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Cancun, Mexico Destination Wedding

Having an All-Inclusive Destination Wedding

By Judy Koutsky

Cancun, Mexico Destination Wedding

The author as a married woman.

Photo courtesy of Judy Koutsky.

When I chose Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun for my destination wedding, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

Like most couples, I soon learned, we had booked the resort for our wedding without ever having stepped on property.

The year I was engaged turned out to be an extremely busy one work-wise and I found that I did not have much free time to plan a wedding, let alone travel to various places out of the country for site visits.

So like most brides-to-be who choose a destination wedding, I did extensive Internet research. After contacting a few people I met online who had weddings at Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun, I booked the Ultimate Wedding package, set the date, reserved ten rooms and hoped for the best.

I experienced a destination wedding that far surpassed my wildest dreams.

The Appeal of a Turnkey Destination Wedding
I am the quintessential anti-bride. The idea of picking flowers, a wedding cake, music, place settings--things that some women start dreaming about as a little girl—turned my stomach.

Since the time I was nine, I told my mom I was going to elope.

Unfortunately, my fiancé did not share my sentiment. The thought of getting married without our families and few close friends was incomprehensible to him. So we started to explore destination wedding options. We could manage the numbers (I wanted super small), get a wedding coordinator (one-stop shopping for all the wedding details), and still have something unique.

Once we started doing the research I soon realized that there were literally hundreds of places around the world that offered destination weddings.

The first order was to narrow down a geographical region. We wanted it to be close enough so that our friends and family (who live in New York and Chicago) could take a non-stop flight, but far enough away that the wedding could feel like a vacation. It came down between the Caribbean and Mexico.

Since my fiancé and I always loved our neighbor south of the border—the people are extremely friendly, the beaches gorgeous, the food yummy—we picked the Riviera Maya and then chose Secrets Capri.

Why We Chose Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun
Why this resort? A number of reasons. It had a good Web Site that outlined the various wedding packages (from basic to the deluxe).

We loved the fact that the resort was an adults-only (kids have their place, but just not at our wedding, we felt) high-end all-inclusive with four specialty restaurants.

The element that ultimately sealed the deal was the wedding coordinator. After speaking to Sherline Zuñiga on the phone for five minutes, I knew this resort was the place for me. Having never gone to a destination wedding, I had a zillion questions, ranging from bugs (will our guests get eaten alive by mosquitoes if we have dinner on the beach?) to music (is a mariachi band too much for a wedding?).

In our first conversation, Sherline answered all my questions patiently and we started a dialogue that progressed right up to the wedding day. We only spoke on the phone a few times, but we emailed repeatedly.

Secrets Capri hosts over 200 weddings per year and each bride wants her day to be special. The wedding coordinator has to wade through dozens of e-mails from each bride not only answering every detail (yes, pink roses and while lilies are great for beach weddings) but also reassuring them from across the miles that things will go according to plan.

What I loved most about my destination wedding is that my wedding coordinator took care of everything…quite literally one-stop shopping. She emailed me flower choices, menu selections, photo packages, music options. The nice thing at an all-inclusive is that the choices are not overwhelming.

It was easy to pick my bridal bouquet of the half dozen or so pictures she sent. In areas where I needed help, Sherline advised (I had no idea what to do for music, Sherline suggested a violin and accordion duo for the ceremony and their rendition of Pachelbel Canon was the prettiest I had ever heard).

A week before the wedding I was convinced the dinner on the beach was a bad idea (we planned the ceremony, cocktail and dinner on the beach at sunset)—what about the wind, the mosquitoes, the weather?

Sherline calmed my nerves by saying it would be gorgeous—but that we could have a back-up indoor room and we could decide the day of the wedding which to use. Sherline's calmness, yet her attention to detail, is exactly the kind of personality needed in a wedding coordinator, especially for a destination wedding when the bride has not visited the premises.

Arriving for the Destination Wedding
Literally the moment I arrived at the resort, all details were handled for me. We got there on a Friday and the wedding was slated for Saturday night. We had the rehearsal dinner at Himitsu, the Asian specialty restaurant.

The next day I met with Sherline in the morning to go through a quick rehearsal run-through. She then set up my hair and make-up for that afternoon. She arranged for the photographer to come an hour before the wedding so he could get pictures of me getting ready. We used photographer Juan Navarro. For our wedding video, we used Alejandro Gonzalez and were so glad we did. Being a bride, you miss out on a lot of the behind-the-scenes. Alejandro captured wonderful moments and put them together into a great video collage.

My fiancé met with the officiant 30 minutes prior to the ceremony and went through the vows. We kept waiting for the stress—for the realization that something was going to go wrong—but everything went smoothly. In fact, we had more fun that I thought was imaginable. The ceremony, the cocktail hour, the dinner—everything was perfect. For the anti-bride looking for a stress-free wedding, I got exactly what I had hoped for…and more.

Read the author’s Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun resort report.

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