Why I Love Beach Weddings in Cancun

I’ve been living in Cancun since I was 19, but had never attended a local wedding until last year. Now that I’m well into my 20s, many of my friends are starting to get engaged and get married (including myself… heh).

My best friends got married on the beach in Puerto Juarez, Cancun

I’d never before realized just how amazing Cancun is for a wedding, but in the past year I’ve had the chance to see several stunning beach weddings right on the Caribbean.

With unique chapels set under a palapa-roof, intense turquoise waters and bright white sand beaches, brides and grooms in Cancun don’t even need to buy large flower arrangements or expensive decorations to set the mood for a romantic beach wedding.

Couples getting married in Cancun can experience an elegant ceremony at one of this destination’s incredible resorts, or choose a more secluded oceanside event venue in areas like Puerto Morelos and Puerto Juarez, both located within 20 minutes of the Hotel Zone.

When it comes to beach weddings, I’m great at salsa dancing in the sand and hounding the dessert table… but when it comes to planning, my organizational skills fail me. So, I decided to ask my friend Ilse, the owner of Diamant Events and a beautiful beachside venue in Puerto Morelos, a little about what it’s like to plan a destination wedding in Cancun.

The gorgeous Ilse of Diamant Events

Why do so many people choose Cancun for their destination wedding?

Because people get more for their money in every way. Cancun offers amazing background colors for your beautiful wedding photos. We also have very good weather almost every time of the year.

Nighttime beach wedding by Ilse of Diamant Events

What inspired you to choose Cancun for organizing destination weddings?

I know Cancun is still a young city and the wedding industry is growing fast around the world, and Cancun is the perfect place to do things the right way. If we all have good and certified wedding planners, we can raise the bar for quality weddings and become the world’s top wedding destination, not just the Top 10.

A daytime beach wedding by Ilse at Diamant Events

What are some fun traditions you’ve seen being used here?

I’ve seen the Chinese tea tradition, one tradition from a Nordic town where bride and groom cut together a piece of wood symbolizing they are now working together as a team, I’ve seen tossing the bouquet to see who is the next one in line to get married, and the Jordanian Candle Dance where all the ladies from the bridal party (including bride) entering the wedding salon with the lights dimmed and all of them dancing; then they get to the groom they carry them and every one dances in circles around them.
How hard is it for a foreigner to get married in Mexico from a legal standpoint?
They can do the legal ceremony here too. Most people don’t want to do the paper work because they don’t realize that any certified wedding planner in Cancun can do that for them, including sending the papers back home and making them legal in their foreign country.
What’s the best time of day for a beach wedding?
My favorite time is just before sunset. The natural lighting, the breeze and the serenity of the ocean at that time is just amazing!

An evening beach wedding by Isle at Diamant Events

Ilse was nice enough to invite me along to a wedding this weekend! She was at a workshop hosted by New York wedding coordinator Candy Cain, where she and other coordinators got their Wedding Specialist Certification. Saturday afternoon, I met up with Ilse at the Gran Caribe Real in Cancun’s Hotel Zone to see a beautiful wedding right on the beach, organized by Candy. It was INCREDIBLE. So small and simple, yet breathtaking. I’ll leave you with a few pictures…

Any wedding with a parasailer in the background is all right with me.

What’s your dream wedding location?

Disclosure:  I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Community Manager for the Mexico Today Program.  All stories, opinions and passion for all things Mexico shared here are completely my own.

Juan and Viri’s Beach Wedding

My frequent readers will know that Jorge and my best friends are Juan and Viri. They already had their civil ceremony back in December, but this past weekend was their big Catholic wedding. It was SO MUCH FUN!

The wedding was held at Ocean Events, a beautiful outdoor venue set on the beach near Puerto Juarez, right in front of El Meco ruins. (Jorge and I almost chose this venue for our wedding last year, before deciding to get married in Merida.)

I got to be a bridesmaid (there were TWELVE of us!), and of course I took pictures… you know me.

The ceremony venue

Jorge and me (a vision in purple, if I do say so myself)

I told you there were 12 of us

It's a Mexican tradition for family and close friends to pay for certain parts of the wedding. Juan and Viri sponsored our wedding cake, so we sponsored their dessert table... money well spent.

Here's a Mexican wedding tradition for ya... the men carry the groom off to the restroom. They undress him (completely), and bring his clothes back to the bride, who then has to go to the restroom to dress him again.

Here they are bringing the clothes back.

The wedding was filled with great food (especially the cupcakes… ooooh, the cupcakes…), tons of dancing (the dance floor was NEVER empty, and the salsa music was the most popular), and tons of friends. We ended the night around 2 am.

Congratulations, Juan and Viri!

