When you envision the perfect wedding setting, do you picture a pristine beach set among lush palms with gorgeous blue waters and white sand? Then you are no doubt picturing Punta Cana.
Aptly named the ‘Coconut Coast’, the stretch of beaches and resorts along the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic is an oasis for devoted couples. It is among the top destination wedding locations in the world.
Punta Cana ranks consistently as having some of the best beaches in the world, and couples the world over choose a beach wedding in Punta Cana as the perfect setting for the beginning of a new life together. The hospitality of the Dominican people makes this location extra special.
What is Unique About Punta Cana?
Jamaica is without question one of the top destination wedding locales in the world. This tropical emerald island is teeming incredible beaches, lively entertainment, and a cultural hospitality unique to this area of the Caribbean.
With so much to explore and luxurious, all-inclusive resorts in which to unwind, it is no surprise that Jamaica is awesome, and Negril is the place to be to say your vows. Located on the western tip of Jamaica, Negril is far from the bustle of Kingston, and perfect for getting away from it all with your loved one.
Why Get Married in Negril?
Planning the perfect wedding here offers a cultural experience not found in other areas of the Caribbean. Its British, African, and Taino influences, lush vegetation, and distinctive Jamaican music, create a symphony of culture and flavors that can make your wedding and honeymoon truly special. And let's face it, there’s just something about walking hand-in-hand along a Jamaican beach with reggae music in the background that brings out the most romantic of sentiments.
A dream destination wedding might just be the perfect way for you to begin again.
When planning a destination wedding, there are a lot of factors to consider. One of the biggest, as you’ve probably come to realize, is your location. Where will you make this joyous commitment a reality? While a fairy tale wedding in the Black Forest of Germany will render enchanting photos, crossing an ocean may put quite the price tag on your chosen destination.
That’s right; pack your bags, lovebirds. The Riviera Maya awaits!
The Mayan Riviera is an area along the Yucatan coast of Mexico just south of Cancun, including several major cities and Caribbean islands. A land once filled with mystical peoples and jaguar-filled jungles, the Riviera Maya is now one of the most popular resort destinations in North America due to its exotic beaches, charming locals, and accessible location, it is the ideal destination for your wedding for a number of reasons.
First of all, it’s a magical area that is just begging to have a permanent place in your destination wedding photos. With a mean annual temperature of around 77℉, the weather for large portions of the year is fit for a tropical paradise. Enjoy an explosion of color across white sandy beaches for your sunrise shot, or catch the ancient glow of the sun stretching beyond the jungles for a breathtaking sunset.
Secondly, the planning has never been easier since the entire region is covered in five-star, all-inclusive resorts that take the guesswork out of any wedding planning!
Enjoy scenic, luxury accommodations for both the wedding and the honeymoon at some of our favorite luxury all-inclusive resorts such as Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Unico 20° 87°, Hotel Xcaret, or Dreams Riviera Cancun.
Chances are, if you’re wanting to get married on the coast, you’ll want to get married on the beach. Why wouldn’t you!? The beach provides a great backdrop for any ceremony, especially in the Riviera Maya. The peak season for a beach wedding here is from December to April during the when you'll experience near-perfect weather. Just be sure to use an experienced travel advisor if you're booking in March or April, or else you may book your intimate ceremony right down the beach from spring breakers descending on the Yucatán's shores.
Summer months can be sweltering in the high nineties, and it's also the start of hurricane season. So if you're a June Bride, (or July or August Bride for that matter) carefully select cooler ceremony times if you're getting married on the beach so that you maximize the ocean breeze and don't forget to purchase travel insurance in case mother nature intervenes. Fall is the rainy season and can also potentially see hurricanes, but deals can sometimes abound since it's both low season and hurricane season. Still if you're not a risk taker, then winter and early spring are your best bets for saying romantic vows in style on the beach.
So you’ve got your significant other, you’ve got the time of year, now you just need to pick a place. While there are several fantastic options for your blessed day, some or our favorites really shine in terms of customizing your destination wedding to make your unique statement clear!
Dreams Riviera Cancun
Our other choice favorite in this region is the acclaimed Dreams Riviera resort in Cancun. Built along stretches of white beach sand and nestled in the lush tropical gardens by the Caribbean Sea, Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa is an oasis just begging for you to say “I Do”. Centrally located in the region, it’s perfect for enjoying the hustle and bustle of Cancun and Playa del Carmen. With an AAA Four-Diamond rating, we cannot recommend this resort highly enough.
