartfelt ceremony while Marline loved the dazzling fireworks display.

Wedding Day Wear

Just Klick Productions

Marline’s gown: Lace A-line gown with an illusion neckline, custom-made by Egyptian designer Carolina Ayassa

Marline’s shoes: Strappy heels from Valentino

Marline’s accessories: Pearl headband and jewelry from KDM and Venus

Mina’s attire: Black Armani suit

Mina’s accessories: Salvatore Ferragamo shoes and belt

Wedding bands: Cartier yellow gold

The bridesmaids wore: Coral dresses in a variety of styles

The groomsmen wore: White shirts and grey pants with black suspenders

Just Klick Productions

 Small details 

Colour scheme: Tropical color scheme with hues of orange, pink and yellow

Flowers: Roses, freesias, lisianthus, tulips, stock, anthirium, luecos, spray roses and tropical leaves

Photographer: Just Klick Productions

Entertainment: DJ Ayman from the USA

First dance song: Endless Love – Luther Vandross and Mariah Carey

Favors: Personalized compasses and wooden hand fans

Invitations: Passport themed invitations designed and printed by Elegant Steps Planning

Welcome gifts: Matching orange t-shirts with their wedding logo for the entire group

Traditions: Father and daughter/ mother and son dance

Just Klick Productions

Tip

“Your wedding day will fly by faster than you could ever imagine. It is important to cherish each moment and not get caught up if everything doesn’t go 100% to plan”.

Just Klick Productions

Congratulations to Marline and Mina for winning our Real Weddings Photo Contest from Volume 9 Issue 2. As our grand prize winners, they’ll enjoy a seven-night getaway at Riu Palace Peninsula in Cancun!

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Real Weddings Photo Contest

Want to be featured in the next issue of Wedding Vacations magazine and get the chance to win a trip for two to Royalton Suites Cancun Resort and Spa? Enter your favourite photos from your destination wedding into our Real Weddings Photo Contest and you could be one of the six couples featured in the glossy pages of our magazine. The grand prize winners will receive a trip for two to Royalton Suites Cancun Resort and Spa.

About the Resort

Nestled on the sparkling white-sand shores of Cancun, Royalton Suites Cancun Resort and Spa provides All-In Luxury® vacations just steps from the hustle and bustle of downtown Cancun. This luxurious resort is right in the heart of the action near the best nightlife, restaurants and shops– perfect for guests looking to soak in the local culture. Couples and groups of friends can spend their days relaxing by the resort’s infinity pool overlooking the beach or strolling along the pristine sands of Cancun’s coast.

The resort is also home to the adults only Level 18 Rooftop Cabana Lounge ($), the first of its kind for Royalton Luxury Resorts and one of Cancun’s hottest new nightlife venues; with pool access included for Diamond Club™ guests. Foodies can indulge in a variety of delectable dishes at the resort’s wide range of cuisine options, from the sophisticated Hunter Steakhouse to the authentic Mexican culinary experience at Agave, all of which offer breathtaking views of either the Caribbean Sea or Nichupte Lagoon.

How to Enter

Step 1: Submit up to 5 of your best destination wedding photos.

Step 2: Write a short description of your big day!

Step 3: Submit!

Click here to enter our Real Weddings Photo Contest!

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Most popular destination wedding locations of 2019

There are countless reasons to tie the knot in a breathtaking tropical destination – from stretching a day’s celebration to an entire week of fun with your nearest and dearest to securing a breathtaking venue and the services of a professional destination wedding planner.

Choosing the ideal destination for your big day isn’t easy, that’s why we’ve put together a list of the most popular destination wedding locations of 2019 to inspire your wedding day vision! Read on to see the hottest spots that couples are heading to this year.

Riviera Maya, Mexico

Nestled outside lively Cancun, Riviera Maya is a tranquil seaside sanctuary. Home to spectacular beaches lined with a wide selection of luxury, boutique and family-friendly resorts, this tropical paradise has something to suit all wedding styles; from glamorous receptions to intimate ceremonies and even authentic Mayan wedding ceremonies. Celebrate in style with your guests at one of Playa del Carmen’s famed nightclubs or treat your wedding party to a thrilling excursion rappelling into fascinating cenotes or exploring ancient Mayan ruins.

Where to stay: Wedding groups are indulging in luxury getaways at Azul Beach Resort Riviera Maya by Karisma this year. Here, couples can toast to forever at an array of upscale à la carte restaurants and host a lavish reception at Blue, a delectable restaurant specializing in international and Mexican fare. Guests can enjoy pampering in paradise with a host of gourmet services such as attentive beach butlers, 24-hour room service and more.  

