Riviera Maya Wedding Location: Banyan Tree

mexico beach weddings

If you’re seeking a swanky destination wedding spot, one with a ceremony site on the sand, exquisite food from the region and beyond, and suites or villas that are possibly better than anywhere you might call home, then take a look at the beautiful Banyan Tree Mayakoba for your wedding in Mexico.

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What stands out most in this idyllic spot isn’t its breathtaking beachfront or even its grand entry and lobby, open on all sides and complete with a boat dock for departures, but the suites that you stay in when you wed or honeymoon here.

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When you check in to this paradise, you find yourself in a villa oasis complete with a full size swimming pool, jacuzzi, set of beach cruiser bikes, and floor to ceiling walls that open up to the great outdoors within your absolutely private compound.  That’s right, each guest or family stays within their own private walls which protect a garden or a rooftop pool, and even secluded views of the mangroves.  Life doesn’t get much better than this when you’re tucked into your home at Banyan Tree Mayakoba.

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If and when you decide to emerge from your villa, which is actually hard to do since it’s so special, you’ll find modern event spaces, world-class cuisine and even cooking classes for families who like to experience the culture they find themselves surrounded by.

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For your reception, this stunning beach palapa in a rustic white style just steps from the sand makes for a great party site for up to 350 of your closest friends and family.

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You might even consider the nearby Catholic Church in El Pueblito for a religious event before you’re ushered back to the beach to celebrate.

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No matter how you choose to wed at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, this is how you’ll retire at the end of the night, and even entertain, should a family BBQ in your villa be on the menu.

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If a full size private pool, jacuzzi and even romantic outdoor bathtub is your style, then honeymooning here is the way to go too.  Even with friends and family on property, you’ll feel a sense of privacy that allows you to unwind – just for two.

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Just be sure to make time for their famous Thai massages in the spa and award-winning restaurants.  Once you set foot at Banyan Tree Mayakoba, you’ll never have to leave…and you certainly won’t want to!

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Posh San Diego Wedding Location: The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe

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Today we’re sharing a sweet soiree that we actually got to attend this time!  The posh (and only) boutique hotel in Rancho Santa Fe (North County San Diego, CA), The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, hosted a few wedding professionals for an intimate evening of celebrating with “The Inn Crowd.”  And what a celebration it was!  If you’re looking for a domestic destination wedding location in a city where it’s almost always sunny, at a place that feels truly private, then be sure to stop and see The Inn and you’ll discover a little hidden magic in this Southern California city.

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The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe is ideal for buyouts, with only 80 rooms situated in 17 cottages, every guest of yours will feel right at home when they check into their fireplace-clad cozy getaway.  Sitting on 21-acres surrounded by old eucalyptus trees and winding pathways, it’s really the perfect disconnect from the big hotel wedding and the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

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And the wedding venues – oh the weddings venues!  Whether you opt to play a round of croquet on the lawn during cocktail hour or tent it instead for larger parties (up to 350), your beautiful backdrop will be the center of this quaint California town and the 1920’s adobe style hotel structure that you wish was home!

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For more intimate gatherings, like the dinner we attended, head to the croquet cottage – where we dined on an incredible meal fireside with the sweet smell of the fireplace burning beside us.  The chefs on property are so exceptional that certain dishes have even become local legend (I highly recommend the Royce Salad)!  For decor on this delightful night, Isari Flower Studio dressed the room from top to bottom and we couldn’t have loved the look more!

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Yet this isn’t the only intimate event space on property.  The library makes a great post-wedding brunch spot for your immediate family and the spa is perfect for a girls gathering.  There are so many surprising spots to discover at The Inn; just exploring the grounds you never know what you’ll find!

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But perhaps even better than the surroundings that welcome you at The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe is the staff that greets you with a smile upon arrival.  And the weddings department is no different – Morgan and Rebecca and their team quickly become trusted confidants when working with them.  Rest assured your wedding will be truly spectacular when you say “I do” in this special spot.  I loved our time here and can’t wait to go back for that perfect Southern California staycation!

