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REAL Destination Weddings

Gorgeous Tropical Nuptials

TRASH the Dress The


Wedding Collection

Vow Renewals

G u i d er to yo u f u l s S u c c e s ion at n i t s e D

g n i dd e W

Plan your

Dream Honeymoon

Say “I do” and


CELEBRATE YOUR WEDDING W I T H FA M I LY & F R I E N D S Book your wedding at any Sandals Resort for six nights or longer in any room category and you will receive a free* Sandals’ Beautiful Beginnings theme wedding.

BEAUTIFUL BEGINNINGS The Beautiful Beginnings wedding helps you celebrate your special day with elegance and simplicity. It includes a sweet magenta dendrobium orchid bouquet and boutonniere, as well as a table for eight with crisp linens, a lovely centerpiece, and a charming white cake. It’s the perfect choice if you’re looking for an intimate and memorable occasion.

1.888.536.1923 *A Beautiful Beginning wedding is free with stays of 6 paid nights or more in all room categories. All weddings are subject to mandatory minister and government documentation fees, which are $95 in Jamaica, $288 in Antigua, $270 in Saint Lucia and $205 in the Bahamas. All weddings that do not meet the minimum night stay requirement will be subject to a $750 processing and administration fee, which is inclusive of the minister and government documentation fees listed above. All fees subject to change at any time. Sandals® is a registered trademark.

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gourme t inclusive

destination weddings

at azul Hotels luxury meets location with choices such as sKY weddings, beach weddings and wedding






wedding professionals specialize in making your wedding day just perfect. and our award-

The difference is. Gourmet Inclusive.

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Editor in Chief/Publisher Ed Cotton

Cultural & Ethnic Destination Weddings

Weddings away can be tailored to just about any couple, regardless of background, religion or culture. made sure that three happy couples got all they needed to pull off the wedding day of their dreams while staying true to their important traditions.

10 Trash the Dress

Find out why taking your coveted Vera Wang into the Caribbean Sea might be a great way to capture a memorable occasion.

Editor Lauren Byrnes Associate Editor/Advertising manager Nicole Dygon

14 The Exclusive Wedding Collection

Social Media Coordinator Yasmin Bilimoria


Advertising Inquiries Please contact Nicole Dygon at or call 508-651-4008.

24 is constantly searching for new and unique properties perfect for destination weddings. The company’s new Exclusive Wedding Collection features four luxurious properties, which will dazzle couples and their guests.

Real Destination Wedding Stories

Three distinctly different weddings all with one thing in common – they had Destination on their side for the planning. One couple tied the knot in Riviera Maya, another in Jamaica and one more in Cancun. All had the time of their lives and shared their stories with us.

A Romantic Renewal

One couple says “I do” all over again 50 years later. Read their story of family, fun in the sun and a once-in-a-lifetime love.

26 Storybook Romance – A Proposal Story

This couple shares their tale of love, storytelling and an extremely creative way of popping the big question.


Another Award–Winning Year


Plan your Dream Honeymoon


Continuing our Canadian Connection


DESTI Awards - Spotlight: El Dorado Casitas Royale has been recognized by countless organizations for their commitment to excellence, customer satisfaction and passion for planning destination weddings. When it comes time to book your honeymoon, there is no reason to feel overwhelmed. Leave it to the experts at and your plans will go off without a hitch. A glimpse into what’s new with the Canadian addition to This year, recognized a number of resorts with DESTI Awards for being the best destination wedding performers. Based on customer feedback and satisfaction, El Dorado Casitas Royale, by Karisma was one of the resorts recognized for their commitment to excellence.

Contact Us If you wish to contact us, please call 508-651-4008 or visit us online: Copyright 2012 and Destination Media, LLC Corporate Offices for 321 Commonwealth Rd. Ste. 303, Wayland, MA 01778 508-651-4008 Guide to Your Successful Destination Wedding is a Special Promotional Feature published by Destination Media, LLC. Cover image captured by Jillian Rose Photography,, at Cabo Azul Resort.

Get Started Planning Your Destination Wedding Have you decided to have a destination wedding? It’s easy to start planning your dream day with!

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Visit our website and take a look at our testimonials and the services and benefits we provide. DestinationWeddings. com has planned over 13,000 weddings and booked travel accommodations for nearly 500,000 guests. When you go to, you’ll be able to tell does not charge anything for their services. However, a $50 commitment deposit is required. The deposit will be credited towards your final travel package.

Follow us online:


us about yourself and your fiancé and the ideas you have for your dream wedding. After you’ve submitted your information, you will be matched with a certified destination wedding specialist, who will help you find the perfect destination, a resort within your budget and assist you with all of your travel needs.

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Destination Weddings Words by Lauren Byrnes

From henna and bindis to the chuppah and Hora, each culture has special rituals they incorporate into their weddings. Although couples hosting cultural weddings once had few venue options to choose from, now many resorts and hotels can accommodate couples’ unique weddings in dream destinations.

Photo by: Bella Aruba Photography,

While planning a cultural celebration in an exotic locale far from home may seem overwhelming, working with has made the process easier for many couples.

Deepali Mude and Nathan Wolf, who worked with their specialist, Debbie, planned a stunning multicultural Indian wedding at Zoetry Agua in Punta Cana.

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Although Indian weddings are known for being large, elaborate celebrations, Mude and Wolf always envisioned themselves having an intimate destination wedding in a tropical paradise. However, it took their families a bit of time to warm up to the plans. “I think my mom and dad had assumed and envisioned a full-fledged traditional (Indian) wedding locally,” Mude explains. Despite her family’s reservations, Mude and Wolf felt a destination wedding was the best choice. “We wanted to actually get to see and hang out with people,” Mude says. At a destination wedding, “all the people in your life actually get to know each other.” The couple hosted about 65 family members and friends at their destination wedding and also planned a large party in April so more family and friends

could celebrate their recent nuptials. Mude, who is Hindu, and Wolf, who is Lutheran, opted to have a nondenominational ceremony, but agreed to “sprinkle in” Indian traditions to create a unique celebration all their own. While the ceremony was nondenominational, they included a few Hindu traditions, such as the mangalsutra. On the wedding day, the mangalsutra, or gold necklace, is tied around the bride’s neck as a symbol of their marriage. The couple also incorporated the Mehendi ceremony, baraat, or groom’s procession and Indian attire into their wedding. She says hotel staff was accommodating and helpful during the planning process. When the couple needed to find a white horse for the baraat, the hotel set them up with a local ranch they typically use for horseback riding excursions.

