Nicole & Lee
Together with eleven of their closest family and fiends Nicole and Lee travelled from the UK to Mexico to celebrate their Wedding at the Sandos Caracol Eco Resort. Located on the white sands of Playa del Carmen in the heart of the Riviera Maya, the all-inclusive beach resort is built around a natural ecosystem with nature on its doorstep. With three wedding packages to choose from, Sandos provides easy destination wedding planning solutions together with the most stunning backdrop for your wedding day.
As a lovely member of our Weddings Abroad Guide Community Facebook Group, we are so excited to share Nicole and Lee’s wedding with you. Their story is full of the most helpful information and advice for planning a Riviera Maya Wedding and we are just a little bit in love with the couples “trash the dress” images by Studio By The Ferry!
Don’t worry about making all your guests happy all of the time. We were trying to do everything to please our guests for the whole holiday. It was really hard work!
From: United Kingdom
Nearest Airport: Cancun
Number of Guests: 11
Why a Wedding Abroad…
I’m not someone who likes being the centre of attention so wanted a small wedding. We also wanted it to be less expensive than a traditional wedding at home and I’ve always wanted to get married on a beach.
Why a Riviera Maya Wedding…
I’ve been to Mexico before and loved it. We also wanted an intimate wedding and a long-haul destination, so a Riviera Maya wedding was the perfect solution.
Wedding Day Vision…
Warm, relaxed, clear blue sea and a white sandy beach.
We used Thomas Cook and from my experience I would not recommend planning your wedding abroad with them.
The wedding co-ordinator at Sandos was amazing when she contacted me, if I was to do it all again I would have skipped using Thomas Cook entirely and booked everything myself or used an independent wedding planner.
My experiences with Thomas Cook caused a great deal of stress prior to our wedding. Four months before we were due to fly Thomas Cook sent me details of room renovation works at the hotel and said it would disrupt our holiday and and gave us the option to move hotel, but informed us it would be unlikely that anywhere would have the date free for us to get married (extreme stress caused).
Thomas Cook also did not inform us of pool maintenance that affected us. I received an email 10 minutes prior to our flight telling us of a new hotel tax (luckily I already knew about this for about 6 weeks prior due to the facebook page for brides at Sandos Caracol). Whenever I asked Thomas Cook a question about the resort even if it wasn’t wedding related they would have to contact the resort and sometimes I wouldn’t get an answer for 6 weeks.
Advantages of a Wedding Abroad…
Warm weather, beautiful location, holiday included, less expensive than a wedding in the UK, different wedding photos to a UK wedding.
One of the biggest challenges of planning our Riviera Maya wedding was only being able to actually organise everything three months before with the resort wedding planner. It’s a bit nerve racking but everything came together perfectly.
The other difficulty was people booking then cancelling at the last minute.
You need to put your foot down early on with friends and family, you may get snide remarks about going abroad but remember you are doing this for you and your partner. It’s what you want, the day is about you! Invite who you want, have the dress you want (although I wish I went for a thinner/smaller dress) and don’t let anyone get you down. The wedding planners in Mexico are very good and very organised so if you are having a Riviera Maya wedding everything will be ok!
Time at our Location…
We arrived 10 days before our wedding day and stayed for 4 days after.
We had a legal ceremony with a sand ceremony included. It took place in the gazebo on the beach – a beautiful gazebo unlike any that I’ve seen in beach wedding photos. It was also shaded so provided a cooler spot for our guests.
Our ceremony started at 4:00pm, it was 29 degrees with 85% humidity and no breeze. We were hot! My bridesmaid walked down the aisle with our son who was page boy and then me and my dad followed. We walked down to a recording of our friends singing unforgettable by Nat King Cole (they couldn’t make it to Mexico).
The ceremony lasted 30 minutes, the sand ceremony was a beautiful addition. Our officiant said it was about uniting the family as Lee, Callum (our son) and I poured 3 different colours of sand in a vase. We now have the vase on our bookshelf.
Our four witnesses signed the paper work followed by Lee and I, we also had to stamp our fingerprints on it. Following the ceremony we had a cocktail hour on the beach, with signature cocktails that matched our colour theme. During this time we also had photos on the beach.
Our reception was on the rooftop overlooking the sea. It had a fountain in the middle and our table was set up at the end with the dance floor near the bar.
The reception was included in our package for 3 hours, we could have extended if we wanted to but this would have been more expensive. I would definitely recommend it to other couples thinking of a Riviera Maya wedding, it was amazing!
On the Wedding Day…
We all went for breakfast together.
10:00am – I went into my parents room with all the ladies to have our hair and make up done by the spa. The guys were in my room having some drinks and relaxing.
1:00pm – Photographer arrived to take some getting ready shots.
1:30pm – Hair and make up finished.
Champagne, chill out and lots of photos.
3.15pm – Lee and the guests were picked up to go for a drink prior to the ceremony.
3.45pm – Lee and the guests arrived at the ceremony gazebo.
3.45pm – We were picked up and taken as close to the location as we could get and then walked the remainder of the way (took like 3 mins).
The wedding co-ordinator was waiting for us and explained what we needed to do.
Our song came on and it was time to walk down the aisle.
30 minutes later everything had been signed and sealed and we walked out of the gazebo.
1 hr cocktail hour on the beach while photos were being taken.
5.45pm – Up to the rooftop to have our three course meal plus three tier wedding cake.
8.45pm – It was all done and I was happy to get into an air conditioned room!
We did a trash the dress shoot the next day, I’d highly recommend this to anyone.
My Wedding Attire…
I had quite a big dress on with a hoop underneath (I was so hot) plus wedge heels, I thought these would be ok to walk in the sand – I was wrong! I had a cream, hot pink and turquoise teardrop bouquet.
Lee had a white shirt with ivory waistcoat & cravat with beige linen trousers and brown brogues. He also had a turquoise rose buttonhole.
Our Bridal Party…
In total we had 6 bridesmaids, 2 best men, 2 page boys and 2 flower girls. However due to people not being able to make it, on the wedding day we had one bridesmaid (she flew in from Australia where she is living for a year) and one page boy. The rest were all in their dresses for our UK party.
How we we transported our Wedding Attire…
I bought a dress box when I bought my dress. Lee’s attire went in a carry on case. Thomas Cook gave us an extra 5kg of hand luggage each for wedding attire.
My Favourite Part…
To be honest it was all amazing but it didn’t feel real, it was like a dream! Lee’s favourite part was the anticipation of waiting for me to walk down the aisle and then seeing how beautiful I looked. My favourite part was seeing the look on his face as I came into view. The scenery and how everything was set up. How perfect everything went thanks to the wedding co-ordinator.
We had some friends and family round for pre-wedding drinks a couple of weeks before we flew. We also had a party a couple of weeks after returning with 130 guests.
If I was to do it again I would use an independent TA or book it myself. Choose a date for you, we booked so our 2nd week was in school holidays as we had friends who are teacher that were coming and families with children. In the end the only child there was our two year old and none of our teacher friends came. We would have booked it a few weeks earlier if we had known and saved money.
A very big thank you to Nicole for sharing her wedding story and beautiful images with us, we wish you both a lifetime of happiness. If you would like to ask Nicole any questions, you can contact her through the Weddings Abroad Guide Community Facebook Group.
The Perfect Partners
Wedding Planner: Kiani Pittus // Wedding Photographer & Videography: Studio By The Ferry // Ceremony & Reception Venue: Sandos Caracol Eco Resort // Brides Dress: Rosalie from Wed2Be // Shoes: Lace & Pearl Accessories – Rainbow Shoes // Bridesmaids Dresses: Crystal_Dresses Ebay // Grooms Attire: Moss Bros Online, Shirt was from Debenhams // Hair & Make-Up: Perla & Fabriolla from the Resort Spa // Music: Resort DJ // Flowers: Lilies and Roses – part of the wedding package // Maracas: A perfect gift personalised and delivered our maracas, all decorations were from ebay // Stationery: Designed by me // UK Reception Lunch: The Lincoln Hotel