An Intimate Destination Wedding in Tulum, Mexico

January 2023

An intimate destination wedding in Tulum, Mexico, is a dream for many couples. Tulum is known for its stunning beaches, lush jungles, and a laid-back bohemian vibe, making it a picturesque and romantic location for a small, intimate wedding.

If you're thinking about a destination wedding, this post will be full of inspiration for you! Kim and Travis planned the most beautiful intimate wedding in Tulum, Mexico. They incorporated some Filipino traditions that were so fun and set the tone for the party. It was important to them to have a great week with their family + friends. This trip was the perfect blend of relaxing + partying! Having a destination wedding means you get more than one day with your loved ones.

Despite having to travel for their wedding, Kim and Travis knew they didn't want to forget about the details! Kim is very crafty and can literally do/make anything. She had special touches that showcase their love, and also as gifts for their guests.

destination wedding, tulum mexico, palm trees, wedding inspiration
destination wedding, tulum mexico, palm trees, wedding inspiration
destination wedding, tulum mexico, palm trees, wedding inspiration

Pre - Wedding Fun

Pre-wedding fun at a resort by the ocean can be a fantastic way to celebrate and relax with your loved ones before the big day. Here's a general idea of what you can expect:

  1. The Resort: Choose a beautiful and comfortable resort that suits your taste and budget. Look for one that offers a range of amenities and services, such as spa treatments, a variety of restaurants, and activities to keep your guests entertained.
  2. Accommodations: Ensure that your chosen resort has comfortable and well-appointed accommodations for you and your guests. Consider reserving a block of rooms or villas for your wedding party and guests to make it convenient for everyone.
  3. Pre-Wedding Activities: Plan fun and engaging activities for your guests to enjoy together before the wedding. These could include beach volleyball, water sports, group yoga sessions, or simply lounging by the pool with some cold drinks. Don't put too much pressure on this though-leave time for unscheduled fun!
  4. The Food: Food is a crucial aspect of any wedding or resort stay. Make sure the resort offers a variety of dining options, including local cuisine and international dishes. Consider hosting a welcome dinner or brunch for your guests to kick off the celebrations.
  5. Pools: If you're staying at a resort, you'll likely have access to multiple pools. Some resorts even have swim-up bars, which can be a great way to socialize and have fun with your wedding party and guests.
  6. The Ocean: Since you're by the ocean, take full advantage of it. Organize activities like beach games, snorkeling, scuba diving, or even a romantic sunset cruise for you and your partner.
  7. Spa and Wellness: Resorts often have excellent spa facilities. Consider treating yourself and your bridal party to massages, facials, or other relaxation treatments before the wedding.
  8. Photography and Videography: Don't forget to document these special moments. Hire a professional photographer and videographer (cough, cough, ME!) to capture the pre-wedding festivities, the resort's beauty, and the joy of your guests. Most resorts offer a local photographer/videographer. Be sure to do your research and make sure you like their work! Sometimes it might cost you extra to bring in an outside photographer/videographer. Don't worry, I can help explain this to you and make sure you make the right choice for you!
  9. Relaxation and Privacy: Make sure to schedule some downtime for you and your partner to relax and spend quality time together. Many resorts offer private cabanas or secluded areas where you can enjoy some peace and quiet.

Remember to communicate all these plans to your guests well in advance so they can make the most of their time at the resort. Pre-wedding festivities at a beautiful beach resort can set the perfect tone for your wedding day and create lasting memories for everyone involved. A group chat or a private Facebook event is a helpful option for everyone and is also a great place for everyone to share their photos!

At the end of this blog post I will share the location and vendors that Kim + Travis chose for their day.

The Rehearsal

Planning a rehearsal dinner in Tulum, Mexico, is an opportunity to set the tone for your intimate destination wedding and provide your guests with a memorable experience. After running through the flow of their wedding and what to do during the ceremony, Kim and Travis planned a beautiful intimate dinner with their wedding party and family. Here, they had a couple speeches and shared their thank you gifts. The details were beautiful and timeless.

Here's how you can create the perfect vibe and incorporate meaningful details:

1. Venue and Vibe:

  • Choose a venue that reflects the laid-back, beachy vibe of Tulum. Consider options like a beachfront restaurant, a rooftop terrace with ocean views, or a cozy outdoor setting with string lights.
  • Create a relaxed and casual atmosphere that allows your guests to unwind and connect before the big day. Tulum's natural beauty and bohemian charm are perfect for this.

2. Decor:

  • Embrace the natural surroundings by using minimalistic decor that complements the venue.
  • Soft, warm lighting with candles, lanterns, or fairy lights can add a romantic touch to the evening.

3. Menu:

  • Showcase the local cuisine with a Mexican-inspired menu. Offer a variety of dishes, including fresh seafood, ceviche, guacamole, and tacos.
  • Don't forget to provide options for guests with dietary restrictions or preferences.

4. Drinks:

  • Offer a selection of cocktails featuring local ingredients and flavors. Margaritas, mojitos, and mezcal-based drinks are crowd-pleasers.
  • Include non-alcoholic options and plenty of water to keep your guests refreshed.

5. Entertainment:

  • Consider hiring a local mariachi band or live acoustic musicians to provide entertainment during the dinner. (Kim + Travis did this for their wedding day: keep reading to see how it turned out!).
  • Create a playlist of your favorite songs for background music during the meal.

6. Personal Touches:

  • Incorporate personal touches that reflect your journey as a couple or your connection to Tulum. This could include a slideshow of your relationship, a photo display, or a brief welcome speech.

7. Welcome Gifts:

  • Show your appreciation for your guests by providing welcome gifts. These can also serve as keepsakes from the trip. Be sure it's items that can be brought in your suitcase easily, or purchase local items when you arrive.

