Bride Talk: Mary’s Puerto Vallarta Wedding

Mary and her fiancé Jeremy

A lot of brides shy away from destination weddings because the idea of planning their big day from afar can be intimidating. But the fact is that while there can be a lot of unknown variables, the right destination wedding package will often have the biggest details worked out for you. And even though that certainly doesn’t guarantee stress-free planning, it gives you more of an opportunity to relax and look at the event as what it really is… the Best. Vacation. Ever.

Bride-to-be Mary is in the process of planning what we know is going to be a gorgeous destination wedding in Mexico with her fiancé, Jeremy. Mary took the time to update us on how the wedding planning is going so far, below. We can’t wait to see the pics!!

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Name: Mary Squillace

Occupation: Editor at a beauty website

Wedding City: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

How long do you have to plan your wedding? 15 months

How many weeks/months until the big day? Six months

Have you had any major hurdles planning the wedding, or has anything been easier than expected?
The logistics of planning a wedding out of the country have been a little challenging. However, the great part about doing the wedding at a resort is that there aren’t many moving parts. Everything’s in one place, so we haven’t had to worry about assembling a bunch of vendors, and we have only limited options regarding food and flowers, which cuts out a lot of the hemming and hawing we probably would have done.

What’s one thing you’ve totally splurged on and why?
We’re pretty pragmatic people–well, Jeremy is, and I guess it’s rubbed off on me after all of these years–so we’ve made a point to stay within our budget. It wasn’t a huge cost, but rather than using a free wedding website, we purchased one through SquareSpace, and it was totally worth it. Guests can learn how to make travel arrangements, find answers to common questions, see our registries and RSVP all in one place. Plus, we were able to design it ourselves. I also may or may not have impulsively splurged on a sparkly pair of shoes (oops!).

What about saved on?
We sent PaperlessPost save the dates, and instead of sending a big invitation suite, we just sent a single card (through, which I’d recommend) that directed invitees to our website for more information and to RSVP. Because the ocean will serve as the backdrop for our ceremony and reception, I don’t anticipate spending a lot of money on decorations either.

What made you pick your wedding venue?
Right off the bat we knew we wanted to do a destination wedding, and we knew we wanted to do it at an all-inclusive resort. We live in California, my family is in Ohio, Jeremy’s family is in Washington, and we have lots of friends who live on the east coast, so most people would have to travel no matter where we had the wedding. In addition, turning the wedding into a vacation gives our families and friends a chance to get to know each other, while we get to spend quality time with the people we love the most.


In the past five years we’ve attended three destination weddings, so we got a recommendation for a travel agent who was able to help us narrow down the location. We knew we liked Puerto Vallarta and the weather seemed more stable than Caribbean islands and the east coast of Mexico. Once we had a city in mind, our travel agent was able to round up reputable resorts. Then we looked at their wedding packages, amenities, prices, etc to find the best one. We landed on Iberostar Punta Mita. It just opened at the end of 2013 and is secluded a bit from PV’s main hotel drag. It’s got good reviews, the grounds look gorgeous, the wedding packages suited our needs and the room rates were fair. It’s sort of nerve-wracking to book a venue sight unseen, but I am really excited about this place.

Have you taken on any DIY projects? If so, tell us about them!
We’ve had to keep the DIY to a minimum, since we have to transport everything to Mexico. Probably for the best, as I am no Martha Stewart.

What are you most nervous about or looking forward to?
I’ve been known to worry, so here are some things that have been on my mind:

-The logistics of getting everything to Mexico. I don’t know if it’s possible to mail things to Mexico, and I’m not sure how much we’re allowed to schlep in our suitcases without causing a fuss in customs, which makes transporting things like favors a little tricky. Additionally, I bought my dress in Ohio and am having it shipped to LA for fittings, and then will have to travel with it to Mexico (eek!).

-Pictures. Okay, this is a totally vain, trivial concern, but I tend to hate photos of myself, and I really want to love the pictures we take. Thankfully, I recently started working at a beauty website, so I’m trying to learn everything I can about makeup and skincare to ensure that I attain that bridal glow–or at least avoid being ambushed by a breakout.

-My biggest concern is making sure everyone has a good time. I’m sensitive to the fact that this isn’t a cheap and easy trip, and am so, so beyond touched that people are willing to travel in order to be a part of our special day. I want to do everything in my power–whether it’s simplifying travel logistics or just making sure we have a crowd-pleasing playlist for the reception–to make sure everyone has a wonderful time.

On the flip side, I am most excited about the fact that we’re essentially planning a vacation with our favorite people. It really doesn’t get better than that.

Did you create a wedding planning timeline for yourself or just tackle things as they came up?
We’ve adhered to a rough timeline because we wanted to make sure we gave people as much notice as possible. Here’s where we’re at so far…

Mary's Wedding To-Do List

Done and Done:

  • Booked venue
  • Launched wedding website
  • Registered
  • Sent save the dates
  • Sent invitations
  • Bought dress

In Progress:

  • Shopping for groom’s suit
  • Shopping for attendants’ attire
  • Shopping for bride’s headpiece and jewelry
  • Selecting food and flowers (we have limited options, so there’s not much to this)

Not Yet Started:

  • Finalize ceremony and reception playlists
  • Plan ceremony
  • Select officiant
  • Confirm DJ and photographer
  • Create seating chart
  • Purchase escort cards
  • Purchase favors and assemble welcome bags
  • Get legally married

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