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Indian Wedding

It was especially important to Mude that she wear traditional Indian attire on her wedding day. For the ceremony, Mude dazzled her guests in a stunning cream lengha with heavy beading and intricate embroidery in hues of red and gold. The lengha, which she found in another color while shopping in the states, was custom made for her in India in her size and the cream color she desired. “It came back exactly for me,” she gushes. “It was perfect.” For the Mehendi ceremony, Mude chose a comfortable salwar kameez - a long, knee-length top with matching pants and scarf - in a bright, burnt orange hue with pink and gold trim. Mude wore a beautiful white strapless gown from David’s Bridal for the reception and accessorized with simple jewelry and a flower hairpiece. Wolf wore a traditional black suit. He complemented Mude’s attire by wearing a traditional Indian scarf, which

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Nathan Wolf

Photos by: Tropical Pictures @ Punta Cana,

is typically worn with the sherwani. The groomsmen wore similar scarves with their suits.

Mude says their destination wedding was the best way to spend time with guests and unite their two families. “I definitely would not have done it any other way,” says Mude. Mude encourages other couples planning cultural weddings to consider having destination weddings and to keep an open mind during the planning process. “I think you can make it as accurate as you want it to be,” says Mude. What is most important is that “everyone has fun and (that you’re able) to pay homage to the traditions you want.”

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Deepali Mude



Chinese Wedding

molly calliste From pops of bright red and the tea ceremony to the dragon and phoenix, couple Molly Calliste and Shaohua Wen’s unique wedding at Manchebo Resort in Aruba featured many traditional Chinese elements. The couple worked with their specialist, Sherryl, to plan their dream destination wedding.

When the couple, who met in high school, finally decided to tie the knot after 14 years of dating, Calliste made it known she only wanted to be married on a beach. “We really wanted to be somewhere exotic,” says Calliste. “My concern was how to do that (a destination wedding) with two cultures.” Calliste, who was born in Granada, and Wen, who was born in China, felt it was important to incorporate traditions from both cultures in their special day. The couple had a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, which is the wedding ceremony in that culture.

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Calliste wore a breathtaking custom-made silk red dress with a French lace top and high collar for the tea ceremony. Wen sported a black tang jacket with a Chinese knot button at the throat. The jacket’s sleeves had red silk from Calliste’s dress and complemented her attire perfectly. The couple’s tea ceremony attire was custom made. “The attention to detail was amazing,” says Calliste. The tea sets for the tea ceremony that the couple chose were ordered straight from China – the teapot featured a gold dragon. Incorporating the Chinese customs and traditions was extremely important to the couple, but they didn’t want the décor to be “overwhelming.

shaohua Wen

Photos by: Bella Aruba Photography,

“We had to keep it simple,” says Calliste. In order to accomplish that, the couple made sure the décor included “little pops of Chinese red” as well as sand and shells to complement the beach setting. Red Chinese lanterns, which were important to Wen, decorated the reception space. Their red velvet wedding cake, which featured a detailed, colorful dragon and phoenix, sat out on display at the reception. The place cards featured the double happiness sign, which signifies the couple’s union in Chinese culture.

Seeing the decorated reception site for the first time “literally took my breath away,” says Calliste. The couple had Chinese and Western music at their wedding and the resort also allowed them to customize their menu – they had Asian and Western selections for their guests to choose from. The couple also incorporated some of Calliste’s traditions. For the Protestant ceremony, Calliste wore a classic French lace Birnbaum and Bullock V-neck dress with front buttons. It was also important to her to have something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. While the couple encourages others to consider having destination weddings, they advise brides and grooms not to sweat the details. “Regardless [of what happens] you’re going to be married at the end of the day,” says Calliste. “You have to be able to let go.”

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Orthodox Jewish Wedding margaret

dan lozovatsky

Photos by: Gonzalo Nunez Photography Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya,

When it came time for Margaret and Dan Lozovatsky to plan their dream wedding, they knew they wanted to have a traditional Orthodox Jewish celebration on 1/11/11 at a stunning destination.

Margaret and Dan’s traditional Orthodox Jewish wedding also included a number of customs and ceremonies, such as the signing of the ketubah, or Jewish marriage contract, and the bedeken, or veiling of the bride.

Because the couple got engaged just four months before their big day, they knew they needed help to plan the wedding of their dreams in such a short period of time. With the help of and their specialist, Gayle, the couple was able to make sure their plans went off without a hitch.

After the signing of the ketubah and the bedeken, the couple had a ceremony led by their own rabbi on the beach, under a traditional chuppah. The chuppah symbolizes the home the bride and groom will build together as a married couple. The couple then did the Yichud or seclusion, which is when the bride and groom go to a private room alone for a few minutes after the ceremony. The Yichud signifies the couple’s union as husband and wife.

While the couple is not Orthodox, they chose to have an Orthodox Jewish wedding because they “wanted to do it by the book so to speak,” says Dan. Because the couple had specific needs for their special day, they wanted to make sure the resort could handle coordinating all the details. El Dorado Royale, a Spa Resort by Karisma was “very accommodating,” says Margaret. “It was nice to know they were looking out for us.” On her wedding day, Margaret decided to forgo the traditional Orthodox Jewish attire and opted for a strapless, fitted white gown with delicate beadwork and a stunning train. The men wore custom-made yarmulkes to match the couple’s classic wedding colors, which were black, white and burgundy. The couple’s names and wedding date were sewn inside them, which added a personal touch.

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The couple’s reception included fantastic cuisine and a lot of dancing. Because some of their wedding guests, including their rabbi, followed dietary laws, they needed the resort to provide kosher food. An outside vendor made kosher menu options for some of their guests and the food was delivered to the resort by a local chabad. The rest of the guests enjoyed gourmet cuisine provided by the resort. Margaret, Dan and their guests danced the night away to a variety of music, including Jewish and Russian songs. It was important to them to include Russian music because of their Russian backgrounds. And of course, the couple and their guests danced the Hora – a memorable aspect of every Jewish wedding reception. Whether a couple plans to have a cultural and religious celebration or something simpler, Margaret and Dan believe their destination wedding was the perfect way to celebrate with their family and friends. “You really bond during a destination wedding,” says Margaret. “It’s the perfect way to get everyone together!”

