As promised, I've got a full recap of our destination wedding and honeymoon to share!! There is a lot to cover so I'll break it up into a few posts. I'm sharing this for a few reasons:
- To give props and recognition to the amazing people and places that made our experience so special.
- To offer advice for couples planning their own destination wedding. To my surprise, there weren't many resources available when I started the whole planning process (resources that weren't sponsored by a travel agency/resort)
- To selfishly relive the entire experience ; )
Our adventure started on Tuesday, April 21 at 7am when our crew boarded a Mercedes Sprinter Van and headed for Baltimore/Washington International Airport. That crew included my mom, Josh's mom and dad, My sister, her husband and their two kids, and my cousin whom we met up with in Baltimore.
Check in at the airport was smooth and quick. Tuesday is a great day to travel apparently. At the advice of my seamstress, I decided to carry my gown on the plane instead of packing it or having it shipped. I had no problems whatsoever and definitely recommend doing it this way. The flight staff must be used to it because a flight attendant approached me immediately, asked if what I was carrying was a wedding gown, and led me to the back of the plane where there was an empty overhead bin to lay it down in. I have heard of some girls hanging theirs near the cockpit, but laying it down in the overhead compartment worked perfectly. Oh and I did NOT have to count it as a carryon (I get a lot of questions about that).
We had a direct flight from BWI to Cancun and, lucky for us, the plane was practically empty. Our group had the entire back of the plane to ourselves so we were able to bounce around, switch seats and really have some fun. It was the best flight ever...the early morning champs and multiple in-flight bloody mary's may or may not have helped. (side note: I love flying but am completely terrified of it. Does that make sense? Like, I love the experience of flying and being in the airport, but being in a plane gives me so much anxiety. Hence all the alcohol.)
Customs was a breeze in Cancun and everyone's luggage made it safely. Hallelujah! My friend and travel agent (Dana with Ultra Tech Travel) surprised us with a stretch limo for the 30 minute ride to our resort in Riviera Maya. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. There were more champs waiting for us in the limo. The best part was seeing how excited the kids were. They loved the lights, the loud music, and the goodie bags!
When we arrived to our resort a few things stuck out: it was HUGE, very clean, smelled amazing, and the staff went out of their way to make guests feel special. Checking in was super efficient and even the kids were offered cold drinks while we sorted out the logistics. Here's where it gets a little confusing. For the first few days we stayed at the Iberostar Paraiso Maya. This particular Iberostar resort is part of a larger complex that has multiple resorts on one property. On the morning after the wedding, Josh and I moved over to the Iberostar Grand Paraiso which is the exclusive, adults only resort on the same property. Guests of the Grand are allowed to access the other resorts, but guests of those resorts are not permitted to access the Grand.
The multiple resorts on one property is why we ultimately chose Iberostar over some of the other resorts in the area. We liked the idea of having our family together for the first few days while still being able to enjoy a honeymoon alone and without too much effort. Both resorts were wonderful, but the Grand was on a whole different level. More on that later!
After check in we cleaned up, met for dinner and explored the resort a little before calling it a night. We were all exhausted from a long day of traveling and eager to wake up early the next day and soak up the caribbean sun!
Next up I'll cover the resort in more depth, the wedding planning process, and of course, the ceremony itself!
Q: have you ever been to a destination wedding? Would you consider having one yourself?
- Travel Agent: Dana Lewis, Ultra Tech Travel
- Transfer to and from Cancun Airport: Lomas Travel (booked by UTT)
- Transfers to and from BWI: Premiere 1 Limousine
- Bridal Gown: In White Lancaster
- Resort: Iberostar Paraiso Maya and Iberostar Grand Paraiso
- Wedding Planner: Pamela Gonzalaz with Iberostar Paraiso Maya
- Photographer: Eric with Adventure Photos, Pariso Lindo