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Newbie Here - Doing A Destination Wedding On A Budget


LaurenC3432
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Hey guys! I've been lurking on here since I got engaged a couple of weeks ago in Mexico - and wow, there's so much great information and super friendly people on here. Excited to start posting more!

 

We've talked about doing a destination wedding, because neither one of us want a super huge wedding. I get pretty nervous being the center of attention, so I had a couple of questions for you guys...

 

We are looking at doing a wedding in Playa Del Carmen sometime in between July and October of 2015. (We're hoping to finalize this in the next couple weeks, we know we're starting this a little late!  :) ) We're hoping for an adults only all inclusive, but we may have a few people that want to bring kids, so we have to keep that option open. 

 

We'd be inviting about 45 guests, and expecting maybe half to show up. 

 

With that being said, we both want a SUPER simple, quick ceremony without a lot of extras, decorations, etc. I think the beach is decoration enough for me.

 

The only thing that's a must for me, is a private or mostly private reception with dinner, open bar, and music (whether it be from an iPod or DJ). Again, lots of decorations and extras aren't super important, just mainly want an area where our close friends and family can celebrate together and have food and drinks. 

 

Can any of you give me an idea of how much I'd be paying for a private reception, without all the decor, or a band, etc? We are on a budget, and would like to keep the ceremony/reception costs down as much as possible. 

 

And the most important part...can anyone give me any suggestions for a resort that's nice, but isn't outrageously expensive? We'd like our guests to be able to come from Oklahoma to Playa for about $1200 or less for at least 3 days. 

 

I know this is a lot of info, so sorry in advance. I'm already way overwhelmed, and I know this is only the beginning!  :lol:

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Welcome welcome welcome! This board is going to be your life saver :)

 

Most resorts seem to have a pretty basic wedding package for brides who aren't concerned with all the bells and whistles that are relatively inexpensive, or you could probably just do a few upgrades from the free wedding package that most places offer when you book X amount of rooms.  At my resorts, the free package is for 10 guests when you book 7 nights, or 5 people reserve for 3 nights, or $999 out of pocket.  The reception package for $25 people is about $2,500.  I think those are pretty good ballpark numbers to operate off of, based on the price range for the resort you want.

 

I know it's not quite Playa Del Carmen, but at my wedding resort, the Now Jade in the Riviera Maya, the cost was about $1475 for 7 nights and about $1100 for 4 nights, which sounds like it's in your price range :)

 

Good luck planning! Picking the resort is the hardest part!

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If you have less than 25 guests I think you should be able to find a resort package that is reasonable inexpensive and meets your needs.  It's the extra charges when you go over 25 guests that start adding up!  Good luck!  You have a head start having already found this site - you will learn so much!  Also - as the previous post mentioned - picking the resort is the hardest part!  congrats and best of luck in your planning!

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You guys are awesome and know how to make a girl feel welcome - thanks for all the friendly replies!

 

We don't really have a budget for our travel/honeymoon...but wanted to keep wedding/reception costs at a minimum so we can live it up on the honeymoon. This is some great info to get me started!

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Riu Palace Mexico and Riu Palace Riviera Maya are great resorts, I have stayed there. Riu has packages that include up to 25 guests. They charge extra for each guest. I am getting married at Moon Palace, I think their benefits are great for large groups, Playacar Palace is also a great resort as well and the location is PERFECT, I toured there. 

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welcome to BDW! 

 

do you have a TA yet? If not, check out Wright Travel - they own this site and have great relationships with amazing resorts in RM including Karisma (El Dorado & Azul resorts), Palace Resorts, RIU, etc. they can help you narrow down your options and choose the resort that is best for you & your wedding. They are great because they get the wedding part, not just the travel/resort part too. 

 

the Karisma resorts do it based on the price of the entrees, and it includes 4 hours of open bar, the venue and staff. you can then add a DJ or sound system to run from an iPod (or bring your own). 

 

Our wedding at EDR was $500 pp for 3 nights, not including airfare (our guests came in from all over the country, so they had to get their own airfare vs. a group buy). EDR is adults only, and typically at the higher end of the price range (but so worth it!!! I'd highly recommend as a honeymoon spot if you're looking to splurge). 

 

One thing to keep in mind with your timeframe - August/September are the peak of hurricane season. While RM hasn't been hit by many hurricanes in the last few years, it could happen. so definitely get trip insurance, and encourage your guests to do the same. 