The hotel itself features beautifully furnished, unique octagonal-shaped rooms and suites that feel as spacious as they do luxurious.
Our friends at Dreams Riviera Cancun do their best to avoid cookie-cutter weddings. We work with the on-site coordinators there who do their best to take your dream Pinterest board and make it a reality. The Ceremony packages here coupled with the extras that can be provided give you an extensive array of options amounting to almost everything you might want to orchestrate your wedding day in paradise. From the minister to hair and makeup and ironing your wedding day attire, our partners at this resort takes care of you on your wedding day.
For the special day in paradise, many of the various packages include everything you could ever ask for in a wedding. The bouquet and boutonniere for the wedding couple are supplied, as well as two boutonnieres and two corsages for the wedding party. Some packages include Wedding Cake, sparkling wine, private dinner reception and a private cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres. The main packages cover 10-20 guests and carry reasonably competitive per guest fees for additional guests.
Staff photographers will be there to catch every smile, tear, and special moment as you two enjoy an all-inclusive stay for your all-inclusive day.
Your guests will also love the atmosphere the resort has to offer, including fantastic lodging options as well as first-class dining experiences at the Barefoot Grill, the Bordeaux, Coco Cafe, El Patio, and many other themed, international cuisine restaurants that will have a place for everyone to enjoy. Enjoy an all-inclusive spa treatment, relax in the fitness center, or just enjoy long walks on the beach. There are so many things to see and do at the Dreams hotel, you won’t want to miss a moment of it!
Grand Velas Riviera Maya
Luxury and relaxation are considered common amenities at Grand Velas. Whether you’re soaking up the rays in a stunning Caribbean sunset from the beach or your private terrace, this resort is a fantastic place to enjoy your stay. Enjoy a variety of local and international dishes served up by three distinctive restaurants that will delight both your significant other and any family members and friends joining you to make the most out of your big day. And nothing says “destination wedding” quite like treating yourself to a luxurious spa appointment the night before a wedding.
But this resort also has many other entertainment options specifically designed for the happy couple. Enjoy a couples’ massage by the beach, go on an underwater
sea-trek to see marvels beneath the waves, or enjoy sipping drinks at a private seaside picnic.
Unico 20° 87°
Unico is known for offering suite packages with unlimited inclusions, and what better way to spend a beautiful wedding and quality honeymoon? From the local nature of their food and drink to the spa treatments and hand-curated adventures, this place is the perfect vacation spot in the Riviera to provide you with comfort and all the amenities you could dream to ask for. Burn off all your nerves and extra energy in their state-of-the-art fitness center, open 24 hrs a day or relax with a game of golf. Whatever the case may be, Unico has you covered.
The Hotel Xcaret is one of our favorite resorts. First because the grounds are stunning!!! Built as an all-inclusive ecotourism resort, Xcaret really re-defines what it means to be an all-inclusive resort. With poolside suites, explosive colors, and over nine different parks available to enjoy, you might begin wondering where you’ll have time to cram in a wedding! The suites and hotel rooms are spread out over Casa Viento, Casa Tierra, Casa Agua, Casa Espiral, and Casa Fuego., all named after elements important to the Mayan culture that the hotel does its best to embody.
Activities, in addition to your wedding, of course, include fantastic nature-based excursions such as snorkeling along the carefully cultivated reef or swimming with dolphins. Xel-Ha, one of the parks run by the hotel, is a fantastic place to scuba dive and see all the wondrous colors and creatures the Caribbean is famous for. Xcaret also protects its own Mayan Ruins you can walk about, or swim in beautiful underground aquafers hollowed out by thousands of years of underground rivers.
Weddings at the Hotel Xcaret are beautiful and diverse, allowing you to customize your special day to your own tastes. Whether your family wants a Mayan, Jewish, Hindu, symbolic or religious ceremony, the complex has plenty of unique and stunning venues to pick as your backdrop. By far their most popular location is the catholic chapel built on top of a stepped pyramid looking out over the blue Caribbean Sea.
