At Royal Suites by Palladium properties in Riviera Nayarit and Riviera Maya, clients can arrange weddings that include private beach parties after the ceremony. // © 2014 Royal Suites by Palladium
Feature image (above): A destination wedding at One&Only Palmilla in Los Cabos might include a horse-drawn carriage ride for the bride. // © 2014 Journese/One&Only Palmilla
By nature, tying the knot is a special occasion. But when couples opt for a destination wedding in Mexico, they are presented with even more options for making the momentous occasion memorable. Here are a few ways that saying vows can take on especially interesting dimensions.
Manhattan-based wedding designer Karen Bussen is collaborating with Palladium Hotel Group to create five upscale wedding options, each under the banner of Simply Stunning Weddings, at Royal Suites by Palladium in both the Riviera Nayarit and Riviera Maya. Among the stylish decor possibilities are seashell-strewn paths, hydrangea bouquets and centerpieces made of shells and floating candles. The couple can choose from an array of venues, including a gazebo with water views, an altar on the beach or a Colonial-style chapel. Couples looking to add to the festivities can also plan a private beach party to take place after the ceremony, complete with paper lanterns and tiki torches.
The luxury arm of Pleasant Holidays, Journese, also offers upscale destination wedding options with great attention to detail. At One&Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, for example, Journese offers the opportunity for couples to relax before their wedding day, by spending a day in a private beach cove furnished with a floating daybed. Wedding parties have access to a VIP salon with a professional stylist and can also add spa treatments as well as custom-designed lunches and dinners. For the wedding itself, the bride can arrive by a horse-drawn carriage staffed by a footman and coachman. The ceremony takes place at a traditional chapel overlooking the grounds and the ocean.
Something for Everyone
Bringing together a couple and their various family members and friends is sure to result in a variety of tastes and interests. CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa offers a variety of activities to keep everyone happy. The hotel’s wedding planners recommend a visit to Ohtli Spa for the bride (where traditional Huichol therapies are among the offerings), while groomsmen can head out on a zipline adventure through local tour company Vallarta Adventures. And everyone is likely to enjoy a private tequila tasting, which the hotel organizes in a stylish private dining room.
Considering that Mexico has rich traditions and cultures that date back thousands of years, it’s an ideal place to mix in traditional and indigenous elements to create a unique wedding experience that can’t be had anyone else. At Barcelo Maya Beach in the Riviera Maya, couples visiting the resort can enjoy a Mystical Mayan ceremony, performed in Mayan or Spanish by an actual shaman. All guests and the bridal party dress in white, which is customary in the region.
Also in the Riviera Maya is Banyan Tree Mayakoba, where the Mayan Wedding Ritual offerings are based on the spiritual connection between the universe and ancient religious beliefs. The ceremony, which is led by a local shaman who cleanses the altar with sacred smoke from the copal tree and sounds a ritual conch shell horn, is based on the texts of the sacred Maya book called "Popol Vuh." Pre-Hispanic instruments, including drums and a conch, provide traditional Maya music accompaniment for the gathering.
On the Pacific coast, Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita offers a multi-day Huichol wedding ceremony, which includes decorations from traditional Huichol culture and all-white attire. Some 20,000 Huichol people still live in the region, and a Huichol shaman priest is available to bless the event and/or lead the entire ceremony.
Organic Weddings, Overnight and By Day
Couples looking for a unique Mexico wedding experience not far from the U.S. border might consider Rancho La Puerta, located in Baja California Norte about an hour south of San Diego, Calif. Options include the Corazon Destination Wedding package, with free wedding-night accommodations; a reduced rate for three-, four- or seven-night stays; meals; and access to fitness classes and other activities. The Romantico Day package is a day program designed for people traveling from nearby and who prefer not to stay overnight.
Rancho La Puerta can provide transportation for wedding guests from a central location in San Diego. Rancho La Puerta’s La Cocina Que Canta culinary center focuses on organic and healthy cuisine, which is a large emphasis for the wedding programs as well. Parties of up to 120 people can enjoy special menus created by Denise Roa, executive chef of La Cocina Que Canta.
South Asian Style
Even travelers who have never attended an Indian wedding have surely seen the colorful festivities in movies and on television — and today, more Mexico hotels are offering South Asian options for tying the knot. The on-site “romance expert” at Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Resort & Spa in Cancun, for example, recently completed her certification to coordinate Indian weddings.
Meanwhile, AMResorts offers a specially curated Shaadi (wedding) package at four of its award-winning properties: Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa, Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa and Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun. Palace Resorts has been offering Indian weddings since 2013, with additional perks available.