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A Mini Guide to Isla de Mujeres, Mexico

If you could create the perfect romantic getaway, it would probably include a beach location, authentic cultural cuisine, and a variety of different activities. I don’t think you could ask for too much more, except maybe a really good margarita when you arrive. This little island right off the coast of Cancun has all of that and more captured by Ariana B Photography. Together with and her fiancé , they’re dishing their tips for a getaway to Isla de Mujeres.

A MINI-GUIDE TO ISLA DE MUJERES

Places to Stay | All Inclusive Mia Reef Resort – walking distance to all the restaurants, bar and night life and private. Make sure to upgrade to an ocean view condo. For honeymoon type of stay and very secluded stay try, Casa De Los Suenos on the north part of the island is a boutique lodging with great restaurant, life music and amazing pool.

Places to Shop | The great part about Mexico, especially Isla Mujeres is that there is no need to go to actual stores, during your dining break or beach time people will try to sell you all kinds of handmade nick-nack’s, the same items you will find in a store but for much cheaper price. The island also boasts a great Caribbean vibe in the downtown area, perfect for an afternoon wander through the stores.

Places to Eat | For a great live music, ocean view and send between your toes kind of dining try Bahia Tortuga Restaurant, the bar is very reasonable for any wallet. For a bit more high end and amazing hand crafted drinks I recommend, Casa De Los Suenos Restaurant,  which ocean view and music as well. Mix it up with city dining at Oscar’s Mexican Grill

Things to Do | Even tho Isla Mujeres is a tiny island, it has plenty of activities from swimming with dolphins and sharks, to under water sculpture gardens or exploring old ruins. Don’t forget, the best way to go around the island is in a golf cart!

Must Visit | Head back to the main land to see Tortuga Playa, where you can hold baby turtles, start fish, crabs, sea Urchin for only $3. During summer months you can snorkel with giant Whale Sharks which migrate to the warm waters by Isla Mujeres. Playa Norte, is the best beach on the island with amazing snorkeling opportunities. For those that love to snorkel, MUSA (Museo Subacuático de Arte) is an underwater sculpture garden by Jaime Gonzalez Cano – a one of a kind experience not to be missed.

Photographer: Arina B Photography

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Destination Wedding at Four Seasons Punta Mita

Everyone has a different aspect of their wedding with which they are particularly preoccupied. For some of us it’s the dress, the food, or the ceremony, and for some of us (raises hand) it’s the party. This is a HUGE day and I am a firm believer in an all-out celebration. Photographed by Jillian Mitchell, this Punta Mita bash is also totally gorgeous. You can see the whole pretty-packed fiesta right here in the gallery.

From the bride… Chris is super corporate America with a twist of hippie (since meeting me) and I’m totally a southern grown granola. Chris and I have always had a love hate relationship with Margaritas and Mexican food. Being from Texas, its our way of life – I don’t think there has been a week in our alomst 5 years together where we haven’t had Mexican food and Margaritas every Sunday – then come home for an afternoon siesta!

We didn’t want a big wedding at all – and we knew if we had a Houston wedding, it would have been a 500 person event. Chris and I are both SUPER laid back and easy going. We wanted our wedding to reflect our personalities and our favorite things: spending time with our friends and margaritas!

We chose Punta Mita – because we have friends who have houses there and we think its a beautiful, quaint little spot. We also didn’t want to ask our guests to fly more than 2 hours to our wedding destination. We wanted a resort that was killer, yet we wanted somewhere really fun for our guests to have a fun “vacation”. We didn’t want them to think they were traveling for a wedding. We wanted them to go on vacation – and happen to just go to a wedding during their trip!

We didn’t want to choose between our friends – so we decided we wouldn’t have a bridal/grooms party. We’ve both been in a ton of weddings and we agreed, its just too stressful and causes way too much drama. We agreed that our wedding was about two people: Chris and myself.

As far as vendors – I wanted to keep things super simple. Chris wore simple Bonobos blue pants (his favorite color) and a white linen shirt with his sleeves rolled up. I wanted him to feel comfortable, not stuffy. Shoes are always optional in our lives.. I absolutely hate wearing shoes. My dress, was Alvina Valenta purchased at Ivory Bridal Couture. I wanted a dress that was simple and reflected the beach – I didn’t want too poofy or fancy looking – because that’s not me. I didn’t wear shoes.

The food was simple: Mexican. The drinks were our favorite: Margaritas, Corona’s and Champagne with berries – we also had an open bar for our guests. We had tequila at each table – because why not? Our friends spent a ton of money coming to Mexico to party – we wanted to give them a party. I think we accomplished that!

