Issuu on Google+

Destination Weddings, Honeymoons & trips for t wo

elite

Spring/Summer 2013

Wedding collection

B e v e r ly C l a r k ’ s 2 0 1 3

Beverly Clark’s Elite Wedding Collection ™

86

Extraordinary Resorts

for your dream escape Real Wedding Special Five couples, five distinct destinations

Plan the Perfect Beach Bash TRENDWATCH 2013 Volume 201301

spring/summer 2013

ELITEWEDDINGCOLLECTION.COM

Bridal fashion, exclusive event design, great gifts, plus the hottest spots to tie the knot Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa

PHOTO: Alec & T Photography Š

Blank.indd 2

1/11/13 11:26 AM

Blank.indd 3

1/11/13 11:27 AM

contents spring/summer 2013

32

20

7 Editor’s note 50 Postcard: 1 Playa del Carmen, Mexico 152 Private Escape

9 Inspiration Aisle Rooftop vows; why brides love pastels; wedding dresses en vogue; exclusive invitations and guest books; curbside cupcakes; honeymoons with a twist; everything you ever wanted to know about all-inclusives; and more.

16 Tips & Tools Your Big Day at the Beach 21 tried-and-true tips for planning your wedding in the sun.

22

Spend Where it Counts Planners and brides share their secrets for cutting back costs and still pulling off a top-notch event.

22 Eco Essentials Green Gifts, Gear and Gadgets to Love

Elite Wedding Collection

reports on how a photofacial can transform your skin in time for the big day.

Resort Guide

26 Dream Destinations Where the Brides Are These nine destinations—all ranked tops in the XO Group’s 2012 survey as the most popular spots to tie the knot offshore—serve up the perfect trio for weddings on the road: easy access, bridal-friendly hotels and talented planners.

The Spring/Summer 2013 guide to the world’s most romantic resorts and hotels for your destination wedding, honeymoon or trip for two.

North America 46

Caribbean 62 Latin America 85

32 Real Weddings Love on Location Five couples, five great ways to wed. From Costa Rica to Hawaii to California Wine Country, these events showcase the creative spirit of the brides and grooms, each inspired in a special way by the beauty of their wedding destination.

24 Beautiful Bride New Image Dermatologistto-the-stars Vicki Rapaport On the cover: Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa

40

Courtesy of Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa; Elizabeth Medina, Courtesy of Excellence Playa Mujeres

bride’s PLANNING GUIDE in every issue

TO LOVE, TO HONOR...

and Dream.

FREE WEDDING NOW AND ENJOY FREE NIGHTS TOWARD YOUR BOOK YOUR

FIRST ANNIVERSARY STAY.

One magical celebration. Two lovers. Eleven spectacular tropical locations. Unlimited-Luxury ® privileges including your room or suite with private balcony. 24-hour room service. Multiple gourmet restaurants. Unlimited premium beverages. Land and sea recreation. Evening shows. Infinite pleasures at huge limited-time savings. Visit DreamsResorts.com or call your travel professional.

©2013 DREAMS CANCUN • DREAMS HUATULCO • DREAMS LA ROMANA • DREAMS LOS CABOS • DREAMS PALM BEACH PUNTA CANA • DREAMS PUERTO AVENTURAS DREAMS PUERTO VALLARTA • DREAMS PUNTA CANA • DREAMS RIVIERA CANCUN • DREAMS TULUM • DREAMS VILLAMAGNA NUEVO VALLARTA

Untitled-2 3

ARROBA INTERNATIONAL

AMResorts Dreams Ad

Trim 9x10.875”

1/11/13 5:40:59 PM

Editor in Chief

Isabelle Gullö Isabelle@EliteWeddingCollection.com Associate Editor

Tamara Collins contributing Editor

Annette Burden Contributing writers

Susan Campbell Kim Carmel Maryann Hammers Lena Jenkins Art Director

Kara Church Production & Photography Director

Pete Murray Production & Photography Assistants

Jerry Calkins Adam Lee Office Manager

Danielle Blackwell

Distributed by Ingram Periodicals Executive Offices

114 E. Haley Street, Suite K Santa Barbara, CA 93101 800.933.3434 beverlyclarkenterprises.com

Beverly Clark’s Elite Wedding Collection™ magazine is published twice per year by Beverly Clark Enterprises. The magazine can be found at major bookstores throughout North America and at Beverly Clark Collection select retail outlets. To purchase directly, please visit EliteWeddingCollection.com.

For this one day, there is only now. And only you.

Live in the Now. luxury suites | bars & lounges full service spa & fitness center | pools fabulour restaurants | no wristbands Unlimited-Luxury® Now Amber Puerto Vallarta Now Jade Riviera Cancun Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun Now Larimar Punta Cana

©2013

Untitled-2 5

ARROBA INTERNATIONAL

NowResorts.com or 1-877-NOW-9953

AMResorts NOW Ad

Trim 9x10.875”

1/11/13 5:42:44 PM

President and Publisher

Jay L. Klanfer Jay@EliteWeddingCollection.com Caribbean Directors

Maria E. Coyne, Inc. Maria Coyne Maria@EliteWeddingCollection.com Aimee Harris Aimee@EliteWeddingCollection.com Hawaii Director

Jay L. Klanfer Jay@EliteWeddingCollection.com Latin America Director

Renata Villa Renata@EliteWeddingCollection.com Regional Managers

Alicia Maris Alicia@EliteWeddingCollection.com Camille Harris Camille@EliteWeddingCollection.com Director Industry Education & Certification

Lynne LaFond DeLuca Published by Beverly Clark Enterprises Founder  Beverly CEO  Nelson President  Jay

Clark

Clark

L. Klanfer

Membership/Advertising 

Please contact 800.933.3434. All rights reserved. Any reproduction of this periodical, in part or in whole, must be approved and awarded written consent from Beverly Clark’s Elite Wedding Collection™ magazine. We provide this information only as a general guideline. Although all information is believed to be true at time of press, Beverly Clark Enterprises assumes no responsibility for inaccuracies or omissions.

note

from the editor

10

16

Locations to Love Every year, about 350,000 couples say forever at a faraway locale. That means nearly 25 percent of all nuptials are destination weddings. Seventy percent of these events take place on U.S. soil, with Gabriel & Carin Photography, gabrielandcarin.com; Anna Kim, annakimphotography.com

Florida, California and Nevada topping the list for homegrown vows. In this issue, we explore the hot spots couples are flocking to outside the continental U.S.—the Caribbean, Mexico, Costa Rica and Hawaii—in “Dream Destinations: Where the Brides Are” on page 32. But first, stop and take a walk down our Inspiration Aisle (starting on page 9) to discover what else today’s destination couples are falling for, from private rooftop ceremonies and fun-filled honeymoon “workshops” to cool pastel colors, one-of-a-kind invitations and wedding wear with a twist. Next, learn how to plan the perfect beach bridal bash—and make smart budget cuts—in our Tips & Tools department (page 16). We are especially proud of our “real wedding” feature (page 32), which showcases five gorgeous destination brides and grooms whose creativity and flair for the exclusive inspired truly unique events in the Bahamas, Mexico’s Riviera Maya, Costa Rica, Maui and California wine country. Last, but far from least, Elite Wedding Collection features dozens of fabulous resorts in some of the world’s most popular wedding locations, including those mentioned above. All offer exceptional deals that make remote nuptials and romantic escapes surprisingly affordable. Turn to page 44, and you’ll find yourself on the road to discovering your dream getaway. Happy planning!

Isabelle Gullo, Editor isabelle@eliteweddingcollection.com EliteWeddingCollection.com

7

FOR LOVERS

OF LUXURY

TM

Not only do we have free wedding and honeymoon packages, but you can also earn free nights toward your first anniversary! Celebrate the most romantic time of your lives at an oceanfront Secrets Resorts & Spas. Your Unlimited-Luxury ® privileges include elegant accommodations with private terrace, gourmet dining and top shelf spirits as often as you wish, 24-hour room service, gala shows and more. Unlimited-Luxury.®

Learn more at SecretsResorts.com

Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun • Secrets Aura Cozumel • Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa • Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun • Secrets Marquis Los Cabos* • Secrets Puerto Los Cabos (Dec 2013) Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana • Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun • Secrets St. James Montego Bay • Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay • Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta • Secrets The Vine Cancun *Proud member of The Leading Hotels of the World ®

©2013

Untitled-2 8

ARROBA INTERNATIONAL

AMResorts Secrets Ad

Trim 9x10.875”

1/11/13 5:44:46 PM

planning guide

True Photography Weddings; truephotographyweddings.com

inspiration aisle

View from the Top

Tr e n d Watch

2013

When planning a wedding away, it’s all

in sweeping vistas of the Upper West

magnificent sunset and endless ocean

about the location. Why not reach for the

Side. It holds up to 500 guests for

form the backdrop for your Big Day.

heights and say “I do” on a rooftop with

cocktails and 60 for seated dinners.

all that glorious city or landscape at your feet? For starters, take a look at:

Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort

Westward Look Wyndham Grand

& Spa, Honolulu

Resort & Spa, Arizona

Hailed as the First Lady of Waikiki,

Azul Fives Hotel, by Karisma,

Desert, mountains and the lights of

Westin’s wedding-cake-of-a-hotel hosts

Playa del Carmen

Tucson embrace the ballroom’s second-

ceremonies with up to 40 guests in its

The hotel’s Penthouse Suites come

story Sonoran Rooftop Patio. A lighted

sixth-story Roof Garden.

with panoramic views of the Caribbean

white canopy retracts to reveal the stars.

from rooftop decks ideal for weddings

Fairmont Chateau Whistler, Whistler

Canary, a Kimpton Hotel,

Up to 250 guests can thrill to the over-

Santa Barbara

view of village and mountains from

The Empire Hotel, New York

Take the elevator to Canary’s Rooftop

Fairmont’s Woodlands Rooftop Terrace

The Empire’s 12th-floor terrace takes

Perch and let a sea of red-tile roofs,

and Rooftop Chapel.

and receptions.

–Annette Burden For more wedding venues that wow, turn to our resort guide on page 44.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

9

planning guide inspiration aisle

1

2

3

4

5

Pretty Pastels

P

astels—now you’ll see them as integral parts of wedding

DECOR When using pastels, simplicity is key. Pick a neutral tone

wear and design, adding a fun and girly yet subtly elegant

like cream, white or a darker shade and gently mix in your pastels.

touch to I dos. “Pastels can be sophisticated and angeli-

Think off-white table linens with pastel-hued florals as your

cally sweet at the same time,” says Amy Squires, cofounder of

centerpiece, or white dishes with pastel-colored napkins, menu

Wedding Chicks (weddingchicks.com). “Mix with a striking black

and favors.

or dark gray, and suddenly you have a dramatic combination for a ballroom wedding. Pair mint green with a pale peach, and you have a soft and romantic palette for a garden party wedding.” Destination I dos evoke romance, so soft, feminine colors and

FLOWERS A bouquet can never have enough pastels. Just carry

similar colors throughout all of your florals. THE WEDDING PARTY We love bridesmaids in different pastel

light, airy hues work well, says Squires. “We love a pretty aqua

shades and styles of dress. Keep florals and accessories consistent

or green, and we go bananas for peach and pinks.” Just don’t

to achieve a cohesive look. For the groomsmen, we suggest sharp

over-pastel, or your wedding could take on the look of a baby

suits, but get creative with ties, bow ties, pocket squares, socks

shower, warns Squires, who gives us five more tips for working

and boutonnieres.

with pastels below. –Isabelle Gullö

FOOD & DESSERT Create your own signature cocktail in a pastel

BRIDAL DRESS A wedding dress in a blush, pink or yellow gets us

color scheme. You can also ask your baker to match your chosen

every time. If you want to stay more traditional, add a pastel sash

pastel(s) in the icing of your wedding cake or cupcakes. Pastel

to your white gown.

florals can decorate the cake and dessert table as well.

1) Arabelle, JCrew.com, $295; 2) Maggie Austin Cakes, maggieaustincake.com; 3) Tassel party garland in blush, Tuck and Bonte, Etsy.com, $45; 4) Spring Dew Invitations, Minted.com; 5) Essie nail polish in Fiji, essie.com, $8

10

EliteWeddingCollection.com

planning guide inspiration aisle

DIY PROJECT UNVEILED Brides like to show off their personal flair and talents with DIY projects, including their wedding accessories. This polka dot veil, featured on greenweddingshoes.com, is easy to produce and makes a sweet statement on the big day. “There’s something inherently fun and playful

not dressed in white

Here Comes the Bride,

Gold bling, bright hues, jewel accents and sexy peplum skirts are among

the latest bridal looks. From showing a little leg to sporting a bit of bling or a bright color, “brides want to show they are unique,” says Mariana Leung,

Gabriel & Carin Photography, gabrielandcarin.com; S’Wonderful Photography

design director of WengMeng Design Studio in New York, whose work has been used in the collections of Vera Wang, Monique Lhullier and Oscar de la Renta. Looking for something new and a little untraditional for your own big day? Here are some tips from Leung and Dan Rentillo, design director of David’s Bridal. Color  “Jessica Biel’s dress has created a lot of buzz across the fashion and

bridal community,” Leung says. “Color adds oomph to a simple silhouette.” Feminine Retro  Think ruffly peplums. “Hipster brides can find this look at vintage stores,” says Leung. Also check out BHLDN.com.

about polka dots,” says creator Christy Schnurle, founder of One Handspun Day. And you don’t need actual sewing skills as the bunching of the tulle disguises any messy stitches. In short, it’s as easy as one, two, three: 1) Stamp polka dots onto a piece of tulle using acrylic paint, ensuring that the paint only gets on the tulle itself and does not dry in the small spaces between the meshing. 2) Cut the tulle to create the shape of your veil. 3) Sew a running straight stitch along

Shoes  Look for jewel-accented or lace-patterned peep toes, or a flower-

one side and pull to

topped sandal, suggests Rentillo.

create a ruffle, then

Lace  Even short hemlines will feel romantic, refined and chic, Rentillo says.

secure the ruffle to a hair comb. –IG

Accessories  Go for gold — “not only in jewelry and embellishments, but for luxe headpieces and sleek little clutches,” Rentillo recommends. –Maryann Hammers

EliteWeddingCollection.com

11

planning guide inspiration aisle

first impressions Nothing sets the tone for a wedding like the invitation. If your big day is infused with extraordinary elements, make sure your invite gives a hint of what’s to come.

›› Couples with a flair for the dramatic won’t be able to resist a balloon invite, which can inflate to give all the wedding

Notable Guestbook

T

oday’s brides and grooms vow to be unique with all aspects of their big day, and the guest book is no exception. For example, how about a guest “book” bench that people write their personal comments on—years down the line,

it’ll still be the best seat in the house. Similarly, and perfect for wine country

12

com, or learn how to make your own at stylemepretty.com/tag/balloon-invitation.

›› Just right for beachside vows, the Starfish Wedding Invitation in a Bottle from Hanson & Ellis comes complete with the personal engraving and RSVP card (from $3.49, hansonellis.com).

weddings, a barrel will forever hold your loved ones’ words of wisdom, while making

›› If you love travel and the look of classic

a great bar table back home. Easier to transport, a puzzle may hold an image of you

love letters, you’ll fall for this one-of-a-kind

or a map of your destination on one side with a blank back for guests’ notes. Or

invite, which features recycled kraft brown

picture this: a beautiful portrait of the two of you on canvas framed by blessings

papers with traditional red and blue

from your friends and family. Another favorite is the idea of wishing stones, inspired

accents plus a vintage stamp, raffia tie

by an Irish wedding ritual. Just provide smooth rocks, a permanent marker and a

and wooden airplane charm (from $8.45,

clear vase filled with water and let your guests pour their hearts out. –IG

shop.serendipitybeyonddesign.com). –IG

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Orange Turtle Photography; Lauren Kinsey; Sugar and Soul Photography; Courtesy of Style Me Pretty

details. Find one through officeoptimist.

planning guide inspiration aisle

WHAT’S IN YOUR JAR? Mason jars are a favorite among brides, and for good reason. They are inexpensive, functional and can add to your wedding day decor in countless ways. How about using clear mason jars as votive lanterns placed on tables or strung in trees around the reception area, or turn these jars into small vases holding handpicked flowers from your destination. Create favors by filling mason jars with jam, candies or chocolate, or serve drinks or dessert out of them (for a cute touch, attached a ribbon and a spoon). Another fun idea: add striped straws and name tags to guide guests to their tables. –IG

Beaux Arts Photographie; Shutterstock

Custom Chocolate Gourmand brides and grooms who want only the finest for their guests will adore Chocolats Du CaliBressan’s artisan chocolates (chococalibressan. com). Created by famous French chocolatier Jean-Michel Carre in Santa Barbara, California, these scrumptious treats are perfect as wedding favors and dessert (the company ships nationwide). –IG

crazy about cupcakes Cupcakes remain a favorite at weddings, so much so that businesses are taking their gourmet goods on the road. In Beverly Hills, Sprinkles (sprinkles.com) just launched a shop on wheels, called the Sprinkles Mobile. Further north in San Francisco, Kara’s Cupcakes (karascupcakes.com) rolls out its KaraVan for special events. On the EastCoast, the Cupcake Stop truck (cupcakestop.com) has quickly become a New York City institution. (Top this: leftovers are donated to City Harvest to feed the less fortunate.) In Washington, D.C., Curbside Cupcakes (curbsidecupcakes. com) brings yummy cupcakes to your curb, literally, while Canadian wedding couples can call Cupcake Diner (cupcakediner.ca) to cater their big day. –IG

EliteWeddingCollection.com

13

planning guide inspiration aisle

and learn

Love

With resort-based classes and cultural

offerings, honeymooners can make new memories, become immersed in the

destination and learn cool new skills, too. Here are some ideas:

SADDLE UP Tanque Verde Ranch (tanqueverderanch.com) in the pristine Arizona desert is a great place to take riding lessons and learn horsemanship. In the picturesque Pacific Northwest, Brasada Ranch’s Equestrian Center (brasada.com/ equestrian), customizes riding lessons according to experience and ability. SAIL AWAY The Four Seasons Nevis (fourseasons.com/nevis) operates an eight-hour SailLaser program. For more casual boaters, Regent Palms (regentpalms.com) in the Turks & Caicos offers complimentary sailing lessons on the basics of a speedy Hobie Wave. PICTURE THIS A wildlife photo safari at SabiSabi Private Game Reserve (sabisabi.com) in South Africa’s Kruger National Park combines your love of nature with photography lessons. Can’t make it to South Africa? Sign up for a photosafari workshop at Spring Creek Ranch in Jackson Hole (springcreekranch.com). You’ll learn to capture landscape and wildlife images at nearby Grand Teton National Park. TOAST FOR TWO Beautiful Bacara Resort (bacararesort.com) near California’s Central Coast Wine Country, offers a hands-on harvest experience at local wineries during winemaking lessons from grape selecting and sorting to tasting. bartending lessons at Sheraton Hacienda del Mar (sheratonhaciendadelmar.com) in Los Cabos. You’ll learn to mix and serve everything from martinis to mojitos and mango margaritas. –Maryann Hammers

14

EliteWeddingCollection.com

tktktktktktktktktktkt

If wine isn’t your beverage of choice, get

planning guide inspiration aisle

GREAT GIFT If you prefer traveling over linens and tableware, be

2

1

sure to add the National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass to your bridal gift registry. For $80 (usgs.gov), you get access to 58 national parks and

3

74 national monuments countrywide. The pass is good for four adults—what better opportunity to double date with friends?

4

5

Courtesy of Brasada Ranch; Shutterstock

Horseback riding (left) and winemaking (below left) are two honeymoon experiences that you'll remember for a lifetime.

Take your out-of-town experience to the next level with these travel essentials. 1  Beat bugs naturally with Badgers’

your iPhone, you can capture every

100 percent organic Anti-Bug Balm

special moment in just a snap

(2 oz, $9.99, badgerbalm.com).

($29.95, xshotpix.com).

2  If you’re looking for a stylish

4  Stay organized with Comfort

topper to protect your skin and

Travel’s Sim Card Passport Holder,

hair from the rays, Coolibar’s Santa

which stores up to six sim cards,

Cruz Reversible Hat comes with a

three credit cards, plus your passport.

four-inch brim and a rating of UBF

Choose from eight color combos

50+ ($35, coolibar.com).

($39.99, comfortravel.com).

3  Want more photos of the two

5  See the world through rose-colored

of you traveling together—without

glasses (literally) with Oakley's fun and

having to ask other people? With

retro-style Forehand shades ($120,

Pocket XShot, a telescopic camera

oakley.com). For him, opt for a pair

extender that attaches to any

of vintage-inspired Deviation glasses

compact digital camera, including

($130 or $180 polarized, oakley.com).

EliteWeddingCollection.com

15

planning guide tips & tools

your big day at the

beach

It took millions of years for the forces of sand and sun, tides, wind and rain to create the perfect backdrop for your beach wedding. Whether you plan it yourself, or work with a consultant, you’ll be wise to consider these 21 tips for your day in the sun. By Annette Burden

16

EliteWeddingCollection.com

planning guide tips & tools

Scope Out the Site 1. Avoid weekends if you’re marrying at a public beach.

Scout local policies on beach events and get a permit, if necessary. 2. Select the time of day after researching everything

from tides to temperatures to wind and setting sun. 3. Go lightly on decoration—your beach is already one

of the most gorgeous places on earth. Simple chairs, and maybe an arbor, are all you need. 4. Ensure adequate signage leading to the site. Consider

shuttle service if the beach has limited parking. 5. Designate a station where guests can leave their

shoes. Supply a bench, rubber sandals, bucket of water and towels to wipe off the sand when it’s over.

6. Provide liquid refreshments from a

cooler, table or stand before the ceremony. 7. Research bathrooms beforehand, and if

necessary, rent the nicest portable lavatory

Flip flops in bright colors (like these from oldnavy.gap.com, $3.95) make great favors.

you can find.

Anna Kim Photography

8. Think about shade, especially for a midday wedding.

You might seat guests under a canopy, pass out hats or parasols or provide a lean-to retreat nearby. 9. Put the sun at an angle and the breeze at guests’

backs. Wind-proof anything that might blow over or away. Weight vases with stones. Anchor your programs with shells, tie them to the chairs or print them on fans.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

17

planning guide tips & tools

Keep your bouquet simple and elegant to reflect the beauty of the beach setting.

10. Crashing waves add drama to the

occasion, but they can drown out the words. Rent a wireless public address system, and test it before the ceremony. 11. Have a backup canopy, tent or indoor

space you and your guests can retreat to in case the weather goes awry.

Dress for Success 12. Alert guests about the seaside locale

weeks or months in advance so they can dress accordingly. 13. Choose a gown that goes with the flow:

feather light, cool, as one with the breeze. Think cotton, chiffon or charmeuse. Extra credit: Go for crinkle chiffon; it bounces back from packing in an instant. 14. Wear sunscreen and strategize your tan lines before

soaking up the prewedding sun. 15. Plan on an updo if you know humidity and sea

breezes play havoc with your hair. 16. Think twice about a veil. It can look downright

silly if the wind has its way with it. Clip- or comb-anchored accessories stay put. 17. Heat, salt air and tears of joy call for

Does your resort have a Plan B for outdoor I dos? Be sure to ask ahead and take steps accordingly. On the other hand, there’s another precaution you can take that doubles as a delightful theme: Take along an armload of lightweight, brightly colored nylon parasols from beau-coup.com (from $7.49 each). They work equally well to shield you and your guests from sun or rain. For something a bit more upscale and formal, check out the gorgeous rentals (five days for $10 to $30 each) available from Bella Umbrella (bellaumbrella.com). –AB

oil or silicone. Use mascara and lipstick that won’t smudge or smear. 18. High heels don’t work on sand. Wear

flat-soled sandals, platforms or nothing on your feet. It you’re going barefoot at noon, avoid singed feet by using a fabric runner or thick layer of petals. 19. Carry a bouquet that can stand up to

the elements. Keep it spritzed. 20. Forget wool suits or tuxes for the men. Give the nod

to linen, cotton shirts and pants or even Bermudas. 21. Furnish blankets or wraps to offset any wind-chill

factor when the sun goes down.

18

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Blinc Amplified Mascara, $26, blincinc.com

Alec & T. Photography; Jamie Delaine; jamiedelaine.com

Climate Control

waterproof makeup and a primer without

Spend

where it counts

Cakes, cocktails, centerpieces and champagne toasts. All the details can really break your wedding budget. But you can trim the costs and still have a lovely ceremony and reception. It’s simple. Ditch the details that don’t matter, and spend where it counts. We asked wedding planners and brides for their best tips for cutting back. We promise, no one will notice. By Maryann Hammers

planning guide tips & tools

Ditch This  Save the Dates Do This  Save on printing, paper and postage, says San Francisco–area wedding planner Maxine Andrews. Instead, “set up a Facebook page; send an email blast (try the free service MailChimp.com); or use evite.com.”

Ditch This  Fancy Tiered Cake Do This  Consider a cupcake tower, cookie trays or dessert bar. Really want the cake? Maggie Reyes, owner of ModernMarried.com, saved hundreds of dollars by buying hers at the supermarket.

Ditch This  Champagne Toasts and a Full Bar Do This  “Skip Champagne and let people toast with whatever drink they have,” says Jennifer Wheaton, catering manager at Boston’s Westin Copley Place Hotel. (If you really, really want Champagne, tell servers to pour just a half-glass.) Instead of a full bar, recent bride Leah Ekmark Williams opted for beer and wine, plus one signature cocktail. “Our cherry limeade vodka was a big hit,” she says.

Ditch This  Designer Gown Do This  Buy off the rack. “At Ann Taylor Loft, H & M and even Forever 21, you can find fabulous gowns and dresses in the ‘after five’ departments,” says Joyce Scardina Becker, who plans weddings throughout California. Also check out consignment shops, sample sales and vintage stores. Los Angeles wedding planner Wayne Gurnick recommends Rent the Runway to “rent” a designer dress.

Ditch This  Centerpieces Do This  “I used my bridesmaids’ bouquets as centerpieces, and my toss bouquet served as the arrangement adorning my cake table,” says Ekmark Williams. More tips: Flowers go farther when augmented with leaves, pebbles, seashells, ribbons, Alec & T. Photography

floating candles, feathers or moss. “Place centerpieces on a mirror, along with crystals and tealights for more dazzle,” says Teri Gault, author of Shop Smart, Save More.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

19

planning guide tips & tools

The One-Stop Wedding 5 Reasons to Go All-Inclusive 1. Free Wedding Lots of all-inclusives will throw in a free basic wedding with a

seven-night stay. A few offer weddings with just a three-night stay. Some even sweeten the deal with gifts or free nights on your anniversary. 2. FREE WEDDING PRO Most all-inclusives employ at least one full-time bridal

consultant—a dream maker and problem solver who knows the property inside and out. 3. NO STICKER SHOCK You know upfront what the whole trip will cost. The same

goes for your guests. With no tipping or nickel and diming to fret over, you can all concentrate on each other. 4. NO DRESS CODE You and your entourage will probably want to wear something

special for the wedding. Other than that, you need little more than bathing suits. 5. BUILT-IN ENTERTAINMENT Most all-inclusives encourage guest interaction with

free group activities galore.