Our One Year Anniversary

Today is our one year wedding anniversary. We’ll be celebrating with a romantic dinner tonight! (I have no idea where, as it’s a surprise)

I’ve finally decided to catch up to technology and insert a slide show of our wedding day. Love you, Jorge!

[slideshow]

Yet Another Mexican Wedding

A close friend of mine recently started a wedding coordinating business. Last weekend, she had her first wedding and asked Jorge and I if we would help out as part of her staff.

I spent half of the reception seating guests at their assigned tables as they arrived. Let me tell you, some people do NOT know who they are. (Once gentleman told me he was the father of the bride. After 5 minutes going through the list with him, it turns out he was actually her grandfather and had a completely different last name than what he had originally told me.) Other than a few minor last name setbacks, things went very smoothly with the seating.

I also got to practice my nighttime photography, which I’ve mentioned before is VERY hard for me. I loved the centerpieces, but couldn’t get a good shot. This is the best I could do:

Jorge was in charge of the candy table. Mexican candy is very, very different from American candy. They prefer things to be a mixture of salty, spicy and sweet, and they often cover them in chile powder or chamoy. The candy table even featured a chamoy fountain (as opposed to a chocolate fountain), which was used to drizzle over cucumber slices, jicama, carrots and homemade chicharron (fried pork rinds). It was a huge hit with the guests!

Overall, it was a fun and successful event, even though it didn’t end until 5 am!

We're (Almost) Legal!

Guess what? Tomorrow morning Jorge and I will be legally married!

I know, I know… we already had the wedding, but we haven’t signed the marriage certificate yet (in Mexico these concepts are a bit more separate than in the US, or so I understand)

After way too much money and paperwork given to immigration and civil registry, we were finally approved! $500 – $800 pesos handed over to civil registry can get the process done a bit faster, in case you were wondering. I’m not sure if that’s an “official” payment or something more under-the-table… but it worked!

The bad news is that today, Jorge, Viri (my witness) and myself seem to have all come down with something simultaneously. I started off the morning with stomach pains, which turned into nausea in the afternoon, and has now translated into an achy body. I reeeaaally hope this gets better by tomorrow.

So it looks like tonight I’ll watch an hour of House Hunters International, then sleep for 2 hours, then give myself a mini pedicure, then iron the dress I’m going to wear for tomorrow. I hope Jorge’s feeling better so he can be my nurse for the evening.

Wish me luck!

Juan and Viri's Civil Ceremony by the Lagoon

First of all, a little explanation. Here in Mexico, when you get married, you have to get married twice. One is the religious ceremony, which is the big ceremony and reception, like an American wedding. Second is the civil ceremony, where you have to say your vows and sign a paper, to show you’re legally married.

Jorge and I did the religious ceremony back in July, and we’ll be able to do the civil ceremony soon.

Our friends Juan and Viri, however, did it the other way. They had their civil ceremony last Saturday, and the big formal wedding will be in August.

Some Mexicans just go to the courthouse for their civil ceremony. Others have a small, informal ceremony and party.

Juan and Viri hosted a party at La Europea, a wine and liquor shop in the Hotel Zone. La Europea has a small tasting room in the back for events, along with a beautiful garden and balcony overlooking the lagoon. It’s a great spot. Seriously, the next party I throw will be here! haha

Me and Jorge (in the background across the lagoon is the spot where he proposed!)

Brothers... Armando, Arturo and Juan (the groom)

Looking down onto the garden ceremony area

And now for the ceremony photos (please overlook my poor nighttime photography skills)…

Viri's parents signing the papers

Placing their thumbprints on the papers

Some centerpieces Viri put together with her favorite flower

hors d'eouvres and cake! (The food was amazing, by the way!)

Me with the bride!!

After dinner, a bunch of us stayed out on the balcony for some drinks. I was lame and went home at 1 a.m., but Jorge didn’t get home until 4! Must have been quite a party 🙂

Our Wedding: Professional Photos

Here are the links to all the rest of my wedding-related photos…

Out first visit to check out Hacienda Teya

Hacienda Teya at night (spooky!)


Visiting Hacienda Teya with Mom

Family vacation in Puerto Morelos the week of the wedding

Bachelorette party at Coco Bongo in Cancun


Bridal Shower

Getting ready before the wedding

Wedding bouquets

Ceremony (guest photos)

Reception (guest photos) Part 1 and Part 2

We finally got our professional photos! I tried to scale it down, but there were just so many great shots. Enjoy!

Jorge took about 30 seconds to cry before he could say his vows... then half of the guests broke into tears as well (so I hear).

