Monday, October 10, 2011

Brides vs Budget: How to Win the Battle

In Martoca Beach Garden we pride ourselves in helping brides organize the wedding so it goes exactly as planned. We make sure they know exactly what they are going to get; even if sometimes it falls short of what they expected. It is better to be clear and precise with our brides so they know exactly what they can afford and not to lead them on to false expectations. In cases when they fall short of their expectations it is the lack of an appropiate budget that usually hinders these bride´s plans.
We suggest that before you contact a wedding professional you sit down and discuss your budget range with your loving partner. Make sure brides understand the costs involved in the basic parts of the party and therefore; budget accordingly.

The following items are essential for any party and therefore must be accounted for in any budget. 70 % of your budget should be spent on these 7 items or factors, the other 30% can be for extras and other expenses.
I call this the 70 on 7 rule. 

1. Venue
2. Catering Service 
3. Bar
4. Dj/Music and Dancefloor
5. Coordination/Wedding Planning/Design
6. Ceremony
7. Decorations

Once these seven key factors are budgeted for THEN and only then will you be able to think of extras like fireworks, fire dancers, flower arrangements, transportation, tents, etc. These 7 factors are non-negotiable for your party. You must have them so you must come to terms with them and budget for them. Of course there are variations among the pricing for each of these items and it is usually directly related to the quality provided by the vendors for each item.
A few examples for you to consider:
Venue vary from 1,000 dollars and up to 10,000 or more.
Center pieces may vary from 20 dollars each up to 400 plus.
The bar may cost 30 dollars per person up to 120 per person per night.
Tables may cost 6 dollars a piece to rent up to 140 dollars each or more.
Ceremony arches may cost between 150 dollars up to 2,000 or more...
Catering may cost from 40 dollars a person up to 250 dollars or more per person
It is all a matter of taste and most importantly; your budget.

So find out how much you have to spend and then organize these in matter of importance for you. For instance, if food and beverage are not as much of a priority as the setting and location is, then you may spend more on the venue than the catering. However, if you want food or drinks that are amazing and the venue is not as important then you would spend your money on that and not so much the venue. This will ensure your money is spent on what you desire the most at your party.

So once you have this figured out you are on your way. Contact us or your wedding planner of choice and let them know what you have in mind and how much money you have to achieve it with. If they are any good they should be able to put something together to accomodate you. Maybe you will have to sacrifice certain things or quality but if you have your priorities straight then you will end up with a party perfectly suited just for you.

Be well and be in love,

So before you calculate your budget you need the 7 factor and factor these in at 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Beach Ceremony Ideas and Decorations for Wedding Venues in Mexico

Week in and week out I see ceremonies on the beach or grass overlooking the beach in Martoca Beach Garden and though most have much in common I find that a few details can make all the difference. If you have a nice budget the decorations will be plentiful and expensive flowers may be ordered and arranged and it will look amazing most of the time. Although I have seen some decorators with a great budget ruin a ceremony gazebo or just go through the motions that the decorations fall flat. In my opinion it is not the budget that makes the ceremony gazebodecoration special necessarily, although it sure helps, it is more than this. It is the attention to detail, the color combinations and originality displayed by the designer in conjuction with the bride as their ideas are the ones that will ultimately create a stunning arrangement that will be unique and memorable for the couple and guests to enjoy upon sunset time

Mishka, a great designer and friend of mine, whose decorations and ingeniuty I love and respect, will work tirelessly to understand first and foremost the bride´s concept of her wedding and works off of their inspiration board where she will ask the bride to tell her what colors, ideas, pictures she has seen, themes, or anything she may want to use in her wedding decorations. Since the gazebo is always a key and one of the highlights of every wedding she splurges with creativity over this feature.

Many decorations are expensive yet some as we previously mentioned are based on creativity, labor intensive art and natural sources and this will be what we focus on on this article since most bride´s work on a budget we try to stretch it as much as possible without losing the classy look.

Flowers, seeds, fruits, driftwood and much more materials are all available around the area. Wonderful flowers are in season and free for the picking in the tropics such as Buganvileas as well as Oblelisk, Copa de Oro and Jazmín and a few others which are all fantastic for decorating. A few accents of special flowers will lift the ceremony gazebo to new hights yet, the base could be absolutely from native flowers and bushes.
Tonalá is a wonderful place to find all the handicrafts and original art you can think of and it is only 4 hours away. We have many decorations made there and share them with our brides. We are blessed to have inexpensive labor which makes art here in Mexico a great bargain. labor intensive art produces unique and fantastic decorations and ceremony gazebos.