20

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Courtesy of Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa

Think you need to compromise quality for the convenience of an all-inclusive resort? Think again. Today’s all-inclusives often match— and sometimes beat—their à la carte rivals in everything from first-class food and service to lodgings. Read on to weigh the potential perks and pitfalls of holding your wedding at an allinclusive resort. –Annette Burden

planning guide tips & tools

*

Discover great all-inclusive getaways in our resort guide on page 44, or go to weddinglocation.com.

can't wait to wed? Here’s a short list of destinations where you can get a license and marry on the same day—no waiting required. Remember, office hours vary and legalities can change, so verify everything with the marriage license office, county clerk—or wedding professional— before locking in travel plans. –AB US

Utah

Arizona

Vermont

Arkansas

Virginia

California

West Virginia

Colorado

Wyoming

Connecticut Georgia Hawaii

Courtesy of Dreams Riviera Punta Cana Resort & Spa; Shutterstock.com

5 Things to Watch For 1. AGE LIMITS Some all-inclusives cater to adults only. If you’re planning a multi-

generational event, ask about age limits throughout the property, from rooms to restaurants to activities. 2. DAY PASSES Guests staying at another resort may need to purchase a day pass to

attend your wedding and reception. If offsite guests forget to pay, you may be billed. 3. VENDOR RESTRICTIONS In some countries, anyone you bring in to provide a

service at a wedding (your own hair stylist or photographer, for instance) needs an official work permit. 4. PRIVACY Unless your all-inclusive limits weddings to one a day, you may be sharing

the spotlight with one or more couples. Some people like this; others, not so much.

Idaho Indiana Kentucky Mississippi Montana Nebraska Nevada New Mexico North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma

5. EXTRA CHARGES Custom details can add serious money to a package. Read the

Rhode Island

fine print before agreeing to every addition. And, while most all-inclusives fold in

South Dakota

taxes, be sure to ask before figuring your bottom line.

Canada Alberta British Columbia New Brunswick Northwest Territory Nunavut Ontario Prince Edward Island Caribbean Antigua & Barbuda Barbados Cayman Islands Puerto Rico St. Lucia

Tennessee

EliteWeddingCollection.com

21

planning guide eco essentials

green wedding gifts We are always inspired by products that look good, feel good and do good. Here is our spring-summer selection of bridal gifts that go the extra mile—while treading lightly on Mother Earth. By Isabelle Gullö

Stamp of Love This hand-rendered rubber “Love you” stamp set, packed in an eco-friendly heirloom case, is ideal for the crafty romantic. $13, branchhome.com

Bright Light Enjoy the sweet, natural scent of honey from Big Dipper

Plates with Purpose

Waxworks’ tea lights, each

These “serving platters with purpose”

hand-poured using pure

are handcrafted in Pennsylvania from

beeswax from beekeepers

recycled glass, with $2 of each sale

in the Pacific Northwest.

donated to support local community

Set of six, $8; set of 16, $20;

organizations. $50, uncommongoods.com

bigdipperwaxworks.com

What a Vase Grehom adds an earthconscious twist to a classic wedding gift with this beautifully tapered vase, made from recycled glass.

tktktktktktktktktktkt

$45, amazon.com

22

EliteWeddingCollection.com

planning guide eco essentials

fabulous favors Cute & Cuddly Brides and grooms will love Branch’s adorable

Terrific Tote

couples pillows, which

The perfect bridesmaid

can be customized

gift, these fun and colorful

choosing from four sizes

“canvas buckets” are

and shapes and up to 38

printed on 100 percent

characters. $134-$160,

recycled canvas cloth with

branchhome.com

soy-based inks. $12, chewingthecud.com

Gorgeous Glass The stylish and stemless wine glasses from UncommonGoods are handmade using recycled pieces from salvaged bottles. $32, uncommongoods.com Select Soaps Made with nourishing, organic goat’s milk and other all-natural ingredients, Natura Culina’s

Bottle it Up Did you know that water is affected by good energy? The Love Bottle is not only enviro-safe, but allows you to write or draw any positive messages directly on the

soaps not only do your skin a favor, but they make great gifts. Opt for a pretty flower or bridal motif. $10, naturaculina.com

glass so that you can feel great while looking at it and drinking from it. $12-$18, lovebottle.net

Wrap It Up Gift giving gets fun with Chewing the Cud’s organic

tktktktktktktktktktkt

cotton wraps, available in many beautiful designs, each with a special message like Give Thanks or Give Peace. From $16, chewingthecud.com

EliteWeddingCollection.com

23

planning guide beautiful bride

new image Walk down the aisle flaunting a flawlessly fresh face. By Isabelle Gullö

ant to give your skin a completely fresh start before the wedding? Get a photofacial, says Beverly Hills–based

dermatologist Dr. Vicki Rapaport. “Photofacials soften the age spots and sun damage seen in even in young brides-to-be and make the skin evenly toned and glowing for the big day. They should really be called ‘photomiracles.’” What else should brides know about this innovative procedure? Here, Rapaport, creator of SKN BAR, shares the ins and outs. What exactly is a photofacial? In basic terms, it’s a type of safe, light-based laser treatment that

How is a photofacial different from a regular facial? You can’t compare the effects. Basic facials extract blackheads and whiteheads and clean the skin, while peels and microdermabrasion help exfoliate. But they can’t eliminate sun damage, like broken vessels and brown spots.   What about wrinkles? Photofacials do nothing for fine lines and wrinkles but they even out the skin tone and can soften the look of large pores.

removes spots and tiny red vessels on the face, chest, arms and

How soon before my wedding should I have a photofacial?

hands to help rejuvenate and expose a newer, fresher complexion.

Schedule it six to nine months before the big day to ensure you’re

The technologies available are LED (light emitting diode) and IPL

fully healed and have a chance to do a touch-up, if needed.

(intense-pulsed light), which is usually the most effective.

24

photofacials also treat skin problems like acne and rosacea.

What’s the downtime?

What skin problems can it treat?

You’ll look slightly freckled for 7-10 days afterward, with tiny

It can lift off brown sun spots, called lentigoes, zap tiny broken

specks of brown flaking off for about five to seven days. You

capillaries and help exfoliate the skin’s extreme top layer. Some

can wash your face and put makeup on pretty much right away.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Alec & T. Photography

W

planning guide beautiful bride

Wedding Day Must-Dos 1 Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, especially if you are drinking champagne all weekend, which can seriously dehydrate your skin. 2 Emergen-C powder kits are

amazing for the skin and brain. They keep you alert and prepared for all the entertaining you’ll be doing, while infusing your skin with vitamins. 3 Eat antioxidant- and proteinrich blueberries, blackberries and fish to help you stay energized during the festivities. 4 Stash your powder and lipstick in

a cute purse and keep it within reach. They’ll help you look fresh for those random photo-ops. 5 Have lots of sex! The benefits for

the skin are countless. After all, the term “blushing bride” was based on blood flow to the face from making love to your new spouse.

DOCTOR’S ORDERS Beverly Hills’ dermatologist Vicki Rapaport unveils the bride’s must-have list of beauty products.

›› Reduce the signs of aging with Clarisonic Opal Sonic Infusion System, which vibrates a wrinkle-reducing serum deep into the crows feet area around the eyes ($185, clarisonic.com).

›› Shed dead skin cells, even out skin tone and combat breakouts with Retin-A—“the best beauty cream on the planet,” says Rapaport. “It’s the only anti-aging cream without a huge price tag and a device to help it penetrate.” Talk to your doctor about a prescription and know that over-the-counter Retinol is a different product.

How long do the results last?

›› SKN’s Pure Oxygen Crystal Cleanser boosts the

If you’re diligent with sunscreen and wear a hat in the sun, five to

skin’s natural colors without stripping it of its natural

10 years. If not, you’ll be back at the dermatologist’s within a year.

oils ($18, 4oz, $25, 8oz, loveyourskn.com).

Are there any negative side effects?

›› Rapaport’s makeup tricks for the destination bride are

With fair-skinned patients, there’s really no risk. Darker skinned

simple: SKN’s Mineral Sheer Tint SPF 20 in Natural Glow

individuals, however, have to be careful with any type of laser as

($40, loveyourskn.com) and a great waterproof mascara,

there’s a higher risk of being burned or having darker or lighter

like Blinc’s Mascara Amplified ($26, blincinc.com).

spots remain. Ask your doctor to do a test spot first. How much does a photofacial cost? Paying $300-$400 (and $200-$300 for a touchup) is reasonable.

Body Basics Inspired by

Any insider’s tips?

centuries-old European spa

Find a board certified dermatologist who’s a member of the

traditions, Natura Culina’s body

American Academy of Dermatology (aad.org). Check the person’s

products use organic ingredients

credentials and ask questions. And know that while it may sound

to ensure your skin looks—and

scary to laser your face, a photofacial is a gentle and worthwhile

smells—heavenly on your big day and

procedure that can give you that new beginning—particularly for

beyond. The body scrubs and shea butters come in

your once-in-a-lifetime wedding day.

different scents and sizes (from $22, naturaculina.com).

EliteWeddingCollection.com

25

planning guide dream destination

Where the

Brides Are North American lovebirds flock to say “I do” at these nine winning destinations—all ranked tops in the XO Group’s 2012 survey of the most popular spots to wed offshore. They come for the easy access, the wedding-friendly hotels and the talented planners. Plus, of course, the price is right. But love is in the air, so it might just be the promise of year-round sunshine, and an atmosphere that’s perfect for romance.

By Annette Burden

26

EliteWeddingCollection.com

planning guide

Alec & T Photography

dream destination

EliteWeddingCollection.com

27

planning guide The pool at Zoëtry Agua Punta dream destination Cana in the Dominican Republic blends seamlessly with the Caribbean just steps away. Facing page, clockwise from top left: Blissful newlyweds marry under a canopy on the beach at Couple San Souci in Jamaica. A hot stone massage for two is the perfect way to relax before the ceremony at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. Nature abounds in Jamaica. Orchids add a touch of class to the decor at Couples San Souci.

EMBRACE THE PLACE Wedding parties

single status affidavits and divorce

THE VIBE Enchantment infuses everything

love to explore Jamaican wonders like

decrees, all certified and translated into

from Jamaica’s green-velvet mountains and

Dunns River Falls, then shop at a local

Spanish by a U.S. Dominican Consulate

diamond-white beaches to its laid-back

arts market, play golf or drop by the

office (for civil ceremonies). No residency

lifestyle and lively cuisine.

Bob Marley Museum.

or on-island waiting period. Additional

AISLE STYLE On the steps of a great

house, under a gingerbread gazebo or on the sand. CELEBRATE A spicy brunch or sunset

banquet to the beat of a reggae band. LIKELY CANDIDATES Couples Sans

Souci; GoldenEye; Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay. THE NITTY-GRITTY Application 48 hours

religious ceremonies.

THE VIBE Peaceful seclusion in a Carib-

EMBRACE THE PLACE Group activities

bean paradise? A day-long party and

range from golf and gourmet dining to

scintillating nightlife? The Dominican

eco-tours and wreck diving.

Republic delivers both—and everything in between.

Bahamas

AISLE STYLE On a cliff overlooking the

THE VIBE The islands combine a low-key

sea, the bride’s gown billowing softly in

style with gracious people, worldly taste

the island breeze.

and a culture steeped in centuries of

CELEBRATE Barefoot in the sand,

hospitality.

accompanied by beach grills and a

AISLE STYLE A Bahamian-print aisle

staging area for dancing.

runner lined in conch shells, leading

(including fathers’ names) and 24-hour

LIKELY CANDIDATES Casa de Campo;

to an arch festooned with flowers

on-island residency required. Proof

Meliá Caribe Tropical All Inclusive Beach

from the garden. Or, for divers, an

of dissolution of a previous marriage,

& Golf Resort; Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana.

underwater ceremony.

if applicable.

THE NITTY-GRITTY Birth certificates,

CELEBRATE A seaside soiree featuring

in advance of a trip by calling the registrar’s office at the Ministry of National Security, or a visit to the office in Kingston. No blood tests, but certified birth certificates

28

permission and paperwork required for

Dominican Republic

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Courtesy of Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana

Jamaica

planning guide dream destination

cracked conch, mahi-mahi and lobster

Courtesy of Couples Resort, Sans Souci; Casa de Campo

Riviera Maya

no older than seven days from the

THE VIBE Caribbean beaches and hints

wedding and divorce papers or death

limbo contest.

of bygone Mayan majesty support a chic

certificates if previously married.

LIKELY CANDIDATES Atlantis, Paradise

bohemian ambience that appeals to

EMBRACE THE PLACE Bride, groom

Island; Stella Maris Resort Club; Small

hippies and A-listers alike.

and entourage can dive the longest

Hope Bay Lodge.

AISLE STYLE Boho chic on the terrace,

barrier reef in the western hemisphere,

followed by a steel-pan band and

THE NITTY-GRITTY Application at the

at the pool or on the beach.

play Indiana Jones at the ruins of Tulum

registrar general’s office, possible 24

CELEBRATE A chef’s tasting menu in

or Coba, visit the eco-park Xel-Há or

hours after arrival in the Bahamas, armed

the moonlight, accompanied by a trio

simply soak up the sun on the beach.

with passports stamped with time of

of Yucatecan-style guitars.

arrival, birth certificates, photo IDs and

LIKELY CANDIDATES Barceló Maya

certified declaration of single status

Palace Deluxe; Valentin Imperial Maya

Los Cabos THE VIBE Summer camp for grownups,

(or proof of divorce or widowhood).

Resort & Spa; Dreams Tulum Resort

where the desert meets the sea.

No blood test. Licence available the

& Spa.

AISLE STYLE At a chapel or beach—

THE NITTY-GRITTY No residency or wait

anything from traditional, complete with

day after application.

horse-drawn carriage, to barefoot at

EMBRACE THE PLACE Couples, friends

required except the two to four days it

and family can stroll through museums,

takes to process the blood tests and

Playa del Amor.

old forts and remote villages; comb

paperwork. Documents needed: birth

CELEBRATE A “Mexiterranean” feast

the beaches and cool off in caves;

certificates validated by U.S. and Mexican

on the terrace, followed by dancing under

go bonefishing, diving, golfing and

consulates, photo IDs or passports, tourist

the stars.

gambling; or spend hours with their

cards, health certificates no older than 15

LIKELY CANDIDATES Las Ventanas al

feet up in hammocks.

days from the wedding, blood test results

Paraíso; One&Only Palmilla, Los Cabos;

EliteWeddingCollection.com

29

planning guide dream destination

Pueblo Bonito Pacifica Resort & Spa.

or right on the sand—before a Mayan-

like sand castle contests, beach Olympics

THE NITTY-GRITTY Required: birth

style altar set with flowers, fruit, seeds

and tequila games.

certificates validated by U.S. and Mexican

and fire.

consulates, photo IDs or passports, tourist

CELEBRATE Dinner with a string quartet

cards, health certificates no older than 15

in the ballroom, followed by mariachis and

THE VIBE Zero stress thanks to the

days from the wedding, blood test results

then DJ house sets all night long.

eco-friendly lodgings, Latin culture

no older than seven days from the wedding

LIKELY CANDIDATES Fiesta Americana

and tropical setting.

and certified divorce papers or death

Grand Coral Beach Cancún Resort &

AISLE STYLE Seaside under a rainbow

certificates if necessary. Typically up to

Spa; Hyatt Regency Cancun; Secrets

of flowers; with a smoldering volcano as

four days needed to process the license.

The Vine Cancun.

backdrop; or beside a waterfall under a

EMBRACE THE PLACE A visit to Cabo

THE NITTY-GRITTY No residency or wait

rainforest canopy.

calls for at least one cruise—to get an

CELEBRATE On the terrace, with mojitos

process the blood tests and paperwork.

and multiple courses reflecting the

commune with marine life, including

Required: birth certificates validated by

nation’s rich culinary diversity.

whales in season; at least one round of

U.S. and Mexican consulates, photo ID or

LIKELY CANDIDATES Occidental Grand

golf; and at least one walk on the wild side

passports, tourist cards, health certificates

Papagayo; Flamingo Beach Resort & Spa;

of the cantinas after dark.

no older than 15 days from the wedding,

Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort.

blood test results no older than seven days

THE NITTY-GRITTY No residency or

from the wedding and divorce papers or

waiting period, but couples should mail

THE VIBE International glamour combined

death certificates if previously married.

the required documents at least a month

with a breezy island feel.

EMBRACE THE PLACE Sun worship, shop-

ahead (copies of passports, birth certifi-

AISLE STYLE Under a beachside gazebo

ping and dining set off organized events

cates, police records and affidavits of

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Courtesy of Fiesta Americana; Las Ventanas al Paraíso

except the two to four days it takes to

overview of the coast and the chance to

Cancún

30

Costa Rica

The pristine waters off Sheraton planning Maui's beautiful beachguide are ideal for dreampage, destination snorkeling. Facing clockwise from left: A seaside palapa creates the perfect setting for a destination wedding at Fiesta Americana in Cancún. Whether relaxing poolside or nestled in the simple elegance of a suite (below), newlyweds and their guests are surrounded by luxury at Las Ventanas in Los Cabos.

single status). A second marriage

A Westin Resort & Spa; Royal Hawaiian,

chapels that dot the island; or Hawaiian,

requires additional steps best handled

a Luxury Collection Resort; Turtle

including conch-shell blower, groom’s

by an experienced wedding coordinator

Bay Resort.

arrival via outrigger canoe and lei

or lawyer.

THE NITTY-GRITTY No blood test,

exchange, of course.

EMBRACE THE PLACE Group activities

residency or wait. Both parties must apply

CELEBRATE A luau complete with tiki

start with surfing and other ocean sports,

in person at the Hawaii State Department

torches, drummers, hula dancers and

golf, jungle treks, zip-lining and watching

of Health in Honolulu, showing photo ID

pit-roasted pork.

for whales and dolphins, sloths, ocelots,

and perhaps birth certificates to prove

LIKELY CANDIDATES The Westin Maui

monkeys and birds of every description.

legal age (18) or date of divorce or death

Resort & Spa; Fairmont Kea Lani; The

if previously married.

Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.

Courtesy of Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

Oahu

EMBRACE THE PLACE There’s something

THE VIBE Oahu sets the mood for

THE NITTY-GRITTY No blood test,

for everybody: beach time and watersports,

romance with dreamy beaches, swaying

residency or wait. Couples must appear

hikes up Diamond Head, museums,

palms and tropical blooms, then kicks it

before a local certified agent, presenting

shopping, nightlife, even horseback riding

up a notch with Hawaii’s biggest and

photo IDs and perhaps birth certificates

on the North Shore.

to prove legal age (18) or date of divorce

liveliest entertainment district.

or death if previously married.

AISLE STYLE Fairy tale, whether on the

Maui

lawn, in the ballroom or on the beach.

THE VIBE Maui personifies island bliss with

seaside activities, guests indulge in

EMBRACE THE PLACE In addition to

CELEBRATE A posh affair taking full

its magical rainbows, verdant mountains,

golf on the west coast, hiking to the

advantage of the cosmopolitan caterers,

pristine beaches and resorts ranging from

rim of Haleakala Crater and sightseeing

florists and musicians.

family-friendly to splendor in paradise.

along the eastward shore’s harrowing

LIKELY CANDIDATES Moana Surfrider,

AISLE STYLE Traditional, in one of the

Hana Highway.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

31

planning guide

tktktktktktktktktktkt

real weddings

32

EliteWeddingCollection.com

on

Elizabeth Medina

location Every destination wedding speaks volumes about the individuals getting married, from their history to their style to what they hold dear. Here, we present five couples who tied the knot at locations close to their hearts, including the tropical shores of Costa Rica, a posh resort in Mexico, a winery in California, a seaside lawn in Maui and a pink sand beach in the Bahamas. Read on for inspiration in planning your own one-of-a-kind wedding. By Annette Burden EliteWeddingCollection.com

33

planning guide real weddings

Hilary&Kevin escape to the tropics Sa nta Theresa, Costa Rica photos by a brit & a blonde

of golden yellow gerberas and

something different

sunflowers. And the officiator,

and adventurous,”

Rev. Terri Zacanti of Sacred

says Hilary Magner, explaining

Ceremonies, led the service

why she flew all the way to Central

before a driftwood altar made

America from Houston to marry

for the occasion. Guests and newlyweds mingled

Kevin Magner, the love of her life. The couple invited 42 friends and

on the beach until the sun set

family to join them on the Pacific

over the Pacific—followed by

coast of Costa Rica.

a feast at one of the houses at Batik. “Everyone described it

Hilary, who works in sales and marketing for the power industry,

as magical,” Hilary says, referring

and Kevin, sales manager for a

to the garden setting. “It was

jewelry company, met in 2006

dark, and the only light came from

while working together for

candles on the tables and hanging

Neiman Marcus in Houston.

in the trees.” A children’s table

Four years later, they took their

provided pizza, markers, paint

romance to the next level and

and a babysitter to keep the little

agreed to make it “forever.” The

ones happy while their parents

idea of sealing the deal in the

dined on fish, pork, fresh veggies

tropics began when friends, who

and mini cheesecakes. For the

own one of the four rental homes

dancing, a local Latin band, Los

at Batik Costa Rica, raved about

Mapaches, “was tons of fun and

the resort and the laid-back

added a surprise element for

lifestyle of the region. “We decided to travel down to Costa Rica and fell in love with the place and the people,” Hilary says. They

Guests and newlyweds

mingled on the beach until the sun set over the Pacific.

The big day dawned with the bride and her girlfriends in yoga

Kevin’s “half complete ideas”

their guests will never forget. “Everything from the organization of the ceremony to the band they recommended and booked

class, followed by a swim and hours of relaxed preparations.

was so well composed,” she says, adding that the team’s

At 4:30 p.m., a guitarist signaled the couple’s arrival at the

ingenuity and easygoing approach made the whole process

beach, she in a vintage-inspired gown from Anthropologie’s

a breeze.

BHLDN and he in a lavender shirt, gray slacks and sport coat

34

Hilary credits Mal Pais Green Weddings for turning her and into an experience they and

booked Batik for a week and sent out save-the-dates naming February 24, 2012, for their nuptials.

the guests.”

Hilary and Kevin set out to put their footprint and style into

by Q Custom Clothier. The best man dressed like Kevin, sans

the wedding while giving their guests something out of this world

sport coat. The three flower girls wore white frocks from J. Crew

to remember. And it all came together. Even so, Hilary says she’s

Crewcuts. The three bridesmaids upheld the vintage theme in

amazed that, at wedding’s end, everyone thanked them over and

individually chosen dresses from BHLDN and carried bouquets

over for including them in the adventure.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

abritandablonde.com

W

e wanted to do

planning guide

tktktktktktktktktktkt

real weddings

EliteWeddingCollection.com

35

planning guide

tktktktktktktktktktkt

real weddings

36

EliteWeddingCollection.com

planning guide real weddings

jessica&mark dreams do come true pl aya del Ca rmen, mex ico photos by elizabeth Medina

J

essica Hallock spent her

ate,” Jessica says. Then, at the

fourth date with Mark

resort, Amber recalls, “It was

DiPaola showing him “her”

like there was magic fairy dust

Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

sprinkled over the days; it came

Hers was a place filled with

together so smoothly”—from

childhood memories of family

the karaoke welcome buffet to

vacations and a place still brim-

soccer on the beach, the full

ming with wonder and possibilities.

day at Xplor and the formal dinner

“After that day, I knew we shared

hosted by Mark’s parents.

something exceptional,” Jessica

Finally, the wedding day arrived.

says. “I loved how his eyes

At 4 p.m. Tuesday, February 21,

sparkled…how he was eager to see

2012, Jessica—in a fantasy of a

the magic. I saw he was the perfect

dress by Rivini, fingertip veil

partner to share adventures with.”

and five-inch Prada heels and

Several trips to Disneyland later,

her attendants in deep lavender

Mark, an LA-based Internet

gowns from Twelfth Street by

entrepreneur, surprised Jessica,

Cynthia Vincent—glided up to

a silhouette artist and jewelry

the dock in a boat festooned with

designer, by popping the question

flowers. The men waited on the

in Disneyland’s Dream Suite.

lagoon-side deck—Mark in a dark

(She said yes, of course!) For the

gray Dolce & Gabbana suit and

wedding, she recalls, “Mark and

his groomsmen in John Varvatos

I saw eye to eye as usual: intimate

pinstripes, all wearing ties made

and personal. We loved the idea

by Jessica’s mom from the same

of everyone getting to know each other in a fun environment.” They invited 36 close friends and family to join them at Rosewood

“i Loved how his eyes sparkled... how he was eager to see the magic.”

Mayakoba, a favorite resort on

The two lovebirds exchanged vows under a chuppah draped in lavender, green, aqua and ivory flowers. “Friar” Joe Hartzell,

Mexico’s Caribbean coast, knowing their guests would love

father of the couple’s godson, officiated. A rousing mariachi

nearby Playa del Carmen, the Xplor theme park close by, the

recessional led to cocktails on the beach, followed by surf-and-

sunsets, “wonderful people, incredible food and resort staff that

turf, tres leches wedding cake and dancing under the stars—on an

goes above and beyond.”

LED dance floor set up on the sand.

They brought Amber Events on board to help plan and elizabethmedina.com

fabric as the bridesmaids’ dresses.

Jessica’s favorite moment? When she and Mark stole away to

manage the details. Owner Amber Gustafson and her assistant

a hidden corner and looked back at the party. Time stood still,

Nira DeLuna took care of everything, from the four-plus days in

and they realized their dream had come true. “If I can give any

Mexico to the formal reception for 150 back home the next week.

advice to a soon-to-be bride,” she says, “I would tell her to take

“Amber was the perfect balance of listening to our desires, giving

a moment away from the scene, step back and take it all in with

us guidance and feedback and being firm when it was appropri-

your sweetheart.”

EliteWeddingCollection.com

37

planning guide real weddings

jessica&tim leap of faith

sonom a va lley, ca liforn i a photos by jessamyn Harris

heart gown by Marisa, while the

mean everything to Jessica

bridesmaids wore their choice of

and Timothy Rechtien. So,

styles from J. Crew—all in the color

when the wait for nuptials at their

Spice Wine. The bridal bouquet

home parish in Chicago proved

of white hydrangeas and wine-

too long—and the options for

colored dahlias included bells

an outdoor reception proved

of Ireland to honor the couple’s

“underwhelming”—they invited

Irish ancestry. Tim and his grooms-

their nearest and dearest to join

men’s dark Kenneth Cole suits

them for a wedding mass in the

hid fun argyle socks provided

wine country of northern California.

by the couple. After the ceremony, the newly-

“I was starting to get stressed because I hadn’t found a place that

weds rang the church’s giant bell

felt like ‘us’ in Chicago,” explains

“like crazy,” and everyone set

Jessica, a development officer for

off for cocktails on the winery’s

a Catholic health care system. Her

wooden deck with “the vineyards

fiancé Tim, an attorney, asked if

below, oak trees above and the

she’d considered California, where

rolling hills of Sonoma in the

she grew up and her parents still

distance.” A bagpiper led the

lived. The stress vanished in an

group from cocktails to dinner

instant. A scouting trip led to

in an olive grove sparkling with

Sonoma Valley’s Star of the Valley

tiny lights. Park Avenue Catering

Catholic Church for the ceremony

supplied everything from the

and the BR Cohn Winery for

shrimp-kebab and pulled-pork

the celebration. Guests poured in for the long weekend from 13 states, the United Arab Republic and Ireland. All 149

Everyone set off for cocktails on the winery’s wooden deck with

the vineyards below.

course of mahimahi or tri-tip with chimichurri sauce. Pretty Please Bakeshop owner Alison Okabyaski, Jessica’s good friend since high

stayed at the Flamingo Conference Resort & Spa, close to the winery and with a “gorgeous pool”

school, supplied the small olive tree–themed cake for cutting and

and nightspot for the after-party. Gift bags welcomed everyone

the cupcakes to go. “The tables were another highlight,” Jessica

with area brochures, bottled water, nuts, Ghirardelli chocolates

adds, “burlap runners, low centerpieces with local flowers and lots

(a local favorite) and Advil—“for the day after!” Day-before events

and lots of candlelight.”

included mani-pedis for the gals and wine tasting for the guys.

Between the feasting and dancing (to Motown ’80s and ’90s

Day-after events began with a poolside brunch hosted by Jessica’s

tunes) came the speeches. “I may be biased,” Jessica says, “but

parents and ended with a winery tour organized by maid of honor

my dad gave the best father-of-the-bride speech I’ve ever heard.

Erica Finan.