My sister and dad singing "Rock of Ages"

Jorge's parents placing the "lazo" on us

This was later referred to as Jorge's "quincenera" photo 😉

"La Serpiente" a Mexican wedding tradition where all the single ladies form a sort of congo line, going all around the room and under the veil held by the bride and groom

My sister Sarah caught the bouquet! (and Aubrie, the gracious loser)

Another favorite Mexican wedding tradition... the men form a line and get tequila poured down their throat by the groom

My grandpa singing "Cielito Lindo" with my college buddies... Aaaah, weddings 🙂

Grandma and Grandpa dancing to the mariachis with my in-laws

My Big Sister's Vegas Wedding

First off, the bad news. Level 1 Hurricane Paula is headed straight for Cancun. We’ve been pretty lucky so far this year, but it looks like there’s no escaping this one.

*sigh* Looks like a good day for a Walmart run. 🙂

Anyway, back to the fun stuff. My oldest sister Noelle got married on Friday! In VEGAS! We’re so excited to have Michael as part of our family. He’s pretty awesome.

The ceremony was at the Juno Garden in Caesar’s Palace, followed by a reception at Joe’s nearby. Here goes:

Mommy getting her makeup done

My middle sister Sarah getting her hair done

My hair (I'm gonna hire this girl to move to Cancun and style my hair every day because... wow!)

The beautiful bride (Noelle) getting ready!!

SISTERS! Sarah, Noelle and me

Noelle and my mom on her wedding day 🙂

I loved this dress

Beautiful shoes

Putting on her garter

Noelle and her entourage walking through the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis on the way to the ceremony

Juno Garden - the ceremony site

Juno Garden

Juno Garden (looking up)

Michael and Noelle walking to the reception site

On our way to the reception, a lady who had obviously been drinking saw the whole bridal party and shouted, “CONGRATULATIONS!” She then looked directly at Sarah and me (bridesmaids) and said, “Oh, don’t worry… you’ll get married someday.”

Yeah, thanks.

View from reception garden

A special guest made an appearance...

They're pretty good dancers!

Back of Noelle's dress... so pretty! (Sorry Amy, I stole your photo)

Gorgeous! (Another stolen picture from Amy)

Most of my mom's side of the family 🙂 (Sorry again, Amy)

Sarah, Elvis, me

Elvis with all the girls!

Sparkle Cake!! best. cake. ever.

After the reception, a bunch of us went back into Caesar’s for drinks and fun. Noelle got cheers wherever she went, and there was a surprising number of guys hitting on her… I think they were a bit too late.

Drinks at the Seahorse Lounge after the wedding

Aaaand my favorite... the bridal party eating dinner at 2 am

 

Vegas Weekend Part 1

I’m back from Vegas! I have a cold and started 10 hours of travel at 6 am yesterday (Pacific Time), and today I just wanna curl up and sleep… but somehow I managed to make it in to work today. That means ya’ll get to enjoy some Vegas pictures 🙂

We spent most of our time at Caesar’s Palace. My sister Sarah and I stayed the last 2 nights at Imperial Palace across the street, but anyone who’s been there knows it’s not picture-worthy. We really only went there to sleep. (It does have a great location, though!)

I didn’t take too many because I was trying to just enjoy the moment most of the time… but I got some cool ones.

Here goes:

 

View from my lounge chair at the pool

 

 

Gringation by the fountain in the Caesars Palace lobby

 

 

My lovely sister Sarah

 

 

Casino at Caesar's (love that ceiling!)

 

 

The Forum Shops and Caesars... Sarah and I were taking the "Poor Man's Tour of Las Vegas", so we just walked around and longingly stared into store windows. Good times 🙂

 

 

Beijing Noodle No. 9 at Caesar's Palace... crazy looking!

 

 

My Belgian waffle with fresh fruit at Augustus Cafe...

 

 

...and the butter and syrup to go on top of it.

 

 

The New York New York hotel

 

 

Yours truly out and about in Vegas

 

 

Mandalay Bay... probably my favorite hotel we went into. Miles and miles of restaurants & casinos... not to mention an aquarium and a lazy river! Seriously, the pool area was like a water park!

 

 

Lunch with the family at Raffles restaurant at Mandalay Bay

 

 

Walking under a sleeping lioness at the MGM

 

 

The Centrifuge at MGM

 

My favorite part was probably the view from my sister Noelle’s room at Caesar’s Palace. Got to enjoy this every day…

 

Day

 

 

Night (Bellagio Fountains!!!)

 

My overall thoughts:

As a Hotel Management major, I was in Heaven. These places are INCREDIBLE! I heard a guy at the airport say, “Vegas is like DisneyWorld for adults… pure fantasy.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

The food was expensive… but amazing.

I did a few hours of gambling at Caesar’s on Saturday night with my sisters and lost 10 bucks. It was worth it 🙂 I followed the rule that you shouldn’t gamble more than you’d want to spend, so I think I did pretty well!

I’m so glad I got to experience it! I can certainly see why people would go there… but personally I’d prefer something much more relaxing if I could go on vacation.

Tomorrow: Pictures of my sister’s wedding! It was AWESOME.