9. Speeches and Toasts:

  • Invite close friends and family members to give short speeches or toasts during the dinner, sharing their well-wishes and memories.

A rehearsal dinner in Tulum should capture the essence of the destination while allowing you and your guests to unwind and enjoy the beauty and culture of the area. Focus on creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and your guests will cherish the experience as part of your wedding celebration.

The Wedding Day

Kim + Travis planned the most beautiful oceanside wedding.

The day started with Kim and her girls getting ready in a room, sharing stories about each other, exchanging the most thoughtful beautiful gifts, and of course, having some mimosas! They had Danielle, an amazing hairdresser from Toronto, do all of their hair. Then they each did their own makeup. Kim decided to do a first look with her bridesmaids and it did not disappoint. There were so many emotions and so much love! Travis wanted to do some fun football inspired entrances! Of course, I was up for this. We captured some great photos and videos. The guys also opened their gifts. The gifts that Kim made and got Travis were so thoughtful and beautiful. She made him a Russian Doll with so many personal details burned into the wood.

Kim's dress. Oh the dress. I should say dresses! First, let me inform you that Kim is a thrifter! Her dress was bought at a second hand store in North Bay, ON. She had it altered slightly, but even with that, all in the dress only cost her $150!!! Kim had the best idea to alter the dress so that she could take the lace part off after the ceremony showcasing a stunning silk dress for the reception! After the ceremony, Travis and his groomsmen changed into a traditional Filipino shirt, which is called a barong. Kim's brothers and father were also wearing a barong. Kim wasn't satisfied with off the rack shoes either. No. This crafty woman had to level up the shoes she bought! She added pearls, which are very trendy for 2023, and they were the perfect one-of-a-kind bridal shoe!

The ceremony was under a pergola oceanside. A concern was, "will there be strangers on the beach watch?", not at this wedding! This beach wasn't the main swimming beach. It was more rocky, which was the perfect background. Thankfully there was another beach for people to enjoy so there wasn't any strangers catching a glimpse. The cocktail house took place here as well. Behind the pergola was a soft sandy area where they had a mariachi band, apps, and drinks! Guests were able to soak in the beauty while we snuck away for some photos.

The reception was also just a short walk away. It was nice having everything so close together! Having the reception oceanside was the cherry on top. We were lucky to have beautiful weather to allow for this. If you're planning a destination wedding, make sure to have a plan b in case there is bad weather. The reception under the stars set the tone for the night. There were heartfelt speeches, laughs, tears, and of course the mariachi band! One speech included a very special video message from Kim's grandma who couldn't be there. *See the Mini Moments video {grab your tissues!}. After a delicious dinner, everyone hit the dance floor....and didn't stop! The bartenders eventually decided to give Kim + Travis the bottle of tequila to free pour into each others mouths. Their guests of course had to join in! This took the party to the next level and I could not put my camera down! The photos turned out amazing {and are actually some of my all time favourite reception photos!}.

In the Filipino culture, they have a custom called a Money Dance. This is where guests will pin money onto the couple and then they share a dance! It represents the financial abundance of the happy couple and helps them build a strong financial future together. This was so much fun. Everyone was smiling ear to ear. Then everyone stayed on the dance floor for the electric slideeeeee!

If you're a photographer reading this, here's an honest moment: I was travelling light and didn't pack ALL my gear. I ended up leaving some items in my room that I didn't think I would need. The flash that I brought with me to the reception didn't have the white card to bounce light off of. Having a reception outside means, there's no walls or ceiling to bounce the light off of. PANIC. What am I going to do?! The room was too far away and would take too long to go back to. When I realized what I needed, I rushed over to the planners and asked them to find me a piece of white paper and a zip tie or some tape. Thankfully they found some and although it looked ridiculous and very amateur, it worked PERFECTLY. The fact that I was able to trouble shoot the situation means I'm a professional (even though I forgot my better flash back in the room, oops!).

Planning an unforgettable wedding day in Tulum, Mexico, with these elements will ensure a memorable celebration filled with love, fun, and beautiful moments against the backdrop of the stunning beach destination. Working closely with your wedding planner and vendors will help bring your vision to life.

Trash the Dress

Swim in the ocean,

A "Trash the Dress" photoshoot in the ocean is a creative and adventurous way to capture unique and stunning images of the bride in her wedding dress. It involves intentionally getting the wedding dress wet, sandy, or even submerged in the ocean while documenting the experience through photography.

A trash the dress photoshoot in the ocean can result in unforgettable images, showcasing the contrast between the elegance of the wedding attire and the wild beauty of the ocean. Just remember to prioritize safety and proper dress care to preserve the dress as a keepsake. Since Kim only spent $150 on her dress, she was up for playing in the ocean!

Mini Moments Video

Kim + Travis also asked me to do videography for the wedding. The Mini Moment video is the perfect pairing with your photos. For their video, I included footage from the week, as well as some guests cell phone footage! This gives it that nostalgic vibe we were wanting.

Kim's grandma couldn't be at the wedding. Kim's maid of honour, Trish, is SO thoughtful. She knew how much Kim's grandma meant to her, so she asked that she record a video message for Kim and Travis. The sound was played during Trish's speech and it of course brought tears to everyone's eyes. I knew I had to include the video for Kim + Travis.

This is their full video. I was there for a it's kind of long haha but I want my clients to have all of the amazing memories to look back on. I also give my clients a shorter video that they can easily post on social media {this way they can also use their favourite song}.

Home Time

After a week in the sun, everyone made the somber trek home. So many memories were made. What a week it was!

Bonus tip: Some airlines offer deals if a certain amount of people book through them!! Be sure to ask you travel agent about this.