Complete Guide To Planning A Destination Wedding

Three months ago we had the destination wedding of our dreams. It was a magical day and I wanted to share some insight and details of our day with you all and anyone else planning a destination wedding. Below you will find my complete guide to planning a destination wedding. 

Effortlessly beautiful, an intimate natural setting and a party of a lifetime is what we wanted to accomplish. This celebration was by nature, a celebration of our love, but just as equally important, a celebration of the love and support of the friends & family around us who made a huge effort to be there. The night needed to reflect our appreciation for every single person who put their life on hold to be with us, and I feel confident we successfully created memories of a lifetime by measure of the tears shed that evening and the dancing had on the dance floor!

We knew we wanted to spend a few days to a week with our friends and family as oppose to a single day which is famously known to be very chaotic and nerve-wrecking, hence the decision of a destination wedding. We got engaged in Mexico, so thought it would be fitting to get married at the same resort where we got engaged.  It was a special location with us and wanted to share that with our friends and family. 

Location:  Gran Bahia Principe Tulum – Riviera Maya, Mexico

Complete Guide To Planning A Destination Wedding

Complete Guide To Planning A Destination Wedding

I have been quite lucky growing up able to travel and experience a lot of the Caribbean with the help of my parent’s business as travel agents – at RWD Travel.  They helped our guests book their stay at our resort and flights/transfers. It made the guest’s stay organized and stress-free. If you are planning a destination wedding, I would definitely hiring a travel agent to take care of those details.

All photography from the amazing – Orange Anchor Photography

(If you are looking to have your own Destination Wedding – hire this gal! Amazing personality with creative & colorful shots!)

We wanted peonies as our flowers at the wedding, but that isn’t a flower that would be in season in Mexico to buy.  We opted to order Peony bouquets for my bouquet as well the bridesmaids, grooms boutonniere, and corsages. The bouquets and wraps were each individualized with lace and a jewel of my choosing.

Bride’s Bouquet | Hers & His Vow Books

I wanted to give my girls some piece of jewelry they could wear to go with their dress and something they would wear after the wedding day! It was a nice way to add a personalized message to the girls – thanking them for being a part of my wedding day.

Bridesmaids Earrings

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Our bridesmaids bouquets stuck with the peony theme.  They were in all ivory – which was simple and elegant.  We also got those on Etsy – so it was easy to communicate with the seller.  We were able to effortlessly communicate about the flowers and what flower wrap we wanted. 

Bridesmaids Bouquets

I felt like I went to a million wedding dress shops and never could find that PERFECT beach wedding dress.  I wanted something with lace and light and breezy that wouldn’t get too hot on the day of.  I ended up finding my dress online.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t skeptical about ordering my dress online. I went ahead and with it and glad I did.  I had to make some minor alterations, but overall cheap AND beautiful!

This white hanger was perfect for me and my bridesmaids to have for the day and also a great remembrance of the day.  The gold lettering was perfect for our color scheme.

Wedding Dress ($130) | “Bride” Hanger

We wanted to put together something for our guests that traveled from afar to celebrate our special day with us.  We rounded up some items for them to have and hopefully be useful during their stay as well as when they got back to the states. I will be doing another blog post highlighting our destination welcome bags in more detail! Stay Tuned!

Wedding Day Itinerary Card | Mexico Map FREE Printable

Polka Dotted Mini Bags | “Do Not Disturb” Sign Hanger | Customized Water Bottle Label 

Customized Koozie | “Love” bottle opener | Flamingo Inflatable Bottle Holder

JJ also wanted to do something special for the groomsmen.  We stained unfinished boxes and added some things to this box.  Favorite alcohol of the particular groomsmen, cigar, and personalized cigar cutter!

Cigar Cutter | Unfinished Boxes

Our wedding day started at 10am with getting our hair done as well as makeup.  My sister-in-law is so talented at hair and she did an amazing job at not only my hair, but the rest of the bridesmaids hair as well! 

I wanted to have my hair half up for my wedding day and found this gorgeous vine to add to the back of my hair.  It was gold, which fit well in with my theme and looked great with my wedding dress. 

This hair vine can be worn in a number of different ways! I will definitely using it again in the future.  It can also be worn on top of your head like a wreath, weaved into braids, on top of a bun, as well as wearing it as a belt.

Bridal Robe | Hair Vine

We were so happy with how our wedding bands turned out! They were exactly what we both wanted and were looking for.  I wanted a rose gold band to match my rose gold ring with a unique spin.  JJ has always loved the titanium look for his band. I even was able to engrave “TTMAB” just as he had done on mine (To The Moon And Back).  We found both off of Etsy and couldn’t be happier with the price and quality.

