Xcaret Park is one of my favorite places on earth. I think it’s a magical location that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. That’s why I was beyond excited when the gorgeous album of Melissa and Ramzi’s destination wedding in Xcaret landed in my inbox.
Melissa is Canadian, and Ramzi is Lebanese, so they have friends and family all over the world. That, coupled with their love of travel, and the fact that they got engaged in Tulum, made Mexico a logical wedding destination.
When I asked Melissa, why she chose Xcaret, she said: “Picking a venue that represented the Riviera Maya region well was a big deal, and Xcaret really delivered in providing a very exotic Maya atmosphere. We then had conch blowers, a mariachi band, had a Mexican themed photo booth, gave out Don Julio favors, and had our guests sipping on Mexican specialty drinks like Piña Coladas and Margaritas to complete the experience!”
Quetzal Photo did an awesome job of capturing every stunning detail. It’s all here along with a great interview with the beautiful bride, where she shares her story, inspiration, and planning advice. Enjoy!
What was the theme of your destination wedding in Xcaret?
“I wanted a romantic look with a lot of light effects to complement the space at La Isla, which is a natural cave surrounded by water. I opted for large floral arrangements (ivory roses and peach chrysanthemums) in vintage vases, lanterns, tea lights in lace covered mason jars and a variety of votive candles. We also decorated with wooden crates, old wooden wheels and a rustic “love” heart, along with vintage frames with pictures of our parents on their wedding day! All of these were surrounded by tin pots with baby’s breath, to give that vintage and romantic touch! The bridesmaids wore lace dresses in champagne, silver and rose tones and the groomsmen wore bow ties! It all came together wonderfully!”
What was your favorite wedding detail and why?
“After the ceremony, our guests had to walk 10 minutes from the chapel to the reception venue. The Xcaret coordinators recommended we hire some conch blowers to entertain our guests along the way and it was seriously worth it!! The conch blowers gave such an impressive feel of ancient Mayans. I remember telling Ramzi as we walked down the path through the conch blowers how incredibly impressive that whole moment was and how proud I was of our big day (and our reception hadn’t even started!)
It was especially beautiful to end the walk in the spiral at the entrance of La Isla. Ramzi and I stood down in the middle of the spiral, with a Mayan conch blower singing a hymn next to an open flame, and we watched as all our guests lined up in the spiral and lit up their sparklers. It wasn’t just a beautiful picture opportunity, but a moment filled with so much happiness knowing that all our closest family and friends were there with us, for us!”
Real Destination Wedding Inspiration & Advice from the Bride
Was there any tradition that you skipped for your destination wedding or a tradition that you put a “destination wedding” spin on?
Since our families and friends are split around the world, many of them had never met. In order to get everyone together and familiar with one another early on in the week of our destination wedding trip, we decided to not only have a destination wedding in Playa, but to have destination bachelor parties as well. The guys went one way, and the ladies the other… and although we didn’t expect it to get so crazy, Playa is really not forgiving! 😉 Later in the evening, the guy and girl groups met up and partied together! It was a great way for our guests to let loose and come together. The destination bachelor parties really set the tone for an entire week of celebration (with inside jokes and all between our guests!) leading up to the wedding day.
What was your favorite part of having a destination wedding?
My favorite part, by far, was having the opportunity to spend a whole week with the friends and family I cherish the most. This vacation not only gave us the chance to celebrate our couple over many days rather than just one, but it gave us memories of our family and friends coming together that we will remember for the rest of our lives!
What was the most memorable, crazy, special, unique, quirky, emotional or unusual thing to happen on your wedding day?
Leading up to our grand entrance to the reception, the wedding party had to walk from our private room to an entrance that was behind the stage. After one last wedding-party-only toast, we were led out the room by a venue coordinator. Just as we started walking, my dress got stuck in my shoe, and my husband stopped to help me out.
A mere 30sec later, we walked towards the same exit that the wedding party had gone through thinking they were still close, but we ended up outside, in the middle of the park, with all doors around us closed and too many options (yet no real direction!) of where to go. We were there, all alone, the bride and groom, in this big park and we could hear them start to announce for guests to take a seat, and we couldn’t find our way.
We started calling out to our wedding party for someone to come and find us and we were laughing our heads off! We could hear the names being called… and although we knew we would possibly miss our big moment/entrance, it all just seemed too hilarious for us! Only a few minutes later did the best man show up to save us because he “heard voices screaming” and led us to the right door in the nick of time! We finally made our grand entrance with so much cheerfulness and laughter and all our guests joined us directly on the dance floor, no clue of what had just happened a few minutes earlier. We still cannot understand how our wedding party or the coordinators did not notice that we were missing and had initiated the entrance without us, but it all makes for a pretty crazy and memorable moment that my husband and I still laugh about.
What was the biggest challenge in planning your destination wedding?
I have to say the wedding planning went pretty smoothly, although it being a destination wedding I did spend hours and hours planning an entire event online through web searches, web images and emails. Since I was living in Beirut, Lebanon, it was impossible for me to do a site visit and that made me feel uneasy. Not being able to see the venue before the week of, to speak to vendors in person or to see/touch the decorations and flowers also caused some anxiety leading up to the big day. But I did a lot of research on local suppliers and based myself largely on reviews and got extremely lucky with an amazing group of vendors who were not only professional and fantastic at their jobs, but they were also extremely quick to respond to my emails, so that kept me reassured. Everything went smoothly!
What’s your advice to others planning their destination wedding in Xcaret?
I put some much time and heart into planning this wedding and wanted everything to go by perfectly. We did a lot of things on our own and tried to personalize every detail. I learned that all this dedication and personal attention pays off in the end. Not because every detail was covered and there were no glitches – because a few definitely did come up – but because I felt so much pride and happiness as the wedding week unfolded. Everything fell beautifully into place and it was so rewarding to see all our guests have such a wonderful time and knowing that I was responsible for much of the organization. I would tell any other bride to get involved in the planning as much as they can and to involve their fiances as well… it makes the wedding day (or week!) that much sweeter!
Photography: Quetzal Photography
Videography: Cinematik Weddings
Wedding planner: Erica Bressan from Weddings in Playa
Ceremony Venue: St-Francis of Assisi Chapel, Xcaret
Reception Venue/Catering: La Isla, Xcaret
Florist: Cherry Blossoms
Hair and Makeup: Styling Trio
DJ: Diego Alvarado from EvolutionMix Audiovisuales
Priest: Father Hubert Reiner
Stationery: Designed by Bride and Groom
Dress designer: Monique Lhuillier
Bridal boutique: L’Atelier Blanc Beirut
Shoes: Custom made shoes, Scarbina
Hairpiece: Doloris Petunia hairpiece, by Courtney Prince
Bridesmaids Dresses: BHLDN
Groom’s Suit: Paul Smith
Groomsmen Suits: Ted Baker