Are destination weddings getting a bad rap?

September 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

I read an article the other day where the writer suggested that a destination wedding is just a terrible thing to inflict on your friends or family and that people who do this are selfish, inconsiderate boobs.  To be completely candid, I’ve read variations of this theme over the years and what bothers me every time I read something like this is the time and energy devoted to such a simple remedy – politely decline the invitation!  Really, it’s that simple.  Why get all worked up over an invitation?  Just say no and leave it at that.

People get married for so many reasons and it’s such a shame that others go out of their way to suggest that if you don’t have your wedding their way, then you’re selfish and inconsiderate.  Honestly I think this is why destination weddings are so popular, people don’t want hear that they have to have their parents’ wedding.  They want a choice and the opportunity to create a unique experience; I completely get this.  And what are the chances that anyone can plan a wedding that makes everyone happy?  Zero.  The kind truth is that someone is going to have a problem with the date, the location and so on.

So what’s the solution?  Plan your wedding around the people who support your vision and don’t worry about the rock throwers, there’s no shortage of them and chances are they wouldn’t come to your wedding even if you did plan it around them.

I do have some tips though on how to keep your destination wedding guest friendly.

  1. Be kind – give your guests plenty of advance notice in order to save money, arrange child care or take off work .  You can announce your intention for a destination wedding without all the details 12 to 18 months in advance.
  2. Be generous – Pay for a portion of your guest’s hotel expense, at least for your “must attend” guests.
  3. Be practical – Keep your destination within four hours flight time and plan a Saturday ceremony so that guests short on time or money can fly in on Friday and out on Sunday.
  4. Be sensitive – Not everyone can attend so plan an at home reception for those guests.  When you send out your formal invites, give your guests the option to RSVP to either your destination wedding or your at-home reception.

What has your experience with less than supportive guests and how did you solve it?  I’d love to hear about it!

Dreams Punta Cana Site Inspection Notes

July 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Seeing a resort with your own eyes is invaluable!  Out of all the resorts I saw in my short stay, Dreams Punta Cana Resort and Spa  is the one I was most interested in seeing for a number of reasons.

Dreams Punta Cana Wedding Gazebo

Dreams Punta Cana Wedding Gazebo

To be fair, I’ve only had two weddings at this resort and the reviews were mixed –  great wedding, great food but we had a few returning guests that gave less than positive reviews on the rooms.  So I really wanted to see for myself and as it turned out, the resort was oversold so no rooms to inspect!  The fact that this resort was oversold in the middle of July speaks for itself, it is the most popular destination wedding property for the entire AMResort brand.  With three weddings a day, wedding planner Yanna Guzman was remarkable poised and a wealth of information.

I viewed all the wedding venues and it’s easy to see why Dreams Punta Cana is popular.  The beach, gazebo and terrace venues are all beautiful.  I was able to see an actual wedding taking place at the gazebo along with a dinner setup on the beach; all were lovely and well executed, every brides dream wedding!

Beach setup

Beach venue - dinner reception

As for the rooms, I understand that there will be some remodeling taking place this November so I’m hoping this will address the condition problems I’ve heard about.

Dreams Punta Cana chairs

Empire Chairs


Onsite Flamingos

They are also be adding a new bridal office that will have table setups and other options on display and this is a great feature for future brides and grooms.

Private dinner setup

Our site inspection concluded with a lovely dinner hosted by Director of Sales, Joan Fernandez.  Thanks Joan for a wonderful dinner!

Zoetry Agua Punta Cana

July 19, 2011 § 1 Comment

I had the opportunity to participate in a series of site inspections on AMResorts properties in the Dominican Republic.  The theme of the site inspection was destination weddings so it was a great opportunity to see a number of venues in a short period of time.  Over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting pictures and adding notes and observations on what I saw during my time in the Dominican Republic.

The first resort was Zoetry Punta Cana.  For those of you not familiar with AMResorts, this is their premium brand and there are two additional properties in Mexico – Casa del Mar and Paraiso de la Bonita.  The Endless Privileges amenities include a number of nice features, my favorites are:

  • no check-in or check-out time
  • unlimited worldwide calling
  • complimentary 24-hour laundry service
  • 24-hour in-suite dining
Zoetry Agua wedding gazebo
Rustic yet elegant wedding gazebo – Zoetry Agua

They are also offering a one-way helicopter transfer when you book a ocean-front suite for 7 nights.  I would recommend this just because of the distance from the Punta Cana airport and the condition of the roads.  They are not dirt roads, which is what I was told, just small and bumpy!  If you have been considering a destination wedding in Costa Rica or Belize and it’s too far or too costly, take a look at Zoetry Agua as an alternative.

Zoetry Wedding Planner
Zoetry wedding planner Susana Beltre

Resort: Zoetry Agua Punta Cana
Wedding Planner: Susana Beltre
Ceremony Venues: Beach and Gazebo
Dinner Venues: 7 elegant reception locations – so many choices!
Capacity: Up to 150 guests
Best Feature:  Only one wedding a weekend!

Pool Area - Zoetry Agua
Pool Area – Zoetry Agua

Enjoy the private 200 yard beach and take a complimentary horse ride.  Or enjoy the large infinity pool.  Either way expect a personalized and relaxing experience.

Wine Room - Zoetry Agua
Wine Room – Zoetry Agua

Enjoy a private dinner in the wine room with your closest friends.