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With families from different parts of the country, the couple knew their guests would need to travel to their wedding destination, so they chose to have their special day at El Dorado Royale, a Spa Resort by Karisma in the Riviera Maya, Mexico.



“Trash the Dress” Photos by: A.Whitmore Photography,

Words by Lauren Byrnes

For a bride who spent months staring at her gorgeous wedding gown, waiting to wear it on her special day, it may seem crazy to want to “trash it” on the beach, in the mud or on city streets after the wedding. However, “trash the dress” photo shoots have become trendy in recent years, especially among destination wedding brides. A number of brides are now choosing to swim in the ocean, lie on the beach and pose on rocky terrain all in their designer gowns. And while these brides may love their wedding gowns, they’re not afraid to get them a little dirty in order to have stunning, professional photos they’ll look back on for years to come. Many brides have taken notice of this trend and have chosen to have their own shoots while in stunning locations.

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10 bride Lauren Sanders is just one of the many women who caught on to this new wedding trend. Sanders decided to forgo preserving her dress and take advantage of her beautiful surroundings by trashing her gown on the beach and in the pool after her Riviera Maya wedding. Sanders said she decided to do a trash the dress shoot after her photographer suggested it. As a lowkey, relaxed bride, Sanders wasn’t worried about ruining her dress. “I was thinking (that having) pictures for a lifetime would be so much more worth it than having the dress,” she says.

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I was thinking that having pictures for a lifetime would be so much more worth it than having the dress.

Amy Sheridan, who also planned her wedding with the help of, decided to trash her dress at a photo shoot two days after she and her husband Joey tied the knot in Mexico.

While she was nervous about doing the shoot, Sanders says she and her husband Will enjoyed the experience. The shoot itself “was just kind of natural,” she says. “We definitely had a good time.”

Sheridan said she decided to do a trash the dress shoot soon after she started planning their wedding. Although her husband had reservations about the shoot at first, Sheridan says he ended up enjoying the experience.

Sanders encourages other brides to consider doing trash the dress shoots. “Our trash the dress photos are throughout the house because they’re so unique,” she says. “These pictures you’ll have for the rest of your life.”

The pair posed for photos in a ceñote in the Riviera Maya and on a pristine, white sand beach in Tulum. While her dress got a little wet, sandy and dirty, the results of the six-hour shoot were incredible.

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Luckily, she still has the gown hanging in her closet. “The pool ended up cleaning it off,” she says. She advises brides who want to salvage their gowns to get them dry cleaned after the shoot to prevent dirt and stains from setting in.



“Trash the Dress”

Photos by: del Sol Photography,

Their photos are unique, edgy and incredibly chic. From their underwater photos taken among reef and rocky beach to their pictures taken on the beach with locals, there was nothing ordinary about their shoot. “The photographers were so inspiring. It was fun. It was a learning experience (and) to some degree tiring. We did a lot of swimming,” says Sheridan.

The photographers were so inspiring.

She particularly enjoyed the underwater portion of the shoot. “It was so much fun learning how to look pretty underwater,” she says. The photographers, who wore snorkel and scuba gear to get the shots, “were so patient with us.” While many brides worry about ruining their gowns completely, Sheridan says she wasn’t concerned. “I’m not the kind of person who’s super sentimental about the dress. … If it was trashed, I would not have been heartbroken.”

Sheridan believes doing a trash the dress shoot was worth the risk of ruining her dress. “It was an amazingly intimate experience. … Those photos caught us in beautiful, intimate moments. … It is probably the most amazing experience we had – we’re so glad we did it.”

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Exclusive presents


Wedding Collection

Words by Lauren Byrnes

Whether a bride has her destination wedding at a castle overlooking a brook or on a beach in the middle of a tropical paradise, the celebration is guaranteed to be extraordinary. DestinationWeddings. com has spent eight years planning dream destination weddings for couples in the U.S. and Canada and they are always on the lookout for potential wedding locations that will impress. This past year, started The Exclusive Wedding Collection—a group of incredible properties which truly take destination weddings to the next level. For couples looking for luxury, privacy and an unforgettable location for a destination wedding, The Exclusive Wedding Collection won’t disappoint.

Each of The Exclusive Wedding Collection properties has incredible views and attentive staff, eager to make a guest’s stay magical. For couples looking for all-inclusive luxury and unique wedding venues, Curtain Bluff is the perfect property. It is one of the only luxury all-inclusive boutique resorts in the area.

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Wish You Were H ere! Curtain Bluff, A ntigua The hotel has two distinct wedding locations - a beautiful cliff area and a soft sand beach - so couples won’t need to worry about deciding on a venue before they book the property. Wendy Eardley, resident manager, believes it’s the location and staff’s attention to detail, which keep brides and grooms coming to the property. “It’s the location that’s really spectacular,” Eardley says. Also, Curtain Bluff only does one wedding per weekend, so the staff can focus on the needs of one couple at a time. “Each wedding here is done specifically to the bride and groom’s specifications,” she says. “It’s an individual experience for each bride, groom, family and friends.”

XOXO, ntigua Sugar Ridge, A

Sugar Ridge Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel nestled into a hillside, is known for its breathtaking views. The 60-room hotel offers a fantastic wedding location on a cliff, perfect for the bride who wants a beach view without her feet in the sand on her special day. However, “many couples opt to have their ceremony on the beach,” says Annie McCauley, sales and marketing manager,

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Bottom Left Photo courtesy of Sugar Ridge. Top Right Photo by James Callaghan

Curtain Bluff and Sugar Ridge in Antigua, Cobbler’s Cove in Barbados and Petit St. Vincent in St. Vincent and the Grenadines offer couples and their guests exclusive luxury, high-end accommodations, stunning views and wedding staff who cater to a bride’s every whim. The properties all have less than 100 rooms, perfect for couples looking to buy out a resort for a wedding weekend.



Here, your destination wedding unites with the endless amenities of the Luxury Included ® Honeymoon to create the exclusive WeddingMoon ® at Beaches ® Re so r t s . I t ’s th e p e r fe c t m a r ria g e wh e re yo u r honeymoon begins the moment you say, “I do.” With anything and ever ything for ever yone included, from scuba diving* to gourmet dining, Beaches turns each moment into an adventure for the whole family.