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Event Vendors: Location: The Inn at Rancho Santa Fe, Planner: Kelsey Rae Designs, Floral: Isari Floral Studios, Paper Goods: Brightly Designed, Photography: Brian Leahy Photography, Videography: Anthology Films, Decor Rentals: Jake Duke Studios, Music: Brian Stodart, Linens: Wildflower Linen, Bar: Wiens Family Cellars, Dessert Bar: Mallow Mallow, Marquee: My Marquee SD, Gifts: Gaspara Flora, Desserts: Kuba Kreations, Menswear: Friar Tux Shop, Other: Aisle Planner

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Unique Hotel Wedding Chapels for Your Destination Wedding Location

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If you’re looking for an over-the-top gorgeous wedding chapel to exchange your vows in, then this is for you!  Did you know, a few special hotels around the world have actually designed chapels on their properties, with brides and grooms in mind!  So if you’re hosting a destination wedding and want to get married in a church or super special ceremony site, there’s a chance you never even have to leave your hotel home.  Take a look at our topic picks for epic wedding ceremony sites around the world.

First up (and pictured above and below) is the charming chapel at the Montage Palmetto Bluff Resort.  For a southern destination with plenty of southern hospitality, you’ve found it here in spades!  And this waterside chapel known as the Somerset Chapel is actually one of two on property, making this picturesque property ideal for “I do’s.”

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Next up we take you across the globe to Phuket, Thailand where this Chapel-On-The-Lagoon stands on stilts in the Laguna Phuket Resort, home to the beautiful Banyan Tree Phuket and Angsana Laguna Phuket resorts.  The non-denominational chapel can be yours when hosting your wedding with these luxury brands, and it’s just minutes from your hotel room, making getting married a breeze.  With 360-degree views of the seaside lagoon, a sunset ceremony is ideal if you want to dazzle your wedding guests!

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For a location a little closer to home, head to Mexico for your destination wedding, where you’ll find two of the most amazing chapels to choose from.  The first, in Riviera Maya’s hot spot destination, Mayakoba, you’ll find a Catholic Church in El Pueblito, the small town square of the resort property.  With four luxury resorts within the walls of Mayakoba, you’ve got plenty to choose from when you party and where you guests can stay.  And if a Catholic mass is your style, then say yes to this old-world feeling church reflective of the colonial towns of old Mexico.  And when El Pueblito isn’t hosting parties (you can even book out the town square for your cocktail hour and reception), it’s home to local art exhibitions, craft markets and cultural activities so you can get a taste of the culture where you wed.

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From Mayakoba (pictured on the left) in the region of Riviera Maya to further west in Los Cabos (pictured on the right) is celebrity favorite the One&Only Palmilla and its on-property chapel.  Say I do in Cabo and choose to wed inside the chapel for an intimate group or a larger gathering can witness the main event when you wed on its grand staircase.  Either way, your backdrop is nothing short of magical.

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Photo Left: Mayakoba, Right: Glez Photography at One&Only Palmilla

If you’re looking for a domestic destination wedding location, consider sunny San Diego where the regal Elizabeth Capella sits, with its own private entrance, at the famed Fairmont Grand Del Mar.  The pews are removable in this posh ceremony spot, so not only can this chapel be home to your vows but your wedding reception too!  Or head to the lawn or grand ballroom for a change of scenery and you’ll never have to leave the property to party the night away.

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Photo: True Photography

Last but not least, pack your bags for Banyan Tree Lang Co, a swanky spot on the southern coast of Vietnam, where you’ll find a wedding chapel to house 30 of your nearest and dearest.  With views of the mountains on one side and the East Sea on the other, the open-air concept brings the beautiful surroundings in while you say “I do.”  For a far-away destination wedding with plenty of exploring to be had (including in the nearby national parks, ancient tombs of Hue and abandoned Hindu temples of My Son), this ceremony site will surely impress – just don’t forget about all the sites to see surrounding you too!

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Hosting a destination wedding away from home doesn’t mean you have to give up the tradition you want in your ceremony and these epic resorts and their unique chapels are proof positive you can have the best of both worlds, no matter where in the world you choose to wed!

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New Caribbean Destination Wedding Location: Kimpton Seafire

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We’ve got a bit of breaking news to share with you – about a stunning new Caribbean property that’s picture-perfect for a destination wedding, posh bachelorette weekend or romantic honeymoon too!  The new Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa recently opened on the famed Seven Mile Beach of Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands and we had the chance to see it just a few weeks after the doors opened.  The property boasts four restaurants, multiple wedding venues (large and small), a stunning spa, and plenty of activities to keep your guests enjoying every minute – from jet skiing right off the shore to sleeping under the Caribbean sun or sitting by a fire pit sharing stories at night.

But what about the actual wedding itself?  If you’re looking for a jaw-dropping ceremony site with a tropical setting, I think we may have found just what you’re looking for!