Special thanks to Zoetry Agua GM Luis Fitch, Matthias Hohner – Director of Sales and Susana Beltre for all your kind hospitality during my visit.

If you would like more information about having a wedding at Zoetry Agua, please contact me at

Real Wedding – Ami & Vincent

June 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Formal Destination Wedding Bliss

This week I am sharing a real destination wedding in Puerto Aventuras Mexico.  Beside the fact that I love weddings in Mexico, I love formal weddings in Mexico even more.  Ami and Vincent’s formal nuptials at Dreams Puerto Aventuras is a perfect example of formal style in an informal setting.  This charming wedding was photographed by the talented Amanda Gilley who did a wonderful job capturing all the sweet moments and details surrounding Ami and Vincent on their special day. Ami and Vincent were married in a simple ceremony officiated by a family friend and surrounded by their many friends and family.  An intimate dinner reception followed by the couples first dance together serenaded by an outstanding Mariachi group.  I love their sweet little flower girl, don’t you? Wedding Dress         Cala Lily wedding bouquet  Bride Ami Dreams Puerto Aventuras    Wedding Jewelry

Vendors & Credit

Photographer – Amanda Gilley
Ceremony & Venue – Dreams Puerto Aventuras
Wedding Dress – Alfred Angelo
Jewelry –Jareds

Alternative Wedding Registries for Couples Who Have The Basics

June 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

What do you register for if you and your fiancé already live together and have a house full of things? Not all gift lists have to be filled with silverware, linens or other unnecessary items, and if you are one of these couples who doesn’t want more stuff, you’ll find a cash wedding registry to be a great solution. One of the benefits of an alternative wedding registry is that you can register for cash gifts towards anything that fits your lifestyle.

Here are 5 ideas to create a cash wedding registry with personalized gifts that are perfect for what you need at this time in your life.

1. Honeymoon Registry

If your style is go big or go home and you’ve forever got travel on the brain, let your guests gift you the honeymoon of a lifetime. Whether you want to tour the Costa Rican rain forest, scuba dive in shark filled waters, traipse around Europe or just collapse on a private beach, you can use your honeymoon registry to make your dream vacation a reality by creating a gift list of all the parts of your fantasy trip. Don’t forget to take tons of pictures – the perfect complement to your thank you notes!

2. Home Improvement Registry

Got a fixer upper? Maybe you need to replace the dishwasher? Or perhaps you’re just saving for your first home. Believe it or not you can register for these things with a cash gift registry! Though most big home items are too expensive as individual gifts, with a cash wedding registry you can break up the prices into smaller contributions so that anyone can chip in. If your style is looking towards the future, creating a house fund registry may be the best option for you. When everything’s ready, have a house-warming party to show everyone what they helped bring to life.

3. Newlywed Activities Registry

The excitement shouldn’t end with your wedding day! Create a newlywed activities registry to continue the honeymoon throughout the first year and beyond. Customize a gift list of all the activities you both enjoy, such as museums, theater, or even a cooking and karate classes. Just because life is back to normal does not mean it has to be boring. Again, take some wonderful photos to share with your friends and families all of the fun they’ve made possible.

4. Personal Services Registry

The first year of marriage can often set the tone for years to come. Think about what petty things could be the cause for unnecessary disagreements and avoid them by registering for services to make your life easier. Make sure the house stays clean and tidy with the help of a cleaning lady. Stay fit and healthy for each other by hiring a personal trainer. Whatever the case may be, treating yourself to some practical gifts may be the perfect way to ease the transition into marriage.

5. Charity Registry

Why not use your wedding to raise money for a cause near to your heart? Create a charity registry that allows guests to contribute towards causes you have always loved. It’s a nice way to integrate giving into a special moment when you are receiving so much. Whether you choose a local organization or relief for the latest disaster, your alternative wedding registry can make a difference anywhere in the world.

Article Source: Dana Ostomel
Article Source:

The beauty of a morning destination wedding

June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

It would be impossible to write this entry about morning weddings without mentioning the Royal Wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William.  Kate and Williams wedding was a day long event with the ceremony followed by a brunch followed buy an evening dinner dance.  If you are planning a morning destination wedding you can have the same and more!  A morning wedding has a number of advantages – 1) In Mexico and the Caribbean, the mornings are cooler than the afternoons.  2) You have the entire day to be the bride instead of just a precious few hours.  3)  You can really create a memorable event with special touches to show your guests how much you appreciate them coming to your wedding.

So here are a few ideas on how how to plan your morning wedding in Paradise.  Start with your morning beach wedding of course!  Follow with a brunch for your guests while you are having your pictures taken.  Take a break and change things up with an afternoon catamaran tour with cocktails.  Finally give everyone a few hours to rest up then on to the evening celebrations either on the beach or in a formal setting.  I hope you can see the possibilities and consider a morning ceremony.

American Couples Get ‘More Selective’

May 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

U.S. couples living together and getting choosier about their prospective spouses is leading more people to delay marriage.

Almost 47 percent of women from 25 to 29 had never been married in 2009, almost double the 26 percent reported in 1986, according to a Census Bureau report released today.

Based on a survey taken since 1986, the increase in the age of couples at their first marriage is “one of the most noticeable changes in marital patterns,” according to the report.

“As marriage rates have decreased and cohabitation has become more common, marriage has become more selective of adults who are better off socioeconomically and have more education,” the report said.

Source (full article): Bloomberg

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