Take A Vow

written by | Posted on March 12th, 2013

Aaron Huniu

Many hotel groups make couples a priority, with onsite wedding coordinators, dedicated wedding sites and lots of extras to make sure brides get the day of their dreams. Convenient packages make planning even easier—some are even complimentary—and most offer additional services to custom-tailor the event into the perfect dream wedding.

AMResorts: With brands like Zoëtry, Secrets, Dreams, Now and Sunscape under its umbrella, AMResorts caters to brides of every taste and every budget. Each brand has its own menu of wedding packages (including the complimentary Wedding in Paradise), as well as wedding coordinators and staff. Choose from indoor and outdoor locations including seaside gazebos and palapas or a Spanish wedding chapel. Some resorts even feature a wedding web cam, allowing family and friends who couldn’t attend the wedding to share the bride’s special day. amresorts.com

Capella Hotels and Resorts: The group’s two world-class properties—Cabo’s Capella Pedregal and Capella Ixtapa—have made a big splash in the luxury weddings market. At either hotel you can count on the “Celebration Team” to put their “Yours Truly” signature wedding services to work, choreographing every detail from pre-wedding activities through honeymoon planning. That includes introducing the bride to the many beautiful Mexican wedding traditions, should they want to incorporate them. For example, a gift of 13 gold coins (las arras) from the groom to the bride during the ceremony, symbolizing financial responsibility for the family, and encircling the couple in a lazo, or silk rope, following the coin ceremony to highlight their eternal union. Honeymooners can take advantage of the Romance package at the dramatic Capella Ixtapa. It includes a 3- or 5-night stay, a couple’s massage and spa lunch and wine, petals and candles a-plenty, starting at $1,535. capellahotels.com

El Cid Hotels and Resorts: Originally from Mazatlan, El Cid Hotels and Resorts has grown and taken their particular brand of all-inclusive Mexican hospitality all the way to Cozumel and the Riviera Maya. You’ll find a great selection of packages and a place to start a honeymoon registry on their El Cid Weddings site. Their complete El Cid Elite Wedding package includes everything from wrangling the legal papers to the marriage certificate, rose petals galore, personal treatments and more starting at $1,750 for up to 10 guests; price varies depending on the destination. Your clients can get the banquet or even the entire package for free, too (see website for details). elcid.com and elcidweddings.com

San Miguel de Allende

Excellence Resorts: The Mexican Caribbean is an idyllic setting, and Excellence Resorts’ two adults-only all-inclusive properties in Isla Mujeres and the Riviera Maya make it even more so with horse-drawn carriage rides to the chapel and suites showered with rose petals. They have three wedding packages starting at $850 that can be custom-tailored to please the most demanding bride. excellence-resorts.com

Fiesta Americana Hotels & Resorts: Of the brand’s many incarnations, the top two that stand out as options for destination weddings are the Fiesta Americana Grand properties and the adults-only Live Aqua resorts, with hotels in Mexico City and Cancun. Let’s pick Cancun, where the modern Live Aqua Cancun ups the ante on luxury—in fact, it won a 2012 “World’s Best” award from T+L. Brides can choose a pool terrace ceremony, a feet-in-the-sand wedding or an event in their Garden of the Senses.… Whatever their choice, the hotel takes care of everything and can organize ceremonies for all religions, as well. fiestaamericana.com

Grupo Habita: Known for their “out-of-the-box” hotels, Grupo Habita also walks the walk for weddings. “Grupo Habita hotels cater for weddings that are not traditional in any way,” says Rafael Micha, managing partner for the group. “This is for the bride and groom that like to take matters in a different direction. Most of our hotels have amazing rooftop terraces and in such surroundings the event becomes a memorable one. We’re not for the 101 Wedding Planner or the fainthearted.” Think amazing weddings on the HABITA Hotel rooftop terrace at sundown in Mexico City with the skyline as a backdrop, weekend-long destination weddings in La Purificadora in Puebla with different events every day—including a bachelorette party in the Top Suite around the outdoor whirpool—or an incredible sunset wedding at Hotel Boca Chica in Acapulco with an after-wedding “good-bye” pool party. Everything is customized for each couple by their event planner. grupohabita.mx

In Puerto Vallarta at Quimixto, a tiny beach village only accessible by boat.