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The highlight of the property for me is not only its gorgeous wedding ceremony site, but its aisle too!  That’s right, the grand entrance for brides and grooms is just that grand!  Picture walking down a curved stone path in the sun and entering the sand under a modern archway to greet your guests sitting on the beach, framed by two large tropical trees.  Then of course the clear blue Caribbean water sets the scene as the backdrop for your vows and you’ve got a ceremony site no one can soon forget!

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For your reception, just steps from the sand you’ll find intimate spaces among the Beachfront Bungalows as well as a large lawn space on the Seabridge Green, both ideal for al fresco dining with epic sunset views and some serious stargazing at night.  With spaces to suit over 500 guests, you can invite all your loved ones to celebrate in the sand and sun with you!

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Speaking of dinner, when visiting the Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa don’t forget to dine at a number of the four swanky eateries on property (and even partake in the complimentary wine hour for all hotel guests every night in the lobby!).  My personal favorite spot was the casual Coccoloba Bar & Grill where you can cozy up to the bar facing the waterfront and stay all day with a fresh cocktail in hand.

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When you retire at night you’ll find that the 266 rooms and suites are modern and chic yet inviting and even fun!  Most all have floor-to-ceiling windows and ocean views and if you’re planning to entertain during your wedding week then I highly recommend you stay in the posh oceanfront bungalow suites.  These spacious suites have gorgeous indoor and outdoor spaces with plenty of room to party among friends, and in the evening, the view sets the scene for a romantic evening for two!

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For a spectacular beach wedding with all the finer amenities, service, staff and food and drink you could want, check out the new Kimpton Seafire Resort & Spa to call home during your destination wedding weekend in the Cayman Islands.

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Incredible Destination Wedding Resort: Sea Island, Georgia

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Today I want to tell you a little bit about an amazing spot for destination weddings and even domestic honeymoons too!  I recently had the chance to stay at The Cloister at Sea Island during the Engage!16: Sea Island wedding industry summit and I was delighted to discover a sweet southern property ideal for destination weddings.  You can see all the parties they put on throughout the conference featured in our stories earlier in the week – their catering department sure knows how to give every guest a great time!

The hotel, The Cloister, is part of a larger resort, one that encompasses the small island it sits on – complete with a sister lodge property, golf, shopping and fine dinning and lots of natural wonders to explore.  Located in the south east of Georgia, on the Atlantic Ocean, the property boasts a big beautiful beach, a dock overlooking the marsh lands and epic sunsets every night.

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For couples tying the knot, there’s a beautiful ivy-clad chapel on property to host your ceremony within.  Surrounded by small pathways and old, inviting trees, this spot is idyllic to say “I do” in.  Every turn at The Cloister, indoors and out, has a romance to it that can only be found in this part of the world, and their wedding spaces have it in spades!

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We also had the rare chance to celebrate in the lobby of the hotel, this beautiful two-story space was perfect for cocktail hour, following a would-be ceremony.

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But my favorite part of the property wasn’t the actual hotel itself, though my residence suite was spectacular!  The natural surroundings of The Cloister at Sea Island were absolutely breathtaking.  The serenity around you finds its way within you as a feeling of peace falls over everyone who steps foot on the island.  Nature walks, romantic sunset strolls, and even a kids club to get the little ones in your group out into nature are some of the delightful activities you’ll experience here.  And for groups who like a little more action, there’s also biking, boating, beach and water sports at the beach club, hunting, horseback riding, and fishing too!  The outdoor activities at Sea Island are endless; your group will certainly have a great time, no matter their speed.

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Despite all the modern amenities, the hotel has a nostalgic feeling to it, one rich in tradition (past presidents have stayed here) and an air of formality that is effortless, not stuffy.  The top-notch service, superb food and beverage program, formal (and not-so formal) restaurants give you the opportunity to experience incredible luxury with any style, from pool-side drinks to black tie dinners, and of course outdoor adventure in between.

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But the hotel rooms are so delightful, you might find yourself skipping the expansive spa and fine dinning and ordering in instead!  My residence came complete with a full kitchen, fireplace-clad living room, wrap around balcony, two full bathrooms and possibly the most delightful and cozy hotel room bed I’ve ever slept in.  The rooms at The Cloister at Sea Island are so inviting, you really don’t ever want to (or need to) leave! …But when you do, you’ll find details, like these monogrammed loaves of bread, that really do dazzle you throughout your stay.  Sea Island may not be the traditional barefoot in the sand destination wedding, but we like it that way.

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Photography: Laura Dee Photography, John Cain Photography, Love Life Images, Joel Callaway Photography, Carla Ten Eyck, Paul Morse Photographs, Genevieve De Manio Photography

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