Tag Archives: Destination Weddings

Review of the brand new Riu Palace Bavaro, Punta Cana

We just received an email from our local Apple Vacations’ rep who experienced the new Riu Palace Bavaro in Punta Cana.  It’s a great review of the new property from someone who has seen just about every all-inclusive there is in the Caribbean and Mexico.  We thought it would be nice to share here and have been given the a-ok to do a bit of c&p.

 And on to the review:

Just returned from the Grand Opening of the NewRiu Palace Bavaro in Punta Cana and WOW !!! This is like no other Riu property to date it’s modern, chic and very fun.

The property opened on December 2 and it opened completed. There is still some planting and some other landscaping being completed, not all of the equipment is installed in the gym, but all minor. Riu removed most of the palm trees replanted them somewhere else and moved them back, so you have a lot of mature landscaping done though out the property and on the beach.

As soon as you enter the lobby (complimentary wi-fi in the lobby) you see the difference in this hotel, the lobby is done in gold, yellow’s and a raspberry color that you see though out the property. Off the lobby you have your conference rooms, lobby bar and Capuchino (with the best ice cream ever). Just outside of the lobby area is the 24 hour sports bar with internet service. Within the U you also have 4 restaurants and the main buffet, reservations still need to be made for the a la carte restaurants, but I have to say the food was wonderful and probably the best buffet with lots of different variety, something for everyone’s taste. Across from the buffet is there outdoor bar and entertainment area, which is beautiful again done in the dark raspberry, purple and black granite. Entertainment was excellent with music before and after the shows.

Main pool, the property was full, but never had to fight or get up at 7:00 AM is reserve space at the pool, lots of shaded areas, zero degree entry at one end, swim up pool bar and wait service. Beach restaurant (becomes Steak House in the evening) conveniently located next to the main pool, lots of variety for lunch.

The rooms are where Riu also went modern, beautiful black granite in the bathroom with raspberry color glass block, mirrors framed in light raspberry color and purple accents in the room. Open room concept with hydromassage tub in room (standard Jr suite), there is a curtain that can be pulled for privacy, sitting area, mini bar, plasma screen TV’s etc.

VIP villa area is also new on this property, the buildings in the VIP area are closest to the beach and are bungalow style surrounding a private pool area. The back buildings are 3 story and going to 2 stories beachfront, something to note there are no elevators in these buildings and they are the furthest from the restaurants and lobby area, but closets to the beach. The private pool area has there own bar with pool service and no towel cards needed, has complimentary wi-fi service in the rooms and around the pool area and jacuzzi on the balcony or terrace. I thought the one thing missing from this area was some type of food service during the day. As we all know there are very few hotels in Punta Cana that has beach front rooms and this is one of them. There are only 16 beach front rooms and so very limited, but you truly have nothing but the beach and the ocean as your view.

Overall, Loved the property, but most of all the staff was outstanding. We all know that staff is going through a training period, but everyone was wonderful and went above and beyond. Also this property is selling like crazy, so if you have clients that are looking to book it, BOOK it now.

Looks like Riu has created another winner.



“I Do” – Destination Weddings Jamaica

JamaicaMon!   A Caribbean Island that is lush, tropical mountainous, and the only jerk you’ll find there is on the chicken.   

Jamaica has a long history of being a perfect Island for a Destination Wedding with many flight options, gorgeous resort areas, good infrastructure and now new roads to make the ride from the airport a much more enjoyable trip.    With numerous resort options and many offering a “free” wedding . Jamaica can be a perfect choice for many couples.    

Of all the resort destinations to choose inJamaica, our clients generally pick one of the 3 listed below as they seem to offer a great range of accommodations, activities and make travel easy for the bride and groom and their guests.



Montego Bay (MOBAY) is home to Sangster International airport, has numerous shops, restaurants and makes a perfect spot for those looking to have less travel time from the airport to the resort.  Perfect if you’re looking for a shorter stay.

 Negril (Jamaica’s Capital of Casual) is a beach lover’s paradise with over 7 miles of sandy white beaches, beautiful blue Caribbean waters and sunsets that rival those seen anywhere.  

 Ocho Rios is a popular cruise port, offers numerous activities for those guests who are looking to do things off property and is home to the incredible Dunn’s RiverFalls.  A more hustle and bustle atmosphere than you find in the laid back Negril – but this isJamaica so don’t expect too much hustle!

 “Making it legal” in Jamaicais fairly simple:

 Wedding Requirements

The information below is a general list of requirements to perform a legal wedding ceremony in Jamaica. Please check with the Jamaica tourism department or wedding coordinator at your resort for additional information on legal requirements and fees for weddings in Jamaica. All information below is subject to change without notice.

 Necessary documentation: The bride/groom must bring original copies of the following documents:

  • Official birth certificate
  • A valid, non-expired passport
  • Written authorization from the parents/ guardians if the bride or groom is under 18 years of age

 TIP: Make two photocopies of each of the documents above and pack in a separate suitcase such as your checked baggage. Make sure to bring any original documents within your carry-on luggage. 

