Blissful Retreats for Saying “I Do”

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Iberostar Playa Paraiso.
Iberostar Playa Paraiso.

barcelo grand faro los cabos
Located seafront on the stunning Sea of Cortez, the 350-room Barcelo Grand Faro Los Cabos oozes romance, and couples will love the fact that those gorgeous sea views can frame their nuptials as the property offers its sea-facing terraces—the Star Terrace or the Moon Terrace—as wedding venues. Of course, couples can also opt for a Beach Ceremony as long as they don’t mind some sand between their toes. We love the wedding package names, which run the gamut from Blueberry Dream, Mint Breeze and Chocolate Sensation to Tangerine Sunset, and those varied names mean lots of assorted inclusions and a range of package prices. The Coconut Paradise package includes all the expected basics and is complimentary when 25 room nights are booked, while the Chocolate Sensation is $9,990—think fireworks, personalized dessert, Champagne breakfast in bed the next morning, beach bonfire rehearsal party—and includes 20 guests. barcelo.com 

fiesta americana merida
For a different sort of Mexican destination wedding, tell clients to opt for a ceremony in the White City—Merida. Here, the Fiesta Americana Merida offers a colonial vibe and 16 different venues as well as an array of wedding packages. Clients can opt for the Wedding Dinner package that accommodates 100 or 200 minimum guests (the couple can make it as intimate or as grand as they wish); it includes special rates on guest bedrooms. The Gala Dinner package throws in the Nuptial suite for the bride and groom with a bottle of sparkling wine and continental breakfast, as well as one night in the Junior Suite with a buffet breakfast included, for the first wedding anniversary. There’s also the Wedding Once in a Lifetime Event in the Morning, which also includes the Nuptial suite; and there’s even a Romantic Dinner for Two for couples who want to celebrate in private. fiestamericana.com or fiestamericana.com/en/travel-agencies

hacienda puerta campeche, a luxury collection hotel, campeche
The 17th century Hacienda Puerta Campeche, a Luxury Collection Hotel, offers its guests 15 guestrooms and suites to choose from, and they all come with picturesque views of the gardens and pools. Occupying the original buildings, the guestrooms have all been restored and are decorated with dark wooden beds and furniture, preserving the colonial ambiance. In keeping with properties that showcase the local community, the property’s amenities are made by the artisans of the Fundacion de Haciendas del Mundo Maya. Here, couples can tie the knot on the rooftop lounge, offering views over the historical center, and ideal for cocktail-style parties that hold up to 140 people. A good option for small celebrations is the onsite restaurant that features “Campechana” cuisine, international cuisine using local ingredients and seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. puertacampeche.com or spgpro.com

iberostar playa paraiso complex, riviera maya
According to Mariela Gomez, account manager at Iberostar Hotels & Resorts, the Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf & Spa Resort in the Riviera Maya is “the ultimate wedding destination.” Now that’s quite a claim, but there’s good reason for her to shower such accolades on the property. The complex, after all, is home to five all-inclusive Iberostar hotels, from the affordable Iberostar Paraiso del Mar and Iberostar Paraiso Beach to the upscale, family-friendly Iberostar Paraiso Lindo and Iberostar Paraiso Maya, as well as the luxurious, adults-only Iberostar Grand Hotel Paraiso. The complex, she notes, “boasts a spectacular beachfront and an impressive range of wedding and vacation amenities. Along with an onsite golf course, the complex features a 32,000-sq.-ft. spa, shopping area, merry-go-round, nightclub, food court, air-conditioned Catholic chapel and more.” Gomez also points out that, “At Iberostar, we only do one wedding per day, per hotel, and couples are able to customize their wedding because we offer all sorts of extras: live music, decoration, flowers (we have our own in-house florists) to build the wedding celebration they dream of.” In fact, the resort complex has several wedding venues, including beachside, in a gazebo surrounded by gardens, in the chapel, or in a Mexican plaza. The hotel accommodates wedding groups of all sizes, including up to 200+, and packages range from the Star Wedding ($999 for 10 persons) to the Gold Star Wedding ($2,799 for 20 persons). iberostar.com or iberostar.com/en/travel-agents-hotels

royal hideaway playacar
The four-diamond, adults-only Royal Hideaway Playacar in Playa del Carmen features 200 Mexican-style rooms with ocean and garden views, and according to Hilary Lanzer, co-founder/managing partner at Ask Me, who gave a talk on Occidental Hotels & Resorts’ wedding options at last month’s Romance Travel Forum, the resort hosts only one wedding per day and couples have an array of wedding packages to choose from (Ask Me, incidentally, is a private label call center that offers travel advisors direct access to Occidental Hotels & Resorts’ team of event coordinators). “Your clients can have a semi-private affair in a restaurant for up to 16 people, or opt for the Infinite Bliss package,” ideal for up to 20 guests. Beyond the basics, it includes a 45-minute session with a Mexican trio during the post-ceremony celebration and an album with 36 photos delivered within 48 hours. Lanzer stresses that the hotel “can privatize any wedding.” Lanzer recommends agents “book the couple and the in-laws at the chef’s table, which is a glass-enclosed area within the kitchen.” occidentalhotels.com or occidentalromance.com

weddings by funjet
At last month’s Romance Travel Forum, we eavesdropped on The Mark Travel Corporation seminar. Our ears pricked up when we learned the value of coupling destination weddings with Funjet Vacations (funjetagent.com). Beyond the vast knowledge and partnerships that Funjet Vacations has in Mexico, the company’s year-old Weddings by Funjet (weddingsbyfunjet.com) provides a wedding concierge and an in-destination group of experts to act as wedding coordinators, to coordinate accommodations and work with couples and travel agents. Here are some tools Funjet Vacations provides travel agents for destination weddings:

•Full, half and ¼ page customizable
•print ads
•Customizable “Save the Date” templates
•Timeline worksheet
•Destination wedding hotel questionnaire
•Customizable wedding pricing flyer
•E-postcards
•Destination wedding & honeymoon planning guide