Imanta Resorts: There isn’t a shadow of a doubt that the designers behind Imanta Punta de Mita were in love when they created this one-of-a-kind getaway. They so loved the natural beauty of the coastline that they ensured their design was eco-friendly; they so loved the good life that “luxurious” barely begins to define it; and they so loved their guests that each service is truly something to write home about. This, then, is just the setting for a spectacular wedding of the most memorable kind, with casonas, plazas, beach palapas and even an observatory tower on tap, not to mention a staff of 60 to ensure everything from your client’s welcome party to their rehearsal dinner to their ceremony, reception and post-wedding brunch is impeccably turned out. Oh, and the beach? It’s perfectly private. Room nights start at $800. imantaresorts.com

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts: With nine properties in Mexico that range from swanky city hotels to even swankier beach resorts, InterContinental has brides covered from one coast to the other. Brides can choose a Pacific setting at the Presidente Puerto Vallarta or opt for a sunset beach wedding at the Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Hotel & Spa.ichotelsgroup.com

Karisma Hotels & Resorts: El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels and Azul Hotels by Karisma have just debuted a new line of personality-based wedding packages, Memorable Moments, by Karisma, featuring six custom-designed themes to appeal to each bride’s personality: Coastal Bliss, Sophisticated Soiree, Vintage Elegance, Majestic Flair, Pure Glamour, and Colonial Charm. “The new packages focus on all aspects of the destination wedding—from the moment the couple and guests arrive until the time they leave—and not just on the ceremony,” says Faith Wishnie, director of wedding services, Premier Worldwide Marketing, exclusive representative for El Dorado Spa Resorts & Hotels and Azul Hotels by Karisma. “By engaging celebrity event planners at various levels throughout the design process, we were able to create packages that infuse star quality while allowing brides the most flexibility for their specific tastes and budgets.” The company also announced a partnership with Jackson Family Wines, and now offers a chef-inspired menu paired with a Jackson Family Wine selection as an optional add-on to each wedding package. karismahotels.com

El Dorada Casitas Royale in Riviera Maya

Mayan Palace Resorts: Brides and grooms with big families and even bigger wedding parties will appreciate Mayan Palace Resorts’ wide-open suite layouts with kitchens, dining areas and living rooms. With onsite spas, kids’ clubs, great dining, golf, giant pools and more, there’s something for everyone to truly enjoy a destination wedding. If your clients are planning a grand affair, contact Vidanta Weddings to set the wheels in motion at any of their six locations. “All of Vidanta Weddings planners are Beverly Clark certified,” says Norma Preciado, marketing director for Mayan Palace Resorts and Vidanta Weddings. “We also know how each bride wants and needs to be ‘queen for a day,’ so we limit the number of weddings at our resorts to one per day.” mayanpalace.com and vidantaweddings.com

Mexico Boutique Hotels: “Our properties are chosen for their high standard of service as well their ability to convey what we call a ‘sense of place,’” says Sylvie Laitre, director of Mexico Boutique Hotels. “This means brides and their party will enjoy a truly handcrafted experience that reflects the subtleties of the destination through the menu, the decor, the music…. Weddings become unforgettable in the best sense of the word.” This collection of upscale, independent member properties ranges from colonial treasures such as Sonora’s Hacienda de los Santos Resort & Spa (their wedding director, Jamie Swickard, has created events consistently featured in the top society pages; room nights start at $255) and the iconic Rancho Las Cruces near La Paz, a members-only private beach enclave available exclusively through MBH. Special group rates for weddings average $245 per person, per night, for three nights, and include meals, rehearsal and reception dinners. Additional services such as fireworks, live music and more can be added. mexicoboutiquehotels.com

Occidental Resorts & Spas: The group’s six properties in Mexico include the Occidental, Royal Hideaway and Allegro brands, and all except one (the Occidental Grand Nuevo Vallarta) are in the Riviera Maya. Brides will find their wedding site easy to navigate with links for each property’s wedding and vow renewal packages. Located within walking distance of the eco-archaeological Xcaret Park, the Occidental Grand Xcaret’s basic I’ll Stand By You package—which can be complimentary with the right booking combination—starts at $2,590. occidentalhotels.com and occidentalweddings.com

An infinity-edge pool, a perfect spot to enjoy the Los Cabos view.

Palace Resorts and Hard Rock Hotels: Designer names are always in vogue—especially when they have a TV show. With that in mind, Palace Resorts and Hard Rock Hotels, with all-inclusive resorts in five of Mexico’s hottest beach locations, launched the exclusive Colin Cowie Wedding Collection. Each of Colin’s nine packages includes everything needed to create the perfect love affair so you can rest assured that all amenities are included and the final cost is set up front (prices start at $1,500). Palace packages feature chic designs inspired by the beauty of Mexico; Hard Rock packages are appropriately rock ‘n’ roll. Best of all, guests staying for a minimum of three nights can use the Resort Credit promotion toward the cost of the Colin Cowie Wedding packages that begin at $3,000. palaceresorts.com and hardrockhotels.com