He was funny, touching and brought a tear to everyone’s eye. As

The wedding took place on Saturday, October 2, 2010, in a church flooded with natural light. Jessica wore a classic sweet-

38

wonton appetizers to the main

EliteWeddingCollection.com

he spoke, the sky turned the most amazing shade of pink. It was truly breathtaking.”

jessamynharrisweddings.com

T

heir faith, friends and family

planning guide

tktktktktktktktktktkt

real weddings

EliteWeddingCollection.com

39

planning guide

tktktktktktktktktktkt

real weddings

40

EliteWeddingCollection.com

planning guide real weddings

jennifer &michael

isl and ties that bind l a h a ina, m aui, H awa ii photos by anna kim photogr aphy

J

ennifer Lee Yee and Michael

officiating and 92 beaming guests.

Yee, who live in Long Beach,

A floral color scheme of pink, white

California, met on the swim

and yellow set off the bridesmaids’

team in high school. College set

yellow dresses from H&M, the

them off on separate paths, and

bride’s white linen and lace from

it was out-of-sight, out-of-mind

Pricilla of Boston and Michael

for the next 15 years. Then a

and his groomsmen’s gray linen

chance meeting re-sparked THE

suits from J. Crew—worn with

connection—which eventually

traditional maile leis and Converse

grew into a lifetime bond based

sneakers. “We wanted a fun,

on a shared passion for fun,

relaxed wedding with inspirations

friends, food, ocean sports,

of Old Hawaii,” Jennifer says.

their beagle Claude Yee and

“Nothing fancy, just simple. We wanted the colors to be natural

all things Hawaii.

yet vibrant.”

It was two years after deciding to

The party kicked off with

wed that Jennifer, a chef who owns the Aloha Café in Los Angeles, and

cocktails on the lawn and three

Michael, an equally busy computer

kinds of Hawaiian sashimi. “Food

programmer, found time to secure

was extremely important to us,”

the knot. After months of home

Jennifer says, “especially since I

preparations and a week of putting

am a chef. We chose dishes from

everything in place from a rented

some of our favorite vendors on

house on Maui, the big moment

Maui. People raved about the poke

came at 4 p.m. on September 20,

bar and shave ice.” Not a fan of

2012, at the island’s historic Olowalu Plantation House. Why a destination wedding? “We needed a vacation,” Jennifer

“We wanted a fun, relaxed wedding with

inspirations of old hawaii”

pies from Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop in Lahaina, sherbet from Tasaka Guri-Guri in Kahului and Maui’s own Rosalani-brand

says, only half kidding. And why Maui? “It has a special place in our hearts,” she says, confiding

macadamia nut ice cream. “We wanted our guests to experience

that she and Michael came to love the island through their

the best of Maui—everything tasted amazing!”

friend, her mentor and her restaurant’s original chef, who

annakimphotography.com

wedding cake, Jennifer substituted

The only thing that would have been a deal breaker for a

hailed from the island and passed away in 2005. They held

wedding away from home was the absence of Claude, the

the wedding on Maui to include him as part of the big milestone

couple’s beloved beagle. Jennifer says that bringing a dog to

in their lives. Their venue, a private estate, came with a vintage home and

Hawaii was costly and took six months of paperwork. “It was a nerve-wracking process,” she admits. “But it was worth it. I’d do it

broad lawn that slopes to the sea. Jennifer and Michael ex-

all again.” Claude, dressed in black bow tie, served as one of

changed vows on the grass, framed by the ocean, towering palms,

Michael’s four best men. Like everyone else, he had the time

a white wedding canopy, trail of rose petals, her brother Anselm

of his life.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

41

planning guide real weddings

coco&ryan

bl ack tie & barefoot h a rbour isl a n d, ba h a m a s photos by Jenelle k appe photogr aphy

freedom to enjoy the island and

Smith exchanged vows on

beautiful beaches,” Coco says. Everyone gathered on June 11,

a very special beach, the

same pink-sand beach fronting the

2012, 6 p.m. sharp, to witness Rev.

house her grandmother built on

Brett Garretson, Ryan’s childhood

Harbour Island, Bahamas, in 1952.

pastor, lead the ceremony. Coco,

“Ryan and I had spent so much

in a gown by Lazaro, said her

time there, and love it as well,”

vows while standing on a disco

Coco says, “so having the wedding

ball half buried in the sand and

there worked out perfectly, just the

hidden by her skirt. “Ryan is so

way it should be!”

tall,” she explains, “I wanted to be more eye level with him.” Ryan and

Coco, who designs jewelry for her company Cocotay Designs,

his groomsmen wore black bow

and Ryan, an attorney in Vail,

ties, white tux jackets by Hugo

Colorado, met as students at the

Boss—and no shoes. Coco’s

University of Colorado, Boulder.

attendants, in blue-and-silver

They kept in touch as friends for

dresses by Aidan Maddox,

10 years, then dated for five.

went barefoot as well. After the kiss, the newlyweds

After Ryan proposed on the fifth anniversary of their first date at

walked back up the aisle to a table

her family’s New Jersey beach

where they poured champagne for

club, they decided to marry in

all the guests. Soon a costumed

front of the family’s vacation home

Junkanoo band appeared to

on Harbour Island. Coco wanted

lead everyone up the beach for

the event to reflect the qualities they love about each other, so she dreamed up the theme: Black Tie & Barefoot. “I am definitely more

“I wanted people to have the freedom to enjoy the island and

beautiful beaches.”

a vintage circus tent supplied by the “amazing” wedding planner Ben Simmons of Little Island Design, who also furnished

of the ‘barefoot,’ whimsical and creative type,” Coco admits. “Ryan is more ‘black tie,’ conserva-

everything from the disco ball and flowers to the feast of fresh

tive, such a gentleman, always proper and happy—always doing

tuna or filet mignon “to die for!” A local band, the Brilanders,

the right thing.”

got everyone dancing, as did DJ Geno Roberts, who kept them

Most of their 125 guests came from Colorado and New Jersey and stayed at Pink Sands Resort and The Dunmore. They arrived

42

cocktails, followed by dinner in

dancing till 4 a.m. The two-week honeymoon began and ended on Harbour

to find beach bags filled with local snacks, hats with the wedding’s

Island. Quite a few friends stayed through the first week, which

tree logo and bottles for collecting some of the famous pink sand

was great, Coco says, but left them little time alone. They had a

to take home. Only a ladies’ brunch at The Dunmore, a party at

proper honeymoon that final week, though, time to look ahead

Runaway Hill Inn, a rehearsal dinner at Pink Sands and the

and reflect on the journey that brought them home to tie the

wedding filled the schedule. “I wanted people to have the

knot on Harbour Island.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

jenellekappe.com

C

oco Blaisdale and Ryan

planning guide

tktktktktktktktktktkt

real weddings

EliteWeddingCollection.com

43

49

57

92

98

72

63

65

79

Welcome to the Spring/Summer 2013 guide to Elite Wedding Collection member resort and hotels. Here, you’ll find a selection of the world’s most romantic destinations for weddings, honeymoons and trips for two.

126

Continental U.S. & Hawaii 46 Caribbean & Bermuda 62 Latin America 85

elite

Wedding collection

68

Continental U.S. & Hawaii

57

CALIFORNIA

Coronado 47 Hotel del Coronado Santa Ynez Valley 48 The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort

FLORIDA

Duck Key 49 Hawks Cay Resort Hollywood 50 The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa Singer Island 51 Hilton Singer Island Oceanfront/Palm Beaches Miami Beach 52 Fontainebleau

HAWAII Big Island

54 Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay Kauai

55 Sheraton Kauai Resort 56 St. Regis Princeville Resort Maui

57 Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa 58 The Westin Maui Resort & Spa Oahu

59 Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa 60 The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort 61 Sheraton Waikiki Hotel

48 46

EliteWeddingCollection.com

56

Coronado, California

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Hotel del Coronado

“Our wedding was over-the-top amazing; so much more than we ever imagined. The hotel staff is terrific. We loved the experience, and so did our guests.” Kyle & Lindsey

O

ff the coast of San Diego, Hotel del Coronado’s elegant Victorian spires

punctuate the blue Pacific, creating a fairytale landscape ripe with romantic possibility. Built 125 years ago, the iconic red turret castle fuses the charm and grace of yesteryear with all the luxuries modern

the basics

travelers expect. Recent upgrades,

Airport Proximity San Diego International (SAN), 15 min.

oceanfront cottages and a cutting-edge

Rooms & Suites 757, including cottages & villas

spa facility, mark a new chapter in this

can explore charming Coronado by bike or

National Historic Landmark’s proud legacy.

on foot, browse upscale boutiques at

Max Group Size 700 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator No Room Rates $295-$1,495 Reservations 800.HOTEL.DEL Wedding Contact Catering Department; 619.522.8070, delcatering@hoteldel.com Website hoteldel.com/weddings

including renovated Victorian rooms, Anytime during their getaway, couples

Brides and grooms write their own

Shops at The Del or dine at award-winning

storybook wedding at “The Del.” Named

restaurants onsite, all perfect for romantic

America’s most romantic place to marry by

rendezvous and festive gatherings alike.

The Travel Channel, this seaside escape

With its waterfront location, the resort also

draws guests from around the world.

promises a wealth of outdoor recreation,

Excellent service, gourmet catering and a

followed, perhaps, by ocean-inspired

stunning backdrop promise a once-in-a-

therapies at Spa at The Del. At day’s end,

lifetime event, whether intimate and casual

lovers can cozy up to a glowing bonfire and

or grand and formal.

admire the crimson sunset.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

47

Santa Ynez Valley, California

u p les s

“Our wedding at the Alisal was perfect. The resort’s picturesque California-ranch setting coupled with the impeccable service and attention to detail made for an unmatched venue for us and our guests.” Garrett & Heidi

n the heart of Central California’s Santa Ynez Valley, just north of Santa Barbara,

The Alisal Ranch and Guest Resort is the perfect place for bridal couples who appreciate just the right mix of outdoor adventure and rustic elegance. A full-service resort and working cattle ranch, the 10,000-acre retreat—voted one of the “50 best dude ranches in the

the basics

West” by Sunset magazine—offers

Airport Proximity Santa Barbara Municipal Airport (SBA), 40 min.

hiking adventures through vast plains and

Rooms & Suites 73 Max Group Size 200 outdoor/150 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates $515-$680 Reservations 800.4.ALISAL Wedding Contact Contact the resort for details. Website alisal.com

48

I

EliteWeddingCollection.com

ProImageWeddings.com

Co

ay

What

The Alisal Guest Ranch and Resort

horseback riding, mountain biking and canyons. The Alisal is also home to a

When it comes to weddings, the resort

pristine lake, inviting days of fishing,

is reserved exclusively for bridal parties

canoeing and bird watching.

that book the entire property for their

After a day in the great outdoors,

event. Vows may be exchanged on a lush

couples can retreat to the spa, the newest

hillside, in the shade of a sycamore grove

addition to the 68-year-old resort, to relax

or on a wood deck overlooking the lake.

with a pampering therapy, ensuring they’ll

Lakeside receptions are as popular as

feel rested and ready for the next day’s

celebrations in one of the Western-

adventures.

inspired indoor venues.

Duck Key, Florida

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Hawks Cay Resort

“Hawks Cay is a spectacular setting, and to share the beauty of the Florida Keys with our family and friends is something we will cherish forever.” William & Alyson

the basics Airport Proximity Miami International (MIA), 2 hours Rooms & Suites 177, plus 150 villas Max Group Size 400 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From US$169 Reservations 855.212.5865 Wedding Contact Jennifer Tacey; 855.835.8606, jennifer.tacey@hawkscay.com Website hawkscayweddings.com

A

nticipation builds as guests travel one of America’s most picturesque

drives, Florida’s Overseas Highway, to reach their wedding destination: Hawks Cay Resort. Blessed with the tranquil, sun-kissed qualities of a Caribbean island, yet with the sublime convenience of domestic travel, the 60-acre resort offers the best of all worlds. Hawks Cay rests on quiet Duck Key, a

Couples who take their vows at Hawks

90-mile drive from Miami and an hour’s

Cay see their dearest wishes come true,

drive shy of Key West. Here, island living

thanks to comprehensive wedding

begins and ends each day in 177 upscale

packages and an attentive event staff.

rooms and 150 luxurious villas. Guests

The ocean figures prominently in

step outside to enjoy a host of activities,

ceremony sites that include a seaside

such as watersports, world-class fishing

gazebo, Sunset Beach, and Blue, the

and interactions with dolphins. Those

resort’s event catamaran. Some 25,000

in need of pure relaxation unwind by

square feet of indoor function space with

the resort’s saltwater lagoon and five

water views, plus numerous terraces and

swimming pools or head to Calm

decks, provide options for receptions

Waters Spa.

both intimate and grand.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

49

Hollywood, Florida

u p les s

“The venue was beautiful, the food was great and the event was truly spectacular.” Meredith and Preston

the basics Airport Proximity Fort Lauderdale/ Hollywood International (FLL), 15 min.; Miami International (MIA), 30 min. Rooms & Suites 998 Max Group Size 1,500 Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates $230 Reservations 954.602.8607 Wedding Contact Jordanne Alexander; jordanne.alexander@westin.com Website diplomatresort.com/weddings

F

lanking the Atlantic Ocean in Hollywood, Florida, between Miami

and Fort Lauderdale, The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa offers a truly distinct experience for bridal couples and their guests. Whether wedding-day dreams look barefoot, button-down or something in between, this great escape carries them out beautifully. Couples enjoy first-class accommo-

elegant settings for rehearsal dinners or

high-rise, set just steps from the beach. In

intimate ceremonies. The grandest affairs

addition to the sun-drenched sands, the

of all take place in the 50,000-square-foot

resort gives guests full access to

Great Hall or the 20,000-square-foot

everything, from the tennis courts to the

Grand Ballroom, which wows guests with

golf course, fishing charters and pools and

opulence and endless ocean views. A

poolside cabanas. Brides and grooms can

supportive team works to customize

also indulge in prenuptial pampering at

interiors, catering, flowers, live entertain-

the Spa at the Diplomat.

ment, even cakes from SweetArt Pastry

in a range of settings. Small breakout

EliteWeddingCollection.com

rooms, many with terraces, serve as

dations in The Westin Diplomat’s iconic

Picture-perfect ceremonies take place

50

Courtesy of Jeff Kolodny

Co

ay

What

The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa

Shoppe—all elements that add to the lifelong memories.

Singer Island, Florida

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Hilton Singer Island Oceanfront/Palm Beaches

“We can’t thank our coordinator enough for making our wedding the wonderful, memorable, stress-free occasion it was. Every step of the way, she was reassuring, caring and patient.” Maureen

A

t Hilton Singer Island Oceanfront/ Palm Beaches, blue skies, white

sands and the shimmering Atlantic Ocean create a magnificent backdrop for weddings, whether beachside casual or black-tie formal. In fact, Hilton Singer is one of the few West Palm Beach hotels offering upscale ceremonies and

the basics

receptions right at water’s edge. Brides

Airport Proximity Palm Beach International (PBI), 20 min.; Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International (FLL), 60 min.

professional planners, who carry out their

variety of offerings for multi-generational

unique dreams for the big day.

groups. While some guests gravitate to

Rooms & Suites 222

renovated guestrooms and suites view

Worth Avenue, others opt for boating,

Max Group Size 250 outdoor/indoor

the ocean or islands of the inter-coastal

diving, golf or visits to the zoo and animal

Onsite Coordinator Yes

waterway from personal balconies. Inside,

park. When not dining at the onsite

Room Rates $159-$209

rooms cater to demands for both high-

beachfront restaurant, night owls may

Reservations 561.472.0304

touch and high-tech amenities, with

sample a choice of world-class

Wedding Contact Nickole D’Angelo; 561.472.0301, nickole.d’angelo@hilton.com

signature Serenity Beds, high-def TVs and

restaurants and trendy clubs nearby at

refrigerators and microwaves on request.

the Gardens and Clematis Street in

Website hiltonsingerisland.com

and grooms are assisted by a team of

Most of the resort’s 222 newly

Couples also appreciate the area’s

the fashionable shops and galleries of

downtown West Palm Beach.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

51

Miami Beach, Florida

Fontainebleau

the basics

F

ontainebleau Miami Beach provides a premier resort playground on

Airport Proximity Miami International (MIA), 20 min.; Fort Lauderdale International (FLL), 35 min.

Florida’s sunny shores, promising guests

Rooms & Suites 1,504

glamour and modern luxury.

Max Group Size 800

a spectacular blend of old-world The iconic resort, which boasts pan-

Onsite Coordinator Yes

oramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and

Room Rates From $249

Miami Beach, encompasses two new

Reservations 305.538.2000

towers, 12 restaurants and lounges, a

Wedding Contact Wedding Specialist; 305.695.4817, somethingbleau@fontainebleau.com

40,000-square-foot spa, plus a dramatic

Website somethingbleau.com

oceanfront poolscape that features a free-form pool shaped as a reinterpretation of original architect Morris Lapidus’ signature bow-tie design. Fontainebleau is perfect for intimate and large-scale wedding celebrations

52

EliteWeddingCollection.com

alike. Couples can choose among several

venues are highlighted by floating

outdoor ceremony and reception sites as

ceilings, crystal chandeliers and sweeping

well as stylish ballrooms, each location

curves that convey Fontainebleau’s 21st

uniquely designed to wow even the most

century glamour—and Lapidus’ flair for

discerning of brides and grooms. Indoor

the theatrical.

walk-in showers. Another treat: all rooms come with 20-inch iMac computers. Guestrooms with balconies take in spectacular views of the beach, ocean, bay or downtown Miami. Mere steps away, guests relax by 11 pools surrounded by cabanas and sun loungers. Others spend the day on the beach, lounging on the warm sand or enjoying a variety of watersports, like windsurfing and Jet Skiing. Those who wish to take the pampering experience to the next level head to Lapis Spa, where interiors, treatments and Bridal couples at Fontainebleau will

personalize the special day, including

programs center around the natural healing

appreciate the vision and creative input of

personal wedding cake designs from the

properties of water. Here, couples can

the resort’s team of wedding professionals

pastry shop onsite.

share body treatments side by side, from

and internationally acclaimed chefs. They

Accommodations are designed with

massages to facials to body wraps. Bridal

can also take advantage of various nuptial

modern fabrics, elegant furnishings,

groups can book any number of relaxing

packages, all providing the essentials for

high-definition flat-screen TVs, and marble

and beautifying therapies in anticipation of

saying “I do” along with many options to

baths featuring granite counter tops and

the big day.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

53

Kona, Big Island, Hawaii

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay

“We thank the resort staff and our coordinator for making our wedding day so wonderful.” Pamela & Brad

the basics

n Hawaii, on the Big Island’s sun-kissed Kona coast, surrounded by remarkable

lava flows and a sea of sapphire blue, 22-acre Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay provides a unique and striking wedding destination. The resort seamlessly blends time-honored lanai for optimal island vistas.

Airport Proximity Kona International (KOA), 20 min.

Hawaiian-style hospitality from cultural

Rooms & Suites 509

with a host of contemporary indulgences,

ceremony venues to ensure an

Max Group Size 1,100 outdoor/800 indoor

including dining at Rays on the Bay,

unforgettable wedding day. Among the

championship golf and open-air

most popular, the Bayside Wedding

treatments at Hoola Spa.

Gardens, with the only chapel on the

Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From $189 Reservations 866.716.8140 Wedding Contact La Roma Tomosada; 808.930.4913, weddings@sheratonkona.com Website sheratonkona.com

54

I

EliteWeddingCollection.com

tours to luau shows to manta ray viewing

During the day, couples can soak up

The resort offers several dramatic

Kona Coast, perches like a jewel along

the sun at the resort’s expansive pool, the

the coastline. Brides and grooms can also

Manta Ray Super Pool & Slide, which

choose among several wedding and

features a 200-foot-long waterslide,

celebration packages designed to

whirlpool spas and waterfalls. At night,

accommodate any budget. What’s more,

guests retreat to 509 spacious

Sheraton Kona’s experienced event

guestrooms and suites, all furnished with

specialists help make planning the big

Sheraton Sweet Sleeper beds and private

day a Hawaiian island breeze.

Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii

Sheraton Kauai Resort

the basics Airport Proximity Lihue Airport (LIH), 35 min.

P

oipu Beach, with its golden sand, glowing sunsets, azure sea and shady

palm groves, provides Sheraton Kauai

Rooms & Suites 394

Resort’s enviable oceanfront setting.

Max Group Size 400 outdoor/250 indoor

Here, couples find everything imaginable

Onsite Coordinator Yes

to stage the perfect Hawaiian wedding

Room Rates From $175

and honeymoon.

Reservations 866.716.8140

The resort’s 394 accommodations

Wedding Contact 808.742.1661, sheratonkauaisales@sheraton.com

cluster in four-story buildings throughout

budgets—virtually guarantee a dream

the 20-acre property. Privacy seekers

day for brides and grooms. Couples may

Website sheraton-kauai.com/weddings

gravitate toward Garden Wing rooms,

say their vows in a striking setting

which overlook acres of tropical foliage and

overlooking the Pacific Ocean or in one of

cascading waterfalls. The equally alluring

the lush gardens. Reception space

Beach and Ocean Wings face the sea and

includes the oceanfront Luana Kai room

sunrise and sunset views. For couples with

and several open-air venues.

families in attendance, the Ocean Wing

When it’s time to play, the Garden Isle

also offers several guestrooms with

presents unlimited adventure, from

conveniently connecting doors.

mountain tubing to zip-lining to surfing.

Tropical greenery and sparkling

Of course, relaxation comes easy, too,

waterfalls—plus a wedding manager and

whether at the resort’s luxurious spa, by

packages to accommodate a range of

the pool or on sparkling Poipu Beach.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

55

Princeville, Kauai, Hawaii

St. Regis Princeville Resort

the basics

56

I

t is said that on Kauai, couples experience the softest sands, grandest

Airport Proximity Lihue Airport (LIH), 55 min.

rivers and most verdant rainforests in all of

Rooms & Suites 251

Hawaii. Melding with the island’s natural

Max Group Size 200 outdoor/500 indoor

beauty on the famous North Shore, facing

Onsite Coordinator Yes

Hanalei Bay, St. Regis Princeville Resort

Room Rates From $460

offers all the ingredients for a magical

Reservations 866.716.8140

wedding and honeymoon experience,

Wedding Contact Esther Moore; 808.826.2484, esther.moore@stregis.com

promising unparalleled luxury, top-notch

Website stregisprinceville.com

provide custom furnishings and

EliteWeddingCollection.com

service and elegant accommodations. The resort’s 251 posh rooms and suites

Makai Ocean Course, both Robert Trent Jones II–designs. Brides and grooms will appreciate the

enchanting views accompanied by the

resort’s bespoke approach to weddings,

latest in high-tech amenities, including

each coordinated by a dedicated wedding

flat-screen TVs and iPod docking stations.

specialist on staff. Every exclusive venue

Just outside, guests can sign up for a

is, well, magical, whether it’s under the

wide range of activities, from snorkeling

swaying canopy in the signature Kamani

and kayaking excursions to horseback

Cove or on the captivating Bay Terrace.

rides and hikes along the dramatic Napali

For more intimate affairs, secret coves and

coast. Golfers tee off on championship

dreamy cliffsides beckon with warm trade

greens such as the Prince Course and

winds and enchanting views of the Pacific.

Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa

“We can’t decide whether it was the beautiful resort and wonderful service that made our trip and the wedding so memorable, or if it was our fabulous wedding planner.” Connie

D

ream weddings become a reality at Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa, where

swaying palms, stunning ocean views and endless white sands join to create an unforgettable island paradise. Known as one of the most romantic escapes in the Hawaiian island chain,

the basics

Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa sits perched

Airport Proximity Kahului Airport (OGG), 45 min.; Kapalua Airport (JHM), 10 min.

beautiful Ka’anapali Beach. The newly

Rooms & Suites 508 Max Group Size 600 outdoor/400 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From $319 Reservations 866.716.8140 Wedding Contact 808.662.8076, taryn.starkwyant@sheraton.com Website sheraton-maui.com

atop historic Black Rock on breathtakingly renovated 23-acre, 508-room getaway retains the charm of ancient Hawaii

of the islands at one of five restaurants and

through timeless island decor and cultural

bars onsite.

activities like cliff-diving ceremonies and lei making. Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa’s classic

Couples say “I do” at one of many inspiring wedding venues, including the base of legendary Black Rock, on majestic

amenities will not disappoint. Couples can

Moana Lawn or on Ka’anapali’s largest

lounge by the large lagoon-style pool, sign

waterfront function space, the Ocean

up for exciting watersports, play world-

Lawn. Exclusive wedding and honeymoon

class golf or enjoy spa treatments at

packages allow couples to custom-design

water’s edge. They can also savor a taste

the island wedding of a lifetime.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

57

Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

Co

u p les s

ay

What

The Westin Maui Resort & Spa

“Our wedding at the Westin Maui was a most perfect event. The happiest day of our lives.” MaryRose

L

ocated on Maui’s picturesque Ka’anapali Beach, The Westin Maui

Resort & Spa embodies the essence of romance. With its oceanfront setting, magnificent aquatic playground and scenic gardens with flamingos and koi ponds, the

the basics Airport Proximity Kahului Airport (OGG), 45 min.; Kapalua Airport (JHM), 10 min. Rooms & Suites 759

58

resort offers a spectacular backdrop for Hawaiian wedding events, vow renewals, anniversaries and honeymoons. The Westin Maui specializes in events

Seasoned wedding specialists assist with all aspects of the celebration so that

Max Group Size 500 outdoor/indoor

for 2 to 500 guests and more. The

brides and grooms can relax and fully

Onsite Coordinator Yes

oceanview Hale Aloha Gazebo, set amid

enjoy their time together, whether they

Room Rates From $299

trickling streams and tropical flowers,

spend it snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing,

Reservations 866.716.8112

provides an unforgettable setting for an

golfing or getting pampered at the

Wedding Contact Wedding Department; 808.667.2525, westinmauiweddings@westin.com

intimate ceremony, while the newly

resort’s Heavenly Spa by Westin. At day’s

renovated Aloha Pavilion with its

end, couples retire to one of 759 rooms

Website westinmaui.com

cascading waterfalls and swaying palms is

and suites facing serene mountain or

perfectly suited for larger affairs. Couples

ocean views. All feature private lanais and

can also say “I do” overlooking the Pacific

Westin signature amenities such as

on the Tropica Lawn or on a secluded

Heavenly Beds and Heavenly Baths for a

pathway beneath a waterfall.

truly inspiring getaway.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa

“We had a magical wedding at Moana Surfrider. The food was perfect and the service just phenomenal. We had so much fun planning the event with our coordinator.” Jozef & Andrea

M

oana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa offers a sense of comfort and

relaxation unlike any other. The Victorian resort, with its gleaming white façade, grand columns and distinctive portecochere, presents a legendary landmark on world-renowned Waikiki Beach. All 793 rooms and suites capture the

the basics

spirit of old Hawaii while incorporating

Airport Proximity Honolulu International (HNL), 30 min.

Heavenly Beds and flat-screen TVs.

Rooms & Suites 793 Max Group Size 200 outdoor/250 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From $375 Reservations 866.716.8140 Wedding Contact Catering Office; 808.923.2813, catering.00374@westin.com Website moanasurfrider.com

such modern comforts as Westin’s Guests can step outside to their private oceanfront lanai to sip mai tais, or head to

overlooking the Pacific and the beachfront

the beautiful Banyan Court for music and

Lani Kai Room. Indoors, the resort’s

cocktails in the shade of the resort’s

ballroom creates a rich atmosphere for

century-old banyan tree.

celebrations of up to 250 guests. Wedding

Time-honored traditions play a role in

packages feature a minister, vocalist,

destination weddings at Moana Surfrider

stringed instrument, flowers and an

as well. Dreamy venues abound, including

experienced professional from the resort’s

the seaside Diamond Lawn, the romantic

catering team to help couples design a

Roof Garden with open-air lanais

memorable event.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

59

Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

Co

u p les s

ay

What

The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort

“We enjoyed our wedding so much and are truly glad we hosted our event at Royal Hawaiian. Everything was so beautiful.” Mack & Sayaka

the basics Airport Proximity Honolulu International (HNL), 20 min. Rooms & Suites 528 Max Group Size 800 outdoor/350 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From $315 Reservations 866.716.8140 Wedding Contact Waka Momose; 808.931.7977, waka.momose@luxurycollection.com Website royal-hawaiian.com

60

EliteWeddingCollection.com

R

omance and pampering go hand-inhand at one of Honolulu’s most

iconic hotels, The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort. Couples lay claim to the resort’s 10 acres of prime Waikiki oceanfront property, a setting tailor-made for wedding ceremonies, dreamy seaside strolls and unforgettable sunset views. One of Oahu’s most treasured landmarks, the Pink Palace, opened in

latest technology and chic yet enchantingly

1927 and quickly became a playground

Hawaiian decor. The Pink Palace’s

for the well-known and well-to-do. A

distinctive Moorish architecture and rosy

reputation for romance grew too, thanks

hue remain, still lending their storybook

to the resort’s sun-kissed location,

quality to picture-perfect celebrations.

breadth of offerings and first-class service and amenities. Although The Royal Hawaiian dates back

As ever, romance and the spirit of aloha permeate each wedding celebration onsite. Couples may choose

more than eight decades, today’s couples

to tie the knot in a view-filled ballroom; on

experience the resort at its peak, thanks

the Ocean Lawn, with views of Diamond

to recent property-wide enhancements

Head and the Pacific; or in the hushed

that infused the 528 guestrooms with the

stillness of the Coconut Grove.

Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Sheraton Waikiki Hotel

“We can’t express in words how grateful we are for our coordinator. She was nothing short of wonderful. We couldn’t have imagined a more perfect experience.” Ryan & Joyce

C

ouples looking for a Hawaiian oceanfront hotel that’s as stylish, sexy

and sophisticated as it is family-friendly, Sheraton Waikiki Hotel fits the bill—and then some. The resort’s something-foreveryone personality lends itself quite naturally to wedding parties with multiple generations to please. Yet an oceanfront

the basics

bar, world-class dining, spa facilities and

who opt to stay in the Sheraton Club also

exceptionally romantic settings offer

get an added perk: the 30th floor Leahi

Airport Proximity Honolulu International (HNL), 25-45 min.

exciting options for honeymooners as well.

Club Lounge overlooking Waikiki Beach.

Rooms & Suites 1,636 Max Group Size 3,700 outdoor/ 2,200 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From $265 Reservations 866.716.8140 Wedding Contact Ashley Chang; 808.931.8455, ashley.chang@sheraton.com Website sheraton-waikiki.com

With its location in the heart of Waikiki,

The resort’s array of ceremony and

the resort puts guests within minutes of

reception sites, plus professional planners

great shopping and beachside activities.

to direct the action, make weddings a

Those who stay on property have two

Hawaiian breeze. Couples may say their

exclusive pool areas to enjoy: the Helumoa

vows at one of several waterfront

Playground, complete with a 70-foot

locations. They can host a small-scale

waterslide, whirlpools and fountains, and

event in one of Kai Market’s private

the calmer, adults-only infinity-edge pool.

rooms. Or, for elaborate affairs for up to

Guests select from 1,636 guestrooms featuring distinctly modern decor. Those

3,700 guests, they can book Waikiki’s largest hotel ballroom.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

61

caribbean

81

79

ANTIGUA

63 Galley Bay Resort & Spa 64 St. James’s Club & Villas 65 The Verandah Resort & Spa

ARUBA

66 Bucuti and Tara Beach Resorts 67 Occidental Grand Aruba

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 68 Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa 70 Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana 71 Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa 72 Excellence Punta Cana 73 Meliá Caribe Tropical All Inclusive Beach & Golf Resort 74 Now Larimar Punta Cana 75 Occidental Grand Punta Cana 76 Paradisus Palma Real Resort 77 Paradisus Punta Cana 78 Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana 79 Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana

JAMAICA

80 Secrets St. James Montego Bay 81 Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay

PUERTO RICO

82 Gran Meliá Golf Resort Puerto Rico

ST. LUCIA

84 Morgan Bay Beach Resort

63 62

EliteWeddingCollection.com

St. John’s, Antigua

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Galley Bay Resort & Spa

“Our beachfront wedding was truly beautiful and more than we ever could have hoped for.”

E

nsconced in 43 acres of tropical

Galley Bay promises couples a

gardens on Antigua’s west coast,

memorable wedding experience. Brides

Galley Bay Resort & Spa promises a true

and grooms can say “forever” on the

Caribbean escape. The highlight of this

beach, in the bird sanctuary or in a lush

peaceful getaway is its three-quarter-mile

garden. Couples who book seven nights

stretch of white-sand beach bordered by

in a Premium Beachfront room enjoy a

crystal clear waters. Here, couples unwind

complimentary wedding package that

Airport Proximity V.C. Bird International (ANU), 15 min.

in the shade of swaying palms, swim in the

includes the bridal bouquet, venue decor,

warm surf and enjoy a range of ocean

cake, champagne toast and help with

Rooms & Suites 98, including cottages

sports. Nearby, the property’s bird

legal requirements. Added touches such

Max Group Size 60 outdoor

sanctuary lagoon offers a tranquil respite.

as a photographer and steel-pan soloist

Ryan & Lauren

the basics

Onsite Coordinator Yes

Each of the resort’s 98 rooms, suites

Room Rates From US$880 (all-inclusive)

and cottages promises a getaway in itself.

Reservations 866.317.8008

The Gauguin cottages reflect the artist’s

Wedding Contact dwh@eliteislandresorts.com Website galleybayresort.com

can also be arranged.

lifestyle in Tahiti and afford views of the gardens from private splash pools. Luxuriously decorated suites rest directly on the beach and feature sunken living rooms, cozy king-size beds and soaking tubs for two. With its romantic seaside setting,

EliteWeddingCollection.com

63

Mamora Bay, Antigua

Co

u p les s

ay

What

St. James’s Club & Villas

“We loved every moment. From the food to the atmosphere, everything was perfect.” John & Nicole

the basics

A

tropical playground attracting visitors from across the globe, sophisticated

St. James’s Club & Villas sits on a private 100-acre peninsula on Antigua’s southeastern coast overlooking azure waters and bridal white sands. On one side, the lushly landscaped property

Airport Proximity V.C. Bird International (ANU), 45 min.

faces beautiful Mamora Bay Beach. Along the other, it flanks Coco Beach on the

Royal Suites that feature extra-spacious

Rooms & Suites 251, plus villas

Atlantic Ocean.

living areas and every amenity imaginable.

Max Group Size 200 outdoor

The ambience at this stylish escape is peacefully laid-back despite its location in

hillside above Mamora Bay add to the

Room Rates From US$590 (all-inclusive)

one of Antigua’s toniest areas. Couples fill

resort’s club-like ambience.

Reservations 866.317.8008

their days with anything from beach- and

Wedding Contact dwh@eliteislandresorts.com Website stjamesclubantigua.com

James’s Club has its own dedicated

tennis, watersports and deep-sea fishing.

planners to ensure a seamless event.

Nearby, they can golf, shop and explore

Those who book seven nights in a

local treasures like Shirley Heights, English

beachfront or higher room category enjoy

Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard.

a complimentary wedding package that

accommodations includes brand-new

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Wedding couples can rest assured; St.

poolside relaxation and spa treatments to

St. James’s vast choice of

64

The 40 residential-style villas dotting the

Onsite Coordinator Yes

includes the bridal bouquet, venue decor, cake and champagne toast.

Long Bay, Antigua

Co

u p les s

ay

What

The Verandah Resort & Spa

It was the tropical destination wedding we dreamed of!” Craig & Melissa

the basics

G

reen-minded couples will fall in love with The Verandah Resort & Spa, a

30-acre eco-retreat on Antigua’s scenic northeast coast. The beachfront property is traversed by lush nature trails and borders Devil’s Bridge National Park,

Airport Proximity V.C. Bird International (ANU), 30 min.

known for its dramatic landmark rock arch

Rooms & Suites 200

Spectacular coral reefs shelter the

Max Group Size 200 outdoor/60 indoor

resort’s two palm-lined beaches.

Onsite Coordinator Yes

and wealth of exotic flora and fauna.

Classic Caribbean bungalow suites,

Room Rates From US$570 (all-inclusive)

pistachio with white trim, beckon guests

Reservations 866.317.8008

to savor a cool drink on the charming

They can also kayak, windsurf or snorkel

Wedding Contact dwh@eliteislandresorts.com

front porch. Each of the 200 accommoda-

the crystal-clear waters just offshore,

tions boasts 700 square feet of living

exploring the abundant marine life.

Website verandahresortandspa.com

space and panoramic sea views from

Bridal couples who book a seven-day,

windows and private verandas. Just

all-inclusive stay in a Waterfront Suite are

outside, guests lounge on powdery white

treated to a Complimentary Wedding

sands or by the expansive free-form

Plan, featuring the ceremony site, cake,

pool—Antigua’s largest—or they spend

bouquet and assistance of a professional

the day at the Oasis, reserved for adults.

coordinator.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

65

Eagle Beach, Aruba

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Bucuti and Tara Beach Resorts

“Our wedding was a big success. The staff did a great job setting up the beachside cocktail reception and coordinating all of our requests. They made us feel very comfortable and relaxed.” Don & Jeanne

N

estled on Aruba’s famous Eagle Beach, award-winning and eco-

friendly Bucuti and Tara Beach Resorts promises the ultimate in romance and fun for couples looking for an unforgettable wedding, honeymoon or vacation escape. Freshly renovated rooms reveal stylish, Euro-chic decor and come with garden-

the basics

or ocean-view terraces. A stay in the Tara Wing’s luxurious penthouse with its sleek

sands and cobalt waters of Eagle Beach

Airport Proximity Queen Beatrix International (AUA), 15 min.

living room, cozy four-poster beds, full

provide a perfect wedding backdrop.

kitchen and panoramic views is pure bliss,

Another ideal site is the resort’s thriving

as is the list of indulgent treatments at The

gardens. Couples can choose a romantic

Spa at Tara.

or contemporary-style ceremony

Rooms & Suites 104 Max Group Size 50 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates US$300-$665 (breakfast included) Reservations 888.4.BUCUTI Wedding Contact weddings@bucuti.com Website bucuti.com

Guests can also sign up for windsurfing, sailing and island tours or try their luck at

toast. Or they can vow to make a

the casino. Golfers find one championship

difference with a green event. Bridal

course steps from the resort and a second

packages may also include spa

PGA course six miles away.

treatments, a sunset cruise and a dinner

Consistently voted one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, the secluded

66

EliteWeddingCollection.com

complete with flowers and a champagne

reception at Pirates’ Nest, the resort’s open-air seaside restaurant.

Palm Beach, Aruba

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Occidental Grand Aruba

“Our wedding coordinator made our dream wedding come true. We could not have asked for a more amazing person to help us plan and coordinate the event.”

L

ovebirds seeking over-the-top

check-in and access to the Royal Club

romance and classic Hollywood

Restaurant & Lounge.

glamour find all that their hearts desire at

At Occidental Grand Aruba, weddings

Occidental Grand Aruba. Situated on

are typically impressive, customized affairs,

famous Palm Beach, the all-inclusive

perfected by the resort’s savvy coordinator.

getaway draws an A-list crowd from

Many couples opt for a dreamy sunset

across the globe. A massive free-form

ceremony at water’s edge followed by a

the basics

pool, six themed restaurants and five

celebration in a beautiful ballroom.

bars, plus nightly entertainment promise

Newlyweds enjoy many sweet perks, such

Airport Proximity Queen Beatrix International (AUA), 15 min.

fun and relaxation around the clock.

as discounted massages, in-room

Rooms & Suites 323, plus 45 in the Royal Club

sunbathe or play golf nearby. At night, they

that book 10 or more deluxe rooms for three

can savor gourmet à la carte cuisine before

nights qualify for a free wedding package.

Michael & Jennifer

Max Group Size 125 outdoor/300 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From US$507 (all-inclusive) Reservations 800.858.2258 Wedding Contact Zoraida Castañeda; 877.622.9337, zcastaneda@armcus.com Website occidentalhotels.com

By day, guests can kayak, snorkel,

champagne and a surprise gift. Plus, parties

trying their luck at the onsite casino. Elegant marble floors and private balconies or terraces come standard in each of the 368 rooms and suites. Guests who upgrade to the Royal Club enjoy exclusive perks, including hydro-massage tubs in select room categories, concierge service, free Internet stations, private

EliteWeddingCollection.com

67

La Romana, Dominican Republic

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa

“We loved our wedding and honeymoon at Dreams La Romana. Our wedding coordinator was wonderful, and we couldn’t have asked for more.” Dan & Jenny

the basics Airport Proximity La Romana International (LRM), 25 min. Rooms & Suites 751 Max Group Size 300 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.2DREAMS Wedding Contact weddings.drelr@dreamsresorts.com Website dreamsresorts.com

A

blend of Spanish, French, African and island cultures gives the

Dominican Republic plenty to offer visitors in the way of food and festivals. But the natural surroundings—lagoonlined beaches and lush tropical forests— may be the biggest draw. Dreams La Romana Resort & Spa combines the beauty of the two, topped off by the privileges of Unlimited-Luxury, where everything’s included. Guests stay close to nature on private balconies or terraces that look onto verdant gardens or the dazzling Caribbean Sea. Rooms and suites bring to mind genteel colonial days with wood furnishings, ceiling fans and tiled floors, though modern

tour desk happily arranges private or

necessities like LCD TVs and MP3 docks

group excursions to nearby Catalina

make comfort truly timeless.

Island for snorkeling or diving, the artist

Day trips give couples and their guests a sense of the island’s vast pleasures. The

68

EliteWeddingCollection.com

village at Altos de Chavon, or the New World’s oldest city, Santo Domingo,

Location

Property Name

or sports, everyone looks forward to mealtimes. The resort’s Unlimited-Luxury policy gives guests gourmet dining privileges at eight onsite restaurants and seven friendly lounges serving unlimited premium beverages. Marriage-minded couples enjoy the services of a dedicated wedding coordinator, who includes all the special elements that make for a superb tropical celebration. Couples wed in their choice of locations: an elegant ballroom, picturesque garden or beach gazebo, or on a pier overlooking the ocean. A selection of three bridal packages, one free with minimal requirements, presents which dates to the 1600s. Back at home,

pool. The supervised Explorer’s Club for

many options to personalize the event.

couples relax together in the calm

kids gives the group’s youngest members

Those who stay at least seven nights earn

environs of the world-class spa, soak up

a chance to experience the resort in their

complimentary nights toward their first

the sun on the palm-lined beach, even

own way.

anniversary trip to their Dreams Resort &

take an introductory scuba lesson in the

Following an active day of sightseeing

Spa of choice.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

69

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana

“Our honeymoon at the resort was amazing. Anyone considering this place for your destination wedding, honeymoon or vacation, book it! You won’t be disappointed.” Ryan & Jennifer

et on one of the Dominican Republic’s most spectacular beaches,

Dreams Palm Beach Punta Cana offers the quintessential Caribbean getaway. Here, in a paradise of palm-studded sand, cobalt-blue water and tropical resort facilities vowing Unlimited-Luxury, couples find a heavenly spot to say “I do” that guests of all ages can enjoy their own

the basics

and renew their lives together.

Airport Proximity Punta Cana International (PUJ), 20 min.

carefree indulgence, whether in the rooms

With spa couples massages, candlelit

and suites, at the five premium bars and six

dinners and cocktails at the swim-up bar,

gourmet restaurants or with the 24-hour

possibilities for romance are endless—

room service. Complimentary activities

and reach a pinnacle during wedding

range from tennis and ocean sports to

celebrations onsite. Assisted by an expert

classes in scuba diving, yoga and Spanish.

event planner, brides and grooms can

Evenings can be spent dancing at the

marry on the beach or in a tall white-

resort’s nightclub or watching Broadway

stone gazebo. A choice of three wedding

and Dominican-inspired shows in a large

packages, one complimentary with

amphitheater. The onsite Explorer’s Club

minimal requirements, offers numerous

for kids and Core Zone for teens ensure

options to personalize the big day.

Rooms & Suites 500 Max Group Size 400 outdoor/300 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.2DREAMS Wedding Contact weddings.drepb@dreamsresorts.com Website dreamsresorts.com

70

S

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Unlimited-Luxury promises guests

time in their own way.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Dreams Punta Cana Resort & Spa

“Our stay at Dreams Punta Cana was amazing. The service was fabulous, our venue beautifully decorated and the reception dinner excellent. We will definitely be back.” Jeff & Ashley

the basics Airport Proximity Punta Cana International (PUJ), 15 miles Rooms & Suites 620 Max Group Size 350 outdoor/300 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.2DREAMS Wedding Contact weddings.drepc@dreamsresorts.com Website dreamsresorts.com

O

n the Dominican Republic’s eastern shore, Dreams Punta Cana fulfills

even the most elaborate romantic fantasies. Lovers spend their days surrounded by manicured gardens, lazy palms and sandy beaches. The resort’s Unlimited-Luxury concept promises convenience, quality and comfort with complimentary meals at seven theme restaurants, 24-hour room service,

or afternoons taking in the view. Any guest

unlimited cocktails and live entertainment.

can upgrade to a stay in the Preferred

Activities abound, in and out of the

Club, where they enjoy a private reception

water. Couples can face off on the giant

area, daily hors d’oeuvres, concierge

chessboard or play a game of bocce ball.

service and other additional privileges.

Water volleyball and the resort’s ocean

Brides and grooms are free to relax

trampoline help temper the heat, as does

while the skilled resort staff attends to

the magnificent free-form swimming

every nuptial detail. The Dreams Ultimate

pool—one of the Dominican Republic’s

Wedding Package covers basic ceremony

largest, complete with a swim-up bar.

needs along with thoughtful extras such

All 620 rooms and suites feature

as hairstyling and makeup for the bride, a

furnished balconies and terraces for

live Caribbean music trio and sumptuous

private morning conversations over coffee

couples spa services.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

71

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Excellence Punta Cana

“Our wedding planner was amazing. She kept in touch often and answered our questions right away. Thanks to our great communication, we didn’t stress during the planning process.” Steve & Michelle

the basics Airport Proximity Punta Cana International (PUJ), 45 min; La Romana International (LRM), 1 hr. Rooms & Suites 452 Max Group Size 80 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From US$450 (all-inclusive) Reservations 866.540.2585; 866.451.1592 (CAN)

72

C

ombining an all-inclusive luxury

assistance of a dedicated wedding

experience with an adults-only

specialist, services of a civil judge or

resort, Excellence Punta Cana knows

nondenominational minister, help with

romantic getaways. The property sits at

preparing nuptial attire, a wedding cake

the easternmost tip of the Dominican

and sparkling wine. Available upgrades

Republic in Punta Cana, nestled among a

range from breakfast in bed to elaborate

forest of 7,000 palm trees on a remote

cocktail receptions to spa treatments for

stretch of shoreline.

two. The bride and groom can say “I do”

During the day, the resort becomes an

gazebo, with a reception following in the

swim-up bars, endless watersports, a fitness

beautiful gardens.

center and a full-service spa. Balmy nights offer live entertainment, dining at eight different restaurants and gambling at the casino. Catering to couples’ wedding and honeymoon wishes, Excellence Punta Cana offers a bridal package that is

Wedding Contact weddings.puj@excellence-resorts.com

complimentary with a seven-night stay in

Website excellence-resorts.com

View. Part of the program: personalized

EliteWeddingCollection.com

on the beach or in a shaded seaside

adult playground, with two pools, including

an Excellence Club Junior Suite Ocean

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Meliá Caribe Tropical All Inclusive Beach & Golf Resort

“Everything at the resort was excellent. We received exceptional service from every employee we encountered during our stay and our coordinator helped make our wedding day incredible.”

T

he sunshine that brightens new

their guests, a romance specialist attends

beginnings at Meliá Caribe Tropical

to all the wedding details, from the

All Inclusive Beach & Golf Resort floods

ceremony arrangements to the flowers,

the senses with sparkling pools, palms,

celebration and horse and carriage if

white sands and crystal-clear seas. Meliá’s

desired. Most brides and grooms pledge

135-acre Punta Cana playground skirts

“forever” at the fairytale gazebo or,

Bávaro Beach at the easternmost tip of

simplest of all, on the beach beside the

the Dominican Republic. Couples tying

sparkling blue sea. A day’s end, couples

the basics

the knot here may note how the resort

and their guests retreat to upscale

itself represents a marriage of sorts with

accommodations, including luxurious

Airport Proximity Punta Cana International (PUJ), 20 min.

the merging of Meliá Caribe and sister

rooms in the Royal Club.

Darcy & Jennifer

Rooms & Suites 1,138 Max Group Size 1,500 outdoor/1,000 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates US$400-$500 (all-inclusive) Reservations 809.221.1290 Wedding Contact Walquidia Peralta; 809.221.1290, ext. 6303, grupos.bodas@meliacaribetropical.com Website meliacaribetropical.com

property Meliá Tropical. Even the most multigenerational of wedding parties finds it hard to sample everything at hand. The all-inclusive hotel offers 13 international restaurants, 14 bars, a casino and disco along with 10 swimming pools, a 27-hole golf course, a fitness facility and two YHI Wellness spas. Not to mention an endless list of activities. While couples enjoy the resort with

EliteWeddingCollection.com

73

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Now Larimar Punta Cana

“The resort is gorgeous, the staff incredibly friendly and the food variety absolutely amazing. It’s a tropical paradise, and a good time was had by all 31 of us.” Katerina & Drew

N

ow Larimar Punta Cana celebrates life’s simple pleasures, which begin

with its prized location on Playa Bavaro, a palm-studded, white-sand beach that slopes gently to the crystal clear waters of the Dominican Republic’s eastern shore. Simple pleasures go on to include

the basics

the resort’s Unlimited-Luxury privileges.

Airport Proximity Punta Cana International (PUJ), 10 min.; La Romana International (LRM), 70 min.

inclusive concept that puts the best of

Rooms & Suites 642 Max Group Size 300 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 877.NOW.9953 Wedding Contact weddings.nolpc@nowresorts.com Website nowresorts.com

Unlimited-Luxury is a convenient, everything at guests’ fingertips, such as a supervised children’s program, a host of

experience by adding massages and

water and beach sports, premium open

other treatments for two at the luxurious

bars and gourmet dining that ranges from

spa. Additional memory-making options

elegant French cuisine at adults-only

include fishing, golf, horseback riding

Mercure to burgers served beachside at

and casino gaming.

Barefoot Grill. The choice of 642 spacious,

Couples planning to tie the knot

contemporary accommodations balances

during their stay enjoy the services of a

barefoot elegance with the latest amenities

dedicated wedding coordinator and a

and furnished balconies or terraces.

choice of comprehensive packages that

Couples can enhance their resort

74

EliteWeddingCollection.com

help couples customize their special day.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Occidental Grand Punta Cana

the basics Airport Proximity Punta Cana International (PUJ), 20 min.

W

ith one of the Dominican Republic’s

exclusive Royal Club rooms and suites are

most celebrated beaches right at its

perfect for guests seeking more personal-

doorstep, Occidental Grand Punta Cana is a

ized service and added amenities,

Rooms & Suites 801, plus 51 in the Royal Club

favorite with couples who appreciate the

including the Royal Club Restaurant &

beauty of the Caribbean and the affordable,

Lounge and a private pool.

Max Group Size 200 outdoor/100 indoor

all-inclusive luxury this resort provides. The

Onsite Coordinator Yes

Spanish-style escape rests along 700 yards

laid‑back as the bride and groom desire.

Room Rates From US$219 (all-inclusive)

of spectacular oceanfront dotted by

Couples wed by the beach, poolside or in

Reservations 800.858.2258

coconut palms and thatched palapas.

a lush garden. They can select from several

Wedding Contact Zoraida Castañeda; 877.622.9337, zcastaneda@armcus.com Website occidentalhotels.com

The variety of diversions available on

Weddings here are as lavish or

bridal packages—groups booking 10 or

property is unparalleled in the Dominican

more deluxe rooms for three nights qualify

Republic. Guests can enjoy endless ocean

for a free wedding package. Onsite

sports and other daily activities, three

consultants are experts at helping couples

lagoon-style pools and nightly shows

stage the occasion of a lifetime.

promising the best in entertainment. They savor food in nine different restaurants, including four à la carte theme venues, and drinks in seven bars. Accommodations feature terra-cotta tile floors and bright island fabrics plus large private terraces or balconies. The

EliteWeddingCollection.com

75

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Paradisus Palma Real Resort

the basics Airport Proximity Punta Cana International (PUJ), 25 min.

F

ive-star, all-inclusive luxury awaits

called The Reserve, taking advantage of its

couples at Paradisus Palma Real.

distinct Family Concierge service.

Located on pristine Bávaro Beach in Punta

With 12,447 square feet of flexible

Rooms & Suites 554, plus 190 suites in The Reserve.

Cana, the 554-suite resort is surrounded by

event space, including the magnificent

tropical gardens, lush mangroves and a

Olympus Ballroom, the resort can

Max Group Size 300 outdoor/450 indoor

breathtaking stretch of white-powder sand.

accommodate weddings of up to 550

Onsite Coordinator Yes

Not surprisingly, the property is a member

guests inside. Outdoors, a garden and

Room Rates From US$180

of the Leading Hotels of the World.

poolside gazebo and two beachside

Reservations 305.669.2941, 877.27.0872 Wedding Contact info@paradisusromance.com Website paradisus.com

Beyond the beautiful setting, plush

sites to exchange vows. Following the “I

detail set this destination apart. Suites

dos,” Naos Beach, Gabi Beach and the

are generously sized and come with

Olympus Terrace can host receptions of

mahogany furniture, marble floors, double

up to 300.

Jacuzzis, flat-screen TVs and private terraces. Guests can also stay in special suites that feature the resort’s adults-only Royal Service program, including butler service, pillow menus and access to a private pool and beach area. Those traveling with children may want to escape to an ultra-exclusive area of the property

76

EliteWeddingCollection.com

locations—Naos and Gabi—offer ideal

amenities and impeccable attention to

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Paradisus Punta Cana Resort

the basics Airport Proximity Punta Cana International (PUJ), 25 min.

T

ucked away on famous Bรกvaro Beach,

tours of the region also keep guests active,

all-inclusive Paradisus Punta Cana

while relaxation is found by the lagoon-

Resort redefines the Caribbean island

style pools, on waterfront Bali Beds or with

Rooms & Suites 641, including 132 suites in The Reserve

experience, inviting couples to a 20-acre

treatments for two at the spa.

Max Group Size 300 outdoor/450 indoor

sapphire seas, lush mangroves and

honeymoon packages to pick from,

Onsite Coordinator Yes

tropical gardens filled with exotic flora

romantic getaways to Paradisus promise

Room Rates From US$138

and fauna. The resort is just as committed

something special. Couples can enjoy their

Reservations 305.669.2941, 877.276.0872

to coexisting peacefully with the natural

celebration on the beach, on an ocean-view

surroundings as it is to providing five-star

terrace or in an elegant ballroom, among

Wedding Contact info@paradisusromance.com

amenities, service and cuisine.

many other wedding venues. Event

Website paradisuspuntacana.com

paradise of diamond-white sands,

Beyond its 509 elegantly appointed accommodations and 80 Royal Service

With numerous distinct wedding and

designers work closely with couples to create an unforgettable experience.

suites, Paradisus recently added The Reserve, an exclusive enclave of suites designed to wow even the most discerning of guests. This resort-within-aresort features 132 oversized suites for a truly extraordinary vacation experience. Shimmering seas draw couples out to kayak, snorkel and scuba dive. Golf and

EliteWeddingCollection.com

77

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana

“Three months after our wedding, everyone is still talking about it. There isn’t one bad thing we can say about the wedding day. We had a blast.” Angela & Kevin

icturesque Playa Bavaro hugs the Dominican Republic’s northeast

coast in an area known as Punta Cana, named one of the Caribbean’s top destinations by Trip Advisor in its 2011 Travelers’ Choice awards. Couples wishing to combine Punta Cana’s

the basics

singular charm with the privileges of

Airport Proximity Punta Cana International (PUJ), 30 min.

