Pro Tips from a Destination Wedding Planner

Here are pro tips from a destination wedding planner, Maria Tripaldi, based in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. I sat down with this ultimate wedding coordinator with over 20 years of experience and over 500+ weddings to get her insight and learn a little more about her 😀

pro tips from a destination wedding planner, maria tripaldi headshot with colorful piñata

Destination Wedding Planner vs All Inclusive Hotels

How is working with an outside wedding coordinator different than the ones at the all-inclusive resorts?

Resorts sell rooms, not weddings. Their priority is to fill the hotel, not necessarily to have your vows at heart.

If you book a wedding at an all-inclusive resort, the planner is part of the package. That is not to say that they don’t have experience, but there is less room for customizing it to your needs and vision.

Resorts are amazing for some people, but we thrive with off resort weddings, as our clients look for more personal service. With an off-resort wedding, it is built from scratch and can truly reflect who you are as a couple.

If you want to use our services and still get married in an all-inclusive resort, that is an option.

Related: The Complete Guide to Destination Weddings

The couple is the BOSS

What is the most important thing to you when working with your couples?

It is very important to connect and understand what the clients want. Gone are the days with a JLo-like planner that directs the show.

The real boss is the couple and they call in all the shots. That power is very important because a wedding is a milestone in our lives and will generate some stress, so knowing that you are in charge and that your wedding coordinator’s goal is to make sure what you want happens, alleviates some of that pressure.

wedding couple in white with wedding planner
courtesy of Photo Studio AB

What to look for in a destination wedding planner…

What would you advise couples to consider when hiring a destination wedding planner?

Find the one that you can talk to. Many planners spend a lot of time talking and do not listen.

I love to hear all that my clients want and then ask questions. It is basic, but too many forget that our job is to invite the clients to create their own dream. Listening invites them to open up and become enthusiastic.

wedding planner cradling bride's face with affection

Top 3 PRO tips

What are the top 3 tips you have for couples planning a destination wedding?

  1. PINTEREST Use Pinterest and your life will be easier. By organizing your inspiration and ideas in one place, it is easier to then narrow down options and organize what colors or themes are the ones for you.
  2. WEDDING WEBSITE A wedding website is a great tool. You can put all the travel information, hotel information, and wedding information in one place. It avoids the guests contacting you to check every little detail and stressing you out with questions that can be easily answered.
  3. RELAX Put more energy into the relationship than into the wedding and you are set. The wedding is 1 day but your relationship is FOR LIFE!
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Fave Hotels or Wedding Venues

Do you have a favorite venue or hotel (s) and why?

I love the Blue Venado wedding venue and the Sandos hotels. There are a lot of great hotels in Cancun and Tulum as well.

If you are planning on choosing accommodation options for your guests, get help. The wedding is the main event, but where they stay and how satisfied they are with their accommodation will play a big part in their wedding experience.

Related: How to choose a destination wedding travel agent

More about Maria Tripaldi, pro destination wedding planner

How long have you been a wedding planner?

I started in 2001 almost 20 years ago, Playa was a way smaller place then. We wanted to get out of the restaurant biz for different reasons and with a friend started planning weddings.

The first one was a discovery, we were good! Since then, we have planned over 500 weddings and we still love what we do.

Things change, but the joy of having family and friends on a tropical beach to celebrate your love in joy (and tequila) is priceless….

How long have you been in the Playa del Carmen area and how did you end up here?

I have lived in Playa since 1996. I was on a tour around the world and Mexico was my last country, having started in Thailand. I was supposed to go back to Venice, where I am from, but I chose to stretch my stay.

Long story short, I am still enjoying the beauty of this amazing, crazy country. Mexico has a vibrant heart and you will feel it. All my clients have come back or dream of.

Want more information about planning a destination wedding in the Riviera Maya?

Get in touch


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