The Muluk Spa is here to pamper you and help make you glow for your ceremony with a staff that is ready to assist you however they can. Your guests also receive a 15% discount on treatments here. The Xcaret's bridal suite is at the spa and has the perfect regimen and experts to help with the finer details. In addition to romantic amenities on the wedding night, wake up to a romantic breakfast the morning after the ceremony with your new spouse.
All weddings can be stressful. Whether you’re planning a whirlwind elopement or plotting out a year-long engagement, there are a lot of things that go into planning that special day. For example, understanding the various all-inclusive resorts’ destination wedding packages can seem daunting, and comparing two different resorts’ offerings can get seriously confusing.
But if you're worried about the planning, fear not! The moment you sign a contract with Enlighten Excursions you will be assigned a Certified Destination Wedding Specialist to work with you on selecting your destination, resort, and your wedding package and then work with you and your guests until everyone returns home with amazing memories. Your specialist will help you pull off the perfect destination wedding.
The beauty of a destination wedding, especially when working with a certified destination wedding professional is that it can alleviate stress and reduce your epic to do list so that you and your partner can enjoy your fairy-tale day together.
The Riviera Maya is a magical place with some of the most amazing and world-renowned hotels and resorts in the Americas, allowing you international luxury in your own back yard. So, as you sit down and make up those guest lists, remember there is an ancient place that would love to be the backdrop to the most important day of your life.
¡Bienvenido a la Riviera Maya
Destination weddings offer this unique opportunity to gather everyone who matters most to you and spend quality time on a once in a lifetime vacation. Jamaica is a popular destination wedding spot because it offers a myriad of fun activities and unforgettable experiences. We tried to put together the top 10 list of things to do, but we struggled to even cull the list down from 20! So, we landed on 12!
There are just untold opportunities to learn about Jamaica’s rich and vibrant culture, and to meet some of the friendliest people in the world. So, if you’ve decided on Jamaica for your destination wedding, consider these memorable Destination wedding group adventures.
1. Tour the Luminous Lagoon: Located in Trelawny, Jamaica, the luminous lagoon is one of the most brilliant in the world, and home to millions of dinoflagellates. These microscopic organisms give an eerie glow at night, outlining objects in the water. Take your guests on the 45 minute tour, and let them jump out in the water and swim with their bodies surrounded by the luminous green glow. They will never forget it!
2. Hike the Blue Mountains: Observe nature at its finest, taste the world famous Blue Mountain Coffee, stop for lunch and enjoy breathtaking mountain views and magnificent waterfalls.
3. Explore the Green Grotto Caves: Explore the pristine waters flowing from depths of the Green Grotto Caves on the Northern Coast of Jamaica.
In 2017, according to the Knot, more than 45% of couples overspent their wedding budgets by an average of more than $7,300. In the Washington, DC metropolitan area the average cost for a traditional wedding that same year was more than $39,000. And New York? Foggeddaboudit! The average cost there was $76,944.
These costs for traditional weddings and the potential for savings with a destination wedding are part of the reason that destination weddings have become increasingly appealing. Mexico and the Caribbean are among the most sought after locations due to the prevalence of all-inclusive resorts in these areas. But Hawaii is also among the favorites.
Some of your savings come from combining the wedding and honeymoon, but you also save a great deal on decorations because nature does most of that work for you by providing amazing backdrops and scenery. It doesn't hurt either that many resorts have complimentary wedding packages and discounted or complimentary receptions depending on your group size and your travel agent's knowledge and negotiation abilities.
If you're considering a destination wedding, contact Enlighten Excursions' Certified Honeymoon and Destination Wedding specialists today!
My best advice is to plan ahead and take reasonable precautions wherever you choose to celebrate your honeymoon or nuptials.
That said, there are a number of beautiful and romantic US locales for that dream wedding or honeymoon. One of my favorite US wedding and honeymoon settings is the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.
Yes. Yes. Yes. Your wedding should be done your way. If you want a destination wedding then that’s exactly what you should do. Destination weddings can be cost effective and stress free. They are especially perfect for second marriages. Whether it’s you and the whole gang, just the two of you, or a just a handful of close friends and family, you get to decide.
Worried about what others think or how they will feel about being excluded? Communication is the key. It’s important to have a plan before you announce your intentions. And, remember, when you return you can always have a party to celebrate with those special folks at home.
Many couples ask whether they have to pay for their guests to attend.