Beach Punta Cana for their once-in-a-

options apply to the 373 view-filled

lifetime moments.

rooms, where even “standard” features

Rooms & Suites 373 suites Max Group Size 300 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.GOSECRETS Wedding Contact weddings.serpc@secretsresorts.com Website secretsresorts.com

78

P

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Unlimited-Luxury entrust Secrets Royal

Couples might choose to spend their days floating on the lavish free-form pool—ordering cocktails from the

mean high-quality linens, a private Jacuzzi and flat-screen TV. Wedding celebrations play out with

attentive wait staff, perhaps—or

ease thanks to the services of planning

indulging in a massage together at the

and catering professionals. A choice of

luxurious spa. Scuba and dance lessons,

wedding packages bundles all the basics,

golf, live entertainment and gourmet

plus more, to enhance the event. For the

dining at a range of restaurants (including

ultimate romantic ceremony, the resort

those of sister properties) provide

often recommends a setting on the

additional highlights. Similarly extensive

sugary sands of Bavaro Beach at sunset.

Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

Zoëtry Agua Punta Cana

the basics Airport Proximity Punta Cana International (PUJ), 60 min.

Z

oëtry Agua Punta Cana, an all-suite sanctuary on the Dominican

Republic’s northeast coast, makes getting

Rooms & Suites 51

away from it all easy with its Endless

Max Group Size 150 outdoor/70 indoor

Privileges philosophy—superior

Onsite Coordinator Yes

amenities, unlimited drink and gourmet

Room Rates Contact for a quote.

food, thoughtfully designed

Reservations 888.4ZOETRY

accommodations and extensive mind-

Wedding Contact weddings.zoapc@zoetryresorts.com

body wellness programs. Guests of the

healthful choices available at Zoëtry Agua

luxurious hideaway leave feeling refreshed

Punta Cana. Couples can also sign up for

Website zoetryresorts.com

and renewed from the inside out.

horseback riding on the beach and

With only 51 suites facing a secluded

complimentary wellness consultations at

strand of silky beach, the resort promises

the spa. To extend the pampering

an intimate escape. The vacation begins

experience, a relaxing soak in the spa’s

with a personalized check-in and welcome

Jacuzzi offers the perfect prelude to an

bottle of rum. Other plush perks include a

afternoon of treatments for two.

bottle of champagne and fresh fruit daily, Bvlgari bath amenities and scented linens. Organic food and beverages, plus daily

A dedicated wedding planner handles every aspect of a couple’s big day. In addition to the ceremony details, wedding

teatime with freshly picked herbal

packages include a romantic dinner,

infusions, add to the sumptuous and

couples massage and other special extras.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

79

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Secrets St. James Montego Bay

“Secrets is the best place to get married. We loved our wedding and have been telling everyone about the experience we had there.” Nalysha & Christopher

the basics

A

t Secrets St. James Montego Bay, couples bask in the Jamaican sun

while sipping piña coladas and filtering powder soft sand through their toes. Brand-new with an elegant British Colonial aesthetic, the 350-suite, Unlimited-Luxury resort will enchant lovers looking for an upscale destination steeped in romantic

Airport Proximity Montego Bay International (MBJ), 20 min.

ambience for their wedding or honeymoon.

Rooms & Suites 350

need, so couples and their guests are free

Max Group Size 200 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.GOSECRETS Wedding Contact weddings.sesmb@secretsresorts.com Website secretsresorts.com

A personal concierge attends to every to enjoy all the benefits of Secrets’

by Pevonia. Couples can say “I do” in a beachfront gazebo or in an elegant ballroom.

accommodations along with

Wedding packages—one of them

complimentary meals in nine gourmet

complimentary—include all the basics,

restaurants, bottomless premium-brand

plus a few special perks: preparation of

drinks, live entertainment and a range of

the gown and tuxedo, evening turndown

activities in and out of the water make the

service for the newlyweds and discounts

resort experience truly unforgettable.

on spa treatments. Secrets’ savvy

keep guests busy all day, those seeking to

EliteWeddingCollection.com

beach or at the world-class Secrets Spa

Unlimited-Luxury promise. Sumptuous

While the adults-only playground can

80

unwind find relaxation poolside, on the

wedding planners ensure that the big day exceeds all expectations.

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Secrets Wild Orchid Montego Bay

“All guests had a fabulous time at our sunset beach ceremony. The food, flowers and music were beyond spectacular and the photos and videos gorgeous.” Kathryn & Robert

the basics Airport Proximity Montego Bay International (MBJ), 20 min. Rooms & Suites 350 Max Group Size 200 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.GOSECRETS Wedding Contact weddings.sewmb@secretsresorts.com Website secretsresorts.com

P

leasure seekers will delight in the adults-only Secrets Wild Orchid

Montego Bay, opened in March 2010. A vibrant palette of sights, sounds and smells tickles the senses, from the brilliant turquoise bay and blue mountains, to the petal-soft sand, to the murmuring waves and gentle floral breezes. This is paradise, beckoning travelers to relax and stay awhile. The 350 suites are decorated in harmony

kayaking to snorkeling to tennis. For an additional fee, golfers can tee off on one

with the island’s natural textures and warm

of five nearby courses, while spa

colors. Couples can spend the day in their

aficionados relax with treatments at the

plush bathrobes, taking in views of the

Secrets Spa by Pevonia.

ocean from their private balcony and

Several wedding packages—one of

ordering fresh fruit and chilled wine from

them free with minimum requirements—

room service—included thanks to the

suit a range of tastes and budgets. All

resort’s Unlimited-Luxury philosophy.

nuptial celebrations include the event

Unlimited-Luxury extends to premium

coordination, decor, wedding cake and

brand drinks and gourmet food served in

sparkling wine, plus thoughtful extras like

nine restaurants and nine clubs and bars.

special turn-down service for the bride

It also covers most activities, from

and groom.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

81

Río Grande, Puerto Rico

Gran Meliá Golf Resort Puerto Rico

the basics

H

appily ever after starts from the very moment of arrival at Gran Meliá Golf

Airport Proximity Luis Muñoz Marín International (SJU), 25 min.

Resort Puerto Rico. Set on Coco Beach

Rooms & Suites 486

outside Río Grande against a backdrop of

Max Group Size 150 outdoor/900 indoor

El Yunque rainforest, the resort’s villas

Onsite Coordinator Yes

and pavilions rise from an oceanfront

Room Rates From US$181

paradise of lush tropical gardens,

Reservations 787.809.1770

pathways and pools.

Wedding Contact Melissa Ortiz Rodriguez; melissao@granmeliapr.com

weddings spans a wide choice of

Website granmeliapuertorico.com

to ballroom and chapel. Couples bringing

The multitude of amenities for ceremony sites—from beach and gardens up to 40 guests to the celebration may choose a package that includes a bouquet of roses and orchids or tropical flowers, a decorated archway, a two-tier wedding cake and buffet-style dinner for

82

EliteWeddingCollection.com

The resort ensures quality time for

the reception. For groups of up to 50,

couples with a host of amenities. At the

another package comes with a three-

Yhi Spa, they may indulge in a range of

course plated meal and four-hour open

treatments in a couples suite, or lounge

bar serving premium brands.

on Bali beds by the private outdoor pool.

Back at home, guests come together for meals that include exquisite pan-Asian, gourmet Puerto Rican and steak and pasta cuisine in three fine-dining restaurants. A casual international cafe, lobby bar, martini bar, swim-up bar and 24-hour room service ensure refreshments on hand at all times. The choice of 486 accommodations includes five first-class, Oceanfront Villas and 96 RedLevel Suites, where service and amenities reach all-new heights. RedLevel perks range from personal butlers and preferred dining reservations to a media lounge with wide-screen TV and use of the adults-only pool, skirted They may take salsa or meringue dance

sightsee in Old San Juan. Golf fans

by Bali beds for comfortable lounging. All

lessons, play tennis on one of three courts

receive special privileges at the

suites feature rich mahogany furnishings,

or explore the ocean’s depths in scuba

neighboring Trump International Golf

comfy sofas, breakfast tables in the living

gear. Offsite, they can ride horses, hike

Club, or they can sample five additional

areas and oversized marble baths big

through the rainforest, or shop and

courses within a 30-minute drive.

enough for two.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

83

Gros-Islet, St. Lucia

Morgan Bay Beach Resort

the basics Airport Proximity Hewanorra International (UVF), 90 min.

P

art of the Caribbean collection of Elite Island Resorts, Morgan Bay

Beach Resort entertains on a private

Rooms & Suites 345

cove on St. Lucia’s northern coast.

Max Group Size 150 outdoor/100 indoor

Couples and wedding guests find

Onsite Coordinator Yes

everything needed for an all-inclusive

Room Rates From US$550

stay of action and relaxation amid the

Reservations 866.830.1617

resort’s 25 lush acres: four pools, four

Wedding Contact dwh@eliteislandresorts.com

floodlit tennis courts, a fitness center and

Website morganbayresort.com

a spa slated for expansion later this year. A choice of four restaurants and five bars keeps everyone fueled for fun-filled days. At night, guests enjoy live music

the reception to their unique tastes, from

and shows, then retire to a choice of 345

a barbecue on the beach to a sit-down

guest accommodations, including 65

soiree at one of the restaurants onsite.

new suites overlooking the ocean.

Those who book a seven-day, all-

Wedding ceremonies take on special

84

EliteWeddingCollection.com

inclusive stay in a beachfront suite or

magic in a choice of four spectacular

higher are treated to a Complimentary

locations: the resort’s hilltop gazebo, a

Wedding Plan, featuring the ceremony

fragrant garden, Morgan’s pier or the

site, cake, bouquet and assistance of a

white-sand beach. Couples can tailor

professional coordinator.

128

NAYARIT

Nuevo Vallarta 112 Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta 113 Occidental Grand Nuevo Vallarta OAXACA

Huatulco 114 Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa 115 Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa QUINTANA ROO

Akumal (Riviera Maya) 116 Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Cancún 117 Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa 118 Fiesta American Grand Coral Beach Cancun Resort & Spa 120 Hyatt Regency Cancun 121 ME Cancun 122 Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun 123 Paradisus Cancun 124 THE Royal Cancun 125 Secrets The Vine Cancun Cozumel 126 Meliá Cozumel All Inclusive Golf & Beach Resort 127 Occidental Grand Cozumel

127

126

Playa del Carmen (Riviera Maya) 128 Barceló Maya Palace Deluxe 130 Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Latin America COSTA RICA Guanacaste

98 Meliá Cabo Real All Inclusive Beach & Golf Resort 100 Zoëtry Casa del Mar Los Cabos

131 Blue Diamond Riviera Maya 132 Occidental Grand Xcaret 133 Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmeralda 134 Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla 135 Royal Hideaway Playacar

Playa Buena 86 Occidental Grand Papagayo

GUANAJUATO

137 Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun

Playa Conchal 87 Reserva Conchal

San Miguel de Allende 101 Casa de Sierra Nevada

Playa Mujeres (Riviera Maya) 138 The Beloved Hotel Playa Mujeres

GUERRERO

139 Excellence Playa Mujeres

Acapulco 102 Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués

Puerto Aventuras (Riviera Maya) 140 Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa

JALISCO

Puerto Morelos (Riviera Maya) 141 Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa

MEXICO BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR

Los Cabos 88 Barceló Los Cabos Palace Deluxe 90 Casa Dorada Los Cabos Resort & Spa 91 Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort

Puerto Vallarta 103 Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa

136 THE Royal Playa del Carmen

142 Excellence Riviera Cancun 143 Now Jade Riviera Cancun

92 Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa

104 Barceló Puerto Vallarta

144 Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun

106 Now Amber Puerto Vallarta

145 Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya

94 Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf & Spa

108 Sheraton Buganvilias Resort

Tulum (Riviera Maya) 146 Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa

96 Hacienda Encantada Resort & Spa

110 Meliá Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive Beach Resort

97 Secrets Marquis Los Cabos

111 Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta

Solidaridad (Riviera Maya) 148 Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun

EliteWeddingCollection.com

85

Playa Buena, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Occidental Grand Papagayo

“Our wedding was wonderful. Our coordinator handled every detail perfectly. From the weather and beach to the flowers, cake and photography, it was all better than we imagined.”

T

ravelers live the good life—or “pura

and boundless options in a gorgeous

vida,” as locals call it—at Occidental

tropical setting. Couples typically

Grand Papagayo. This all-inclusive paradise

exchange vows overlooking picturesque

sits on Costa Rica’s verdant north Pacific

Culebra Bay, surrounded by the

coastline, surrounded by nature’s showiest

enchanting sounds of the rainforest.

plumage. Lush rainforest, temperate waters

deluxe rooms for three nights qualify for a

unforgettable, romantic foray. In the

free wedding package. Honeymooners

the basics

evening, lovebirds perch along the bluffs to

can celebrate their new lives together

witness the sun’s dramatic decent into the

with a special upgrade package that

Airport Proximity Liberia International (LIR), 35 min.

Pacific Ocean below.

includes a couples massage, a candlelit

Rooms & Suites 149, plus 19 in the Royal Club

sweetly scented atrium lobby before being

John & Dawn

Max Group Size 100 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From US$320 (all-inclusive) Reservations 800.858.2258 Wedding Contact Zoraida Castañeda; 877.622.9337, zcastaneda@armcus.com Website occidentalhotels.com

Couples start their journey in the resort’s escorted to their deluxe room, featuring natural wood furnishings, tile floors and a soothing, neutral color palette. The private balcony or terrace makes a perfect spot to lounge and sip champagne. Occidental Grand Papagayo offers an ideal wedding destination for brides and grooms looking for individual attention

86

Wedding parties that book 10 or more

and exquisite service set the scene for an

EliteWeddingCollection.com

dinner, a bottle of wine, nightly turn-down service and a surprise gift.

Playa Conchal, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Courtesy of Comfort Studio and Tropical Ocassions

Reserva Conchal

the basics Airport Proximity Liberia International (LIR), 45 min.; Tamarindo Airport (TNO), 15 min. Rooms & Suites 45 private residences and villas, plus 400 rooms at The Westin Playa Conchal Max Group Size 400 outdoors/150 indoors Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From US$268 Reservations 506.2654.3000 or 855.851.5000 Wedding Contact events@reservaconchal.com Website reservaconchal.com

I

n Playa Conchal, on Costa Rica’s northern Pacific coast, Reserva Conchal

nestles between tropical green and seasonal dry forests and expansive stretches of ivory sand. The property, which overlooks Catalina Islands to the west, is home to a five-star hotel, luxurious private residences, an 18-hole, Robert Trent Jones II–designed championship golf course and an exclusive, 60,000 square-foot Beach Club designed by renowned Costa Rican

indoor venues for their big day, along with

architect Antonio Cardona.

several unique bridal packages.

The Beach Club not only promises

Couples and their guests can spend

endless opportunities for relaxation and

their time here on the Guanacaste

fun in the sun, but it provides a stunning

Province exploring the area’s striking

backdrop for wedding events, each

natural habitats, whether snorkeling,

coordinated to perfection by the resort’s

horseback riding or zip-lining through the

professional planner. In addition to the

rainforest. After an active day, lovers can

Beach Club, brides and grooms can

retreat to the spa for a relaxing

choose among a range of outdoor and

aromatherapy treatment or a soak for two.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

87

Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Barceló Los Cabos Palace Deluxe

“Everything went beyond what we had hoped for. Everyone could not stop raving about the food and topnotch class of the hotel. The reception on the beach was right out of a magazine.” Patrick & Selena

nnovative design and thoughtful amenities at every turn distinguish the

all-suite, all-inclusive Barceló Los Cabos Palace Deluxe as a picture-perfect option for weddings, honeymoons and romantic getaways, just five minutes from downtown San José del Cabo. Guests live with all the comforts of home in the 619

the basics

one- to three-bedroom accommodations,

Airport Proximity Los Cabos International (SJD), 15 min.

suites—the only such specialty suites in

Rooms & Suites 619 suites Max Group Size 1,000 outdoor/584 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From US$145 (per person) Reservations 800.227.2356 Wedding Contact Ariadna Ruiz/Abigail Bautista; 52.624.163.77.30, ext. 4112, loscabos.weddings@barcelo.com, loscabos.bodas@barcelo.com Website barceloweddings.com

88

I

EliteWeddingCollection.com

which happen to include 34 swim-up Los Cabos. And the distinctions go on from there. The resort’s dining options, for instance, include eight themed restaurants that vary in style and menu

bar and tequila and cigar lounge, plus six

from an elegant steakhouse to stylish

additional bars, all serving international

Japanese, chic French, romantic Italian,

premium brands. Couples who select the

authentic Mexican, contemporary

all-inclusive option especially appreciate

international, casual seafood and upscale

the ease of dining.

Spanish. Guests can also enjoy a sports

When recreation is the order of the

Location

Property Name

12) may play the day away at the resort’s fun-filled Barcy Club. When couples or their guests venture further afield, they enjoy championshipcaliber golf at a number of area courses, plus jazz and wine festivals, horseback riding, deep-sea fishing, sailing, diving, snorkeling and whale watching in winter. A Barceló wedding or honeymoon weaves romance into every detail, from the picturesque ceremonies on the beach or seaside gazebo to rose petals on the bed. Extras like a harpist or mariachi band, custom desserts and VIP-guest amenities day, guests enjoy a choice of five

relaxation at the 18,000-square-foot Life

add signature touches to lock in the

swimming pools—including a children’s

Spa. Its extensive treatment menu

memories. An experienced onsite planner

pool, adults-only pool and beachfront

incorporates such bridal-party favorites as

and choice of six wedding packages allow

infinity-edge pool—plus rooftop tennis

facials, manicures and pedicures, and hair

couples the freedom to relax and enjoy

and basketball courts, beach volleyball

styling, plus couples treatments in a

their guests. Honeymooners, too,

and nightly Broadway-style performances

private cabin with Jacuzzi. All the while,

appreciate a romance package and registry

in the theater. Some find the secret to

young members of the group (ages 4 to

guaranteed to advance any love story.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

89

Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Casa Dorada Los Cabos Resort & Spa

“Our wedding and honeymoon at Casa Dorada were absolutely magical. From the minute we arrived, the staff made us feel like we were the only guests at the resort.” Alex & Angela

erched on five acres overlooking the Playa Médano shoreline, just steps

from Cabo’s top dining and nightlife spots, Casa Dorada Los Cabos Resort & Spa sets the stage for an unforgettable destination wedding or honeymoon. With its contemporary yet refreshingly laid-back style, the all-suite getaway—a

the basics

member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts—

Airport Proximity Los Cabos International (SJD), 30 min.

more crowded area hotels. Spa-inspired

for two at seaside Saltwater Spa make a

accommodations feature private terraces,

perfect prelude to a romantic dinner at

Jacuzzi-equipped marble baths and stylish

12 Tribes Restaurant.

Rooms & Suites 150 Max Group Size 200 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.448.0151 Wedding Contact Jazmin Ceseña; weddings@casadorada.com Website casadorada.com

90

P

EliteWeddingCollection.com

offers an intimate alternative to larger,

furnishings by renowned designer Adriana

Bridal couples can relax as the expert

Hoyos. Suites also boast stunning views of

event staff sees to every detail for the big

the San Lucas Bay and Playa el Médano—

day, from the menu selections, decor and

Cabo’s most popular swimmable beach.

flowers to photography and live entertain-

Guests spend sun-splashed days

ment. Popular venues to say “I do” include

lounging poolside, or they can sign up for

the pool deck, ocean-view terraces and the

a range of watersports at the resort’s

beach club, each site reflecting the natural

private beach club. Later on, treatments

beauty of Mexico’s golden coast.

Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort

the basics

H

ilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort entices guests to “live large at land’s

Brides and grooms promising “forever” on property choose among several

Airport Proximity Los Cabos International (SJD), 20 minutes

end.” Perched beachside on the

ceremony and reception locations and

Rooms & Suites 375

southernmost tip of Baja California, the

styles, from beachfront casual to ballroom

Max Group Size 1,800 outdoors/450 indoors

Mediterranean-inspired, AAA Four

formal. They also select from a long list of

Diamond Award–winning resort finds a

gourmet catering options, or they can

Onsite Coordinator Yes

restful spot in the “tourist corridor”

work with the executive chef to create a

Room Rates US$169-$699

between colonial San José del Cabo and

custom menu. The resort’s wedding

Reservations 52.624.145.6500,

vibrant Cabo San Lucas.

specialist is dedicated to making sure the

Brightly decorated hacienda-style

special day is designed, planned and

Wedding Contact loscabos_weddings@hilton.com

accommodations, first-class service and

executed according to each couple’s

Website hiltonloscabos.com

spectacular surroundings create a dreamy

unique dreams and wishes.

setting for weddings and romantic geta-

800.HILTONS

ways. Lovers nibble fresh fruit and sip Champagne al fresco in the seclusion of their private balcony. Or they can relax by the infinity pool, where attentive pool concierges distribute iPods and icy cocktails, at the full-service Oasis Spa or along the beach, diving into the glistening Sea of Cortez from the resort’s swimmable beach.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

91

Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Dreams Los Cabos Suites Golf Resort & Spa

“We had the most perfect wedding day and an utterly stress-free experience, largely thanks to the great staff. Our guests still rave about how amazing their stay at Dreams was.” Ryan & Katie

n the shores of the colorful Sea of Cortez, Dreams Los Cabos Suites

Golf Resort & Spa offers bridal couples and their guests Unlimited-Luxury, a property trademark signifying supreme amenities and service. Elegant colonial Mexican architecture reflects the natural beauty of Mexico’s

the basics

Baja peninsula, with thriving gardens and

Airport Proximity Los Cabos International (SJD), 25 min.

all-suite accommodations offer ocean

Rooms & Suites 308 Max Group Size 400 outdoor/240 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.2DREAMS Wedding Contact weddings.drelc@dreamsresorts.com Website dreamsresorts.com

92

O

EliteWeddingCollection.com

hacienda-style accommodations. The views from private balconies or terraces. Mini-bars, refreshed daily, plus appointments like coffeemakers, robes and slippers, and signature Sweet Dreams mattresses ensure a blissful home-away-

and a full-scale international buffet.

from-home experience.

Oceana sets a quiet atmosphere for dining

When not dining in-suite with 24-hour

in an oceanfront, adults-only setting. But

room service, couples sample a world of

for the ultimate in romance, the staff can

flavors at six restaurants, with menus

arrange a candlelit dinner for two on the

focused on fresh seafood, Asian, Italian

beach. Four lounges, based indoors and

Location

Property Name

rewarded with a complimentary package that includes the assistance of a professional planner, services of a judge or minister, wedding cake, sparkling wine for two and use of the resort’s beachfront gazebo (based on availability). Brides and grooms also receive special turndown service and a distinct honeymoon package with in-room treats like flower petal embellishment on the wedding night, a fruit plate and breakfast in bed. Two additional packages and an à la carte menu provide various upgrades that further personalize the big day. For out, serve guests premium brands, all part

uncommon natural beauty through a host

example, the Dreams Ultimate Package

of the Unlimited-Luxury privileges.

of nearby offerings: dolphin swims, sunset

features makeup and hairstyling for the

and bay cruises, horseback rides, hikes,

bride, a couples massage and a private

San Lucas promise visitors premium

scuba diving, parasailing and some of the

one-hour cocktail and hors d’oeuvres

shopping, golf, nightlife and cultural

best marlin fishing on the planet.

reception for 20 people, accompanied—in

Nearby, San José del Cabo and Cabo

attractions. Adventure-minded couples and their guests may explore the area’s

Couples who turn to Dreams Los Cabos to fulfill their wedding dreams are

true Los Cabos style—by the festive tunes of a mariachi band.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

93

Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort

“Our wedding event was everything we could have hoped for, with beautiful ceremony and reception venues directly on the beach and an amazingly attentive planner and event staff.” Bahaneh & Cameron

A

t the southernmost tip of Baja California, or Land’s End, Fiesta

Americana Grand Los Cabos Golf & Spa Resort offers a most unique setting for a wedding, honeymoon or romantic escape. The AAA Four Diamond Award– winning getaway flanks the Sea of Cortez and a pristine stretch of beach within the

the basics

private resort community of Cabo del Sol,

Airport Proximity Los Cabos International (SJD), 40 min.

San Lucas, two of the world’s most

Rooms & Suites 249 Max Group Size 300 outdoor/500 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From US$150 Reservations 800.FIESTA.1 Wedding Contact Fabiana Clavijo; 52.624.145.6232, fabiana.clavijo@posadas.com Website fiestaamericanagrand.com

between San José del Cabo and Cabo popular travel destinations. Few resorts rival the services, amenities and accommodations of Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos. Luxurious guestrooms and suites feature spacious

wedding party can reserve the exclusive

and stylish interiors, the latest in

Grand Club with its 13 suites and 37

technology plus private balconies

Grand Club rooms. In addition to Casa

overlooking the Sea of Cortez.

del Mar, a most perfect venue to tie the

Couples seeking the ultimate in privacy and personal attention for their

94

EliteWeddingCollection.com

knot, the Club features personal concierge service, a private pool and the

mud wraps to exfoliating scrubs, bubble baths and hydrotherapy. Golfers will fall in love with the resort’s championship greens, which rank ninth on Golf Digest magazine’s list of Top 50 Resort Courses worldwide and tops its list of courses in Mexico and Latin America. Weddings at Fiesta Americana Grand Los Cabos are typically celebrated on the oceanfront Whales Terrace, beachside or at the Casa del Mar suite. As part of the resort’s wedding package, the Grand staff adorns the bridal venue of choice with bright white linens and brilliant floral Grand Club Lounge, serving daily

climate of Baja’s wine-producing

arrangements, also treating guests to a

complimentary continental breakfast and

Guadalupe Valley help produce high-

champagne toast, international buffet or

afternoon cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

quality grapes known for their ability to

three-course plated dinner, a custom

renew the skin, balance the spirit and

wedding cake and an open bar serving

Fiesta Americana is the first resort in

calm the mind. The spa offers an

premium wine and drinks. An expert

Mexico to introduce Somma Wine Spa.

extensive menu of wine-inspired

planner and event staff assist couples from

Soothing ocean breezes and the ideal

treatments, from massages, facials and

the moment they make their reservations.

Another exclusive treat for guests:

EliteWeddingCollection.com

95

Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Hacienda Encantada Resort & Spa

“Our wedding planner did a great job taking charge and diverting the pressure from my husband and I so we could enjoy our 40 guests. Everyone was very impressed.” Kahley & David

the basics Airport Proximity Los Cabos International (SJD), 30 min. Rooms & Suites 150 Max Group Size 150 outdoor/50 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates US$190-$600 Reservations 877.319.5080 Wedding Contact 52.624.163.55.50, ext. 7094, weddings@haciendaencantada.com Website haciendaencantada.com

96

EliteWeddingCollection.com

F

rom its hillside location at Land’s End, Hacienda Encantada Resort & Spa

takes in unparalleled views of the Sea of Cortez and Baja’s dramatic desert landscape. In fact, guests enjoy spectacular sunrise and sunset vistas over El Arco from most any site on property, including the infinity pools, restaurants and the terrace of their private suite. Traditional Mexican hacienda-style decor fuses with sleek contemporary lines

exclusive VIP Petite Spa Suites set the

in the 150 suites, each featuring high-end

tone for an unforgettable spa journey for

amenities, handcrafted wood furnishings,

two, while Las Marias restaurant is one of

luxurious fabrics and rich color accents that

Baja’s most romantic places to dine.

add a feeling of home away from home. Some couples spend their day by the

With its panoramic sea and mountain views, towering rocks and prickly cacti,

sea, discovering hidden coves, surfing or

Hacienda Encantada promises a stunning

snorkeling. Others tee off on award-

setting for a wedding celebration. The

winning Cabo del Sol golf course, go

savvy event staff assists couples with all

sport fishing or explore nearby Cabo San

the nuptial details so they can truly relax

Lucas. As part of the resort experience,

and enjoy the resort.

Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Secrets Marquis Los Cabos

the basics Airport Proximity Los Cabos International (SJD), 15 min.

B

ordering the Sea of Cortez, near two of Baja’s top golf courses, the

adults-only Secrets Marquis Los Cabos

Rooms & Suites 235 suites

offers couples the royal treatment with

Max Group Size 500 outdoor/indoor

Unlimited-Luxury, the brand’s inclusive

Onsite Coordinator Yes

policy of delicious food and beverage

Room Rates Contact for a quote.

options, pristine facilities and countless

Reservations 866.GO.SECRETS

activities day and night. The resort’s 235

Wedding Contact weddings.semlc@secretsresorts.com

suites—including a sanctuary-like casita

Website secretsresorts.com

and contemporary Mexican decor, plus

with a private pool—afford ocean views such extras as hydromassage tubs and

tiny details into a dream wedding. Three

complimentary stocked minibars. Mere

different packages—Secrets Wedding in

steps away, guests can enjoy an array of

Paradise, Secrets of Love and Secrets

beachfront and poolside activities and, of

Ultimate Wedding Package—provide a

course, plenty of tee time.

number of options for the event, from the

Nuptials at Secrets Marquis Los Cabos,

bridal bouquets to wedding videos.

a member of The Leading Hotels of the

Bridal pairs may tie the knot in a pergola

World, promise a unique celebration.

on the beach, at a gazebo in a romantic

Professional planners tailor each event to

setting, by the glittering pool or in an

the couple’s desires, turning a thousand

elegant ballroom.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

97

Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Meliá Cabo Real All Inclusive Beach & Golf Resort

“We could not have imagined a more perfect wedding. It was everything we could have hoped for. A magical event.” Allison & Patrick

the basics Airport Proximity Los Cabos International (SJD), 25 min. Rooms & Suites 305 Max Group Size 200 outdoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates US$250-$500 (all-inclusive) Reservations 52.624.144.2222, ext. 2840 or 2841 Wedding Contact weddings@meliacaboreal.com Website meliacaboreal.com

A

long Los Cabos’ brilliant coastline, celebrated for its bright blue seas

and unspoiled desert sands, couples and wedding parties find a beautiful, familyfriendly escape in Meliá Cabo Real All Inclusive Beach & Golf Resort. Limitless activities, stylish “Cabo Contemporary” guestrooms and international cuisine are part of the vacation experience at this Baja California resort, where the focus is on fun. Whether guests choose to tee off on the nearby Cabo Real championship course, play tennis, scale the resort’s rock climbing wall or play on the flanking beach—the only protected, swimmable

the property’s lagoon-style swimming

beach in the area—options abound for

pool, soak in the oceanfront Jacuzzi or get

visitors of all ages and energy levels.

pampered with a fusion of traditional and

Nearby, San José del Cabo offers a

locally inspired treatments at the ocean-

range of activities, cultural attractions

view spa. Come time to refuel, five

and restaurants.

restaurants and several bars serve a mix of

Those seeking to unwind can lounge by

98

EliteWeddingCollection.com

à la carte and buffet-type dishes as well as

hospitality with a highly trained staff and dedicated concierge. Of course, the personalized attention extends to each wedding arranged here. From the moment couples book their event, they can expect hands-on assistance from the resort’s certified wedding professional, who oversees details such as the venue decor, floral designs, cocktail and reception menus, music and entertainment along with options for photography and videography. Unforgettable ceremonies and receptions can be held in a number of venues, including an ocean-view garden, a premium beverages. Evenings bring

including cable TVs, coffee makers, plush

tranquil beachfront site, multiple terraces,

professional music and dance shows along

robes and marble baths with hairdryers.

a fire pit area and three intimate

with karaoke and special theme nights.

Private terraces and balconies take in

ballrooms. Wherever the bride and groom

Guests retreat to recently revamped

panoramic views of the Sea of Cortez,

choose to say and celebrate their vows,

desert gardens or golf course.

the resort’s banquet staff is dedicated to

rooms and suites that feature modern furnishings and all the comforts of home,

MeliĂĄ Cabo Real puts a premium on

making their dream wedding come true.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

99

Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

Zoëtry Casa del Mar Los Cabos

the basics

Q

uaint cobbled courtyards, babbling fountains and hacienda-style

Airport Proximity Los Cabos International (SJD), 25 min.

architecture set the scene for an intimate

enthusiasts can sign up for a couples

Rooms & Suites 42

retreat at Zoëtry Casa del Mar Los Cabos.

massage right at water’s edge. Other ways

Max Group Size 200 outdoor/70 indoor

Picturesque stone arches frame a vibrant

to fill the day include tennis, yoga, dance

Onsite Coordinator Yes

blue horizon and golden sands. Plus, the

lessons and wine tasting.

Room Rates Contact for a quote.

resort’s Endless Privileges philosophy

Reservations 888.4ZOETRY

means guests enjoy limitless access to

of their dreams at Zoëtry. A dedicated

Wedding Contact weddings.zocdm@zoetryresorts.com

almost all that this gem has to offer:

onsite coordinator masterfully plans the

24-hour in-room dining, gourmet food

event so lovers enjoy blissful, uninterrupted

Website zoetryresorts.com

and drink and an extensive mind-body

relaxation. Two wedding packages

wellness program.

combine the basics for saying “I do” with a

Travelers arrive to friendly check-in service and a welcome bottle of premium tequila. Once in their rooms, guests may never want to leave. Luxurious suites with furnished terraces provide the perfect spot to sip champagne and nibble fresh fruit while taking in views of the Sea of Cortez. Bvlgari bath amenities and a soak in the Jacuzzi erase any remaining tension.

100

Golfers will appreciate discounted tee time at three nearby courses, while spa

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Brides and grooms realize the wedding

range of special touches available.

San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Casa de Sierra Nevada

“Among the wedding venues we looked at in San Miguel, Casa de Sierra Nevada was the only one giving us the personalized service and attention we needed. We had the most amazing experience of our lives!” Zayda & Scott

S

an Miguel de Allende rests at an elevation of 6,400 feet in Mexico’s

central Sierra Madre highlands, its Gothic spires and baroque bell towers seeming to reach for the very heights of heaven. Steeped in more than 450 years of intrigue, art and romance, the crown jewel of colonial Mexico inspires a sense of wonder in every arrival—especially for

the basics

wedding couples and their guests visiting

Airport Proximity Querétaro International (QRO), 60 min; Guanajuato International (BJX), 90 min.

Casa de Sierra Nevada, a member of the

Andanza Restaurant, relax by the pool

Orient-Express family of fine hotels.

and at enchanting Laja Spa, as well as

The hotel’s six historic mansions hold

Visitors can also enjoy fine dining at

sightsee by foot, horseback, bike and

just 37 rooms and suites, many with

hot-air balloon. Another favorite pastime:

fireplaces and all distinguished by

shopping for fine silver work, handcrafted

Onsite Coordinator Yes

exquisite fabrics, art and antiques. Brides

leather products and local folk art along

Room Rates US$230-$650

and grooms select from three venues for

San Miguel de Allende’s cobblestone

Reservations 52.415.152.7040

their vows and festivities, including Salón

streets. In addition, the hotel’s esteemed

Wedding Contact Cynthia Lopez; clopez@casasn.com

Galería for intimate affairs and the

cooking school, Sazón, features programs

portico-lined garden at Casa Parque for

ranging from two-hour classes to

Website casadesierranevada.com

parties of up to 300 guests.

weeklong culinary events.

Rooms & Suites 37 Max Group Size 300 outdoor/50 indoor

EliteWeddingCollection.com

101

Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico

Banyan Tree Cabo MarquéS

the basics

R

ugged cliffs rise dramatically from the Pacific Ocean near Acapulco, on

Airport Proximity General Juan N. Álvarez International (ACA), 15 min.

Mexico’s west coast. Perched high on

Rooms & Suites 45 pool villas

these bluffs—offering awe-inspiring ocean

Max Group Size 220 outdoor

views—luxurious Banyan Tree Cabo

Onsite Coordinator Yes

Marqués creates a magical backdrop for

Room Rates From US$350

weddings and romantic getaways.

Reservations 52.744.434.0100, ext. 7061

The resort’s Asian-style service

Wedding Contact Paulina Traconis; Paulina.Traconis@banyantree.com

philosophy and serene ambience blend seamlessly with colorful elements of

Thai restaurant. They can also arrange for

Website banyantree.com

traditional local culture, like the 45

intimate dinners in the resort’s private

sumptuous villas, which infuse Asian and

wine cellar. Of course, no visit is complete

Mexican accents into the contemporary

without spending time at the award-

decor. Each villa comes with either sea or

winning Banyan Tree Spa, where therapists

garden views along with a heated

are experts at the art of pampering.

indoor-outdoor pool for private swims.

Marqués even more carefree, a trained

for alfresco massage.

Romance Coordinator assists with

Lovers enjoy breathtaking views as they

102

EliteWeddingCollection.com

To make the stay at Banyan Tree Cabo

Some villas also feature wooden sundecks

personalized plans for a truly relaxing

dine in one of four gourmet venues onsite,

getaway, intimate wedding ceremony or

including Saffron, the brand’s signature

unforgettable honeymoon in first-class style.

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa

“It was a beautiful wedding. Our coordinator and the staff did a wonderful job. We had an amazing experience and so did the guests.” Garet & Leah

C

radled at the base of the Sierra Madre range, overlooking Banderas

Bay, the AAA Four Diamond Award– winning Dreams Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa treats couples to Unlimited-Luxury, where everything is included. Marble floors, works by renowned artist Manual

the basics

Lepe and magnificent ocean views

Airport Proximity Puerto Vallarta International (PVR), 20 min.

337 guestrooms, with several suites and

services and packages, such as Dreams of

penthouses boasting two floors and

Love and Dreams Ultimate Wedding,

private swimming pools.

guarantee a personalized event, whether

Rooms & Suites 337 Max Group Size 350 outdoor/450 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.2DREAMS Wedding Contact weddings.drepv@dreamsresorts.com Website dreamsresorts.com

enhance modern Mexican decor in the

Onsite wedding coordinators ensure

A well-planned menu of additional

intimate or grand. Couples can say their

couples can relax in the privacy of their

vows beachside, in a gazebo or on an

suite or at the spa while they finalize

ocean-view terrace.

preparations for the ceremony. Compli-

Anytime during their visit, couples may

mentary wedding and honeymoon

enjoy activities like Jet Skiing, horseback

packages combine the essentials of

riding and diving. Guests also receive

romance: candlelit dinners, breakfast in

unlimited complimentary meals and

bed and the promise that the celebrations

beverages at five gourmet restaurants

will proceed without any hitches.

and five lounges.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

103

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Barceló Puerto Vallarta

“We and all of our guests loved Barceló Puerto Vallarta. From the moment we pulled up we were treated like a king and queen. It could not have been more perfect.” Robyn & Patrick

or couples who want to devote more time to each other than to wedding

and honeymoon details, Barceló Puerto Vallarta provides an ideal partner on Puerto Vallarta’s scenic Playa Mismaloya. First, the AAA Four Diamond Award– winning resort provides all-inclusive ease

the basics

for couples and their guests, who enjoy

Airport Proximity Puerto Vallarta International (PVR), 45 minutes

and beverage options and many

Rooms & Suites 316 Max Group Size 800 Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From US$154 Reservations 800.227.2356 Wedding Contact Aisha Zuazua; puertovallarta.ventas@barcelo.com Website barceloweddings.com

104

F

EliteWeddingCollection.com

nightly entertainment, numerous food watersports at no extra charge. Secondly, the resort’s staff works behind the scenes to heighten romance for couples in love. A choice of wedding packages furnishes convenience, but not at the sake of personalization. A bilingual

beach overlooking the Pacific lends a

wedding planner offers a full range of

guaranteed backdrop of natural beauty.

options to reflect individual tastes and

The location creates a dramatic stage for

styles. Warm hospitality—the kind Mexico

a romantic beach dinner for two or

is known for—enriches every occasion.

wedding celebrations attended by

The resort’s setting on a crescent

hundreds. It adds to the lineup of

Location

Property Name

all their own. Guests of the resort stay in a choice of 316 recently redesigned suites with private terraces. Families often select a twobedroom, two-bath suite, which affords some of the most spacious accommodations around. A Club Premium upgrade brings more of everything—views, appointments and options. The resort makes mealtimes a pleasure with a choice of six dining venues. Guests delight in Spanish tapas at Don Quijote; Italian cuisine (and homemade ice cream) at Capri Restaurant; steaks and seafood at recreational options as well. Couples and

exploration: sunbathing by the pool,

Los Arcos Grill Restaurant; and an

their guests may explore Puerto Vallarta

indulging in spa treatments or browsing

extensive buffet and themed dinners at El

through horseback riding, whale-

through the shops of vibrant downtown

Patio Buffet Restaurant. Meanwhile, snack

watching, eco-touring, fishing, scuba

Puerto Vallarta, just minutes away. A

and beverage outlets serve quick fare for

diving, kayaking, snorkeling and more. Or

supervised children’s program for ages 5

guests on the go. In the evening, live

they can take a more relaxed approach to

to 12 offers younger guests fun activities

nightly entertainment keeps the celebration going strong. EliteWeddingCollection.com

105

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Now Amber Puerto Vallarta

the basics

N

ow Amber Puerto Vallarta welcomes guests of all ages to stay, play and

Airport Proximity Puerto Vallarta International (PVR), 15 mins.

celebrate new beginnings on the golden

Rooms & Suites 327 suites

sands of Puerto Vallarta’s Banderas Bay.

Max Group Size 450 indoor/180 outdoor

The family-friendly resort offers a full

Onsite Coordinator Yes

complement of onsite options with nearly

Room Rates Contact for a quote

everything included, thanks to Now

Reservations 877.NOW.9953

Amber’s Unlimited-Luxury policy.

Wedding Contact weddings.noapv@nowsresorts.com

options keep guests of all ages and

Website www.nowresorts.com

interests entertained from dawn to

Now Amber’s vast recreational

dusk—and then some. Guests may opt to take a laid-back approach to their

106

EliteWeddingCollection.com

At night, guests can kick up their heels

vacation: treatments at the world-class

at the dance club or tap their toes to live

spa, sipping drinks by the pool, ordering

music at the open-air theater. Couples

room service any time of day or night.

stay in one of 327 contemporary-style

Others head for more energetic pursuits:

suites loaded with the latest gadgets and

aqua aerobics, tennis or snorkeling.

most desirable appointments. DVD

Unlimited-Luxury even means

players, iPod docking stations, daily

complimentary greens fees at nearby

stocked mini-bars and cozy bathrobes

18-hole championship golf courses.

create home-away-from-home comfort.

Unlimited-Luxury gives guests the opportunity to dine at five reservation-free dining spots onsite. Four onsite bars serve top-shelf spirits as well. Couples who wish to tie the knot here find themselves in the capable hands of a wedding coordinator who orchestrates gorgeous gazebo, poolside or beach ceremonies followed by festive receptions. For added convenience, the resort offers a choice of three wedding and two honeymoon packages that include a free wedding or honeymoon registry. Additional options, like romantic turndown service, spa services, and breakfast in bed with mimosas, add still more memorymaking moments. As a bonus, select wedding and honeymoon packages ear Preferred Club accommodations add

throughout the day. All focus on vast

couples complimentary nights at the Now

extras like concierge service and a private

views of the Pacific. Round-the-clock

Resort & Spa of their choice when they

lounge serving food and beverages

in-room dining is an option, of course, but

return to celebrate their first anniversary.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

107

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

u p les s

“The onsite wedding coordinator and hotel staff were all amazingly wonderful. They put our minds at ease and helped us plan our perfect wedding day.” Jeffrey & Tuti

et on Playa Las Glorias in Puerto Vallarta, voted “Friendliest City in the

World” by Condé Nast magazine, Sheraton Buganvilias Resort promises couples a sweet taste of Mexico. Modern interiors come to life with colorful fabrics and vibrant artwork. The

the basics

unique decor is enhanced by spectacular

Airport Proximity Puerto Vallarta International (PVR), 3 miles

famous Vallarta sunsets—from terraces and

Rooms & Suites 450 Max Group Size 1,000 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From US$99 Reservations 877.743.7282, 52.322.226.0404 Wedding Contact Denisse Montes de Oca; weddings@sheratonvallarta.com.mx Website sheratonvallarta.com.mx

108

S

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Courtesy of CoburnPhotography.com

Co

ay

What

Sheraton Buganvilias Resort

ocean and mountain views—not to mention through floor-to-ceiling windows. Guests at the resort, a recipient of Certificado de Calidad Ambiental Turistica (certificate for environmental quality in tourism), choose from six

floors of the main building, these

different room categories, all with ocean

exclusive and comfortably designed

views and Sheraton’s signature Sweet

rooms provide gorgeous views of the bay

Sleeper beds. Those seeking the utmost

along with such special amenities as

in privacy and personalized service will

butler service, daily continental breakfast

love the accommodations available in the

and afternoon wine and hors d’oeuvres

Ocean Front Club. Located on the top

served in the VIP lounge.

watersports and chic nightclubs. Brides and grooms tying the knot at Sheraton Buganvilias can count on the assistance of an attentive and experienced staff that helps custom design the decor, floral arrangements, reception, menu and wedding cake. Several ceremony venues can host intimate groups as well as larger receptions in the resort’s heart-shaped garden, a large seaside terrace, the beach, a charming jetty and gazebo located on the property’s pier and the indoor Buganvilias Salon. Anytime during their “weddingmoon,” couples may take of mariachi and a Thursday evening

advantage of various Bridal Specials

plus three restaurants, three bars and two

Mexican Party. What’s more, downtown

offered at Spa Sheraton, such as facials,

large pools with swim-up bars keep

Puerto Vallarta is within walking distance

stress-relieving body treatments,

couples as busy as they want to be in the

and offers a perfect mix of old and new.

reflexology and massages for two. On the

daytime. The resort also hosts a variety of

Here, visitors find everything from

big day, a hairstylist, makeup artist and

weekly events, like a Champagne Sunday

indigenous crafts and traditional music

manicurists are at hand to ensure brides—

Brunch accompanied by the lively sounds

and dance to international boutiques,

and grooms—look their best.

Courtesy of macmexphotography.com

Tennis, golf and beachfront activities

EliteWeddingCollection.com

109

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Meliá Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive Beach Resort

“We are so pleased with our wedding. It was beautiful. Our coordinator and the resort staff did everything to make our wedding day special.” Chris & Angela

the basics

T

ravelers in search of adventure,

“M-Experience” rooms are treated to

romance and culture will find Meliá

many exclusive perks, guaranteed to

Puerto Vallarta All Inclusive Beach Resort their ideal destination. Beautiful beaches

Most brides and grooms say and

and shady palms invite guests to simply

celebrate their vows on or near the

relax and enjoy Mexico’s beauty.

resort’s stretch of sandy beach. A pro-

Go-getters can fill each moment,

fessional event staff attends to every

starting with morning yoga or kayaking.

need, so couples are free to enjoy each

Airport Proximity Puerto Vallarta International (PVR), 5 min.

Those looking for first-time experiences

other, their guests and all that the resort

Rooms & Suites 316

try their hand at archery, the shooting

has to offer.

gallery or take a beginner scuba lesson.

Max Group Size 400 outdoor/250 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From US$110 (all-inclusive, per person) Reservations 889.5MELIA Wedding Contact Romance Department; 52.322.226.3054, romance@meliapvr.com Website melia-puerto-vallarta.com

Golfers enjoy magnificent views (and special discounts) at the nearby 18-hole Marina Vallarta course. And, for pure pampering, couples can lounge poolside on cozy Bali beds or sign up for an outdoor couples massage at Eco-Spa. All accommodations feature a private balcony with picturesque views—perfect for sharing the sunset and a bottle of bubbly. Guests staying in

110

make a romantic getaway unforgettable.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta

the basics Airport Proximity Puerto Vallarta International (PVR), 15 min.

A

ll new and adults-only, Secrets Vallarta Bay Puerto Vallarta extends

a warm embrace to couples in love. The

Rooms & Suites 271 suites

sense of welcome begins with the

Max Group Size 450 outdoor/180 indoor

resort’s Unlimited-Luxury policy (where

Onsite Coordinator Yes

premium-brand beverages, gourmet

Room Rates Contact for a quote.

dining and nearly everything else is

Reservations 866.GOSECRETS

included) and continues with a setting,

Wedding Contact weddings.sevpv@secretsresorts.com

amenities and experiences tailor-made

Website secretsresorts.com

for romance and relaxation. The resort’s Banderas Bay location affords opportunities for adventure-

accommodations provide contemporary panache and plentiful appointments. Several wedding and honeymoon

loving couples to dive, fish or swim with

packages include such options as private

dolphins and sea lions. For relaxation,

dinner on the beach and breakfast in bed

couples may opt for pampering at Secrets

with mimosas, options destined to

Spa by Pevonia. In the evening, they dine

heighten the romance of any stay. For

at a choice of five reservation-free

couples that come to take their vows, an

establishments or take a short stroll to

onsite coordinator plans scenic

sister resort Now Amber Puerto Vallarta

ceremonies in the gazebo, on the terrace,

to try additional venues. When it’s time to

by the pool or on the sand, facing the

retire for the evening, the 271 suite

sapphire waters of the bay.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

111

Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Dreams Villamagna Nuevo Vallarta

“The resort was breathtaking. Our wedding coordinator and the staff did an amazing job and made sure everything was just perfect for us and our guests.” Peter & Brenda

reams Villamagna graces the coast

of Banderas Bay from within the

enclave of Villamagna in Nuevo Vallarta. The modern, AAA Four Diamond Award–winning resort keeps the luxury coming with a wealth of swimming pools, gourmet restaurants and premium bars.

the basics

Within minutes of two golf courses, the

Airport Proximity Puerto Vallarta International (PVR), 15 min.

diversions, such as watersports, theme

view accommodations in premium loca-

parties, live shows and movies on the

tions and a private concierge.

Rooms & Suites 229 Max Group Size 300 outdoor/250 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.2DREAMS Wedding Contact weddings.drevm@dreamsresorts.com Website dreamsresorts.com

112

D

EliteWeddingCollection.com

resort itself provides plenty of playful

beach—all complimentary as part of the Unlimited-Luxury program. Guests retreat to 229 sumptuous

With a seven-night stay in a Junior Suite Tropical View or higher, brides and grooms receive a complimentary wedding,

suites, all facing Banderas Bay or the

including the cake, bridal bouquet and a

Sierra Madre Mountains from terraces

sparkling wine reception for 10 guests. For

with private Jacuzzis. The Preferred Club

a more elaborate celebration, packages

takes the pampering one step further,

encompass spa treatments, a dressing

offering couples exclusive amenities and

assistant, photography, a live music trio,

services, such as a lounge serving

reception and dinner—turning the tropical

breakfast and refreshments daily, ocean-

dream wedding into a reality.

Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico

Occidental Grand Nuevo Vallarta

the basics Airport Proximity Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International (PVR), 20 mins.

H

appily situated along Banderas Bay,

club, fitness center, weekly manager’s

all-inclusive Occidental Grand

cocktail party and nightly entertainment

Nuevo Vallarta welcomes guests with

keep guests of all ages in high spirits.

Rooms & Suites 219, plus 51 in the Royal Club

completely redesigned and thoroughly modernized facilities on Mexico’s Pacific

every stay, but wedding and honeymoon

Warm and friendly service distinguishes

Max Group Size 600 outdoor/120 indoor

coast. The choice of 270 well-appointed

guests further benefit from packages

Onsite Coordinator Yes

accommodations includes 51 designated

designed to make special occasions

Room Rates From US$267

as Royal Club, which offers executive-level

carefree. An onsite coordinator tailors

Reservations 800.858.2258

service and added amenities. Royal Club

each wedding to the couple’s taste,

Wedding Contact Zoraida Castañeda; 877.622.9337, zcastaneda@armcus.com

patrons may dine in their own restaurant

orchestrating ceremonies that range

Website occidentalhotels.com

or sample international fare at Le Buffet,

from colonial Mexican traditional to

Italian and Mediterranean cuisine at Los

celebrity glamorous.

Olivos and authentic Mexican specialties at La Hacienda. Guests enjoy access to miles of pristine beach, plus two nearby golf courses, a shopping mall, seasonal whale watching and myriad watersports. Yet they needn’t leave the property at all to fill an active agenda. A tennis court, adult pool with children’s pool, supervised kids’

EliteWeddingCollection.com

113

Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa

“Our wedding was absolutely perfect. The coordinator and resort staff worked so hard to take care of all the details, including things we would have forgotten.”

H

uatulco overflows with lush Mexican

property, which is also home to the

jungle, mountains, rivers and Pacific

luxurious Dreams Spa by Pevonia.

coral reefs to explore along nine

three bridal packages, one complimentary

Dreams Huatulco Resort & Spa brings the

with minimal requirements and all including

privileges of Unlimited-Luxury to

the services of a wedding coordinator, who

Tangolunda Bay, home to the area’s finest

sees to everything from the legalities to

the basics

resorts, restaurants, shops and golf.

preparing the bridal dress and organizing

Unlimited-Luxury means just that.

the festivities. An ocean-view gazebo and

Airport Proximity Bahías de Huatulco International (HUX), 20 min.

Guests enjoy everything from 24-hour

the resort’s white-sand beach present

room service to complimentary activities

romantic venues to say “I do.”

John & Anna

Rooms & Suites 421 Max Group Size 300 outdoor/250 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.2DREAMS Wedding Contact weddings.drehu@dreamsresorts.com Website dreamsresorts.com

to gourmet food and premium beverages at a dozen restaurants and bars. They also have a choice of 421 upscale rooms and suites that face Tangolunda Bay, one of the region’s largest and most beautiful bays. Those staying in the Preferred Club savor many added perks, such as a private lounge serving daily refreshments and exceptional accommodations set in premium locations throughout the

114

Dreams Huatulco offers a selection of

unspoiled bays and 34 pristine beaches.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Huatulco, Oaxaca, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa

“We loved our wedding and all the services provided by the amazing staff at Secrets Huatulco. They made our day perfect.” Louise and Jeff

the basics Airport Proximity Bahías de Huatulco International (HUX), 30 min. Rooms & Suites 399 Max Group Size 300 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.GOSECRETS Wedding Contact weddings.sechu@secretsresorts.com Website secretsresorts.com

L

ong one of Mexico’s best-loved, best-kept secrets, Huatulco promises

boundless romance wrapped in the natural splendor of the Oaxacan coastline and nine sparkling bays. Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa offers couples romantic possibilities multiplied by Secrets’ ultramodern serenity and adults-only Unlimited-Luxury. Newlyweds might spend the day in their choice of 399 suites, where the pleasures start with views of rugged rock formations embracing the beach and

spa aficionados relax with treatments at

sapphire sea. Unlimited-Luxury goes on to

Secrets Spa by Pevonia.

include free 24-hour room and concierge

Bridal couples choose among three

services, minibars stocked daily and

packages—one of them free with

top-shelf drinks and gourmet meals at a

minimum requirements—that cater to a

selection of restaurants and bars. It also

range of tastes and budgets. All nuptial

covers most activities.

celebrations include event coordination,

For an additional fee, golfers can tee

service of a judge or minister, flowers,

off at Campo de Golf Tangolunda nearby,

wedding cake and sparkling wine, plus

divers and anglers head out to sea, while

many thoughtful extras.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

115

Akumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya

“Our wedding day was the best day of our lives. The resort staff went above and beyond and made our entire week-long stay truly incredible for us and all of our guests.”