Waiting period: The bride/groom must be in the destination for at least 24 hours prior to the wedding and must apply for a marriage license at least 48 hours prior to the wedding. All wedding documents must be sent to the resort performing the wedding ceremony at least 10 business days prior to the wedding date.

 Divorced/Widowed Travelers: Divorced or widowed parties must provide official copies of the divorce decree or a certified death certificate.

  With all the resort options, and areas inJamaica, working with a knowledgeable Destination wedding specialist can certainly help you sort out what would be the best option for you.

Are you ready to say “Ya Mon” in Jamaica?

“I Do” – Destination Weddings – Mexico

Mexico is a fantastic option for those looking for a destination that will appeal to many of their guests’ imaginations and budgets.  

Love in Mexico

One of the most popular destinations for our wedding groups is the Riviera Maya Mexico – a lush tropical paradise just south of Cancun.    It is perfect for many reasons with just a few being: 

  • ·        Easy to get to with numerous flight options from most gateways
  • ·        Excellent infrastructure with a modern international airport, good roads and transportation to get people to resorts
  • ·        Numerous resort options to fit any budget and lifestyle
  • ·        Wide range of off property activities

Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific Side of Mexico offers the Sierra Madre Mountains as your back drop, beautiful wide, long golden sand beaches and also numerous  excellent resort accommodations.


Los Cabos, where theSea ofCortez meets the pacific is another lovely Destination Wedding spot. Not as popular from the our area as it can be a bit difficult to coordinate flight schedules, but we have managed to do so successfully for a number of  wedding couples.

Los Cabos

 Getting married inMexicocan be a bit cumbersome, but that is where working with a professional Destination Planner comes in as they will help sort through all the details.  

 “Making it legal in Mexico“:   The information below is a general list of requirements to perform a legal wedding ceremony inMexico. Depending on the area ofMexico or even resort you are having your wedding ceremony at, legal requirements may vary. Please check with theMexicotourism department or wedding coordinator at your resort for additional information on legal requirements and fees for weddings inMexico. All information below is subject to change without notice.

Ceremony Requirements: For a wedding ceremony to be considered legal and binding inMexico, the bride/groom must have a civil ceremony with a Justice of the Peace.

Necessary documentation –The bride/groom must bring original copies of the following documents:

  • Official Birth Certificate
  • A valid, non-expired passport
  • Tourist card (this should be given to you at the airport upon arrival)
  • TIP: Make two photocopies of each of the documents above and pack in a separate suitcase such as your checked baggage. Or take a picture of them on your smartphone or digital camera.  Make sure to bring any original documents within your carry-on luggage.

Blood test: A blood test will need to be performed in the destination with test results of syphilis, HIV, and Rh factor (blood type).  May be done right at the resort where you are having your wedding.

Waiting period: It is recommended that the bride/groom arrive at least 5 days prior to the wedding date to ensure translation of any necessary documents.

Witnesses: You must have two witnesses over the age 18

Divorced/Widowed Travelers:   For divorced or widowed parties, you must provide official copies of the divorce decree or a certified death certificate that verifies it has been at least 12 months since the official divorce from or death of the previous spouse.  A negative pregnancy test verified by the Mexican Consulate if the bride was divorced within the last year.

 Are you ready to say “Si, Quiero” in Mexico?

“I do” – Destination Wedding : Is it right for you?

Destination Weddings are all the rage these days and should provide you with a stress free wedding planning experience. .  You’ll want to make sure you are working with someone who understands not only the travel business, the destination wedding business but understands and listens to you, and what you want. 

Some of the most popular locations for our clients are Mexico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.  In the next series of posts we will provide information on requirements for each, as well as offer some resort advice. 

Beach Wedding






First off though, is a Destination Wedding right for you?  

 Do you want to commit to be with the love of your life for the rest of your days, and if the only people who decide to be at the wedding are the 2 of you, is this ok?  It is wistful thinking that everyone in your family and immediate circle of friends will jump with joy at the chance to pay out of pocket to attend your extravaganza; you may be a bit disappointed that the actual attendance is less than you had anticipated.   Then again, who doesn’t like a vacation and being with loved ones?

 Do you like the idea of having a complete package for budgeting?  Everything can be handled right onsite at the resort/cruise of your choosing.  Its fun, it’s easy and it’s convenient.  Many details are actually decided once you arrive at the hotel and meet with the wedding coordinator face to face.  Will this cause you undue panic? 

 Do you want to combine your dream wedding with your dream honeymoon and create a “wedding moon”?  Remember, you will be honeymooning with family and friends.

 Having a Destination Wedding can be  wonderful way to begin a new phase of your life, celebrate in a more intimate way with family and friends and can be the absolute best choice for many.  Just make  sure it’s the best choice for you.