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welcome to BDW! 

 

do you have a TA yet? If not, check out Wright Travel - they own this site and have great relationships with amazing resorts in RM including Karisma (El Dorado & Azul resorts), Palace Resorts, RIU, etc. they can help you narrow down your options and choose the resort that is best for you & your wedding. They are great because they get the wedding part, not just the travel/resort part too. 

 

the Karisma resorts do it based on the price of the entrees, and it includes 4 hours of open bar, the venue and staff. you can then add a DJ or sound system to run from an iPod (or bring your own). 

 

Our wedding at EDR was $500 pp for 3 nights, not including airfare (our guests came in from all over the country, so they had to get their own airfare vs. a group buy). EDR is adults only, and typically at the higher end of the price range (but so worth it!!! I'd highly recommend as a honeymoon spot if you're looking to splurge). 

 

One thing to keep in mind with your timeframe - August/September are the peak of hurricane season. While RM hasn't been hit by many hurricanes in the last few years, it could happen. so definitely get trip insurance, and encourage your guests to do the same. 

 

Thanks Allie! I've been looking for a Travel Agent, I'll check out Wright Travel for sure. 

I guess my question now is what do I do next? Lol. I've been Googling so much, I think I've managed to overwhelm myself unnecessarily. 

 

We have a basic list of people we want to invite, know the time of year we'd like, and know we want it to be in Playa (but are open to other areas).  

 

Can I contact a travel agency without having a specific date or venue nailed down? Ideally I want to look at several dates and places for cost comparison. 

 

I want to have more concrete information to give potential guests, so I'd think I'd need to hold off on contacting them until after I speak to a travel agent?

 

What's the first step you guys took to get things moving along?

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I felt the exact same way at the beginning of planning and choosing a resort.  I had done so much research online that everything just started to blend together and I felt completely overwhelmed!  What helped me significantly was I made a list of all of the resorts I looked at and liked.  I included:

1. the wedding package price and # of guests that included, how much it was for each additional guest,

2. what I liked about each resort (ie: the ceremony location, non-restaurant options for reception dinner, etc)

3. what they offered that was important to me, or what "extras" I wanted that would have added to the overall cost (ie cocktail hour, bridal and bridesmaid bouquets)

4. I also added an approximate of how much the cost would be for guests. 

 

It helped for me to see it all on paper and immediately I could cut resorts out.  It was kind of like a pro/con list for me.  Then I could focus on a few resorts to help make the final decision.

 

I think this could be useful for you if you plan to go with the basic or free package and then plan to add on extras: that way you can add all the costs up before you decide which resort you want to choose.  It can be really easy to become wrapped up in what wedding extras you "should" have (decorations, invitations, napkins, photo booth, etc), but you can definitely stick to a budget with a DW and still have a beautiful and wonderful time.  Good luck!

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Thanks Allie! I've been looking for a Travel Agent, I'll check out Wright Travel for sure. 

I guess my question now is what do I do next? Lol. I've been Googling so much, I think I've managed to overwhelm myself unnecessarily. 

 

We have a basic list of people we want to invite, know the time of year we'd like, and know we want it to be in Playa (but are open to other areas).  

 

Can I contact a travel agency without having a specific date or venue nailed down? Ideally I want to look at several dates and places for cost comparison. 

 

I want to have more concrete information to give potential guests, so I'd think I'd need to hold off on contacting them until after I speak to a travel agent?

 

What's the first step you guys took to get things moving along?

 

I met with a travel agent at first with virtually nothing in mind other than "Somewhere around Cancun," and she just talked with us about a bunch of different resorts and sort of walked us through what the entire process would be.  I had no idea about a date or anything, and she was able to advise us on that too and give us her opinions on the best times of year based on prices, hurricane seasons, etc.  From there we were able to do our own research and then nail down a date and the resort with her, and then we started spreading the news by word of mouth.  People started booking a few months later.

 

One thing I'll say about this forum is that it can be a little overwhelming, especially when you're first getting started, cause so many of these brides are so awesome and crafty and organized that it made me feel hopeless!  While I WISH I could be like them and doing all these awesome DIY projects and having everything hyper-organized a year in advance, the fact of the matter is that that's just not me!  So I guess I'm saying don't be too freaked out and feeling like you're super behind, I think you have plenty of time :)

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