C

ontemporary and yet Mayan, magical and yet tied to the land, five-star

Also on property: three beautiful

Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya invites couples

pools, a lazy river and numerous

to pledge their love on a pristine stretch

whirlpools. While the adults visit the gym

of Caribbean beach or in its Catholic

or the internationally acclaimed spa,

chapel overlooking the ocean. In fact, the

children can join organized programs

resort’s all-inclusive policy includes a

tailored to their age group. Anytime a

wedding free of charge with a minimum

day, couples have their pick of eight à la

the basics

of 30 rooms booked. Other wedding

carte restaurants and a buffet, 13 bars, a

packages come with the same romantic

coffee bar and a smoothie bar.

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 75 min.

choices and more, from rehearsal dinners

Lisa & Cliff

Rooms & Suites 943 suites Max Group Size 180 outdoor/150 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates US$100-$140 Reservations 866.408.9995 Wedding Contact Aracely Tovar; 866.408.9995, weddings.mx@sirenishotels.com Website sirenishotels.com

to bridal spa services and a talented DJ for the reception. Surrounding the 943 sumptuous suites, guests find an authentic Mayan ruin as well as a white-sand beach. Divers and snorkelers will love the resort’s location in front of the Rivera Maya’s largest coral reef and near a sweet-and-salt-water lagoon teeming with parrotfish, huge turtles and other

116

tropical sea creatures.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa

“Our beautiful beach wedding was everything we imagined and more. It was the best day of our lives. Even our guests say it’s the best wedding they’ve been to.” Gerard & Heather

B

eautifully situated at the tip of Punta Cancún, Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa

is virtually surrounded by the Caribbean Sea’s cobalt-blue waters. The UnlimitedLuxury escape is located in the heart of Cancún’s hotel zone. Yet, with its seven oceanfront acres, including a private

the basics

lagoon and quiet stretch of beach, the

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 25 min.

as those looking for romance and seclusion.

Rooms & Suites 376 Max Group Size 400 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.2DREAMS Wedding Contact weddings.drecu@dreamsresorts.com Website dreamsresorts.com

resort caters to adventure seekers as well Most of the resort’s 376 luxurious

restaurants, bars and lounges, and most activities. Not to be missed, a swim with

guestrooms and suites face the water,

the resident dolphins at Delphinus

while all come with furnished terraces,

Dreams Cancun.

entertainment systems and baths with

Couples looking to say “I do” onsite

deep-soaking tubs. Couples upgrading to

can enjoy a free wedding package

the Preferred Club have access to a range

comprising such details as the bride’s

of additional services and perks.

bouquet, preparation of the wedding

Of course, all guests enjoy the

attire, cake and sparkling wine for 10

privileges of Unlimited-Luxury, which

guests. Also included: the assistance of a

include 24-hour room service, gourmet

professional coordinator and use of the

meals and top-shelf drinks at any of the

resort’s breathtaking gazebo.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

117

Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancún Resort & Spa

“Our wedding coordinator and the Fiesta Americana staff worked so hard to make our wedding day exactly how we pictured it. We will return to the resort again soon.” Marshall & Kaory

the basics Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 25 min. Rooms & Suites 602 Max Group Size 2,200 outdoor/1,000 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes

A

passion for perfection explains why, year after year, Fiesta Americana

Grand Coral Beach Cancún Resort & Spa holds its reputation as a standard bearer of international sophistication in the area’s famous hotel zone. Facing the island’s most coveted white-sand beach at Cancún Point, the hotel earns accolades year after year for its blend of top-notch hospitality and luxury. Seasoned coordinators and impeccably trained staff orchestrate the details for weddings in 21 rooms for events. While the Grand Coral Ballroom holds the largest receptions for up to 1,000 guests and comes with a stage and dance floor, the

presents suggestions for a wide range of

Reservations 800.500.2000

beach and terraces off the lagoon-like

theme party decor, from a sophisticated

Wedding Contact Laura Robles; gruposfacb@posadas.com

pool specialize in more intimate

Latin nightclub scene to a folkloric

celebrations—all nearly as magical under

Mexican fiesta to an underwater fantasy.

Room Rates From US$195

Website coralbeachbytwe.com

the stars as when sunset casts its spell over Isla Mujeres offshore. A special showroom

118

EliteWeddingCollection.com

In addition to unmatched resources for ceremonies and receptions, the all-suite

When hunger calls, 24-hour room service and nine bars and restaurants answer with a full range of moods and menus. The choices include everything from intimate French-Mediterranean elegance at Le Basilic to refined Mexican fine dining at La Joya to fresh local seafood served under Isla Contoy’s giant palapa roof by the pool. As a bonus, a brand-new 40,000-square-foot spa promises the ultimate in beautification and relief from any hint of pre- or post-wedding jitters with a choice of unique gem therapy hotel offers an international style of

offer especially generous living areas and

treatments and 10 step hydrotherapy

hospitality ideal for trip-of-a-lifetime

terraces for couples wishing to entertain

rituals. The few short steps to the resort’s

weddings and honeymoons, from an

“at home,” and the Presidential Suite

marina and Cancún’s premier beach,

impressive atrium lobby showcasing the

scales the heights of luxury with over

shopping and nightlife make not only the

ocean view and museum-quality Mexican

5,400 square feet of space. It and 58 other

hotel itself, but also the location, a top

art to private sea-facing terraces or

suites make up the Grand Club, crowned

pick for world-class weddings and

balconies off every suite. Master Suites

by a private concierge lounge.

honeymoons alike.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

119

Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Hyatt Regency Cancun

“Our wedding coordinator’s hospitality and attention to us and our guests were excellent, as was her helpfulness during our entire experience.”

S

ewn into water’s edge in the heart of

buffets, evening cocktails and

Cancún’s hotel zone, Hyatt Regency

appetizers, personal concierge service

Cancun provides a spectacular lovers’ escape. Sweeping views of the land and a

Weddings at the resort acquire

magnificent white-sand beach induce

fairytale proportions, whether shared with

romance, while nearby cultural attractions,

three or 150 guests. Bridal packages

shopping and nightlife build memories to

include such special touches as in-room

the basics

come. Guests can visit Mayan ruins, dance

flower decoration and sparkling wine

the night away in Cancún or relax in a

upon arrival. Couples can also sign up

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 25 min.

shaded palapa overlooking the Caribbean

for a romantic dinner for two on the

Sea. Golfers tee off on the adjacent

beach, sharing a special menu and a

Pok-Ta-Pok course.

bottle of bubbly.

Jonathan & Lillian

Rooms & Suites 295 Max Group Size 150 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates US$149-$289 Reservations 52.998.891.5555 Wedding Contact Social Events Executive; 52.998.891.5555, ext. 4060, socialevents.hrcancun@hyatt.com Website cancun.regency.hyatt.com

A palatial glass-domed lobby sets the stage for a grand getaway. Modern decor draws inspiration from local color palettes for a warm, authentically Mexican ambience. Guestrooms pamper with ocean-view balconies, plush robes and small dining tables for romantic in-room meals. Regency Club level rooms enjoy complimentary breakfast

120

and other luxurious extras.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico

ME Cancun

the basics Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 15 minutes

A

t ME Cancun, couples step into a world where luxury knows no

bounds and virtually anything is possible.

Rooms & Suites 424

The AAA Four Diamond Award–winning

Max Group Size 300 outdoors/indoors

resort, a member of the esteemed Meliá

Onsite Coordinator Yes

Hotels International group, fuses sexy

Room Rates From US$149

sophistication with comfort and style on

Reservations 866.640.9686

the Caribbean Sea. Guests live like

Wedding Contact Irma Del Ángel, Sales Manager; 52.998.881.2604, Irma.delangel@melia.com

celebrities here, whether lounging on

Website mecancun.com

lively Rose Bar.

shady Balinese daybeds, sipping cocktails at The Beach Club or turning heads at Accommodations invite extended

with designing a customized wellness plan. Not surprising, brides and grooms who wish to take their vows at ME Cancun

stays, with plush king-size beds, monsoon

receive first-rate attention from the

showers, flat screen TVs. The Level, a

resort’s event staff. Wedding planners

collection of adults-only premium suites,

promise to fulfill every bridal couple’s

also enjoy private Jacuzzis, preferred

fantasy, from flowers to music to

dinner reservations and daily

spectacular photo ops. Ceremony

complimentary breakfast. VIP treatment

options range from a grand celebration in

continues at YHI Spa, where a Spa Valet

an elegant ballroom to intimate

assists couples and their wedding guests

beachside affairs.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

121

Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun

“Our Now Sapphire wedding was amazing. The staff was out of this world. The reception food was wonderful, and the DJ kept us dancing for hours.” Leanna & David

ridal-white beaches, shimmering blue seas, friendly people and

blazing sunsets make the Caribbean coast of Mexico a natural for destination weddings. Couples at Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun can pledge “forever” on the sands fronting the resort or in an

the basics

oversized gazebo that appears to float

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 20 min.

backdrop of never-ending sky and sea.

Rooms & Suites 496 Max Group Size 250 outdoor/350 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 877.NOW.9953 Wedding Contact weddings.nosrc@nowresorts.com Website nowresorts.com

122

B

EliteWeddingCollection.com

above the infinity-edge pool against a Three unique bridal packages tailor

rise directly from the gardens, where a

events to fill individual wishes, and all

broad, looping path invites jogging in the

include a dedicated wedding

morning and starlit strolls at night.

coordinator, flowers, cake and even a rose petal–strewn wedding night. The resort’s layout and architecture

Couples can count on a honeymoon of pure, unadulterated bliss thanks to the all-adult, Unlimited-Luxury policy. This

borrow from Mayan village design to

program includes a vast choice of

create a down-to-earth vibe with touches

activities on land and sea—plus all food

of out-of-this-world magic. While the

and beverage from room service, five bars

public buildings look as though they rest

and lounges and six specialty res-

on lily ponds, the private suite structures

taurants—in the price of their stay.

Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Paradisus Cancun

the basics Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 15 min.

O

verlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea and Nichupté

Lagoon, in the heart of Cancun’s hotel

Rooms & Suites 678

zone, Paradisus Cancun promises the

Max Group Size 300 outdoor/700 indoor

perfect blend of elegance and comfort.

Onsite Coordinator Yes

A AAA Four-Diamond–awarded property

Room Rates From US$180

since 2006, the beachfront resort is an

Reservations 305.669.2941, 877.27.0872

expert at luxurious getaways, and

Wedding Contact info@paradisusromance.com Website paradisus.com

especially weddings and honeymoons. Most of the 678 stylish suites feature spacious living areas, private terraces facing the water and tubs for two.

swimming pools and the luxurious YHI

Couples staying in one of the Royal

Spa. Cancún’s attractions beckon just 20

Service suites enjoy additional services,

minutes away.

from private check-in and checkout to

Wedding couples can take their vows on

daily continental breakfast to special

the white-sand beach, poolside or in a lush

pillow and soap menus.

garden. Afterward, a reception for up to

Guests choose among a range of

1,100 guests may be arranged in an ele-

amenities and activities, including à la

gant ballroom. A number of wedding and

carte dining in seven restaurants, nine

honeymoon packages allow couples to

holes of golf, exciting watersports, four

further custom-design their day.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

123

Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

THE Royal Cancun

“Our coordinator went above and beyond to make our wedding special. The setup was amazing and the food incredible. Everybody still talks about the ‘best wedding they ever attended.’”

D

esigned with romance, relaxation and

terrace or balcony, but each features the

luxury in mind, THE Royal Cancun

resort’s signature Royal Service, including

offers a dreamy getaway by the Caribbean

Royal Exclusive Housekeeping, ocean-view

Sea. The Gourmet-Luxury all-inclusive,

baths with rain showers, loaded iPods and

all-suites adults-only resort—a recipient of

24-hour complimentary room service.

the International Star Diamond Award for

where guests dine on anything from

every turn, making each wedding a

French-Mexican fusion cuisine to gourmet

the basics

celebration to cherish forever.

Spanish specialties to the unique daily

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 20 min.

than eight wedding packages, all

ultimate in relaxation, couples can enjoy

including the services of an experienced

the resort’s most luxurious feature,

wedding coordinator, the cake and added

eco-holistic SPAzul.

Trent & Laura

Rooms & Suites 307 suites Max Group Size 100 outdoor/450 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From US$165 (all-inclusive) Reservations 800.466.1289 Wedding Contact Paty Romero; weddingsales@realresorts.com Website realresorts.com/weddings

Brides and grooms choose from more

touches such as breakfast in bed and spa treatments for two. Many couples say their vows in a barefoot ceremony on the beach, followed by dinner in an elegant ballroom. The resort is also home to Cancún’s only seaside Catholic chapel. All-suite accommodations not only come with Jacuzzi tubs and a private

124

Dining takes center stage at the resort,

five-star excellence—indulges couples at

EliteWeddingCollection.com

menus at the Chef’s Plate. For the

Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Secrets The Vine Cancun

“Our entire experience from beginning to end was flawless. We were treated like royalty. Our experience is one that will never be forgotten!” Emily & Miguel

the basics Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 20 min. Rooms & Suites 495 suites Max Group Size 400 outdoor/200 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.GOSECRETS Wedding Contact weddings.sevcu@secretsresorts.com Website secretsresorts.com

W

hen Secrets The Vine Cancun debuted in August 2012, it will

become Cancún’s first Secrets Resort & Spa. In design and amenities, the Unlimited-Luxury resort distills the good life, exemplified in an extensive wine cellar showcasing 3,000 varieties for tastings and pairing with gourmet cuisine at a choice of seven restaurants. A taste of the good life plays out in

range from land and watersports to

every aspect of the adults-only resort.

movies on the beach, dance classes and

The 495 guestrooms, for instance, feature

evening entertainment. Like nearly

Italian porcelain floors, private ocean-view

everything, activities are part of the

balconies and luxury linens. The

inclusive, Unlimited-Luxury lifestyle.

12,580-square-foot spa does its part with

Wedding couples, too, have plenty of

a variety of signature treatments and

options to create their dream event,

hydrotherapy experiences, including

including multiple stunning venues and

couple’s treatments and a salon for

several packages to suit any taste or

prepping for the big day.

budget. An experienced wedding

Life at the resort can stay as active or relaxing as you please. Daily choices

coordinator stands by from the moment the couple makes their reservations.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

125

Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Meliá Cozumel All Inclusive Golf & Beach Resort

“Our experience at Meliá Cozumel resort was wonderful. The staff did an excellent job and provided great service. We recommend this resort for its staff, facilities and view.”

M

eliá Cozumel All Inclusive Golf &

volleyball match. The evening begins with

Beach Resort makes the perfect

a romantic dinner and piano serenade at

home base for experiencing la isla’s

Café Paraíso Restaurant—and from there,

natural and historical splendors. Top-

a theater performance or live music and a

notch service and stunning ocean views

nightcap at the lobby bar.

offer a fine welcome after an inspiring day

the resort and their loved ones as Meliá

Mayan ruins at San Gervasio or snapping

Cozumel’s romance specialists see to

the basics

photos of wildlife at Chankanaab Lagoon

every detail of the wedding celebration.

National Park, culture seekers will delight

Customizable packages fit a variety of

Airport Proximity Cozumel International (CZM), 8 min.

in Cozumel’s brilliant diversity.

budgets and styles.

Cass & Lauren

Rooms & Suites 146 Max Group Size 250 outdoor/100 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates US$200-$400 (all-inclusive) Reservations 52.987.872.9892 Wedding Contact Yessica Vazquez; yessica.vazquez@melia-cozumel.com.mx Website romancebymelia.com, meliacozumel.com

Still, with the resort’s extensive activities menu, plush accommodations, premier golfing, plus all-inclusive food and drinks, many couples happily spend their entire vacation on property. A dip in the pool after a game of tennis may start the day, followed by a Caribbean-inspired lunch buffet at the Restaurant La Isla. Sun bathing fills most of the afternoon, with short breaks to join in a friendly beach

126

Brides and grooms can relax and enjoy

of sightseeing. Whether exploring ancient

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Occidental Grand Cozumel

the basics Airport Proximity Cozumel International (CZM), 20 min.

S

imple elegance sets the stage for

rooms, a custom pillow menu and access

romance at Occidental Grand

to the exclusive Royal Club Restaurant.

Cozumel, where couples find the perfect

Occidental Grand Cozumel makes

Rooms & Suites 213, plus 32 in the Royal Club

blend of eco-conscious practices and

dream weddings a reality, whether lovers

upscale amenities. Set within a nature

say “I do” in a classic beach ceremony or tie

Max Group Size 130 outdoor/indoor

preserve on Cozumel’s southern coast,

the knot underwater, clad in scuba gear.

Onsite Coordinator Yes

the all-inclusive boutique hotel flanks one

Wedding packages cover the essentials for

Room Rates From US$277 (all-inclusive)

of the world’s most beautiful beaches,

an unforgettable event and also present

Reservations 800.858.2258

Playa San Francisco.

countless options to personalize the big

Wedding Contact Zoraida Castañeda; 877.622.9337, zcastaneda@armcus.com Website occidentalhotels.com

Loungers spend the day poolside or

day. What’s more, wedding groups booking

strolling the mangrove-lined boardwalks,

10 or more deluxe rooms for three nights

while tennis, diving, snorkeling and

qualify for a free wedding package.

volleyball satisfy active guests. Tours of the fascinating surroundings, including eco-preserves and ancient Mayan ruins, enrich the vacation experience. The resort’s 245 deluxe rooms and suites promise comfort at day’s end. For couples seeking that extra level of personalized service, the posh Royal Club treats guests to private check-in, larger

EliteWeddingCollection.com

127

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Barceló Maya Palace Deluxe

“Our wedding was everything we could have dreamed of and more. The resort was so accommodating and went above and beyond for us and our guests. Everything was perfect!” Natalie & Christopher

esigned to celebrate the Caribbean Sea at its front door, Barceló Maya

Palace Deluxe rests on one of the Riviera Maya’s best beaches—a white-sand beauty embracing a mile of coast an hour south of Cancún. Of the five hotels that make up the Barceló Maya Beach Resort, Barceló Maya Palace Deluxe promises

the basics

couples the highest level of luxury, plus

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 45 min.

options that comes with proximity to

Rooms & Suites 756 suites Max Group Size 1,500 outdoor/700 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates US$152-$280 (all-inclusive, per person, in a Junior Suite Deluxe) Reservations 800.227.2356 Wedding Contact Claudia Vázquez; 52.984.875.1500, ext. 6766, weddings@barcelomaya.com Website barceloweddings.com

128

D

EliteWeddingCollection.com

the inherent convenience and expanded sister properties. The resort welcomes guests of all ages to a colonial-inspired village, one that incorporates view-filled guestrooms brimming with distinctive character and

living space. For dining, numerous restaurants and

abundant amenities. Couples who want

bars promise a culinary world tour of

the very best in accommodations opt for

flavors, from French to Brazilian to

a Presidential Suite, which includes a

Mexican to Asian. Plus, Barceló’s all-

personal Jacuzzi, Premium Club benefits

inclusive resort package makes dining as

and nearly 2,000 square feet of high-end

easy as it is pleasurable.

equipment for staying fit while in paradise. Nearby, the ruins of Tulum, the nightlife of CancĂşn, nature parks, Playa del Carmen and abundant shopping provide something for every age and interest. Nuptials held here benefit from the services of a certified onsite coordinator who pulls together the myriad details that make each ceremony special. Couples take their vows on the beach or in a gazebo wrapped in gorgeous views. Some choose a table on the beach for a celebratory meal. Or, for larger affairs, generous indoor facilities can host Similarly vast choices distinguish

the possibilities. Land-based highlights

gatherings for up to 700 guests in a more

recreational options as well. Naturally,

inevitably include the U Spa, which takes

formal atmosphere. Like wedding couples,

with the ocean at its doorstep,

its cues for healthy living from Mayan

honeymooners can opt for special packages

watersports abound: sailing, fishing,

philosophies and incorporates them into

designed to heighten the occasion. After all,

diving, snorkeling, waterskiing and

treatments and facilities like a temazcal, a

whether taking vows or commencing life

windsurfing, to name a few. A host of

flotation room, a couples suites and more.

together, the Riviera Maya’s natural beauty

oceanfront swimming pools expand on

The fitness center holds the latest

spells certain romance.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

129

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Banyan Tree Mayakoba

the basics Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 40 min.

O

n the Riviera Maya’s southeastern

culinary offerings, including oceanfront

shore, near Playa del Carmen,

Sands, Saffron, the brand’s signature Thai

Banyan Tree Mayakoba offers a tranquil

restaurant, and Ixchel–Goddess of the

Rooms & Suites 120 pool villas

and romantic escape for couples in love.

Moon, a floating restaurant for sunset

Max Group Size 200 outdoor/indoor

Set in the resort community of Mayakoba,

dinners around the Mayakoba Lagoon.

Onsite Coordinator Yes

the villa retreat continues the Banyan Tree

Room Rates From US$380

brand’s “sensory experience” philosophy,

stunning setting for wedding

Reservations 52.984.877.3688, ext. 7338

promising rejuvenation of mind, body and

celebrations. The onsite Romance

Wedding Contact Diana Romo; RomanceCoordinator-Mayakoba@ banyantree.com

soul amid awe-inspiring natural beauty.

Coordinator assists couples with all bridal

Website banyantree.com

built into a carefully conserved landscape of

peacefulness of the resort and the

protected mangroves, dunes, low forests

surrounding Riviera Maya.

The 120 private pool villas are discreetly

and coral reefs. Designed with romance in mind, villas face away from neighbors and feature large, Asian-inspired living spaces. Outside, couples indulge in their private pool and large terrace. The elegance and exclusivity of Banyan Tree Mayakoba are also apparent in the secluded Banyan Tree Spa, the private beach club and the range of

130

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Banyan Tree Mayakoba promises a

essentials, leaving them free to enjoy the

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Blue Diamond Riviera Maya

the basics Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 40 min.

P

eaceful waterways lace through the Blue Diamond Riviera Maya’s 36 acres

on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. In this

Rooms & Suites 128 suites

adults-only paradise, a member of The

Max Group Size 100 outdoor/indoor

Small Luxury Hotels of the World, guests

Onsite Coordinator Yes

find sanctuary in a choice of 128

Room Rates From US$716

generously sized suites with premium

Reservations 52.984.206.4100

amenities that include raindrop

Wedding Contact Patricia González; weddings@grupobluebay.com

showerheads, spacious balconies and

that range from windsurfing to a

high-tech amenities. Some suites add

complimentary ocean dive or snorkeling

Website bluediamond-rivieramaya.com

private outdoor bathtubs or plunge pools,

tour. Three restaurants and two bars, a

and all feature views of the ocean, rivers,

full-service spa and fitness center, and

lagoon or mystical Mayan cenote.

nearby golf furnish further highlights.

The resort offers as much activity or

The location lends itself quite naturally

relaxation as guests could want. For

to life’s memory-making moments,

starters, the resort boasts more beach per

whether wedding ceremonies on the

room than any other resort in the Riviera

beach or champagne breakfasts in bed.

Maya. Along with endless sugar-white

The services of a wedding coordinator,

sand for sunning and strolling, guests

plus a complimentary wedding or

enjoy yoga, wine-tasting and cooking

honeymoon package, leave brides and

classes, daily live music and watersports

grooms free to simply relax and enjoy.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

131

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Occidental Grand Xcaret

the basics Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 45 min.

S

ituated on an historic, ecological preserve adjacent to Xcaret eco park,

the all-inclusive Occidental Grand Xcaret

Rooms & Suites 715, plus 32 in the Royal Club

is a nature-lovers’ heaven on earth.

Max Group Size 800 outdoor/600 indoor

lush greenery, dotted with crystal blue

Onsite Coordinator Yes

free-form pools and swirling whirlpools.

Room Rates From US$269 (all-inclusive)

Silvery river channels wind through the

Each of the resort’s 760 guestrooms is

Reservations 800.858.2258

furnished in contemporary Mexican style,

by the resort’s onsite bridal consultant. To

Wedding Contact Zoraida Castañeda; 877.622.9337, zcastaneda@armcus.com

with dark wood accents and sleek tiled

say “I do,” brides and grooms choose

Website occidentalhotels.com

floors. Also part of the resort, the Royal

from venues like a beach club, gazebo,

Club and its posh atmosphere offer

ballroom and a Mayan ruin site.

discerning travelers the highest level of

All wedding packages include the

personalized attention and ultra-plush

services of a judge, the decor, cake and

accommodations. Royal Club guests

champagne toast. Plus, options abound

enjoy such special perks as a private

for those who like to personalize their big

reception area as well as access to the

day. Groups booking 20 or more deluxe

exclusive Royal Club Restaurant & Lounge

rooms for four nights qualify for a free

and a separate solarium and pool.

wedding package and can also take

Weddings at Occidental Grand Xcaret are intimate, brilliant celebrations, guided

132

EliteWeddingCollection.com

advantage of Occidental’s online information and reservations tool.

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmeralda

the basics

T

he family-friendly Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmeralda shares its

Airport Proximity Cancún International Airport (CUN), 45 min.

picturesque setting with the adults-only

Rooms & Suites 510

Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla. It

Max Group Size 500

also shares its all-inclusive approach to

Onsite Coordinator Yes

hospitality and a vast common area of

Room Rates From US$191

restaurants and lounges serving

Reservations 305.669.2941, 877.276.0872

international cuisine and premium-brand

Wedding Contact info@paradisusromance.com

courts, game room and exclusive shops.

Website paradisus.com

La Esmeralda’s family concierge

aesthetics. Select accommodations,

stands by to ensure a fun-filled stay for

designed with families in mind, offer

every member of the group. The resort

thoughtful extras like nightly milk-and-

places guests mere steps from the beach

cookies turndown.

drinks, plus an extensive spa, tennis

and a short drive from area attractions

Thoughtful amenities factor into

like Xcaret, Akumal, Xel-Ha and Mayan

wedding celebrations, as well. The resort

archaeological sites.

offers a choice of themed packages that

Guests reside in a choice of 510 suites

reflect each couple’s personal style—

that include 56 swim-up suites—the most

whether elegant or bohemian. Plus they

of any resort in Mexico. All come with the

have the full support of the resort’s

latest appointments and contemporary

romance team, every step of the way.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

133

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla

the basics

H

ospitality at Paradisus Playa del

and scores of area attractions ensure

Carmen La Perla centers on

endless diversions.

Airport Proximity Cancún International Airport (CUN), 45 min.

tranquility and pampering in an adults-

Rooms & Suites 394

only, all-inclusive environment on Mexico’s

packages for honeymoons and

Max Group Size 500

Riviera Maya. Couples hide away in a

anniversaries, as do bridal couples, who

Onsite Coordinator Yes

choice of 394 oversized suites, including

select from designer-inspired options.

Room Rates from US$202

60 they can swim to. For the heights of

The setting incorporates a number of

Reservations 305.669.2941, 877.276.0872

pampering, they might select one of the

dreamy venues for picturesque

120 Royal Service suites, attended by

ceremonies—among the most beautiful:

Wedding Contact info@paradisusromance.com

discreet butlers who answer every need.

the resort’s own white-sand beach.

