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Bride: Nicole

Groom: Mychael

Resort: Dreams Riviera Cancun

Advisor: Lesley

  • What made you decide on having a destination wedding?

We decided pretty early on in the wedding planning process that we wanted to do a destination wedding. A couple of years ago, we attended my cousin Ali’s wedding in Tulum and had the most incredible time. It wasn’t about the actual wedding day per say, it was about all the quality time we got to spend with everyone. Instead of just having a few hours to try and chat with all the guests, people were able to spend real time and have actual conversations. Family had a chance to catch up and friends all mingled. People from different parts of their lives, all got to know each other. We loved so many things about that trip that we decided to do something really similar. Fortunately, my cousin is really cool and was flattered when I asked if we could model our wedding after hers.

Second to that, our family and friends are spread throughout the country, so pretty much no matter where we decided to get married, most people would have to travel and it would be a destination wedding. And we love the beach, so we knew from the get-go that our ceremony would be on the sand.

  • What made you decide on the destination/resort/venue?

We decided to use my cousin Ali’s travel agent (told you we were copying her wedding J) Lesley from Legacy Travel. Originally I was researching resorts myself and trying to keep track of everything in a very complex excel grid, but once Lesley got involved, life was so much easier. She has strong recommendations on the best areas and also the best hotels – not just in terms of location, but also which ones have helpful and responsive wedding planners (hugely important for a destination wedding).

Lesley arranged for a site check trip and we looked at 8 hotels in the Riviera Maya, specifically in Playa Mujeres, Cancun, Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen. In the end, we decided on Dreams Riviera Cancun in Puerto Morelos. The hotel was tucked away and felt very private, but was still only a short distance to the airport, which was something we kept in mind for some of our older guests and those that were anxious about traveling out of the country. It is a beautiful hotel, situated right on the beach. One of the things that stood out for us was the pool area and the entertainment staff. We wanted to make sure our hotel had things to keep people entertained, but was also relaxing for those that wanted a quieter vacation. We also wanted to be sure kids would have fun as well because plenty of our friends have children.

All the hotels we saw were really nice and the staff was incredibly friendly, but Dreams checked all the boxes for us.

  • How was the resort?

The resort overall was incredible. Perfect for groups with plenty for everyone to do, whether they wanted to be entertained or just relax. We had some trouble with the room drops, so I’m not sure I would recommend going that route. We gave the list and the gift bags to concierge, and met with them three different times to go over it, but still some of our guests never received a gift bag. We were charged per room drop, so that was a bit disappointing. Unfortunately, we had so much going on and were running around so much that I didn’t have a chance to go back a fourth time to try and sort it out. In general though, the resort staff was so helpful and accommodating. The stick to a very high-level of service and some of the people we met went so far above and beyond, it was impressive.. The entire activities staff was so fun and did an incredible job of keeping people entertained. Also, our photographer was INCREDIBLE! I didn’t really know what to expect since you have to use the onsite photography company, but we ended up with a really amazing photographer – Nicandro Jimenez. He had such great ideas, his photos came out amazing and he was really fun to be around. If I could, I would hire him for all our shoots! Maybe I can convince him to move to San Francisco.

  • If your best friend were planning a destination wedding what would your advice be to her?

Understand in advance that not everyone will be able to attend, be flexible and don’t get too stuck on any idea, and arrive early before any of the guests get to the location

  • Was there anything that you would change looking back?

Had we known about the seaweed issue down there, we probably would have chosen a different location. There was so much seaweed in the water that you couldn’t go in the ocean. We have friends that went up to Playa Mujeres and said it was much better. Other than that, just small things. I may not have done gift bags because that ended up taking more of my time than it was probably worth.  And I definitely would have arrived a day earlier. We needed a day to take care of things before people started to arrive.