A Caribbean Family-Owned Company 1-888-536-1923 *Scuba diving is included for certified divers. Dive courses and night dives are available at an additional cost. Beaches® is a registered trademark.




Wedding Collection Brides love our sunsets – they are simply breathtaking.

North America. “Sugar Ridge offers guests access to three of the best beaches located southeast of Sugar Ridge. The beaches along this stretch owe much of their fame to the gentle Caribbean Sea that graces their shores and the crystal-clear water it brings.” Weddings at Sugar Ridge are “simple and hassle free,” says McCauley. Your specialist is “there to assist in planning every part of the ceremony, reception and honeymoon and tailor each event to ensure everything runs smoothly.”

With Love, Barbados , e v o C ’s r le b b Co

“We are most proud of our cuisine, provided by our worldrenowned Executive Chef Brian Porteus. Everything is fresh, local and the menu is customized from the couple’s vision and Brian’s creativity,” says Elizabeth Riff, Cobbler’s Cove wedding coordinator.


A true couple’s paradise, thisAAA Five-Diamond resort is an all-inclusive haven for mind, body and soul. The resort’s centerpiece is a world-class spa featuring everything from hydrotherapy and massage to herbal steams and music therapy. Butler service and even a pool concierge are included so that the pampering for you and your partner never ends. Receive up to $1,500 Resort Credit* to use as you desire. Bask in more tantalizing spa treatments, thrill to more area tours, romantic dinners, upgraded wines and more. Escape to a world of personal attention and unrivaled service. Escape to Le Blanc Spa Resort.

888.987.9290 | | ADULTS ONLY *Booking dates, travel dates and restrictions apply to promotions. Services and amenities are subject to availability.

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Photo by Mike Toy

Cobbler’s Cove is an English country house-style hotel located on one of Barbados’ finest beaches. The hotel boasts charming accommodations and fabulous, five-star cuisine perfect for couples who are foodies.

See You Soo n! Petit St. Vin cent

Photos by Mike Toy

The hotel also offers sweeping views, perfect for sunset ceremonies. “Brides love our sunsets - they are simply breathtaking,” says Riff. Petit St. Vincent Resort in St. Vincent and the Grenadines offers couples privacy and exclusive luxury as the resort is on its own private island which brides and grooms can rent out for their weddings. The island is 115 acres and has 22 charming guest cottages perfect for couples and families. Additionally, the resort’s 120 staff members offer personalized service and pampering to couples and their guests. Weddings at Petit St. Vincent Resort are unique experiences couples will never forget. Not only does the property have

Resort, Gren


beautiful sandy beach wedding venues, but it also boasts vistas of Telescope Hill, cliffs or the Atlantic Pier for those looking for incredible views. “Each bride is different,” says General Manager, Matt Semark, so the resort staff makes sure to personalize each wedding according to her preferences. A wedding at Petit St. Vincent Resort is truly an “elite experience,” says Semark. For more information on The Exclusive Wedding Collection, or to start planning your dream wedding at one of these lavish properties, visit




Stephanie John Keenan Riviera Maya, Mexico Words by Lauren Byrnes

Photos by: Claudia Rodriguez Photography, www.claudia

After over eight incredible years together, Stephanie and John Keenan were married during a picture-perfect late afternoon ceremony at the Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso in Rivera Maya, Mexico on what was almost their nine-year anniversary. When the time came to plan their wedding, Stephanie knew she wanted to say “I do” on the beach. After trying to plan a beach wedding herself in Charleston, S.C., Stephanie realized it would be too costly, so she began looking into having a destination wedding in an exotic locale. With guests coming in from all over the country, the couple believed a destination wedding would be the perfect way to celebrate with all of their guests. When Stephanie and John started working with their specialist, Kimberly, the planning truly got underway. The couple decided to have their wedding in the Riviera Maya, where they had vacationed the year before. d e s t i n at i o n w e d d i n g s . c o m


Stephanie, a self-proclaimed “hands-off” bride, described the wedding’s style as “casual elegance.” The couple chose Iberostar’s basic wedding package and kept with a fuchsia and orange color scheme. Rather than spend time worrying about the color of the napkins and other minute details, Stephanie focused on making sure her guests had a great time. Prior to the wedding, Stephanie sent out how-to guides, FAQ sheets and packing lists to prepare her guests for their getaway. When they arrived at the property, guests received welcome bags full of beach necessities. “There are so many people who already want to go back!”

says Stephanie. “Everyone had a wonderful time.” For Stephanie, one of the best parts about having a destination wedding was how stress-free the process was and how calm she was the day of the wedding. “I was so relaxed I didn’t worry about one thing,” she says. Stephanie, who is also a figure competitor and fitness model, was thrilled she was able to enjoy a morning run with John and plan a workout for their friends and family on the beach. After the workout, everyone had plenty of time to get ready for the ceremony, take photos and socialize at the couple’s villa. The couple exchanged vows on the beach beneath a canopy decorated with tulle and tropical flowers. The moment Stephanie made her way down the aisle and saw John is one she’ll never forget. “I was trying so hard not to cry,” says Stephanie. Looking back, Stephanie remembers her wedding day as being “unbelievable. “Iberostar did such an incredible job,” says Stephanie. “It had been nine great years. I wanted to make (the wedding) perfect and it was.”

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Jayme Chad Avrit montego bay, jamaica

Photos by: Jason D Smith,

When Jayme and Chad Avrit were ready to tie the knot, they knew having a destination wedding would be the perfect way to celebrate. The couple was married at Secrets St. James Montego Bay in Montego Bay, Jamaica, exactly four-and-a-half years after their first date. When the time came to plan their dream day, Jayme and Chad knew they needed help. After reading the company’s testimonials on the website, the couple enlisted the help of specialist, Lisa, to make sure the planning process was easy and stress-free. While the couple was unsure where they wanted to go, they knew they wanted to be married on the beach.

The couple was later married at a beautiful beach ceremony at the resort. Jayme says the beach setting was breathtaking.

“I wanted it to be a fun time and a celebration,” says Jayme. “I didn’t want any stress.”

During the ceremony, the couple’s mothers did a reading together, which “was really special,” says Jayme. “The whole thing was just beautiful. Everything was absolutely perfect.”