Bride’s Wedding Band 

My dear friend made my and all bridesmaids barefoot sandals from the day of.  She incorporated the gold and ivory touches to match the theme.  She did an amazing job – we all loved them 🙂 DIY Barefoot Sandal Inspiration – here

My husband and I choose to write and read our own wedding vows on our wedding day. It was helpful to have our wedding books to read out of.  We can also keep them to share that memory for years to come. 

Wedding Vow Books | Bridal Robe

We had a ton of fun getting ready before the wedding. We ate, we drank, we laughed, and had a great time putting our dresses on together.  

Bridesmaids Robe (I chose the pale pink color) | Bridal Robe

Another little touch we wanted to do is give our guests wedding sunglasses to wear the day of the wedding and also for the remaining of the stay! 

Wedding White Sunglasses | Love is Blinding Sign | Palm Leaf Decorations

Birch Vase | Customized Wooden Sign

Groom’s Vest | Groom’s Boutonniere

View More: http://orangeanchor.pass.us/nicolejjwed

Customized Sign

We wanted to do a sand ceremony (I mean we are getting married in Mexico!) We had our sand holder customized for us.  What’s great is we can display this in our home after the wedding.  

Sand Ceremony Holder | Sand  – we did black and white but there are so many colors to choose from at that link!

…..AND we’re married!

We both LOVE music and love going to as many live music concerts as we can.  Here is the song lineup for our ceremony – You can listen to them via our Spotify playlist below:

Bridal Party Entrance: Today (Vitamin String Quartet)
Bride and Father Walk Down the Aisle: You Make It Real (James Morrison)
Sand Ceremony: Over The Rainbow (Israel Kamakawiwo’ole)
Married! Walk Down as Husband and Wife: You Make It Real (Hall & Oats)

 


 

Bride’s Bouquet | Wedding Dress | Groom’s Vest | Groom’s Boutonniere

We wanted program fans for our guests to also utilize them as a fan for the hotter climate in Mexico. We were able to customize the program with our text and design.  I was super happy with how they turned out!  The photo below showcases the back side.

Wedding Program Fans

Can I just say how much I loved my bridesmaids dresses? These were so versatile and comfortable fabric.  I mean not every wedding dress would you feel comfortable jumping in the air on the beach. 😉 I fell in love with this rose colored dress.  The dresses are able to be converted as strapless, one shoulder, or halter by how you tie them! 

Bridesmaid Dresses (in the color “Rose”)| White Sunglasses | Bride’s Wedding Dress | Bridesmaids Bouquets | Bridal Bouquet

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Groom’s Vest | Groomsmen Pants | Groomsmen Belt (Only $5!) | Suspenders

Our wedding party was a blast! We had a few minutes of no rain on our wedding day and used it to our advantage to take some photos on the beach! 

Groomsmen Pants | Suspenders (In Dark Brown) | Men’s Shoes | Bridesmaids Dresses 

Bride’s Wedding Dress | Bride’s Bouquet | Bridesmaid’s Bouquets | White Sunglasses

Bride’s Wedding Dress | Hair Vine | Groom’s Vest & Pants | Groom’s Watch

Groom’s Boutonniere


On to our wedding reception! We got rained out on the day of  – so both the ceremony and reception were inside (which were planned out be out on the beach!) We luckily had a backup plan, and still ended up being spectacular.
 
We ended going with one layer of vanilla cake and one layer of coconut cake (which I was super excited about!) Both flavors turned out amazing! 

Cake Topper | “Love is Sweet” Printable | Cake Cutter Utensils

We loved being able to customize our wedding day by bringing down decorations to Mexico. We each brought an extra suitcase full of decor and decorations.  The wedding coordinator at the resort was so detail oriented (which I LOVED!) and pulled off my inspiration perfectly.  I would definitely recommend bringing with you those special touches that mean a lot to you and your groom. 

Menu Card | Table Runner | Black Lanterns | Mini Vases | Wood Table Numbers

Mr & Mrs Wooden Sign on our head table

We had limited space at our tables so we created a seating chart so all families were able to sit together! 

Seating Chart Printable

Menu Card

After dinner and toasts, we danced the night away! It was a night we will remember for a lifetime! 🙂 

Here are our reception song playlist for the first dances!  

First Dance: Forever (Ben Harper)
Father/Daughter: Sweet Pea (Amos Lee)
Mother/Son: Wind Beneath My Wings (Bette Midler)
You can find our wedding reception dancing playlist HERE!

Below you will find our spotify playlist full of our destination wedding reception dancing songs! 
 


 

 

Below are some of my favorite photos taken of JJ and I by our photographer at Orange Anchor Photography!

Destination Weddings are up and coming and I wish I had more insight and knowledge when I was planning mine! I want to be that knowledge for others on the same path.  Feel free to ask any questions you may have below and I would love to answer them as best I can. Happy Wedding Planning! 

Complete Guide To Planning A Destination Wedding
 

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