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A Frugal Bride's Riviera Maya DIY Wedding

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Wow, I can't believe its my time to start a planning thread!!  For the past year I have been counting down the months until we leave and as of today only 17 more sleeps.  I don't know how I would have been able to accomplish anything had I not found this site.  Thank you too everyone who has contributed, this site has been a wealth of knowledge and ideas for me. 



One of the toughest decisions by far was picking a resort.  We knew it had to be Mexico since we have been going there for the past seven years and always love it.  Just after coming home from a trip to Mexico in April of 2011 my aunt (also TA) called me with some prices.  One of the options was the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya which we had stayed at in 08 and since the price worked for everyone so we booked it. 

GS Papala.jpg

Their private palapa was part of the deciding factor and they had a nice range of wedding packages. 



Second toughest decision without a doubt!!! I live in a very small town with the closest major shopping area 2 hours away.  I tried on so many dresses and couldn't find the "one".  I fell in love with Pronovias dresses but could only find a limited few to try on in my province.  Without any luck I took a chance and ordered a knock off from China.  I did this early on in case it wasn't great and I would still have time to find a new one and I could use the knock off for our TTD.  Well the dress came and it was well made but not exactly great so back to dress hunting.  My next trip out I finally made the decision to order a dress, its Pronovias, Alfil.


Colin's Suit from Le Chateau.  His best man will wear the same pants and shirt.


Maid of Honour dress.  We're going to add a starfish brooch to the waist.  I made her a pair of barefoot sandals to wear but I forgot to take a picture before I gave them to her.  We went to a bridal show that holding a gown and dress clearance and this dress matched the groom's shirt perfectly so we got a great bargain.

Nicole's Dress.jpg

My Mother's dress: 


 moms dress.jpg


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Ok so now on to the frugal part.  Since I had a year to plan this thing I wanted to do most of the work myself and save as much money as possible.  Starting early was a huge part of this, it allowed me time to find ideas, look for bargains and buy items from past brides.


One of my first projects was invitations and I knew I wanted the boarding pass style.  After playing around with different fonts and clip art I was ready to print, cut and assemble. 


Walking through the Dollar Store one day I saw trading card sleeves 12 for $1 and thought they would make great luggage tags so I brought them home and starting punching holes thru them for the strap and then made an insert in Word.  We're asking everyone to use theirs so at the airport we can just grab all the bags with our luggage tags on them.


My next project was barefoot sandals, I loved the ones I had seen on here and figured they couldn't be too hard.

barefoot sandal 1.JPG


Early on I had seen sparkler tags for sale and loved the idea of doing an exit with sparklers but I was not about to pay $25 for 12 tags so I created these:

Sparkler Tags.JPG


My next project that I wanted to make was napkin rings.  I knew wanted starfish themed rings but the only ones I could find were something like  $30 for 4 so I found some directions online and had Colin cut some PVC pipe up that we already had.  Here is the finished product with linens purchased from a past bride:



Next up was pew decor.  I was at Winner's one day and found a huge bag of starfish, I think there was 12 in a bag for about $14 so I bought the last 2 they had.

Pew Decor.JPG


In addition to the pew decor I will also have Rafia fans on every seat with the handles wrapped in pink and orange ribbon.  I forgot to take a picture of these before packing them.  The only other ceremony decor that I really wanted was a capiz chandelier/windchime.  For months I looked for something that was affordable and almost purchased one from WildThings but being in Canada the shipping to get it here was going to be as much as the chandelier itself so I had given up on the idea until I found a used on Kijiji one day.  Here's a picture of the chandelier that I got:



 More to come

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Table Numbers, Place Cards, Seating Charts

Place Cards.JPG

These were super easy to do once I figured out what size I wanted them to be.  Using left over invitation paper I cut the colored paper into strips and folded them in half and printed names on the cream colored paper, cut them into rectangles and glued them onto the cardstock after that I just stuck on a starfish or a sand dollar.


Seating Chart.JPG

I picked up these unfinished frames from Michaels for $1 each and painted them.  Using burlap I had left over from the napkin rings I glued that to the insert and then printed off the table listing and glued them on.  The starfish on the corners are paper using my craft punch.


Table Numbers.JPG

I had some vellum paper and had no idea what to do with it so I started looking at luminaries and thought I could make these.  Another trip to the dollar store for some vases and a little playing around in Word to get the right size and I have table numbers.


More to come,


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OOT Bags

We purchased Jute bags from the dollar store and I spent last summer looking for bargains to fill them.  I didn't take a picture before I packed them but this is a list of what inside. 


Seashell Bottle Opener

Stafish Envelope Opener

Tropical Themed Magnetic Photo Frame - Oriental Trading

Tropical Notepad - Oriental Trading

Bookmark - Oriental Trading

Bath & Body Works Candle - Grand Opening Sale, 3 for $1

Flip Flop key chain - Walmart

Oh Shit Kit

  • Glass Wipes - Dollarama
  • Advil - Ebay
  • Lip Chap - Dollarama
  • Band Aids - Dollarama
  • Eye Make up remover wipes - Dollarama
  • Shout wipes - Ebay
  • Hand wipes - Dollarama
  • Immodium - Coscto (one sleeve of 6 per person)
  • Mini tropical nail files - Oriental Trading
  • Clothes pins painted in orange & pink (the balconies have clothes lines at our resort) - Dollarama
  • Matches - Dollarama


I'm pretty sure I'm missing a few things but this is the majority of items and I'll take some pictures before we hand them out.


In Flight Snack Pack

Oddly enough this is one item that I'm really excited about.  We are going to hand these out at the airport.

Snack Pack.JPG

Listing of contents:

Fruit Snacks - Costco

Almonds - Costco

Gum - Costco

Mike & Ike - Costco

Mentos - Costco

Small Luggage Container filled with jelly beans in pink, orange & yellow

Pen for filling out tourist cards - Dollarama

Menu Selection Cards - Vistaprint

Brochure on the Riviera Maya - Vistaprint, using photos from our past trips

Spanish Handbook - DIY

I'm also going to make starfish & seahorse cookies to include in the bags.  I have recruited my mother & aunt to help out with the baking and decorating a few days before we leave.


Close up of brochure

Brochure Inside.JPG

Brochure Back.JPG


I found a coupon online for free brochures and uploads so I only had to pay shipping for these.


And here's the PDF for my spanish handbook















spanish handbook janette.pdf

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Great planning thread. I love your luminary vases how did you do them? And your sweetheart decor I love

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They were very easy the only hard part was figuring out the size of the clip art.  I had some vellum paper already so I just measured to see how much I would need to go around the vase and then set up a template in Word, inserted the clip art and table number and printed them off.  Once I had them printed I just wrapped them around the vase and attached them with Zots.


Originally Posted by mzthan6 View Post

Great planning thread. I love your luminary vases how did you do them? And your sweetheart decor I love


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I love your decor idea for the bar- I'm sure it'll look absolute fab in the evening!

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Wow...this is great.  I wish I was as crafty as you are.  It would save me a lot of money and a lot of headaches! The In Flight Snack Pack is such a great idea too! All of our guests are flying out on different days, so this would be difficult for our group, but I'm sure your guests will love it!


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great job! Everything looks amazing! Where did you order your paper from for your invitations?

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