The couple wanted to make the island getaway memorable for their guests. They organized a unique welcome dinner and bonfire on the beach for their friends and families. The dinner had a relaxed vibe. “Everybody was barefoot for everything!” says Jayme.

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After the ceremony, the couple’s guests enjoyed a cocktail hour complete with delicious hors d’oeuvres and a steel drum Jamaican band. Then the party moved to the beach reception, which was set up by a rock wall right on the water. The DJ played music from the gazebo and tiki torches surrounded the reception space, creating an incredibly romantic ambiance.

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Jayme and Chad worked with their specialist to find the perfect destination and resort for their wedding and honeymoon. “She was so helpful,” says Jayme.

“Walking down the aisle that was there, I got so choked up,” says Jayme. “When our eyes met … I got really emotional.”




The couple made sure their entire wedding day reflected their style. The inspiration for the color scheme was a purple Dendrobium Orchid. The flowers were not only part of the bride’s bouquet, but she also wore an orchid in her hair and incorporated them into the décor. The bridesmaids’ dresses and groomsmen’s attire were chosen to match. “I wanted the Jamaican island indigenous flower look,” says Jayme. “The color made everything pop.” Jayme and Chad also brought some items from home to incorporate into their celebration. “We tried to do as many personal touches” as possible, says Jayme. They brought personalized toasting glasses and a cake cutter, as well as a unique guestbook. A DVD featur-

ing photos of the couple throughout their lives and relationship also played at the reception.

When our eyes met … I got really emotional.

Jayme insists their wedding day was the best time of her life. “It was such an awesome time to spend with friends and family,” says Jayme. “Our wedding definitely stands out. … Everyone says it was the most fun they’ve ever had at a wedding!”

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Ashley Dean Friedland CANCUN, Mexico For travel enthusiasts Ashley and Dean Friedland, who met on a semester at sea during college, planning a destination wedding was the perfect way to celebrate their relationship and love of travel with 60 of their family and friends. After doing some research on the Internet, the couple found to help them plan their dream wedding. Ashley and Dean thought Mexico would be the most convenient location for their guests. “The Mexican vibe is really great for a destination wedding,” says Dean. With the help of their certified destination wedding specialist, Marie, the couple found Beach Palace in Cancun, Mexico and knew it was the perfect place for their special day. The couple planned activities and dinners for their guests during the trip so they could bond. Dean put together a deep sea fishing trip for the guys and Ashley planned a spa day for the girls.

Photos by: FineArt Studio - Boutique Wedding Photography,

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The couple said their vows on the resort’s breathtaking Sky Terrace, overlooking the ocean. The Sky Terrace was the perfect venue because the couple didn’t want to say “I do” on the beach with their feet in the sand. “It was the best of both worlds,” says Ashley. The Sapphire Wedding Package, which featured décor in water tones, was the best choice for the couple. “We didn’t want it to be overpowering,” says Ashley.

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The couple incorporated a sand ceremony and wrote their own vows, which made the day even more special. Hearing Dean’s vows, “was just awesome,” gushes Ashley. “ I think I was crying and smiling ear-to-ear. It was really incredible.” The guests were in for a surprise when the couple was pronounced husband and wife. As they shared their first kiss, fireworks went off. The couple went on to have their cocktail hour inside, giving the guests a break from the heat. Dean and Ashley celebrated their marriage at an incredible reception on another outdoor terrace, overlooking the lagoon. Their reception featured a number of unique details. Dean’s favorite aspect of the reception was the lighting. “They did such an incredible job,” says Dean. “It looked like something out of a movie.” The moment the couple and their guests finished the delicious buffet meal, they hit the dance floor. DJ Mannia, who the couple hired for the event, kept everyone dancing all night. “It flew by,” says Ashley. “We were having such a great time.”

I think I was crying and smiling earto-ear. It was really incredible. The guests also enjoyed a slideshow the couple created which featured photos of them throughout their lives and relationship. “It’s a quick story of our lives. … It’s a way to share a little more about your story with your guests,” says Ashley. And while the couple will remember their wedding day forever, they’re sure their guests won’t forget the experience either. “We heard over and over again that people enjoyed it immensely,” says Ashley. “We heard nothing but great things.”

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Book now and receive $1,500 resort credit*.

Vacation like a rock star with $1,500 of spa treatments, golf,

room upgrades, tours, even one of our Colin Cowie Wedding Packages. DE CR ÉDIT AU







*$1,500 Resort Credit based on a minimum 5-night consecutive stay per room. Bookings of 4 nights receive $750 and 3 nights receive $500. Activities are subject to availability. Restrictions may apply. ©2012 Hard Rock International (USA), Inc. All rights reserved. SeeTheShow™

Romantic A RENEWAL

Whether a couple has been married for five or 50 years, there is no better way to celebrate a marriage than having a destination vow renewal. Words by Lauren Byrnes

While is known for planning thousands of weddings for brides and grooms in the U.S. and Canada, the company has also helped couples like Richard and Joyce Pieruccini renew their vows in dream destinations. Rather than celebrate their 50th anniversary at a three-hour party at a banquet hall, the Pieruccinis decided to renew their vows on a beautiful white-sand beach at the Azul Sensatori Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico surrounded by their family.

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“Most people our age have a party – we didn’t really care for it,” says Joyce. Richard and Joyce wanted to spend time with their guests for more than just a few hours. “We just all had fun – it was a full week of pleasure,” she says. Richard and Joyce didn’t have anything particular in mind for their vow renewal. Their needs were relatively simple. “We wanted to celebrate 50 years and I wanted to be with my family,” says Joyce. The couple’s son Allan and their specialist, Vivian, planned most of the vow renewal, which made the entire process stressfree for Richard and Joyce. Rather than worry about colors or helping their family book accommodations, the couple concentrated on looking forward to their trip with their loved ones.

Photos by: Caribephoto,

During their stay, the couple enjoyed delicious dinners and exciting activities with their family members. They found the resort to be beautiful and incredibly accommodating to their needs. The couple’s grandson has a food allergy, so the family had to be sure the resort could accommodate them. The resort chef created special meals for him during his entire stay. Joyce says she was most surprised by the beautiful beach vow renewal ceremony. The décor and stunning set up was more than she could’ve ever imagined. “I’d never expected something like that,” says Joyce. “It was fabulous.” The couple was especially happy their family could see them say “I do” for the first time. “They weren’t there for the first wedding,” says Joyce. “They were overwhelmed by it.” Joyce says she would recommend couples renew their vows to celebrate their anniversaries. “It was a once-ina-lifetime experience,” she says. “We’re not going to forget it.” Thinking about planning your own destination vow renewal? Go to to get started.

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All-inclusive forevers.

Storybook Romance

A Proposal STORY Yes! Whether a proposal involves a romantic dinner, exotic venture or heartfelt words, it is an experience a couple will remember and retell for the rest of their lives.

Colleen Snell and Andy Phelan, who are planning a June wedding at El Dorado Royale with their specialist, Barbara, got engaged a little over a year into their relationship on an ordinary Saturday in November.

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On that day, Phelan offered to cook dinner while Snell was out shopping with friends. When she arrived home, she spotted the table set with flowers and candles and her favorite foods prepared. Since Phelan cooked dinner quite often, this wasn’t terribly surprising, so Snell simply dressed for the evening and enjoyed the meal. His demeanor was so calm that nothing seemed suspicious. She found out later that he’d called her mother for her favorite recipes and recreated them all in a stunning meal.

The story detailed little cartoon Andy having great experiences in Chicago, and highlighted a few eras where his life and cartoon Colleen’s had intersected (namely in Wrigleyville, where they lived one block apart and didn’t know one another). Throughout the story, little cartoon Andy and little cartoon Colleen met, went on many dates and enjoyed adventures together - ensuring that Andy would never be lost in the big city again. On the final page, little cartoon Andy was down on his knee holding out a little box. On the opposite page was the line, “Colleen, will you marry me? –A” Snell, no longer clueless about the message in the book, said “Yes!” while Phelan took the ring from his pocket and made the proposal official. The couple called their family and friends and Phelan whisked Snell away to a surprise engagement party with 50+ friends at their favorite restaurant and bar and the rest is history.

After dinner, Phelan told Snell he wanted to show her a book he’d been working on and brought it out for her to see. As she opened the book, she realized that it was a hand-illustrated storybook that bore resemblance to a children’s book they’d gifted to friends’ kids before - but this one was called “Andy Gets Lost in Chicago.”

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Book photos taken by Colleen Snell. Book illustrations by Andy Phelan

Some of brides and grooms decided to share their unique proposal stories with the world on the company’s interactive, redesigned website which launched this spring. If you want to see more of’s unique proposal stories, visit our blog, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Engagement photo by: Tracy Petersen Photography,

gourme t inclusive

destination weddings Often imitated, but never duplicated. Many resorts offer destination weddings. We specialize in them. From dreamy locations, beachfront chapels, attractive packages and a dedicated team of wedding professionals, to bridal suites, groom’s rooms, and our award-winning Gourmet Inclusive Ž concept. El Dorado Resorts have become synonymous with destination weddings and have developed a cult following among brides, grooms, guests and honeymooners.

The difference is. Gourmet Inclusive. For more information call 888-536-1923 or visit


Travel Impressions is proud to partner with, one of the premiere Destination Wedding Agencies in the World.

Award-Winning Year

Another, the number one worldwide destination wedding and romance travel company, is passionate about planning dream destination weddings for newly engaged couples in the U.S. and Canada. Whether a couple is planning a simple, intimate wedding or a large, lavish celebration,’s main goal is to make every couple’s dreams come true. consistently strives for excellence and takes customer service and satisfaction seriously, which is why the company has been recognized by so many resorts and organizations. Over the past eight years, has received many awards for its passion and commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction. The company was named “#1 Worldwide Retail Agency Producer of Destination Weddings” by Karisma Resorts and “Top Destination Weddings & Honeymoon Agency” by SuperClubs.’s experienced certified destination wedding specialists have also received a number of awards, including “Gourmet Inclusive Vacation Consultant (GIVC) Awards,” which were handed out at a ceremony last November. At the ceremony, DestinationWeddings. com specialists received a record number of awards. Out of the “Top 10 Producers in the World for Azul Hotels by Karisma,” seven of 10 were specialists. Out of the 10 “Top 10 Wedding Producers for El Dorado Spa Resorts by Karisma,” four of them were specialists. Additionally, 12 specialists were honored for being GI consultants and 44 received diamond-level status. More awards were given to that day than any other company. has been an award-winning company for many years. has been named “Best of the Best” by Travel Impressions for seven consecutive years, “#1 Worldwide Retail Agency Producer of Destination Weddings” by Karisma Resorts for four years and “Top Destination Wedding and Honeymoon Agency” by SuperClubs for the past six years. The company also received Funjet Vacations’ 500 Club status as a top producing agency for the past seven years and s p e c i a l p r o m o t i o n a l f e at u r e

Left to right: Sandals and Beaches Resorts Chairman, Gordon “Butch” Stewart,’s COO, Ed Cotton and CEO of Sandals and Beaches Resorts, Adam Stewart.

top recognition from Apple Vacations for the past six years. Not only does have an awardwinning history, but the company has also been featured in numerous publications and blogs. Destination Chief Operating Officer, Ed Cotton, was referred to as “Mr. Destination Wedding” in Wedding Cotton has also been featured as an expert in Destination I Do Magazine’s “Ask the Expert” articles for the past six years. Cotton was also featured in Travel Pulse’s five-part video on destination weddings. While the company has been featured in many publications, has also had a strong presence at many events in the travel industry. Cotton has been a keynote speaker and panelist at five Love Mexico events throughout the U.S. and in Mexico. When a couple works with, they know they can trust their experienced certified destination wedding specialist with all of the details of their wedding. For those looking for a stress-free way to plan a destination wedding, will make all of your dreams come true. After all, why would you trust the most important day of your life to just anyone when you can go to the leaders in romance travel?