Los Cabos, Mexico

Los Cabos’ perennially sunny weather, boasting nearly 360 days of sunshine each year, makes it a top choice for destination weddings year after year.  Couples can choose to walk down aisle on golden-sand shores or share their first married kiss on an elegant terrace overlooking legendary Los Cabos arch off the coast.  With a variety of nearby activities for a fun-filled wedding week, guests can tee off at world-class golf courses overlooking the coast of Cabo San Lucas, head on a thrilling ATV ride or embark on a romantic boat ride.

Where to stay: Set on the coveted coast of Cabo San Lucas, the recently opened Riu Palace Baja California offers awe-inspiring wedding venues and luxury amenities for an unforgettable destination wedding week. Those who prefer to unwind in paradise can achieve a wedding-worthy glow sunbathing by ocean-facing infinity pools while those looking to party can enjoy the legendary themed pool parties hosted next door! This new resort is sure to be a hit for wedding parties for many years to come.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Known for exquisite white-sand beaches dotted with picturesque palm trees, Punta Cana provides idyllic backdrops for tropical nuptials. This leading Dominican destination is known for its world-class golf courses, exceptional resorts and unparalleled natural beauty. Adventurous couples can channel their wedding week excitement into exploring Punta Cana’s impressive landscapes, from colorful coral reefs to verdant jungles.

Where to stay: Couples looking for a luxury wedding getaway can choose to host their celebrations at Majestic Mirage Punta Cana. Guests can relax in lavish one-bedroom suites complete with outdoor Jacuzzis or try out an array of resort-offered activities including windsurfing, snorkeling and catamaran rides across sparkling seas. Couples can choose from several picture-perfect wedding venues including the beach, a gorgeous wedding gazebo and an on-site chapel ideal for traditional ceremonies.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Montego Bay offers laid-back getaways infused with vibrant Caribbean charm. Wedding groups will fall for the island’s warm and welcoming culture and can experience a range of activities to suit all travel styles, from relaxing on pristine beaches to hiking to the top of famed Blue Mountains and tasting local favorites such as rum and coffee. Couples can spice up their ceremony with Jamaican-flare with live reggae performances and gourmet meals featuring authentic flavors.

Where to stay: Royalton White Sands Montego Bay is an ideal destination for a luxurious wedding week to suit guests of all ages. Travelers can spend sunny days sipping tropical cocktails at the swim-up bar while younger guests cool off at the water park. With a variety of accommodation options catering to all types, guests can choose to stay in spacious family suites with a Jacuzzi overlooking the ocean, elegant swim-out suites and more.

Antigua

Antigua is a dreamy destination wedding location with year-round sunshine and spectacular scenery. With 365 white-sand beaches wrapped around this picturesque island oasis, couples can host sun-kissed ceremonies against the backdrop of blue hued skies and seas. Wedding groups can choose to stay at an array of impeccable resorts or take advantage of the islands famed waters and sail along the coast or try an array of popular water sports.

Where to stay: Royalton Antigua Resort and Spa is brand-new resort set to open in 2019 on one of Antigua’s most coveted beachfronts. This opulent oasis is the first to offer Overwater Bungalows with direct access to the Caribbean Sea in Antigua and is sure to be a favorite for wedding couples for many years to come. Additionally, the resort features a tranquil spa offering an extensive menu of rejuvenating treatments including facials, massages and more to ensure couples have a stress-free wedding week and a beauty salon to assist with wedding day glam.   

Planning ahead? Stay tuned for info on the hottest wedding destinations for 2020 and 2021 coming soon.

Start planning your destination wedding today!
Contact a Destination Wedding Consultant at 1.800.739.8876 or by email for more info.

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Real Wedding: Ben & Karen


Where it all Started

Karen and Ben first met in their hometown of Ottawa when they were in high school. Years later, the couple reconnected and Ben asked Karen out; they went for a scenic drive downtown followed by a romantic skate on the Rideau Canal,  hot chocolate and Beaver Tails. Ben was stationed in Vancouver with the RCMP and Karen moved out to the west coast to be with him. It was on their first vacation together in Hawaii that Ben knew he wanted her to be a part of his life forever.

Romanza Photography

In July 2016, Ben arranged to be working on Parliament Hill in his RCMP Red Serge as part of the Canada Day celebrations and asked Karen to come meet him on the Hill. After letting his coworkers in on the secret and getting permission to propose anywhere on the Hill’s grounds, Ben took Karen and their families for a private tour of the famous Library of Parliament.

Romanza Photography

During the private tour, Ben took Karen up to the second floor. He told her how much she meant to him and that she had been an incredibly positive influence on his life – then, he pulled out a ring and nervously blurted out, “Will you marry me?!” Before Karen could even open her mouth to respond, Ben’s dad popped out from behind one of the bookshelves with a big grin on his face to take a celebratory photo – he thought she had already said yes! After some laughs, Ben’s dad left and Karen responded “YES!”

Planning the Wedding

Planning a wedding in Canada seemed like a lot of work, especially after the arrival of their first son. All their family lived in Ottawa while they were based in Vancouver and planning a wedding from across the country didn’t make sense. The couple decided on a destination wedding so they could spend an entire week with their friends and family from across Canada, in paradise.

Romanza Photography

Karen and Ben were the lucky grand prize winners of a dream destination wedding provided by Wedding Vacations by Sunwing and jeweller Maison Birks. As the grand prize winners, they received a destination wedding at Royalton Negril Resort and Spa in Jamaica, their wedding day attire from Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay and Hudson’s Bay Men, wedding jewellery from Maison Birks and more! The couple worked with one of Wedding Vacations destination wedding experts to plan their big day and they even flew into Toronto for a bride and groom styling session with Jessica Mulroney.

Day Details

On December 6, 2018, Karen and Ben exchanged their vows in front of 30 of their closest family and friends on the picturesque Sky Terrace at Royalton Negril. One of the couple’s favourite moments from the big day was Karen walking down the aisle with her dad towards Ben, with a radiant smile on her face.

Romanza Photography

After the ceremony, the couple celebrated with a private reception on the Sky Terrace, decorated in glamorous, romantic shades of pink and gold. They’re planning on taking a vacation with their son in the future for their honeymoon.

Wedding Day Wear

Romanza Photography

Karen’s dress: Mikaella Bridal from Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay

Karen’s accessories: Birks Snowflake® Jacket Earrings and Birks Birks Rosée du Matin® White Gold and Diamond Bracelet

Karen’s shoes: Michael Kors

Ben’s attire: Zegna suit, Tiger of Sweden shirt and tie all from Hudson’s Bay Men

Ben’s accessories: Birks Challenger® Watch with Brown Leather Strap

Ben’s shoes: Canali

Wedding bands: Birks Deco™  Wedding Bands and Birks Deco™ Round Solitaire Diamond Engagement Ring

The bridesmaids wore: Long pink shiffon dresses with Birks Pétale® Yellow Gold and Diamond Stud Earrings and Pendant

The groomsmen wore: Grey suits with Birks Challenger® Watch with Black Leather Strap

Small Details

Romanza Photography

First dance: Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran

Flowers: Pink roses

Photographer: Romanza Photography

Hair and makeup: Lindsay Scarfone with Pretty Me Makeup

Stationary and invitations: Paleterra

Old | New | Borrowed | Blue

Romanza Photography

Traditions: Memorial of pictures of those who passed and could not attend the wedding, with shots set up to do a toast in their memory

Old: Crochet flowers Karen’s grandmother used to knit, which were tied to her bouquet

New: Garter

Borrowed: Beautiful hair clip

Blue: Garter

Tips

Romanza Photography

“It’s possible to have a destination wedding and still get the same customization and personalization as a wedding back home. Give some thought as to how you want your day to look and start getting ready early. Also, bring items from home to incorporate in your reception and ceremony – be creative!”

Start planning your destination wedding today! Contact a destination wedding consultant at 1.800.739.8876 or by email for more info

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Real Weddings: Laura & Kevin

Where it all Started

Kevin and Laura’s love story began in high school. He invited her to his senior prom and within a week they were dating. Laura’s outgoing personality captivated Kevin, and his sky-blue eyes gave her butterflies.

Photographer: Daniel McQuillian

Since they went out for ice cream on their first date, Kevin dreamt about experiencing the world with Laura – and she knew nothing would make her happier than spending forever wrapped in Kevin’s arms.

Photographer: Daniel McQuillian

The pair went on to travel the world, visiting nearly 30 countries. On a particularly cold night during a holiday to Hawaii, Kevin suggested warming up in the hot tub. When Laura joined him outside the night sky was lit up by stars, candles and a glistening engagement ring. Before Kevin could even finish asking Laura to marry him she jumped into his arms and said ‘yes’!

