It’s time for another first on Peonies to Palm Trees! This time it’s the very first REAL DESTINATION WEDDING post, brought to you by Erika and Chris who decided to get married in Mexico. My brother was lucky enough to attend this amazing destination wedding, and said that it was an absolute blast. If you’re considering planning a destination wedding, make sure to read all of Erika’s wonderful advice below (and go for it!):
When and where was your destination wedding?
We were married on October 27th, 2013 in Troncones, Mexico (a small fishing village and resort town near Ixtapa).
How long were you there?
We stayed for a week with our family and on the 4th day the rest of our guests joined us.
How did you decide on doing a destination wedding?
We fell in love in Costa Rica, we got engaged in El Salvador, and we wanted to share our love of adventure and travel with our family and friends. Also, we all get caught up in this fast paced world. We were hoping that our wedding would be a chance for everyone to slow down, step away, and really enjoy our time together.
The best part about our destination wedding was…
It was intimate and genuine. All our friends and family spent days together. Those who didn’t know each other became friends, those who hadn’t seen each other in a while reconnected….Our parents call each other on the phone now. It was so special for all the people we love to come together for us.
If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…
I had this grand idea that, because we had kitchens, we’d all want to cook in the days leading up to the wedding. We did crazy grocery shopping and I created a menu and cookbook. But we were all so excited to be in a new place and all together that we wanted to explore and hang out, not cook. That was a wasted effort and more trouble than it was worth. Go out to eat, it’s good for the local economy, it adds to the adventure, and it allows you and your guests to get to know the local people.
What was the hardest part about planning a destination wedding?
Our wedding planners miraculously got it all done almost like we’d planned…and “almost” was plenty close enough for us. But, there was plenty of not really knowing if things were actually going to happen. The planners made it interesting, they were often unresponsive to our emails and then they’d only answer a couple of our many questions. In fact, they never actually confirmed our plans and contract until we were already in Mexico, two days before the wedding. Chris and I learned to just laugh it off, and go with the flow. Also, mother nature served us up some complications, there was a hurricane..thankfully, it stayed off shore, and a downpour/thunderstorm during the reception. But heck, it makes for a great story to tell our kids one day.
What are your tips for other couples who are considering planning a destination wedding?
It’s STRESSFUL but absolutely, completely worth it. The intimacy, sincerity, and simplicity of the day and ceremony was inexplicable. It was magical and we will never ever forget it. So just take a deep breath, let things happen, relax if it’s not picture perfect because the imperfections, oh man, that’s where the memories happen, the memories you get to cherish together for the rest of your lives. Like when it poured down rain and we all ran to the covered patio, cramped together, no clue what to do, as our tables and chairs got soaked, there was a brief moment of panic and then we looked around at all our friends and family laughing and dancing we knew what to do….time to dance in the rain.
Where do you want to go on your next big trip?
We’ve done a lot of travel and volunteer work in Central America, and we love it, but the next big trip will probably be the other side of the travel spectrum. It’s a dream of ours to do a cycling tour through the French countryside. Time to start saving our pennies for that one.
And because I couldn’t help myself, here are a few more photos from Erika and Chris’ awesome wedding week: