By Morgan Ross
Destination weddings are a hassle. Planning from afar, travel expenses, shuffling a guest list, the headaches go on and on. But saying “I do” with the sun setting over the ocean and the feeling of sand between your toes as you kiss your partner makes all of the fuss worth it.
I thought that using a travel agent was for two kinds of people; rich people who don’t have the time to plan for themselves and people who don’t know how to use the Internet. After calling Tracy SanNicolas at Riverdale Travel, I knew I was wrong.
My partner and I wanted a relaxing, warm, romantic getaway with an all-inclusive package on a beach. Tracy recommended Puerto Vallarta from personal experience. With the combination of the award winning beaches, the mountains as a backdrop, and the friendliness of the city, it has the perfect ingredients for romance overload.
Making the Plans
Puerto Vallarta is the ultimate destination for everyone. Whether you are getting married, looking to zip line, swim with dolphins, whale watch, walk on the beach, sip a piña colada in the pool, unwind in the spa, or relax and soak up the sun, Puerto Vallarta offers it all.
An on-site wedding planner is the key person to make your dream wedding a reality. Today, most of them plan the whole wedding via email, from the location of the ceremony all the way down to the color of the table linens.
Being voted one of the “Top 10 Destinations in Mexico” on TripAdvisor.com in 2013, Puerto Vallarta has a seemingly endless list of resorts to choose from. I had the opportunity to travel to a few of Riverdale Travel’s favorite resorts to find out more about planning the perfect destination wedding.
Now Amber Puerto Vallarta & Secrets Vallarta Bay
The wedding destination for the couple with big expectations and a big budget. Now Amber and Secrets are two separate halves of one large resort. Now Amber allows families with children and Secrets is exclusively for adults. The two sides are almost mirror images of one another. Staying at either resort has a built-in all-inclusive package with several options for dining, drinking, and entertainment. This resort excels in the entertainment factor. They have a pool for every mood: one with a swim-up bar, one with a basketball hoop, and a quiet one for relaxation. If you want to relax away from the water they have hammocks set up or you can choose the comfy canopy loungers. Or if you want to lounge with front row seats to the ocean, they have chairs set up there as well. The view from any spot within this resort is breathtaking. They have several locations for weddings: beach side, veranda, or indoor. Newlyweds often stay in the Now family friendly side until the ceremony and switch over to the Secrets adults only side for the honeymoon. For more information visit www.nowresorts.com
The wedding destination for a more authentic feel. Upon arriving at the Golden Crown it immediately had a different vibe than the rest of the resorts. The colors, the tile, and the décor allowed you to feel the themes of Mexico indoors, unlike any of the other resorts. Golden Crown is partially adults-only and partially family-friendly. All rooms have an ocean view, an all-inclusive package, and freedom to go back and forth between the family-friendly and adult-only sides of the resort. From the rehearsal dinner to the ceremony to the farewell brunch, the Golden Crown has the space and the team to help out with all of the necessary details. There are many options and perks in the wedding packages at Golden Crown, pulling in discounted rooms for guests, honeymoon upgrades, and extended stay package rates. For more information visit www.crownparadise.com.
The wedding destination for a smaller, sophisticated wedding. Casa Velas is the epitome of relaxation. Located in the heart of the Marina Vallarta tucked behind a beautiful golf course, ponds, pools, and landscaping offer an environment of luxury and relaxation. The focus of the décor is nature-driven with built-in open spaces and an abundance of water features. Casa Velas is an adult-only resort with a high-end boutique spa, year-round golf options, and a deluxe, all-inclusive package. Being set away from the beach gives Casa Velas a quieter, more serene atmosphere than other resorts in the bay. The private beach is a short walk or an even shorter shuttle ride away. The view from Casa Velas’ private beach is like stepping into a post card. Casa Velas is the perfect destination wedding location for the couple that wants to have a small, sophisticated celebration. There are several suites offered and many newlyweds take advantage of all Casa Velas has to offer by honeymooning there as well. For more information visit www.hotelcasavelas.com
Hard Rock Hotel
The wedding destination for the couple with an edge. Keeping with Hard Rock hotel fashion there is a heavy theme throughout the resort. As far as space, restaurants, beach, ceremony spots, etc., Hard Rock has the most options being the largest resort. Hard Rock also has several unexpected perks: a Fender guitar is available for your use for a day, surfing classes, water sports, and a live show in the amphitheater every night. The Hard Rock has customizable wedding packages for any size wedding and different budget points. Each room has a large soaker tub, a balcony, and beautiful views. Hard Rock does an impeccable job of combining traditional and modern design to create a go-to destination spot in the center of Riviera Nayarit in beautiful Nuevo Vallarta. For more information visit www.hardrockhotels.com