Pueblo Bonito Oceanfront Resorts and Spas: “As a travel agent you need to be able to provide the right answers right away and you can only do so if you partner with suppliers who understand this,” says Enrique Gandara, corporate director of sales and marketing at Pueblo Bonito Oceanfront Resorts and Spas. “Pueblo Bonito offers a top-notch team of planners, all accredited through the Beverly Clark Certified Wedding Professional Program, and they’re ready to help you realize your customer’s dream weddings.” On a budget? Not a problem: all six of their award-winning properties in Los Cabos and Mazatlan offer a complimentary wedding package organized by said certified planners when brides book a minimum combination of rooms and nights. The Water Wedding package at the Sunset Beach Resort & Spa in Cabo San Lucas, for example, costs $1,500 for up to 15 guests. However, if 10 rooms are booked for three nights each, it’s on the house! pueblobonito.com

Real Resorts: Real Resorts has four- and five-star all-inclusive properties in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, encompassing options for full-fledged family destination weddings to adults-only luxury events. The brand recently announced new wedding options for 2013, including a new Jewish Wedding Ceremony that includes services by a local rabbi; a new Mexican Wedding Ceremony; an enhanced Catholic Wedding service (which includes its private Catholic seaside chapel in Cancun); and a new Vow Renewal Ceremony that’s complimentary for couples who originally married at the resort. “Real Resorts recognizes that each wedding needs to be as unique to the couple as their love,” says Fernando Garcia, managing director of Real Resorts, “so we work with each one to individualize their wedding planning and deliver their perfect day.” realresorts.com

Casa de Sierra Nevada, an Orient-Express Hotel in San Miguel de Allende

RIU Hotels: The all-inclusive RIU Hotels offer several venues for brides looking to take advantage of Cancun’s legendary nightlife and sugary-white beaches. Hotels include the RIU Caribe, with its famous Mayan-style architecture, the RIU Palace Las Americas and the RIU Cancun, both located right in the heart of the hotel district, and the newest property, the RIU Palace Peninsula, which opened in 2012 next-door to the RIU Cancun. The resort company makes planning easy with its dedicated wedding website, which offers varied packages and services. For example, the 2013 Classic Wedding package—perfect for wedding couples traveling without companions—costs only $930 for a religious ceremony ($950 for a civil ceremony). riuhotels.com

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts: With one property in the Riviera Maya, one in Los Cabos and one in the heart of colonial San Miguel de Allende, Rosewood Hotels & Resorts offers brides a selection of the most romantic destinations in Mexico. The largest of the three, Rosewood Mayakoba, recently underwent a $1.6 million renovation. “The resort’s natural beauty, along with the wide range of venues including the recently inaugurated beachfront Palapa, The Plaza, the Lagoon Lawn and Avicenia, plus the personal attentiveness that our staff provides makes for a magical and unforgettable wedding,” says Arianna Iturralde, the on-property wedding specialist. All properties participate in Rosewood’s A Perfect Match program that allows couples booking a wedding to take advantage of a special honeymoon offer. rosewoodhotels.com

Sandos Hotels & Resorts: One of three Sandos Hotels & Resorts properties in the Mexican Caribbean, the Sandos Caracol Eco Resort & Spa has one of the only true eco-wedding programs in the Rivera Maya. As part of the new company-wide Weddings Collection packages, they now host sustainable Green Eco-Weddings ($750 starting rate) next to its onsite cenote (freshwater sinkhole), and can arrange “trash the dress” photo-shoots there as well. Because the fresh water in the cenotes is very clear, it allows for once-in-a-lifetime underwater photography—plus a not-so-ruined dress. Brides can also opt for the all-white Mystical Mayan ceremony, led by an actual Maya shaman. The newest addition to the portfolio is the Sandos Finisterra Los Cabos, with its new Whale Watching Bar overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez. sandos.com

Solmar Hotels & Resorts: “At Solmar we’ve noticed an increase in wedding bookings so far this year,” says Adriana Diaz, wedding coordinator for Solmar Hotels & Resorts in Cabo. “We have a lot of leads and brides have been booking weddings starting in May through November 2013. Some have even inquired about 2014 weddings!” At the Resort & Grand Solmar Land’s End Resort & Spa, couples can exchange vows on the breathtaking Land’s End Terrace, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. Its Serenity package was created for events of 50 to 100 people, and includes live music, a photo package, and hair and makeup for the bride for $2,990. There are other options for smaller groups, including a just-for-two elopement package, Sweet Escape, for $850. solmar.com

Velas Resorts: Velas Resorts believes in luxury coast to coast, with award-winning resorts in the Riviera Maya on the Caribbean and on the Pacific in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit. Their Velas Weddings site offers brides a very comprehensive roundup of all-inclusive package information and contacts. Want or need something different? Use the packages as a suggestion and customize all you want. velasweddings.com

Villa Group Resorts: The Villa del Palmar resort collection has eight properties at five Mexican beach destinations, including Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit and Islands of Loreto. Their new “Your Story Starts Here” branding campaign represents their ability to create personalized vacations—and that extends to weddings, tops on anyone’s list of “everlasting memories.” They offer six different wedding packages, all of which can be customized with one of their onsite wedding specialists. villagroupresorts.com