When selecting a ceremony gazebo you have to first decide if you want any gazebo at all! Some couple just get married on the sand without a table or anything at all since the ceremonies are usually symbolic. If the marriage will be held here legally the bride has some religious or family traditions to tend to then  a ceremony area and sometimes a Chupah is a must. This can be as simple as an arch as below or a more complex gazebo or kiosk as seen above that can be set up on the beach or grass as decided by the couple.

There are many different sizes and designs of the structure as an arch, gazebo, 4 pilars, rectangular, square, circular, natural palapa, ans so on, however once you have the structure as a base then decoration begins; although sometimes it is the feature in itself and not needed to be decorated. This depends on te structure and of course, you guessed it, the budget.

The two main parts of decoration are flowers and materials. The variety is such that we cannot go into this in one session but it could vary from any type of flower and any type of cloth or material like silk, satin, cotton, gause... Here in Puerto Vallarta I have seen Sarapes which are colorful and typical of the area for decorations. It truly is up to the bride and her style as to what to go with as long as it is consistent with the theme throughout the reception.
Well, I hope this gives you ideas señoritas and you can start planning your ceremony with creative juices flowing wherever it is that you decide to tie the knot. We at Martoca Weddings will wish you the best and good travels.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How about an American Idol for your Bucerias Wedding Venue

We have had some famous singers and bands entertain the wedding guests in Martoca Beach Garden. Fher from Maná, who is the lead singer for the most famous band in Mexico, sang for an hour once. However that was for free and just for fun because the groom was actually his friend. So he sang a "palomazo" as we call it in Mexico or in English this would be a non-planned jam session. He was just there as a guest and started singing. It was a blast. See below.

If you want a famous singer at your wedding maybe some American Idols will come down to  here are the fees for some "Idols" according to a web site I found while searching for something that had absolutely nothing to do with this topic... typical.
Blake Lewis -- $10K
Lee DeWyze -- $15-25K
Crystal Bowersox -- $15-25K
Danny Gokey -- $30K
David Archuleta -- $30-40K
David Cook -- $30-50K
Adam Lambert -- $40-50K
Kellie Pickler -- $50-60K
Fantasia -- $50-75K
Clay Aiken -- $85-100K
Jennifer Hudson -- $100K
Daughtry -- $200-300K+
Kelly Clarkson -- $350-500K
Carrie Underwood -- $350-500K
So give them a call and spice up your wedding. Can you imagine Adam Lambert singing "The Ring of Fire"?
Thank you for all your tweets and follows. Have fun and be in love!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In a Mexico Wedding: A Taco Bar is a MUST

It is midnight and it has been now 5 consecutive hours of fun drinking and dancing so the guests are now ready to refuel or call it a night. Do not worry, the "cena de desvelados" is here. This is what "munchies" are called in Mexico, haha. They are not munchies really, in all seriousness it is a midnight station we set up for the guests so they do not have to go out to eat and also it helps to mitigate the effect an open bar can have on indulgent guests. Basically a buzz killer. it is necessary in order to get people to calm themselves a bit and get ready to head back to the hotel around 1am.
Typically in Mexico we bring a taco station in and have tacos al pastor. These are beef and pork tacos from meat cooked on a rotating spit. They are amazing and fun to watch as they make them if not watch Ricky Martin on this video Watch Ricky Martin as he tries to prepare some. It is in Spanish but in minute 1:30 you will see a pro do it:).

The other favorite is quesadillas which is the tortilla filled with cheese and meat and of course all kinds of salsas. Chilaquiles are fried corn chips boiled in sauce and are excellent plated and served on a late night buffet. They may be marinated and served with spicy red or green habanero sauce. This will kill the buzz for sure!

My personal favorite are the tacos and they are so easy to set up. After having tacos I recommend brides to offer a Mexican coffe station where the guests can enjoy cafe de Olla (made  in clay pots) or flammed coffee with brandy and some sweets that will make their toes curl with delight. It is fun because we serve it table side and it becomes a bit of a show and it helps to kill the buzz as well. Unless of course they spike the coffee with tequila, ay, aya ,ay!!