Planning the Wedding

Photographer: Daniel McQuillian

Kevin and Laura had always planned to tie the knot at a church in their hometown. However, after attending a relative’s destination wedding their plans changed. They envisioned saying ‘I do’ in paradise surrounded by their nearest and dearest and decided that a destination wedding was the perfect way to start their lives together.

Photographer: Daniel McQuillian

Their first vacation as a couple was spent in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. They fell in love with the breathtaking beaches, remarkable rock formations and each other. Fast forward eight years, the two of them felt it was fitting to celebrate their love in the dreamy destination where it all began. Plus, their love for Riu Resorts made Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas an easy choice for their big day

Day Details

Photographer: Daniel McQuillian

On a picturesque afternoon in April, Laura and Kevin exchanged their vows on the private pavilion at Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas. Their romantic garden party was elegantly decorated in a blush, gold and white colour scheme. From sweet serenades by their violinist –  which was Laura’s favourite part of the day – to toasting new beginnings at sunset with their loved ones, Kevin and Laura’s destination wedding was a dream come true.

Wedding Day Wear

Photographer: Daniel McQuillian

Laura’s dress: Lennon Dress by Hayley Paige

Laura’s shoes: White lace booties from BHLDN

Laura’s accessories: Teardrop crystal earrings from BHLDN and a tennis bracelet gifted from her Godmother

Kevin’s attire: Alfred Sung navy blue suit, white Calvin Klein dress shirt and beige socks with navy polka dots

Kevin’s accessories: Black bowtie, tan leather Calvin Klein shoes and Michael Kors watch

Wedding bands: Custom-made yellow gold bands

The bridesmaids wore: Adrianna Papell beaded blush floor length gowns

The groomsmen wore: Navy blue suits

Photographer: Daniel McQuillian

Small Details

Photographer: Daniel McQuillian

Flowers: Baja Flowers (RIU Palace florist)

Hair: Renova Spa at the RIU Palace

Makeup: Makeup by Rachel Chivers

Photographer: Daniel McQuillan Photography

Stationary and invitations: Wedding Paper Divas

First dance: Lady in Red – Chris De Burgh

Traditions: The bride’s sister read a poem written by the bride’s grandmother at the ceremony.

Old, New, Borrowed, Blue

Photographer: Daniel McQuillian

Old: Heirloom ring that belonged to the bride’s grandmother

New: Shoes

Borrowed: Ring box from her sister

Blue: Garter

Tips for Brides & Grooms

Photographer: Daniel McQuillian

“Make sure to pick a good photographer as these photos will be with you forever. Our brilliant photographer, Daniel McQuillian, has travelled the world to capture destination weddings. We’re blessed to be able to relive each magical moment from the best day of our lives through Daniel’s phenomenal photos!”

Start planning your destination wedding today! Contact a Destination Wedding Specialist at 1.800.739.8876 or by email for more info

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Behind the Scenes at Hotel Xcaret Mexico

Nestled in the lush landscapes of the Riviera Maya is Hotel Xcaret Mexico. This unique resort first opened its doors in 2017 and quickly became the hottest new spot for destination weddings and vow renewals in Mexico.

Andrew Hiorth- MPSG Weddings

For our recent cover shoot, the Wedding Vacations team travelled to Hotel Xcaret Mexico with cover stars Colin and Justin. The married celebrity designers enjoyed a romantic getaway at the resort and renewed their vows in a picturesque cove with a breathtaking vow renewal ceremony.

Breathtaking Ceremony Spaces

Andrew Hiorth- MPSG Weddings

There are plenty of gorgeous places at the resort where you can host your destination wedding ceremony or vow renewal! Colin and Justin said “I do” for the second time in one of the resort’s private coves, which we decorated with lush greenery and romantic votive candles.

Magical Reception Venues

Colin and Justin hosted their vow renewal reception at the resort’s unique Las Cuevas restaurant. The magical venue is nestled in a series of manmade caverns and lit by flickering candles on the wall. After dinner, everyone kicked off their shoes and danced the night away on the beach-turned-dancefloor!

Spectacular Suites

The sprawling suites at Hotel Xcaret Mexico are split into different casas across the resort offering beautiful views of rivers, infinity pools or the ocean. Each room features a private balcony with a hammock, perfect for soaking in the view!

Download the latest issue of Wedding Vacations magazine to see more beautiful shots from our cover shoot at Hotel Xcaret Mexico.

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