My first big trip with David years ago was to Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We had the most amazing time and fell in love with Tulum on a day trip! So, if you remember from this post, we decided to get married there! For years, Tulum (and the Riviera Maya) have held such a special place in our hearts and the laid back vibe is VERY us! We knew we wanted an extremely small and intimate wedding. We’re actually very private people (I know, hard to believe since I share some of my life online. ha!) and Tulum made for the perfect place to have the small wedding we wanted.
I’ve never been one of those girls that has always dreamed of their wedding day. I always knew I wanted to get married, but never really thought of how and where. However, when David and I got engaged (I’ll save that story for another time!) we somehow both knew we wanted a destination wedding, despite never really discussing it. We’ve been together for so long (11+ years…yikes!) and have been through so much together that honestly, getting married is more of a legal formality. So, we let two engaged years go by before finally getting our butts in gear! (Shout out to my girlfriends for pushing me by constantly asking me how wedding planning is going). We have three months left before our big day (trying very hard not to freak out) and below I’m sharing what I’ve learned so far in planning a destination wedding.
- Visit in Advance: We had already visited Tulum and knew we loved it, but it had been years since we went back. And as I’m sure you’ve seen ALL over your Instagram feeds, Tulum is a prime destination now and so much has changed. When we finally got serious about planning, we took a trip down there (see our Tulum post here) to scope out venues and meet with wedding planners. This was about 7 months in advance. Unfortunately, our timeline doesn’t allow us enough time to visit a second time, but if I had to do it again, I would allow time for a second visit to meet with vendors for food tasting and hair and makeup trials. My advice though, visit at least once to see venues!
- Research (aka stalk) vendors online and social media: Once we decided on Tulum, I started looking for vendors online and social media (mainly Instagram). For me, a vendor’s Instagram profile was a reflection of their creativity and a test for how well our styles matched. When I was searching for wedding planners, I would be turned off if their Instagram aesthetic didn’t match my taste. I followed my wedding planner on Instagram for some time before contacting her. I knew we would be a great match because I had been following her for some time. Researching vendors on social media was also very helpful when my planner started recommending vendors to us because I had already been following some of them on Instagram. Thus, it was easy to make those vendor decisions!
- Hire a qualified wedding planner: I cannot stress this one enough! We clearly do not live in the Tulum area, so we knew we needed someone trustworthy to be our eyes and ears there. Our planner, Diana Romo, has been instrumental in keeping us sane during our (short) planning process. She is incredibly organized and pushes us when we’re taking our sweet time in making decisions. Plus, she has great relationships with so many vendors in the area. We love her style and personality and clicked with her upon our first meeting via Skype. Having a genuine connection with your planner is SO important!
- Pick a date wisely: Depending on your location, taking the weather into consideration is vital. Tulum is a tropical area so we definitely wanted to stay away from those rainy and hurricane months. Even though certain venues were offering much better deals on certain months, we didn’t want risk it. I’m still keeping my fingers crossed because you never know with caribbean weather!
- Give your guests a heads up: We sent out Save the Dates as soon as we officially booked our venue. However, with back and forth contract edits, this took some time. But we always made sure to keep our guests in the loop of the approximate dates so that they at least knew what month we were planning on doing it and could start making preliminary plans.
Wish us luck as we approach our big day! Have you ever been to a destination wedding? If so, what did you like/dislike about it?