Overall we had the best, most perfect wedding. People are STILL talking about it in Houston. It was wild, crazy, free spirited – just the way we wanted it.

Photography: Jillian Mitchell | Wedding Dress: Alvina Valenta | Ceremony Venue: Four Seasons Resort | Groom's Attire: Bonobos

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Elegant Beach Wedding in Punta Mita, Mexico

Toes in the sand, gorgeous florals covering every nook and cranny, and chandeliers hanging from the trees. If that sounds like an absolute dream come true (and it totally does for me), then this wedding designed by Sea Of Dreams Weddings and captured by Joann Arruda is going to seriously make your day. It’s image after image of pure pretty, and you can see it all here.

Colors
Seasons
Winter
Settings
Beach

From the Bride…Dave actually surprised me by popping the question on a freezing beach (I didn’t want to get out of the car!) in Martha’s Vineyard where we spend as much time as we can in our little home with our big dog.  Dave and I have been together for almost five years and as much as we both loved the Vineyard we both wanted 3 things, to get married on the beach, a small intimate wedding and a place to visit on our 5 year anniversary.  I 35 and Dave 45, have been to a lot of weddings and really wanted our wedding to be an experience shared and not rushed, a time where we remembered conversations, laugh’s and experiences outside of just the ceremony and reception, therefore we choose a long weekend extravaganza, with the actual wedding on December 7th in Punta Mita Mexico.  It was a difficult decision, as we knew many friends and family would not be able to make the trip but we also knew that they loved and supported us from whatever vantage point they were on that day and for our life together.

I never grew up wanting a big fancy dress and a big fancy wedding.  I actually never fanaticized about my wedding at all.  So when I was faced with the absolute fact we would have to come up some ideas it was a bit daunting, all the wedding magazines and websites!  Finally  I came across a picture of a chandelier hanging from a tree…and I fell in love.  I always wanted a big tree in my wedding since I had visited Jamaica’s Montego Bay’s Almond Tree beach bar back in college (with my BF/ now one and only bridesmaid) it always stuck with me, how cool a tree on the beach!  Dave loved the idea of The Tree of Life and I think this idea spoke to him also, which was great.  We didn’t want a formal wedding, but elements of shabby chic mixed with a crazy idea (Chandeliers hanging from tree’s) that just made it relaxed yet classy and comfortable (shoe’s off everyone!)

When you have a destination wedding you figure out pretty quickly that you can’t ship everything you want, and you can’t have everything you want so the crazy theme before stated, was somehow translated to our BRILLIANT wedding planner Yazmin via Pinterest.  On our site visit she had the most amazing chandeliers, we showed her pictures of flowers we loved and we wanted to incorporate succulents for greenery into the mix. We like different sized, colored antique looking glass vases, the simplicity of small details we craved such as luggage tags as place settings, first dance to sparklers, floating sky lanterns as a tribute to the wonderful grandmothers we both had and just basically how we wanted our wedding to be memorable to everyone in a different way, something that touched them and they would keep with them.  Our color was different shades of purples, pinks and creams however we didn’t really focus on that too much, ha Dave even forgot the Men’s ties…so luckily I had packed 4 of his purple ties and it all worked out just dandy.

We didn’t taste the cake before or see the actual flowers, we didn’t touch the linens or even give the DJ a real specified list of songs but somehow not one thing was done less than if I had done all of those things myself.  Now you might think, oh she’s the kind of bride who would go along with anything and be happy, not so my friend, not so.  I can tell you that I sent thousands of emails, had spreadsheets that almost divorced me before I was married and had ‘a few’ pages on pintrest so I was definitely into communicating what we wanted for our special day.

Oh and also, the days leading up to our wedding were magical spending time with family from Ireland and friends we hadn’t seen in years!  My ‘Husbands’ family had a bright and fun Mexican themed beach party for our welcome dinner the Friday night before for all our guest including a 12 piece Mariachi band that were out of this world and incredibly memorable.  We had a pool party on the Thursday afternoon to get the party started and show our appreciation for all of those who had traveled many many miles to be with us on our special day.
Our wedding and days leading up to it was a perfect celebration of who we are separately and who we are together. I wouldn’t change a thing (even the cigar roller who Dave snuck in the night before….sneaky cat.)

Photography: Joann Arruda Photography | Floral Design: Francisco Salazar | DJ: Edwin Uribe | Acoustic Musical Trio: Trio Acapulco | Hair + Make-Up: Funky Diva Hair-Rebecca D'Este | Lights & Dance Floor: Curiel Productiones | Mariachi: Real De America | Rehearsal Dinner: Four Seasons Punta De Mita | Wedding Ceremony + Reception: St Regis Punta Mita | Wedding Design + Planning: Sea Of Dreams Weddings