Destination Weddings & New Beginnings!
What better way to start this new blogging thing off with talking about my very own destination wedding and how my life as a Travel Agent began!
For starters, to anyone recently engaged and having a hard time deciding on what they should do wedding/ceremony wise... destination wedding all the way!
As soon as we got engaged, the first thing I mentioned was a beach wedding. It was something we had always kind of joked about when talking about our wedding, one day. We, of course, thought on it for a couple of weeks. You always want to take family, grandparents, kids etc. into consideration when planning a wedding. We talked to both of our parents and they were on board with whatever we wanted, so destination wedding it was!
The researching began! We decided Mexico right off the bat. We knew it would be the easiest and most affordable place for our family and friends to travel to. After looking into a few different resorts, we finally decided on the Hyatt Ziva Cancun. Y'all! This resort is beautiful and has everything to offer! My sister and I actually got to go and tour the resort beforehand. This is called a Big Day Preview. (She went with me because Stacy, my husband, is a typical dude and didn't really have many opinions when it came to this whole wedding planning thing!) He trusted in me with everything and made the whole process super super easy. The Big Day Preview was a blast! It consisted of lots of margaritas, food and cake tasting, and, of course, we had to test out the spa. We figured all of our guests needed to know the full details that the Ziva had to offer! :)
Most of the wedding planning process took place during our Big Day Preview visit. The rest was taken care of through email and over the phone. All in all, the whole process was very easy and super stress free, just how I wanted it to be! (Stay tuned towards the end of this post on how to make destination wedding planning even easier on yourself!) The resort offers outside vendors that will take care of the flowers, music/DJ, table and other decor, photographers/video, etc. We ended up bringing our own photographer, Deborah Faith Photography. One - because Deborah is amazing and her work is incredible, and Two - because she has basically been apart of our family since I was little (she is one of my sisters best friends), so I had no doubt on who I wanted to shoot our wedding day. The one thing I learned throughout the whole wedding planning process is... you really can make your wedding as cheap and/or as expensive as you want. Destination weddings are very economical and affordable due to the different wedding packages, anniversary packages, and vow renewal packages that are offered at each resort. Not to mention the beautiful scenery and views that go along with it.
We had a short 8 month engagement, and I truly believe it probably could have been even shorter than that. Because everything was basically planned in one weekend, this made for a simple, sweet, and short engagement period.
Finally, fast forwarding to the best weekend of our lives, thus far. That's right... I said weekend! Another perk of having a destination wedding is getting to have an entire weekend celebration with your closest family and friends! We started the weekend celebration off with a Welcome Dinner on the beach! Stacy and I ended up having around 60 people attend our wedding weekend! We truly are blessed with the best family and friends ever. We never imagined that many people would come all the way to Mexico, just for us! Thankful is an understatement, for sure!
And, of course, if anyone knows me, my husband, and our friends... we like to have a good time! So after the Welcome Dinner, the Ziva had a band playing on their rooftop bar!
March 31, 2017 had finally arrived!! I remember constantly telling myself to take things slow and to soak in every second of the day. As everyone says, the day will fly by and you won't remember much... everyone is right! BUT the entire day was so much fun, a little emotional, okay who am I kidding... I was very emtional; but I will always and forever cherish every moment of it.
We decided to try and take as many pictures before the wedding ceremony as we could! The only thing we did not want to do is a first look. Stacy and I are a pretty 'traditional' in a way, and we knew that we wanted our first look to be when I walked down the aisle for the first time. That moment is one that I will never forget!
At the Hyatt Ziva Cancun, you have a few options on where the wedding ceremony can be held. On the actual beach, in the sand, Roof Top Sky Terrace (this is where we had our reception), Punta Vista Terrace, Elements Ballroom, or the Cliff Side Gazebo. I chose the Gazebo, mainly because, as cool as being in the sand sounds, the thought of dragging a wedding dress through it did not sound fun at all (just my opinion). The Gazebo ended up being beautiful as the waves splashed along the cliff side.
The BEST family and friends we could ever ask for!
FUN FACT: The Hyatt Ziva Cancun is located on a peninsula, so there is ocean/beach on two sides, which makes for plenty of amazing picture opportunities!
As mentioned earlier, our reception was located in the Sky Terrace. This venue is the perfect size and the views of the pool and ocean is incredible. The only minor issue we had was due to high winds. All we could do is laugh because being from a small west Texas town, these winds were nothing to us. I feel like we always bring some kind of wind with us where ever we go, so it almost felt like we were at home!
Our reception was an absolute blast... and it never fails with our crew that the worm breaks out! (see pictures below) Except this time our best friend Creed busted his chin open and almost had to go get stitches. Someone found liquid bandaids and he toughed it out; he will now always have a scar in remembrance of our wedding day! Haha!
To continue our weekend celebration... we got to relax and hang out the next day with everyone, and reminince about the night before, which was so much fun!
Last but not least, I HIGHLY recommend having a day after photo session. Our photographer recommended this from her experience with previous destination wedding shoots. I was not looking forward to putting my wedding dress back on, mainly because I had completely sweated it out and because it was drenched in champagne from the night before (totally my fault, I never left the dance floor, and spilt more on myself than actually drinking it). Also, anyone who knows my husband knows how much he sweats... (he would kill me if he knew I just said that!) BUT we ended up getting dressed up again anyway and went out for more pictures. These pictures actually ended up being some of my favorite pictures! We weren't rushed or stressed out, and got to completely take our time and have fun with it. I also got to wear my hair down, which made me feel more like myself. I loved wearing my hair up, on my actual wedding day because it was so windy, but it was nice to get to take more pictures that were more relaxed.
If you have made it this far... I am very impressed and thank you so much for following along!
As I mentioned at the beginning... how to make planning a destination wedding even more stress free? Be sure to have a Travel Agent take care of the rooms and booking process for you. In fact, not even just destination weddings, any kind of traveling in general!
Everyone has been asking me how this new journey of becoming a Travel Agent began. Well, it began with having my very own destination wedding. My now colleague and great friend Jennifer Brown (Vagablonde Travel) works for our company, Paradise Weddings and Travel. My mom has a mutual friend who knew Jennifer and recommended her to us. I was getting a little overwhelmed on how I was going to get rooms blocked off for all of our guests, all while taking care of wedding stuff too. We contacted Jennifer, and she stepped right in and got our group a DISCOUNTED room rate and blocked off all of the rooms for our guests. All of our guests had the option to make payments on the trip which made the entire booking process super easy on everyone. So, of course, during this whole process Jen and I got to know each other pretty well. I was still working, at my previous job, and had been pretty unhappy for a while. Stacy, my husband, kept hinting for me to talk to Jen about becoming a Travel Agent. (He somehow knew it would be right up my alley). I never really listened to him or had the courage to ask, because like most people, you kind of get stuck in your old ways and just keep going on with your day to day life, weather you are happy or not. To make a long story short, I obviously built up the courage to talk to Jennifer about Paradise Weddings and Travel and before I knew it, I was off to training and meeting the rest of our team. This is now my full time job and I have not looked back since! I am blessed to be apart of an amazing team with my Paradise girls, and I am even more blessed to have an amazing husband to support me and cheer me on along this new journey!
I hope everyone has a blessed day!
Resort: Hyatt Ziva Cancun
Travel Agency: Paradise Weddings and Travel
Photos by: Deborah Faith Photography
Wedding Dress: Justin Alexander
Bridesmaid Dresses: Azazie
Groomsmen Suits: Men's Warehouse