November 2019 - The Philanthropy Issue

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Married Abroad

Dos & Don'ts of A Destination Wedding

Guest Post By: Caylee Pugh, Photos: Mariana Pierce of Pierce Weddings

Do Create A Wedding Website

The amount of detail that goes into planning a wedding is limitless, but with a destination wedding, that amount is inherently tenfold. Having a wedding website allows you to wrangle all of this important information in one place. It gives people direction when they start asking questions like, “Where is a good breakfast restaurant? What time does the ceremony start again? Which hotel do you recommend?” It became the joke of my wedding for people to shout, “Just look at the website!” Make sure it’s all there: venue addresses, start times, dress codes, favorite restaurants, fun excursions, hotel recommendations, travel information, and other FAQs. It will save you a lot of time not having to answer repetitive questions individually. On that note…

Do Set Realistic Expectations

Though you might be an expert on San Miguel de Allende, you need to remember that most of your guests probably don’t know much about this magical town or about traveling in general. Make sure to spell out every detail so that even the most unconfident traveler will be able to figure out how to get to Mexico for your wedding. List which flights you recommend taking and how far away the airports are from San Miguel so that people can time their trip accordingly. Other important things to make guests aware of include: passport requirements, that it’s hot in the day but can get very cold at night, that they cannot drink the tap water, the effects of high altitude, and the abundance of steep, cobblestoned streets. Setting these expectations will keep people from experiencing any unwanted surprises upon arrival. If your guests are happy and stress-free, then you will be too!

Do Host Multiple Events

Since guests are putting in the effort to come from places far and wide for your Mexico destination wedding, I would encourage you to plan a few different events for everyone to enjoy over the course of the weekend. For example, on Friday, we surprised all of our guests with a wedding parade (callejoneada) starting in Benito Juarez Park and ending in front of the Parroquia. From there, we all walked to Zumo Restaurant where there was a welcome reception with cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres. On Saturday, guests explored San Miguel using the recommendations from our wedding website until it was time for our ceremony and reception. Finally, on Sunday, a big group of us nursed our hangovers in the beautiful hot springs of Valle de Los Senderos. Most people are a bit intimidated by travel planning, so they will appreciate the fact that you’ve set up some optional excursions for them to participate in.

Don’t Do It On Your Own

If I could give only one tip, it would be this: Hire an event planner! Your wedding day will be chaotic enough without you having to worry about flower arrangements, the placement of the ceremony chairs, and countless other details. If you like being more involved, pick just one or two aspects of the planning process that would be most enjoyable for you to take charge of. In my case, I chose to design and hand paint all of our save the date cards. Beyond that, trust that a talented event planner will seamlessly make your vision a reality. It’s definitely worth the money to be able to enjoy your wedding! We hired Alicia Vilar of San Miguel Weddings and couldn’t be happier with her work.

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Music

Stefan and I’s hope for our wedding weekend was that it would be a “classy rager.” In order to make this happen, you need an endless supply of bumping music. Our wedding planner hired Brigham Golden, one of the best DJs in San Miguel, for our wedding reception, and he made sure that the party never stopped! Guests, young and old, were shaking it on the dance floor into the wee hours of the night. I’ll never forget being one of the few people sitting out for a minute and watching all of Stefan and I’s friends and family members laughing and dancing together under the stars at Casa Hyder. It was such a rare, beautiful moment in life!

Don’t Panic; It Will All Work Out

At the end of the day, there will be things that go wrong at your wedding, and there’s nothing that you can do to stop it. Stefan and I’s biggest drama was that our welcome dinner restaurant canceled on us less than two months before the event, because they had accidentally double booked the space. This dinner was something I had planned completely on my own, but upon hearing what happened, our event planner swooped in and booked us an equally amazing dinner at Zumo Restaurant that was half the price of the other venue. No need to stress!

Another drama happened once our wedding ceremony had already begun. Just seconds before I was set to walk down the aisle, a bird pooped on my wedding dress! All you can really do at that point is take a deep breath, embrace the hilarity of life, and direct your focus on all of the amazing things that are going right.

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