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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkVallarta Living | Puerto Vallarta Weddings 

Does Size REALLY Matter?
Destination wedding specialist Zac Campbell tells you everything you need to know about planning your wedding or commitment ceremony in Puerto Vallarta. Let him help you plan an Eventful Moment that is unforgettable!

Zac Campbell of
Eventful Moments Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico
PV Tel: 52 322 293-5725
US Tel: 206 219-0638
Contact Us!
So he popped the question! Now what?

You are both bursting at the seams with excitement over your engagement. And you have every right to be. This is going to be one of the most, if not THE most, important days of your life. And, you want everyone to share in the love and joy and festivities.

If you happen to have deep pockets, or as the new touchy-feely term goes, "are willing to make a larger investment" [a.k.a. spend some serious bling], and you surround yourself with people who are in the same boat, by all means, the sky is the limit. Charter planes, rent compounds of Villas, and keep the Vueve and Dom flowing. Create a level of a celebration that you have never experienced before. Go for it! We love it! And you will too!

However, if you are like the majority of folks who have champagne taste on a beer bottle budget, you have to make choices. There are a number of considerations to any guest list, and a destination wedding adds a few more. Here is one way to start creating your list.

1. Each of you, independently start with a blank piece of paper (or computer screen - which ever tickles your fancy).

2. Begin with your family and write down everyone that comes to mind that you want in attendance. Remember this is a private list that you are going to narrow down. After doing the first run through, go back and check the list again. Invariably, you forgot someone like Mom or Dad. This is totally normal, and doesn't mean that you don't love them. (Just don't tell them you spaced!)

3. After completing the family list, it is time to start with the friends. This can be the hardest part of all. There are always considerations, including the possibility of parental invitees. At this point, put those considerations aside and just start writing. An exercise in free flowing consciousness, if you will. Later on we will eliminate the riff-raff and get the advise from the parental units.

4. You're done! Congratulations. Draft 1 is complete. Now, the two of you can sit down together and be awed by the guest lists that you have created. If you are like most people, you have everyone from Aunty Ethel to the nice lady you talked to while waiting in line at Star Bucks about the new rock on your hand. It's time for the red marker.

5. Now you need to start considering the realities. There are a number of considerations, but two important ones that will give you a good place to start. Independently go through your list and cross out the folks that fall into the "what was I thinking?" category. Do this while asking yourself, "Would I call ______ (fill in name here) and ask them to go out to a dinner and when the $200 bill comes, pick it up?" Suddenly the lady at Star Bucks has lost her appeal. Now while the $200 dollars is an abstract number do keep in mind that weddings are costly no matter how you look at it. For the sake of the list use the $200 dollar figure and see what your reaction is.

6. Now that you have both completed this level of cuts, it is time to start seriously considering the list.

7. At this point I think it best to compile the two lists, this will automatically reduce the number of invitees as there is generally cross over.

8. Using a red pen, or other obvious color, go through your combined list together and next to each name label them with one of three letters, A, B, C. The "A's" come hell or high water (including paying for them to be there yourself,) down to the "C's", people who you'd like to see there but it won't kill you if they don't show up. Do also consider that this is a destination wedding. Someone who might be an "A" may also be a person who is horrified of flying and won't come, so they should get a "C" rating. Also consider people who have time restrictions, like teachers. Or money restrictions. While the decision is up to them, it can make a difference in the possibility of their attendance. Remember this list will be destroyed later on. The worst thing is for someone who considers himself or herself an "A" list person is in fact a "C". Especially given that the "C" rating has many factors added in. And, yes, I personally learned this the hard way.

9. Now tally up each category and you can quickly get a glimpse of where your numbers are going to be.

10. If you are like many of our clients, your list totals will come to between 80-100 people. Out of that number, attendance usually falls to 60-70 guests that will actually be able to make it to the your wedding in Mexico. Unfortunately, there is no true formula as to the number of guests who come vs the number of guests invited. You really must look at the demographic of the group to determine if you think they will come or not.

Now that you have spent hours mulling and culling this list, it's now time for the two of you to have a discussion. What is the tone of your wedding? Do you want a blow-out bash and celebrate with everyone on your list? Or do you want to create a smaller, more intimate event that focuses on quality rather than quantity? Or do you want both? Can you afford both? Is both what you want? Talk about it. Talk about what aspects are important to you. Are you going to focus on the Food and Beverage or would you rather go more simple and have an over-the-top venue? Is having a live band a key? Or do you want a super star DJ to come in? Are you happy hooking up your iPod to a speaker system? Talk about these things. Talk about what you both want your day to be like. This is not a conversation that will lead to any immediate conclusions, but it will help you both to define what the day is to be like. It takes weeks of discussions, thoughts and getting quotes to see what your final decision will be.

This season alone, EM Vallarta will have completed 52 destination weddings, ranging in size from 5 people to 200. Money aside, we have found that events that are under 60-80 people tend to be the most intimate, unique, memorable and quite frankly, the most fun for the bride and groom and their guests. You have time to see everyone. You have time to thank each and ever person for coming to share this special day with you. Everyone in attendance speaks to your heart. The memories are solid. The "investment" is truly that. Imagine yourselves standing in front of all these people thanking them and honoring them for sharing this day with you. This is what a wedding is about. This is what a destination wedding produces. Memories that will last a lifetime.

Next article: "Budgeting... Right from the get go!"

Zac Campbell is the owner of Eventful Moments Vallarta, a full service event planning and gourmet catering company specializing in destination weddings and commitment ceremonies in Puerto Vallarta Mexico. For more information, visit the EMV website at

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