Website paradisus.com

terrace Jacuzzis, preferred reservations at

Royal Service guests also enjoy private specialty restaurants and à la carte meals throughout the day in La Palapa. La Perla shares a central area known as the Zocalo with sister resort Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Esmeralda, its family-friendly counterpart. The Zocalo holds the health club and spa, plus shops, restaurants and bars. The beach right outside the door, five nearby golf courses

134

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Romance seekers enjoy a choice of

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Royal Hideaway Playacar

“Everything was perfect from start to finish thanks to our coordinator and his team. The ceremony and reception venues were gorgeous and the food unbelievable.” Chris & Kate

the basics Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 45 min. Rooms & Suites 200 Max Group Size 150 outdoor/120 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From US$603 (all-inclusive) Reservations 800.999.9182 Wedding Contact Zoraida Castañeda; 877.622.9337, zcastaneda@armcus.com Website royalhideaway.com

I

nfinitely luxurious amenities, superior service and striking ocean views set

Royal Hideaway Playacar apart from the crowd on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The first adults-only, all-inclusive resort to earn the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award, this luxurious retreat appeals to discerning couples looking to live, and wed, like royalty. Sumptuous two- and three-floor villas feature Mexican colonial-style architecture

pools, on an oceanfront solarium deck or at the resort’s full-service spa. With the commitment to arrange only

and come with jetted tubs and furnished

one wedding per day, Royal Hideaway

balconies or terraces facing the Caribbean

Playacar ensures brides and grooms have

Sea. Added touches include unparalleled

the wedding staff’s undivided attention.

personal service, a private concierge per

A selection of wedding and vow renewal

villa and plush robes.

packages includes the essentials. The

Only steps away, water enthusiasts can

resort’s bridal team can also provide

kayak, scuba dive and windsurf, while

countless options for couples looking to

landlubbers enjoy tennis and bocce ball.

personalize their event. Groups booking

Those seeking to unwind can do so

10 or more Luxury rooms for three nights

beachside, by the infinity or relaxation

qualify for a free wedding package.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

135

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

THE Royal Playa del Carmen

“Our coordinator and the resort staff were exceptional and made our wedding a beautiful experience. We couldn’t have asked for more. We have wonderful memories for years to come.” Bill & Amaris

HE Royal Playa del Carmen combines the romance of a tropical beach

resort with the fun and excitement of the Riviera Maya’s top spots for shopping and nightlife. Set on the Caribbean Sea and mere steps from Playa del Carmen’s famed Fifth Avenue, this Gourmet-Luxury all-inclusive, all-suites, adults-only

the basics

escape—a recipient of the International

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 45 min.

excellence—truly offers guests the best

Rooms & Suites 513 Max Group Size 400 outdoor/450 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From US$161 (all-inclusive) Reservations 800.466.1289 Wedding Contact Paty Romero; weddingsales@realresorts.com Website realresorts.com/weddings

136

T

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Star Diamond Award for five-star of both worlds. Couples exchanging their vows on

resort offers. A recent property expansion not only

property can choose from eight different

added a brand-new pool area and hip

wedding packages and a host of venues

coffee shop, but another gourmet

such as the beach, gazebo and elegant

restaurant, el Mediterráneo, bringing the

ballroom. A skilled wedding planner helps

number of casual and à la carte dining

tailor the event to the unique wishes of

options to an impressive 11. Also part of

each bride and groom. Plus, with a Civil

the redesign, most of the 513 luxurious

Registry office onsite, couples can truly

suites now afford ocean views or a

relax and take advantage of all that the

location flanking the sea.

Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun

“We could not have asked for a more perfect wedding. The staff is absolutely amazing, from the time you arrive to when you depart. We recommend this resort to anybody considering a destination wedding or romantic getaway.”

S

teeped in the vibrant culture and natural splendor of the Riviera Maya,

the AAA Four Diamond Award–winning Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun woos Mexico lovers with classical Mediterranean architecture, hacienda-inspired accommodations and magnificent sea views. The concierge-style, adults-only

second largest barrier reef. Thanks to the

resort reigns over 71 acres of beachfront

resort brand’s concept of Unlimited-

the basics

property close to Playa del Carmen.

Luxury, nonmotorized ocean sports and

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 35 min.

suites feature four-poster king or double

carte service of fine food and beverages.

beds, marble baths with jetted whirlpools

The personalized attention from the

Aaron & Katie

Rooms & Suites 290 Max Group Size 220 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.GOSECRETS Wedding Contact weddings.secrc@secretsresorts.com Website secretsresorts.com

Luxuriously appointed rooms and

other activities are complimentary as is à la

and private patios. As Secrets’ only

Secrets Capri team extends to every

Preferred Club property, the resort treats

wedding arranged here, with professionals

all guests to such special amenities as a

making such details as the decor and

personal concierge, fruit and sparkling

catering their highest priority. Three distinct

wine upon arrival and daily refreshments.

wedding packages, one of them

Mere steps from the rooms, couples

complimentary, allow couples to customize

find an expansive pool area and miles of

their dream event, choosing from a long list

white-sand beach—flanked by the world’s

of services and special touches.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

137

Playa Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

The Beloved Hotel Playa Mujeres

“Our wedding planner made our event even more amazing than we dreamed it could be. The staff, accommodations and level of service received during our stay were impeccable.” Matthew & Ashley

the basics Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 25 min. Rooms & Suites 109 suites Max Group Size 100 outdoor/60 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates US$480 (all-inclusive) Reservations 888.692.6232, 866.519.0383 (CAN) Wedding Contact weddings@belovedhotels.com Website belovedhotels.com

W

ho could resist a chance to marry

they may select a restaurant or lounge for

or honeymoon at The Beloved

celebrations with urban panache.

Hotel? Aside from a name that under-

include spa pampering, varied dining at a

the five-star, all-inclusive getaway

choice of four restaurants and long hours

provides a tranquil beachfront stay in

of relaxation on the beach. More active

Playa Mujeres, greater Cancún’s newest

types opt for workouts at the fitness

luxury resort destination.

center, fishing, boating and seaside golf.

With just 109 suites, the hotel specializes

EliteWeddingCollection.com

The hotel opens its arms to children as

in personalized service and amenities.

well, and offers a complimentary Kids

While all accommodations come with

Club and full roster of pint-sized fun.

marble bathrooms, complimentary Wi-Fi and furnished terraces, several of the eight suite categories heighten the luxury with options like swim-up access, private plunge pools or rooftop terraces. Villa Balam-ha, a two-bedroom mansion with secluded beach area, makes a pictureperfect setting for exchanging vows or hosting intimate receptions. Couples often choose to wed on the beach, of course, or

138

Highlights of a Beloved experience

scores the hotel’s devotion to romance,

Playa Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Excellence Playa Mujeres

“We had an amazing wedding ceremony. Our coordinator took care of everything and made it perfect. Our minister was great, and the pictures and the video turned out fantastic.” Dustin & Jennifer

E

xcellence Playa Mujeres exceeds even the highest expectations for

natural beauty. Cradled between lush jungle and pristine beaches on an untouched 20-mile peninsula adjoining a national wildlife preserve, this recently opened haven promises ultimate seclusion and romance. Guests disap-

authentic Swedish saunas, Roman

the basics

pear in a relaxed, adults-only atmos-

caldariums, ice therapy and more for a

phere of all-inclusive luxury. Just 15

relaxing break after a day exploring the

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 25 min.

minutes away, Cancún entices visitors

nearby ruins or playing a round on the links.

Rooms & Suites 450 Max Group Size 450 outdoor/indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From US$500 (all-inclusive) Reservations 866.540.2585, 866.451.1592 (CAN) Wedding Contact weddings.xpm@excellence-resorts.com Website excellence-resorts.com

with world-class shopping, restaurants and cultural attractions. Top-notch amenities and service

At Excellence Playa Mujeres, couples say “I do” before a backdrop of radiant sea and powder-white sand. The resort offers a

guarantee an unforgettable escape from

bridal package that is complimentary with a

everyday life. Guests can treat themselves

seven-night stay in an Excellence Club

to a swim-up suite with direct pool access

Junior Suite. It includes the personalized

or splurge on a junior suite—complete

assistance of a wedding specialist, services

with a rooftop terrace, private HydroSpa

of a civil judge or nondenominational

pool and panoramic views. The Spa at

minister, help with preparing nuptial attire,

Excellence Playa Mujeres features

a wedding cake and sparkling wine.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

139

Puerto Aventuras, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa

“Our wedding was wonderful. Our coordinator was a pleasure to work with and the service, food and setting surrounding the wedding were nothing short of perfect.” Matthew & Nicole

ow much fun and romance can one couple pack into a wedding at

Dreams Puerto Aventuras Resort & Spa? The answer: unlimited. For brides and grooms, UnlimitedLuxury ensures that everything’s included—from the wedding coordinator to the transportation, catering, venue

the basics

decoration, legalities and preparation of

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 60 min.

wedding packages is complimentary with

first anniversary trip to any of the many

minimal requirements, while the others

Dreams Resort & Spa locations.

Rooms & Suites 305 Max Group Size 200 outdoor/150 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.2DREAMS Wedding Contact weddings.drepa@dreamsresorts.com Website dreamsresorts.com

140

H

EliteWeddingCollection.com

the bridal dress. The first of three

include extras like bridal hairstyling and gourmet dinner parties. Couples can say forever on the resort’s

To complete the resort experience, Dreams’ Unlimited-Luxury policy includes premium-brand beverages and gourmet

white-sand beach or at the palapa-style

cuisine at five bars and six restaurants,

wedding gazebo as the sun sets across the

along with a range of activities in and out

Caribbean Sea. Those who stay a minimum

of the water. After a fun-filled day, guests

of seven nights and book one of the

retreat to 305 rooms and suites, all

resort’s wedding or honeymoon packages

featuring private balconies or terraces with

receive complimentary nights toward their

views of the sea, marina, pools or gardens.

Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa

“Everything was perfect. The resort grounds are meticulously maintained. The food was delicious. It was our ‘Dreams’ wedding.” Jim & Jaime

the basics

L

ocated in the historic Riviera Maya, between laid-back Playa del Carmen

and six lounges and bars. With multiple stunning wedding

and bustling Cancún, Dreams Riviera

venues and custom bridal packages to

Cancun Resort & Spa promises couples

choose from, events at the resort are

the best of both worlds. Guests at the

nothing short of spectacular. Packages—

Unlimited-Luxury escape can relax in a

one of them complimentary—include a

romantic setting of sun-drenched

professional wedding coordinator to

swimming pools, palm-fringed sands and

handle catering, decor, transportation

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 20 min.

lush tropical gardens, or they can fill their

and all the details in between. Plus,

Rooms & Suites 486

day with activities like ocean sports, golf

honeymooners who book seven nights or

and tours around the Yucatán peninsula.

more earn complimentary nights toward a

Max Group Size 500 outdoor/400 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 886.2DREAMS Wedding Contact weddings.drerc@dreamsresorts.com Website dreamsresorts.com

The resort’s unique octagonal rooms

return stay for their first anniversary.

and suites come with private Jacuzzis and balconies facing the sea, pool or gardens. Guests also enjoy spacious living areas, cozy beds and minibars refreshed daily. As part of Dreams’ exclusive Unlimited-Luxury privileges, around-theclock room service is complimentary, as are gourmet cuisine and premium brand drinks in eight theme restaurants, a buffet

EliteWeddingCollection.com

141

Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Excellence Riviera Cancun

“The Excellence staff did everything you can imagine to make our wedding day magic. It’s a moment we will remember for the rest of our lives.”

F

ew Riviera Maya resorts afford the

in an Excellence Club Junior Suite. It comes

seclusion of Excellence Riviera

with the personalized assistance of a

Cancun. Embraced by bridal-white sands

wedding planner, services of a civil judge or

and the strikingly blue Caribbean Sea, the

nondenominational minister, help with

all-inclusive, adults-only resort is an oasis

preparing nuptial attire, a wedding cake

of romance near Mexico’s most popular

and sparkling wine. As part of the package,

island playgrounds, Cancún and Playa

couples exchange vows on the beach or in

the basics

del Carmen.

the resort’s oceanfront gazebo, and then

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 15 min.

life in 440 high-end suites, complete with

wide selection of upgrades available

marble baths, terraces and private

includes cocktail receptions, hairstyling and

Jacuzzis. Outside, six winding swimming

pampering spa treatments.

Adam & Amanda

Rooms & Suites 440 Max Group Size 200 outdoor/450 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates From US$425 (all-inclusive) Reservations 866.540.2585, 866.451.1592 (CAN) Wedding Contact weddings.cun@excellence-resorts.com Website excellence-resorts.com

Bridal couples get a taste of the good

pools stretch over 8,000 square feet. Guests also have access to a fitness center and spa along with dance classes, kayaking, snorkeling, scuba lessons and beach parties. On the wedding day, the skilled resort staff stands by to fulfill any dreams for the special event. The resort offers a bridal package that is free with a seven-night stay

142

EliteWeddingCollection.com

enjoy romantic honeymoon treats. The

Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Now Jade Riviera Cancun

“We had an amazing wedding and are 100 percent happy with everything. Now Jade is a great, beautiful resort.” Donna & Glen

the basics

F

ew resorts rival the exclusive ambience and natural beauty that

envelop Now Jade Riviera Cancun. Sprawled along a pristine stretch of white-sand beach in Puerto Morelos, 30 minutes from Cancún’s hotel zone, the Unlimited-Luxury escape enchants couples with 550 sumptuous suites, a

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 20 min.

luxurious Preferred Club, multiple

Rooms & Suites 550

limitless activities in and out of the water.

Max Group Size 250 outdoor/350 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 877.NOW.9953 Wedding Contact weddings.nojrc@nowresorts.com Website nowresorts.com

themed restaurants and bars and Days can be spent unwinding

Wedding couples find themselves in a world of laid-back luxury, where they can

poolside or on the half-mile-long beach

relax as the resort’s professional event

that flanks the deluxe resort. Many

staff sees to all the nuptial details. Several

guests sign up for nonmotorized

wedding packages are available, as are

watersports, like snorkeling, kayaking

numerous options to personalize the

and windsurfing, or they explore Cancún,

celebration. All packages include the

Playa del Carmen—20 minutes away by

services of a wedding coordinator, the

car—as well as nearby Mayan ruins.

bride’s bouquet, use of the gazebo or

Others escape to the spa to relax with a

beach area for the ceremony, a sparkling

side-by-side massage.

wine toast and many special extras.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

143

Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun

“Our wedding was perfect. It was absolutely wonderful and went so smoothly.” Kristin & Judd

the basics

n Mexico’s scenic Yucatán coast, the AAA Four Diamond Award–winning

Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun fuses modern sophistication with the exclusive privileges of Unlimited-Luxury. Perched on a narrow peninsula framed by bright white sands and turquoise water, this

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 15 min.

adults-only, 433-suite paradise transports

rants and premium bars are included in the

lovers to a tropical haven that appears

price. Also part of the property: 43,000

Rooms & Suites 433

hundreds of miles away from it all.

square feet of swimming pools and full-

Max Group Size 350 outdoor/300 indoor

Contemporary elegant suite accommo-

service Secrets Spa by Pevonia.

Onsite Coordinator Yes

dations include Jacuzzis for two, suspended

Room Rates Contact for a quote.

beds, custom lighting, as well as 24-hour

in a contemporary gazebo, beautifully

Reservations 866.GOSECRETS

room service. Those who stay in the resort’s

decorated with fresh flowers. The resort

Preferred Club also enjoy private check-in

offers several packages to suit a variety of

and checkout, fruit and sparkling wine upon

needs, all including a wedding planner,

arrival and a private lounge serving

hair and makeup for the bride and 15

afternoon hors d’oeuvres.

percent discount on spa services. Secrets

Wedding Contact weddings.sesrc@secretsresorts.com Website secretsresorts.com

144

O

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Brides and grooms can exchange vows

Thanks to Secrets’ Unlimited-Luxury

Ultimate Wedding Package adds such

philosophy, most activities along with food

special touches as a Mexican music trio

and beverages at eight gourmet restau-

and spa treatments for two.

Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya

the basics Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 15 min.

Z

oëtry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya rests on 14 acres of beachfront

and Moroccan lanterns. With its inspiring setting, Zoëtry

property only 15 minutes from Cancún.

Paraiso offers the perfect venue to say “I

Rooms & Suites 90

Consistently named one of Mexico’s most

do.” Wedding couples receive special

Max Group Size 200 outdoor/100 indoor

exceptional boutique resorts, the plush

attention from an expert coordinator as

Onsite Coordinator Yes

hideaway boasts a AAA Five Diamond

well as the award-winning chef onsite.

Room Rates Contact for a quote.

rating, and it’s easy to see why: From

Reservations 888.4ZOETRY

white-glove service to handpicked

The resort can arrange private romantic

Wedding Contact weddings.zopdb@zoetryresorts.com

antiques in each suite, luxury greets

dinners, outings on a luxury catamaran

guests at every turn. Plus, the resort’s

and couples treatments at the spa. Even

Website zoetryresorts.com

Endless Privileges policy ensures access

bridal guests get the VIP treatment with

to four gourmet restaurants, two lounges

complimentary use of the famed Thalasso

and a wealth of activities.

spa’s hydrotherapy area.

Honeymooners are just as pampered.

The expansive property is nestled on a secluded beach surrounded by lush gardens. Architectural details capture the very essence of Mayan culture with columned pavilions, fountain-adorned pathways and reflecting pools. Other design elements draw from cultures worldwide, including African sculptures

EliteWeddingCollection.com

145

Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa

“We had a magical wedding day. Our coordinator and the staff created a sensational day for us. We would not change a thing.” Mike & Allison

the basics

n the mystical town of Tulum, where ancient Mayans built their world-famous

pyramids, couples find a luxurious retreat in Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa. Here, high-end amenities and gracious service are complemented by glistening pools, tropical foliage and two miles of diamond-white sands. Guests can enjoy all the resort has to

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 90 min.

offer through Dreams’ Unlimited-Luxury

Rooms & Suites 431

program, where everything couples

Max Group Size 340 outdoor/indoor

desire is included. Visitors choose among

Onsite Coordinator Yes

gourmet food and premium brand

Room Rates Contact for a quote.

beverages in seven international

Reservations 866.2DREAMS

restaurants and six lounges. The global

Wedding Contact weddings.dretu@dreamsresorts.com Website dreamsresorts.com

146

I

EliteWeddingCollection.com

culinary journey ranges from Mediterranean specialties at Portofino to

candlelit French masterpieces at Bordeaux. The privileges of Unlimited-Luxury

Chinese and Thai cuisine at Himitsu, sushi

extend to the elegant accommodations

at Gohan, an international buffet at World

with either contemporary decor or classic

Café, authentic Mexican favorites at El

hacienda style. All come layered with the

Patio, casual lunches at Barefoot Grill and

thoughtful appointments that make

kayaks, catamarans, an ocean trampoline, even a floating iceberg wall. Land-based options range from tennis to dance lessons, while weekly beach parties, moonlit themed parties and live shows turn up the heat when the sun goes down. With a selection of bridal packages and venues—including two beach locations, tropical gardens and an intimate Spanishstyle wedding chapel—nuptials at the resort are tailored to fit the unique dreams of each couple. While the event staff oversees all arrangements, brides and grooms can just relax and focus on each couples feel right at home, including a furnished patio or balcony—many with a

classy, colonial-style decor. The inclusive policy also goes on to

other. A complimentary bridal registry allows couples to express their

hammock for idling away the hours.

include a range of complimentary

honeymoon wishes online as well. Extras

Preferred Club Junior Suites feature

activities for couples and their guests to

like couple’s massage, diving, deep-sea

ocean views and personal Jacuzzis.

enjoy. One focal point: the huge freeform

fishing and tours to local Mayan ruins and

Guestrooms in the Hacienda Collection

pool. But with the ocean mere steps away,

eco-parks sweeten the memories of any

promise similar comforts along with a

many are drawn offshore for fun with

destination wedding or honeymoon.

EliteWeddingCollection.com

147

Solidaridad, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Co

u p les s

ay

What

Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun

“We had a wonderful experience. The resort and staff were incredible, and our wedding coordinator did an excellent job.” Melissa & Michael

the basics

R

esting along the shores of Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, Secrets Maroma

Beach Riviera Cancun treats couples to 500 acres of tropical foliage, crystal-clear waters and pristine white-sand beach. For adults only, the 100-acre property houses 412 suites surrounded by 12 smaller swimming pools and a shimmering infinity

Airport Proximity Cancún International (CUN), 20 min.

pool overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

Rooms & Suites 412

Award–winning resort are sumptuously

Max Group Size 300 outdoor/400 indoor Onsite Coordinator Yes Room Rates Contact for a quote. Reservations 866.GOSECRETS Wedding Contact weddings.semrc@secretsresorts.com Website secretsresorts.com

All suites at this AAA Four Diamond designed with four-poster beds, double

may customize their fantasy wedding with

Jacuzzis and private balconies or patios.

the help of three different bridal

Couples also enjoy Secrets’ Unlimited-

packages, one of them complimentary.

Luxury policy, where everything is

They can choose from several ceremony

included, from gourmet food at eight à la

and receptions sites, among these a

carte theme restaurants to premium drinks

wedding gazebo, the beach and a grand

at seven bars to numerous activities, such

ballroom. As a bonus, the resort offers

as snorkeling, kayaking, windsurfing and

web cam services so that those unable to

beachfront rehearsal dinners.

attend the wedding can enjoy the

For the big day, brides and grooms

148

EliteWeddingCollection.com

ceremony live from anywhere in the world.

ads.indd 149

1/12/13 2:41 PM

postcard

playa del carmen, mexico

love without borders Sasha Harjani & Rakesh Hotchandani Barceló Maya Palace Deluxe Photos by Dwayne Watkins • Text by Isabelle Gullö

If you asked Sasha Harjani a year and a half

family that Sasha was coming, and that I wanted

ago if she’d consider marrying a man she had

to ask her to marry me.”

known for just a few months, the answer would have been “no way.” But then she met Rakesh

accepted. The couple excitedly shared the

Hotchandani. Sasha, 29, a financial analyst born

news with their families, and it was decided

in Miami and raised in Jamaica, was a guest at

that the wedding would take place on August

Rakesh’s sister’s wedding at Barceló Maya

19, 2012, at Barceló Maya Palace Deluxe.

Palace Deluxe, Mexico, in September 2011. She first spoke with Rakesh, a Belizean native who

Rites of Passage

works for the family business, at the resort’s

On Friday, August 17, some 300 friends and

poolbar on a Saturday afternoon, and there

family members joined the couple at the resort

was an instant spark—a connection that only

to partake in the wedding festivities, which

intensified as the hours went by, Sasha says.

started off on Barcelo’s Coco’s Beach with

“After just one day, I had butterflies in my

cocktails, dinner, mariachi and Mexican

stomach whenever Rakesh came around.”

performances.

Rakesh, 28, felt the same way. While he was

The next evening, Sasha and Rakesh hosted

known among friends and family members as

their pre-wedding party, or Sangeet, a fun,

someone far from ready to settle down, it only

time-honored Hindu ritual designed to build

took a few conversations with Sasha for Rakesh

excitement for the big day with folk songs

to feel like he’d found the woman of his dreams.

and dancing. The Sangeet was set in Barcelo’s

Sasha and Rakesh spent as much time as they

Chichen Itza ballroom, which had been

could together that weekend and reluctantly

completely transformed with beautiful flower

said their goodbyes on Monday morning.

arrangements and accents in red and gold. “It

“I don’t usually keep in touch with people I

was the perfect backdrop for our event,” says

meet at weddings, but this time felt different,”

Sasha, who adds that the resort’s wedding

says Rakesh. “I just knew I had met someone

planner and decorators had also redesigned

worthwhile.” He adds, “I was trying hard to

the Chak Halal banquet room, where the

not message her after she left the hotel, but

couple’s ceremony was to take place the

couldn’t fight the urge.”

next morning.

And so it began. In the weeks following

150

He proposed on New Year’s Eve and Sasha

On Sunday at 11:00 a.m., Sasha and Rakesh

the wedding, the two kept in close touch

said their I dos before a pandit, a Hindu scholar

via phone and email. And when Rakesh went

skilled in the Sanskrit language, and their family

to Jamaica to visit Sasha about a month later,

and friends. In a Hindu ceremony, the bride and

the two knew this was the real deal. In Decem-

groom participate in a number of religious

ber, Sasha decided to spend New Year’s with

rituals that symbolize their union. Among the

Rakesh in Belize, and Rakesh had a big plan.

first is the sankalpa, during which the pandit

“I was beyond happy,” he says. “I told my

prays to the divine powers to witness and bless

EliteWeddingCollection.com

postcard

Co

u p les s

ay

What

playa del carmen, mexico

“Choose your date and decide on a budget before starting to plan—and stick to it. Don’t get suckered into spending on things you didn’t originally envision having for your special day. ” ­— Sasha & Rakesh

the couple’s union. During hasta bandhan, the groom takes the bride’s hand and the two accept each other as companions for life. A fine cloth is wrapped around their hands as

Signature Style colors combinations of pink/blue, red/gold and gold/white SET-UP flower-adorned aisle and canopy, hanging floral displays

a sign of their new divine bond. With the saptapadi, the bride and groom take seven steps together—representing seven spheres of the universe—signifying that they’ll forever walk hand in hand through all of life’s journeys. “The pandit provided English translations to all of the blessings to make sure everyone would understand the significance,” says Sasha,

LOCAL FLAIR mariachi and Mexican performances at the welcome dinner

who reveals that the ceremony also held a few

WOW FACTORS decor, cake, outfits

the aisle. It wasn’t planned, and for Rakesh, who’s

special surprise red-carpet entrance and photo booth at reception Great gifts welcome baskets with a special message from the bride and groom, plus Mayan calendars from the resort staff

surprise elements. “Rakesh’s friends and family decided to carry him on their shoulders down a big guy, this was a little nerve-wracking as he wasn’t sure they’d be able to hold him up for the whole walk.”

The Grand Fiesta At 8:00 p.m. Sunday night, it was time to celebrate the newlyweds in the Chichen Itza ballroom. Dinner, dancing, cake and inspiring speeches were just a few of the highlights from the reception, which lasted until early morning. “We loved to see how friends and family from both sides interacted and partied with each other as if they’d all been friends for years,” says Rakesh. Looking back, Sasha says that one of the

dwaynewatkinsstudio.com

most memorable things from the wedding was the love everyone felt that weekend, and especially at the ceremony. “Because Indian weddings are so elaborate, sometimes the true love and emotion get lost in all the celebrations,” she says. “But the love that was felt was unquestionable and everyone who attended shared in that special feeling.”

EliteWeddingCollection.com

151

private escape do not disturb

Heavenly Hawaii Right off Oahu’s Waikiki Beach, Moana Surfrider, a Westin Resort & Spa offers the perfect island getaway for two. Set in the Moana Lani Spa’s oceanfront couples suite, the five-and-a-half-hour long Hawaiian Organic Experience starts off with a 50-minute Heavenly Classic massage followed by the Kona Coffee and Vanilla Ritual, an indulgent, island-inspired spa series that includes a body wrap, facial and pedicure, each 80 minutes long. And the journey doesn’t end there. After—or in between—your heavenly treatments, relax in the suite’s private whirlpool together, soaking in the warm, aromatherapy-infused water

Shutterstock.com

and views of Waikiki Beach. (From $530 per person, moana-surfrider.com)

152

EliteWeddingCollection.com

Embrace the world’s most romantic all-inclusive resort experience. Offering exquisite cuisine, pampering spas, lavish accommodations and utterly indulgent personalized service in the world’s most spectacular oceanfront locations.

The Pure Freedom to Just Be Royal Service (exclusively for adults) • Private Pools & Beach Areas with Bali Beds & Valet Service • Life enriching activities (tango lessons and wine tasting) • Family Concierge (personalized vacation experience for families) features a full compliment of VIP services and amenities including private beach and pool areas with valet service Please contact your travel agent, 1 888 741 5600 or visit WWW.PARADISUS.COM

C O S T A

R I C A ( 2 0 14 )

I

D O M I N I C A N

R E P U B L I C

A Melia Hotels International Brand.

I

M E X I C O

CELEBRATE

The art of life

®

WITH ENDLESS PRIVILEGES.

®

ONE BIG DAY, THREE GLORIOUS EXPRESSIONS. SAY “WE DO” TO LIFE... DISCOVER A WORLD OF ELEGANT LEISURE and unrivaled luxury where Endless Privileges® surpass the ordinary to arouse the senses and the magic of romance is taken to dazzling new heights. Restore your mind with

ZOËTRY AGUA PUNTA CANA ZOËTRY CASA DEL MAR LOS CABOS ZOËTRY PARAISO DE LA BONITA RIVIERA MAYA

artistic, cultural and educational experiences in beautiful lush settings.

Contact your travel professional today or visit ZoetryResorts.com

Zoëtry Paraiso de la Bonita Riviera Maya is a proud member of Leading Hotels of the World.®

Untitled-2 154

ARROBA INTERNATIONAL

AMResorts Zoëtry Ad

©2013

Trim 9x10.875”

1/11/13 5:44:04 PM


Elite Wedding Collection