Real Destination Wedding + Mini-Moon: Philippines

I know I always say something about how I’m excited to share a particular blog post, but this one really is extra awesome because it’s a real destination wedding and mini-moon in the Philippines! My husband and I are hoping to recreate a similar itinerary there this winter, so I’m grateful that Monique and Josiah have shared so many helpful insights (and beautiful photos) below. Enjoy!

When and where was your destination wedding?

Our wedding was on February 1st at the Shangri-La Resort and Spa in Boracay, Philippines.

Boracay destination wedding

How did you decide on doing a destination wedding?

Josiah and I had originally thrown around the idea of a destination wedding, since we have lived abroad a few times and travel so often, but decided against it since we knew so many of our friends and family would not be able to join us. However, after a year and a half of searching all over the bay area and not really finding anything that we fell in love with (that we could also afford), we revisited the idea of a destination wedding.

This time the Philippines and the Shangri La came up and we both knew immediately this was right! We had spent New Years there three years ago and Josiah’s dad’s family lives in Manila, so it felt special and we really wanted to share this place with our friends and family.

boracay wedding

It’s hard to believe that this perfect shot isn’t a stock photo!

The best part about our destination wedding was…

Having a full week with the people we love most on a beautiful island!  We were able to plan lots of events and really sit back and watch all of our friends and family talk, laugh, explore, and enjoy every moment together. I had no idea how incredibly special it would be to see our worlds come together and get people away to a place that had a lot of meaning for us.

Boracay wedding

What was the hardest part about planning a destination wedding?

I think had it been anywhere else [aside from the Shangri La on Boracay] it would have been more challenging. We had the most amazing planner who was on top of everything. I emailed her almost daily with questions and ideas, and she responded right away and was just as excited as I was. I have a high attention to detail, so I will admit I can be a bit much for some, but we were extremely fortunate!

In general the people in the Philippines were so incredibly accommodating and wonderful that it made for an easy and stress free process. Of course not being able to see things in person makes it tougher, but fortunately we had been once before. I think the time difference, currency conversions, and lack of some internet sites or functionality made it a bit more challenging, but nothing we couldn’t work with.

Boracay wedding

What are your tips for other couples who are considering planning a destination wedding?

I think its important to pick somewhere that is meaningful. This can be because the couple has traveled there before, they have family from there, or have dreamed about going together. It makes it that much more special to share it with friends and family. I would also get as much information up front [from the venues] to ensure you know about what is included, what isn’t, different ways/traditions of having a wedding there etc. I think this is also a great way to find out if the person you will be working with is responsive and helpful before you book anything. I can’t imagine planning a wedding from across the world without someone really great on the other end.

boracay honeymoon

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Real Destination Wedding: Mexico

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).

Mexico wedding

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.

troncones wedding

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.

group yoga in mexico

Pre-wedding yoga sesh

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.

troncones wedding

Surf’s up!

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.

troncones wedding

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.

troncones wedding

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.

troncones wedding

So so awesome

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