We’ve been back from the Riviera Maya for a little more than a week now, and I am still in awe of the entire experience. Jeff and I arrived at the Occidental Grand Xcaret (pronouced “ish-caret”) on Saturday, November 6. I couldn’t believe how many destination wedding couples we ran into at the airport! Every time I turned around, I saw another wedding dress in a garment bag. It’s fun to know that so many people are taking the destination route to marriage.
Once we arrived, we enjoyed a few quiet days exploring the resort before our friends and family started to arrive. Our first guests arrived on Monday, and we spent the next few days catching up, swimming through the underground rivers of Xcaret park, eating mass quantities of guacamole, planning the final details of the wedding and hanging out in “the square” at the hotel—an outdoor area that was faintly reminiscent of my time in the piazzas of Rome.
I had fully intended to spend some time going on excursions and adventures around the Riviera Maya, but once our guests arrived, I realized that this trip was not so much about excusions as it was about catching up with old friends and enjoying our time together in an absolutely beautiful environment. The excursions will have to wait until next time.
Our photographer, the wonderful and talented Stephanie Reeder, and her assistant, Christy, arrived on Wednesday, and they got right down to capturing the memories from our week—from our first encounters with some of our guests right on through the wedding. Stephanie and Christy, I can’t thank you enough. You fit right into our group, not only as professionals, but as friends, and you both did an amazing job capturing the moments of our wedding day. You can view some of the photos on Stephanie’s blog—go check them out!
On the wedding day, I wore a dress that was designed by my good friend and bridesmaid, Susan Brennan. She incorporated the lace from my mother’s wedding dress into the texture of the one shouldered design, and she added all sorts of amazing hand details. Seriously, if you’re looking for a unique and personal wedding dress, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with Susan. I wore a headband and earrings from Anthropologie (a nice preview of the wedding line they will be coming out with next spring), and I changed into a birdcage veil for a touch of surprise at the ceremony (also a Susan Brennan creation). Since Jeff and I saw each other to read private vows and take pictures before the ceremony, I wanted to change things up a bit for my walk down the aisle.
The bridesmaids wore navy one shoulder dresses from the UK store, ASOS, and Bandolino sandals (shoes under $20 for the win!). They carried clutch purses from Vera Bradley, which came in quite handy—I had my vows, lipgloss and other must-haves distributed across the purses. If you’re looking for an alternative to flowers, I highly recommend clutch purses. It’s a fun alternative and a great way to throw more of your own style into your wedding day. They also wore the Seaside Dreaming earrings that I found on Etsy.
At the reception, we assigned guests to their seats using personalized metal name plates (another Etsy find). They were a definite hit and a personal favorite. We served tiramisu cake, another reflection of my time in Rome, and we all danced the night away.
If you’re considering a destination wedding, don’t hesitate! Do it! And feel free to call me if you’re looking for a photographer to come along ;).
I had an absolutely amazing time, and we were able to draw out the celebration for the entire week. It was incredibly gratifying to see our friends from various walks of life coming together and becoming good friends by the end of the trip. I can’t wait to share more photos, along with the video from our day. It was truly the best week of my life.