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Most recently, received the prestigious honor of being named “Top Travel Agency in the World” by Sandals and Beaches Resorts at the Sandals STAR awards. The company received seven other awards at the Sandals STAR awards ceremony.


grandsetting. setting.AAgrand grandexperience. experience.AAgrand grandgift. gift. AAgrand freewedding weddingat atIBEROSTAR IBEROSTARGrand GrandHotel HotelParaíso. Paraíso. AAfree



A free wedding, a breathtaking setting and endless pampering. Too good to be A free wedding, a breathtaking setting and endless pampering. Too good to be true? Not at at all.all. IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraíso was recently awarded a AAA Four true? Not IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraíso was recently awarded a AAA Four Diamond rating forfor exceptional service. And, forfor good reason. At At this luxurious, Diamond rating exceptional service. And, good reason. this luxurious, adults-only, all-inclusive destination, personal wedding coordinators take care adults-only, all-inclusive destination, personal wedding coordinators take care ofof every detail and with only one wedding per day, you receive allall thethe attention every detail and with only one wedding per day, you receive attention you deserve. Plus, your guests can enjoy privileges at IBEROSTAR’s nearby sister you deserve. Plus, your guests can enjoy privileges at IBEROSTAR’s nearby sister properties and free unlimited golf with a 7+ night stay.* properties and free unlimited golf with a 7+ night stay.* Riviera Maya, Mexico Riviera Maya, Mexico

Flowers forfor bride and groom Flowers bride and groom Wedding cake with fresh Wedding cake with fresh flowers flowers Champagne toast Champagne toast Wedding dinner in in a specialty Wedding dinner a specialty restaurant restaurant

Visit Visit

Sweets and bottle of of sparkling Sweets and bottle sparkling wine onon your wedding night wine your wedding night

*To*To qualify for a free wedding package youyou must book 5 rooms or more for 3+ qualify for a free wedding package must book 5 rooms or more for 3+ nights or aor Grand Oceanfront Room for 7+ Complimentary rooms andand nights a Grand Oceanfront Room fornights. 7+ nights. Complimentary rooms room upgrades areare subject to availability. AnyAny additional food andand beverage willwill room upgrades subject to availability. additional food beverage incur an extra charge. Book a 7 or night staystay based on double occupancy incur an extra charge. Book a 7more or more night based on double occupancy andand enjoy unlimited golfgolf at Playa Paraíso GolfGolf Club. Book 5-6 nights based on on enjoy unlimited at Playa Paraíso Club. Book 5-6 nights based double occupancy andand receive twotwo complimentary rounds per per person. Book 3-4 3-4 double occupancy receive complimentary rounds person. Book nights based on double occupancy andand receive oneone complimentary round per per nights based on double occupancy receive complimentary round person. Offers good only at IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraíso. All off subject person. Offers good only at IBEROSTAR Grand Hotel Paraíso. Allers offare ers are subject to availability andand based on double occupancy. NotNot redeemable for cash. to availability based on double occupancy. redeemable for cash. Blackout dates andand additional restrictions maymay apply. Subject to change without Blackout dates additional restrictions apply. Subject to change without notice. Valid for bookings February 1 - December 23, 2012 for travel nownow through notice. Valid for bookings February 1 - December 23, 2012 for travel through December 23, 2012. IBEROSTAR does notnot assume responsibility for errors or or December 23, 2012. IBEROSTAR does assume responsibility for errors omissions within thethe context of this advertisement. omissions within context of this advertisement.

FREE room upgrade forfor thethe FREE room upgrade wedding couple wedding couple Bridal SPA package Bridal SPA package Grand Hotel Paraíso Grand Hotel Paraíso

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Late check-out forfor thethe Late check-out wedding couple wedding couple

Plan your

Dream Honeymoon


Whether you dream of having an exotic vacation in Fiji, romantic getaway to the Caribbean or a fun-filled trip to Mexico, your honeymoon is an experience you’ll remember forever. During your honeymoon, you’ll enjoy romantic dinners, couples’ massages, exciting excursions and charming accommodations as you celebrate your recent nuptials. Although planning a destination wedding requires extensive research and attention to detail, booking a romantic honeymoon is just as much work. When it comes to taking the most important and romantic trip of your life, why leave the planning up to just anyone?

When it comes time to book your honeymoon, there’s no reason to get overwhelmed. Let the experts at take over.

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budget and style. Whether you envision yourself staying in a bure in Fiji or a five-star ocean front suite in a boutique-style hotel, there are plenty of options from which to choose. If you’re interested in taking advantage of exciting excursions your destination has to offer, such as swimming with dolphins, zip-lining or snorkeling, your specialist will help you book those plans ahead of time, so everything goes off without a hitch. certified destination wedding specialists are experienced and enthusiastic about helping you plan your most romantic getaway. When you decide to work with DestinationWeddings. com to plan your honeymoon, you will be assigned to a specialist with expertise in the locations you’re interested in. Many of specialists have been to a number of the resorts they book weddings and honeymoons at, so you know you can trust their recommendations. Additionally, specialists receive plenty of helpful feedback from clients, which they pass on to their couples.

Your specialist will book airfare and rooms for you and your husband-or wife-to-be, so you won’t need to worry about anything. He or she will keep you up-to-date on travel requirements and help you make sure your plans are in order before you depart.

Your specialist will help you explore various destinations and assist you in selecting the right location for you and your husband- or wife-to-be. Your specialist will also help you find the right resort to meet your

While you may be consumed with planning your wedding, remember it’s never too early to start thinking about booking your dream honeymoon. Get started today at!

While you’re traveling, you can rest assured that there’s support at your disposal in case you need it. only works with wholesalers who offer emergency after-hours service during travel, which means you’re never alone when you’re on the way to your destination.

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Photo ©, #15295106 has not only planned over 13,000 destination weddings, but the company has also booked just as many dream honeymoons and romantic getaways for excited newlyweds ready to soak up the sun, explore Aztec ruins or trek through valleys and hillsides.


here happy endings begin.

Breezes Resorts & Spas are proud to call some of the most romantic and breathtaking places on earth home. And there’s no better place for couples to exchange their vows than at one of our spectacular resorts. At Breezes, Dream Weddings are complimentary*, but the memories are priceless. Consider it our wedding gift to you. ISLAND INSPIRATIONS Discover our new Island Inspirations wedding collection. Five new wedding themes that capture the beauty of our unique island settings.






Every 6th Room is free for destination Dream Weddings at Breezes Resorts & Spas from April to December. Call or click for details.


