Privacy Above All
Most large hotel chains offer Mexico wedding packages that are affordable, logistically practical and simple to plan. That is true. All the guests are conveniently located in the same place and you can trust the hotel with all your bookings, after all, they are hosting your guests; Usually they give you many perks and in some cases they even say the wedding is “free” since you booked so many rooms of course. So, why do these brides go the extra mile and take a chance and go find a private venue away from the resort? They seek intimacy, crave originality and wanna party like rock stars!
On this incredibly special day, brides would give anything to protect the privacy and intimacy of the wedding. They do not want to have their wedding video ruined by some classic hotel scene as described by this bride in her review in a popular wedding site, “The best part is we did not have uninvited guests or onlookers looming about. Our wedding was our own private event!” Brides want privacy and no interference.
Of course there are many hotels that have a very secluded area reserved for weddings so, if you have that, then it is a great idea to book it now! Otherwise, the typical hotel wedding in an All-inclusive is mostly a courtesy section cordoned off for the wedding party but it is not necessarily separated from the other guests per se. So please verify this for your wedding and make sure you do not have a second wedding going on at the same time and you have competing music and vows. That is the only other thing that bride’s hate more than a drunk womanizing wedding crasher!
Private venues allow for your own decorations
When a service provider hosts one or two weddings per day in a hotel setting, even the staff’s enthusiasm and originality may get a bit stale with the routine. No bride likes to feel as if their wedding is just “the next one”, they want original designs and personalized themes and service for their wedding. Although a large hotel chain provides packages that may be cheaper as a whole, it also causes weddings to become a systematic product. As stated here by an experienced travel agent on TripAdvisor, “‘Package’ resorts will have their own vendors and suppliers and these plans are easy and what some couples prefer. These events tend to be a bit ‘cookie-cutter,’ and they are likely to be several ceremonies one after the other”.
When compared to a boutique wedding venue or small private hotel wedding this becomes a major advantage for the small hotel or private venue. Brides want all attention on their wedding and their guests, and not only that day, but every day during their visit. This advantage can only be achieved by having a dedicated staff and planner to one or two events per week. In most boutique villas or venues, this is the case.
Of course there are hotel chains that are much more personalized in attention but they are also much more expensive than the average destination wedding package. For the purpose of this comparison in this post we are discussing only the 4 to 5 star typical All-inclusive packages as seen in most ads in Magazines. In which case usually they include the reception if you book 10 plus rooms and you are assigned the staff planner and the daily used wedding package decorations. Once the couple realizes they want more originality and freedom to decorate than the pre-planned package entails they seek a venue away from hotel property that gives them just that: Freedom to create and be original.
Restrictions on partying
Some Brides who can forgive not having privacy and some even may reluctantly accept a cookie-cutter wedding, most of the couples, however, are not so forgiving when it comes to giving up their rights to party! This is a major deciding factor for couples who like to have a good time and do not appreciate being cut off at 10PM and having to party under so many rules It is usually the case that brides want simple and easy planning, however, they also do not want to sacrifice their personality and originality and most importantly their freedom to stay up late with their friends; And really party like it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Which it is. Keep in mind, most small private venues are independent and family operated. Usually a family member will be involved in your planning or a family friend who is a manager as well. So the typical, “I just work here”does not happen often. If you need help you most likely have the person in charge on property at all times. In a private venue you can have much more flexibility when it comes to hours of services, music you can play or even have live bands, unlimited open bar and many more fun options. It’s your call! In the immortal words of the Beastie Boys: “You have the right To Party!”
Now, is there no limit to the hours or services available in a private venue? Yes. Every venue has rules and conditions. The rules however are much less restrictive and very easy to bend in a privately owned venue. Assuming you have enough budget and the desire to break them. Since you are dealing with an owner, owners usually like to rent their property, so as long as it is a reasonable request and the price is right I can promise you a compromise can be made. In a hotel chain, rules are rules.
BONUS!! A tremendous bonus and selling point for a destination wedding is the fact that you get a nation and a wedding for the price of one. However, when choosing one resort this may limit not only the party but also the guests ability to afford your wedding. Many guests decline RSVP because of the hotel costs. So another perk of a private wedding is that guests can choose where to stay and what they want to pay for lodging. As a happy Off-Resort bride named Idania said in a popular wedding site: “We were looking for a hotel as a wedding venue, but seriously, its just too complicated, they have loads of restrictions. We stayed in a hotel around the area. And our friends chose the best option for them, some stayed in Nuevo Vallarta and some in Puerto Vallarta“. This actually makes a very good point: Your guests will not be forced to stay in a hotel in order to fulfill requirements. Therefore they can stay anywhere they like and where they can afford it comfortably.
In a many hotel wedding packages are ready made and are very practical, but all or definitely most of these restrictions apply to the package deals:
- Limited hours of service with curfew of 10PM
- Hefty extra fees apply for anything outside the package
- Must rent 10 rooms minimum (Did you know you can get group rates without having to have your wedding on property anyway?)
- No outside vendors allowed
- Use their decorations and furniture which makes for a cookie cutter experience
- Must use their photographer/entertainment package
- Will eat the same food as other guests that is included (All-Inclusives)
- Buffet service
- Cannot have live music
What are the disadvantages of a non-resort wedding venue? Well, perhaps the extra time needed to research for planning and the risk of not having a brand name as reference. Although we all know of many times brand names have let us down. Also I think maybe in some cases the price point is a factor, but this really depends on the hotel. In many cases the off-resort wedding is less expensive. And regarding the ease of planning, we have had great success planning our weddings because we do it all personally. So it is like having a bed and breakfast service style versus a large chain experience: They both serve food and have lodging. However, in one scenario you leave with hugs and kisses, and the other you slip out the fire exit unnoticed to the parking lot.
For instance, in hotels for example usually the staff turns over once before your wedding day since you are booking a year out or in some cases 2 years out. So that is just one example of how a large corporation may be convenient and give you a brand name to hedge your bets but also, you lose personal touch with high turnover and having to start over with the “new staff” as it happens in many cases. Can it happen in small venues or boutique hotels? Of course. Is it much less likely? Absolutely.
So I hope this post helps you understand why couples decide to go off-resort for their destination wedding. Some like to be original. Some like to party. Others want privacy. Some also just want to see something else besides the resort they have been in for days. They want to explore and see new beaches and new areas and taste non-buffet food. Like shrimp on a stick with chile and lime for tapas as seen here below. It just depends on you. So if you feel like these brides who are more adventurous and want to explore; you are not alone. There is another way! Go Off-resort!
Do not let the risk or the unknown stop you because you have made it this far. Most do not even think about a destination wedding. Like you today, many have taken the chance and have been well rewarded with a lifetime of memories that were not possible otherwise. Imagine seeing your entire family and your new family all in one place having margaritas and the single guys chasing señoritas. Your wedding will be the topic of every Christmas dinner for years. It is worth the extra time and effort or at least find out more!