JA M A IC A · THE BA H A M A S · BR A ZIL Dream Weddings not available in all locations. Restrictions and minimum night stays apply. Information accurate at time of printing. Part of the SuperClubs Collection of Hotels & Resorts. © 2012

Super-Inclusive ® Resorts • The Playful Side of Paradise


Continuing our

Words by Lauren Byrnes

Connection, the leading destination wedding and romance travel company in the world, has been helping to plan U.S. and Canadian couples’ wedding days for the past eight years. And last fall, began turning even more Canadian couples’ wedding dreams into reality when the company opened a corporate office in Toronto. offers couples the opportunity to work with experienced certified destination wedding specialists who have expertise in most locations, including Mexico, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and throughout the Caribbean. The company has a number of specialists located in Canada, as well as some from the U.S. who have experience working with Canadian couples. Brides and grooms can rest assured that certified destination wedding specialists have plenty of experience working with Canadian wholesalers, charters, tour operators and brides and grooms. Megan McWhinnie-Crouse, managing director of Destination Canada, says the Toronto office has had a “great response” from Canadian brides and grooms so far. The team from’s Toronto office attended many bridal shows this past winter to get the word out about the company’s services. had booths at Canada’s Bridal Show, Toronto, the Wedding Fair, Vancouver, the Total Wedding Show, Toronto, Calgary Wedding Fair, Calgary, Edmonton Bridal Fantasy, Edmonton, and National Bridal Show, Toronto. McWhinnie-Crouse says couples at the bridal shows were eager to find out more about and many brides and grooms decided to sign up that day. When a couple decides to work with, not only do they get to have a stress-free planning process, but they also receive a number of other benefits. Couples who work with get valueadded amenities and the security of working with an experienced and award-winning company that has planned over 13,000 weddings and has strong relationships with resort partners.



In creating memorable weddings for couples for the past 9 years! certified destination wedding specialists help their couples find the perfect resort that meets their budget and needs. They also help their brides and grooms find competitive rates and book travel accommodations for them and their guests. Specialists will then set their couples up with a wedding coordinator at the resort who helps them plan their special day. Additionally, offers couples easy-payment plans, save-the-dates and a complimentary wedding website. Ready to start planning your dream destination wedding today? Go to or call 1-888-536-1923 to find out more.

Happily Ever Afters

Begin in Paradise

At Sandals® Resorts everything you could possibly imagine has been thought of, including all the luxury of a five-star resort. The difference is that our luxury is included and so is the fun. After all the pressure of your wedding, now’s the time to let loose and have the time of your life. Experience more unlimited land and water sports— including scuba diving and golf*—than any other resorts on the planet. Indulge in more restaurants—with up to 15 restaurant choices per resort. Enjoy unlimited premium brand drinks at up to ten bars including Beringer® Wines. Relax in the most unique honeymoon suites in the Caribbean. Sandals is the perfect choice for a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon.




* Scuba included for certified divers. Dive courses and night dives are available at an additional cost. Greens fees not included in Antigua and the Bahamas. Sandals ® is a registered trademark.

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The Colin Cowie weddings ColleCTion. Available at our locations in Punta Cana, Cancun, Vallarta, Riviera Maya, Isla Mujeres and Cozumel. Call 866.310.0404, visit weddings.palaCeresorTs.Com or allinClusivehoTelweddings.Com for more information on this and our remarkable $1,500 Resort Credit* promotion. *Restrictions apply per package. Booking dates and travel dates apply. Promotion subject to change without notice.

DESTI Awards – Spotlight:

El Dorado Casitas Royale

While is focused on making couples’ wedding dreams come true, the company would not be able to do that without the feedback of their clients. As the leading destination wedding and romance travel company in the world, takes customer service and satisfaction extremely seriously.

The 2011 DESTI Award winners were Excellence Playa Mujeres in Cancun, El Dorado Casitas Royale in the Riviera Maya, Pueblo Bonito Sunset in Cabo, Grand Velas Riviera Nayartit in Puerto Vallarta, Sandals Royal Plantation in Jamaica, Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana and Beaches Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean. A special recognition award went to Love Mexico Weddings for their contributions to the destination wedding and romance travel market. Because the DESTI Award winners were selected based on customer feedback and satisfaction, it’s no surprise that El Dorado Casitas Royale was one of the properties recognized. At El Dorado Casitas Royale, the staff goes above and beyond to make sure that every guest’s experience is magical. “We want to pamper our guests during their stay,” says General Manager, José Carlos Vazquéz. El Dorado Casitas Royale offers guests a romantic and personalized experience, whether they are having a wedding, honeymoon or romantic getaway. El Dorado Casitas Royale is essentially a resort within a resort, which allows couples to enjoy the amenities El Dorado Royale has to offer, as well as the privacy of casitas.

The intimate, adults-only resort features 202 well-appointed, spacious suites. Each suite has an en-suite Jacuzzi and outdoor shower, making every couple’s stay romantic. The luxurious suites are divided into eight sections or casitas, creating an intimate experience for every guest. Each casita features a beautiful pool and bar, where guests can relax, socialize and bask in the sun. The staff makes it their mission to get to know the guests - it’s not unlikely the bartender will learn your name and favorite drink during your stay. For couples planning their weddings at El Dorado Casitas Royale, the experience is unlike any other. El Dorado Casitas Royale is the perfect location for a bride who truly “wants to remember her wedding day for the rest of her life,” says Vazquéz. The wedding staff works to ensure the planning process is enjoyable for brides and grooms from start to finish. El Dorado Casitas Royale makes sure each wedding is tailormade to fit each couple’s style. The resort offers a number of wedding packages which couples can customize to fit their needs. El Dorado Casitas Royale also offers couples a number of spectacular wedding venues to choose from. From a beach wedding arch or gazebo, to a charming beachfront chapel, there are plenty of breathtaking ceremony venues. The resort’s wedding coordinators are attentive, enthusiastic and passionate about making sure every detail is perfect. “The staff is very committed to excellence,” says Vazquéz.

El Dorado Casitas Royale accepting their award.

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When El Dorado Casitas Royale was recognized for being one of the best destination wedding performers, Vazquéz says his staff was pleased and honored. “We want to exceed our guests’ expectations.”

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Bottom left photo courtesy of Vallarta Palace, photo on right courtesy of El Dorado Casitas Royale, by Karisma

In order to recognize resorts for their destination wedding capabilities and accomplishments within the romance travel market, created the DESTI Awards. The DESTI Award winners were selected exclusively based on client feedback during the course of 2011. Moving forward, these customer-driven awards will be given out annually to the absolute best of the hotel and destination performers.


P E R F E C T Destination



photography by

Destination I Do  

Summer Destination Weddings