Enjoy your time in Mexico I say and try different things if not; what is the point of getting married in Mexico? Besides getting more value for your money of course.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Entertain Your Wedding Guests in Puerto Vallarta Area

I have found that most brides are a bit at a loss in a destination wedding when they have ot been here before and do not really know what to plan for the days before the wedding or the days after for their guests. So, I decided to help out via blog. I believe that Puerto Vallarta is a perfect destination because it offers such a variety of activities for guests before and after the wedding. Mountain trails, Zip lines, horseback and ATV availability plus the typical ocean activities are all available and even whale watching and mantaray watching if in winter time. Perhaps some surfing?

However my preferred option is a bit of a culture shock tour and a guided off the beaten path tour. If you traveled to a different country and never seen the real folks in their daily activities then you might as well stay in  LA or South Padre. Actually, they are just as Mexican now as Puerto Vallarta now so it maybe a bad example haha, but that is another matter for another day. Invite your guests to rent some  transportation like Jeeps or Vans or ATVs depending on ages and adventurous levels and get a guide to take you to the markets and non tourist areas. I promise everyone will love this. It is not like the Caribbean where if you leave the hotel you feel unsafe. Puerto Vallarta is safe everywhere.
I recently took my  college professor and his famiy on a tour myself and they loved it. They were here on a cruise ship. He told me a week in advance he was coming so I had to think fast. I had not seen him since 1994 when I graduated so it was a great surprise, I prepared with a Jeep for the young crowd of four and a Honda Element for us three older farts for comfort. They loved it. I took them to the market to see how locals get there groceries and all te varieties of tacos. We had a blast and they learned so much. They had not seen an almond tree, a tamarind fruit tree, a mango tree or how people in Mexico who are not in a 200,000 dollar condo live. They saw the best sites in old town and I gave them a historical account of all the cool spots. We visited movie sets where the kids saw the "Predator" movie set and I took them to see mansions on the beach. We even went to a tequila destillary where they learned all about tequila and got a few shots and bottles. Also stopped at a friend´s place for hand rolled cigars on the river Cuale bridge. All in 5 hours or so. When I sent them off to the ship they were so happy. All this for about 300 dollars.

So, if you are in Puerto Vallarta or anywhere in Mexico I recommend for you and your guests to take some tours but most importantly try a custom off the beaten path day. I would volunteer but if I am not available email me to and I can recommend some friends to help you organize a fun day for your guests.
See these images and see why sightseeing and messing around town would be a day to remember... so romantic!

Also, try a rehearsal fiesta instead of a night in a restaurant before the wedding. Martoca has a "street food fiesta" option where your guests can have an interactive day with our chefs and try all kinds of street food while cooking and preparing recipes without the risk of sickness. So live a little and try new things, experience the romantic town of Puerto Vallarta. I will explain in my next post. You will love it!

Friday, June 3, 2011

How to Budget a Wedding in Puerto Vallarta Private Venue

These are some general guidelines to prepare an estimate or your "mas o menos" budget for your destination wedding when it is NOT in an all-inclusive hotel scenario or a restaurant. I assume other venues are similar in the way they operate so this could be handy for you even if you are not choosing Martoca Beach Garden as your venue for your wedding.

  • The venue should rent here in Puerto Vallarta area for 2,200 to 5,500 dollars on a beach front setting if needed on a weekend. The price also depends on wether it is a weekday or a weekend since weekdays are usually half price. Some places are villas so they charge you 5 night stays mandatory which could cost up to 10,000 a night for the villa which has many rooms. Our venue for example, Martoca Wedding Beach-Garden, seen below rents for 3,000usd on a Saturday and 1,500 Dollars on a weekday on average. It varies depending on dates and guest count.

  • The catering may vary from 30 dollars a person to 180 dollars per person. This includes tables, chairs, dinnerware and service andall that is needed for catering and the banquet setting. Anything more and you are paying way too much. Unless of course a world class chef is doing the cooking and even then it would have to be a 6 or 7 course dinner.
  • The Open bar cost varies by hours of service and brands of liquor and variety. It should cost from 25 dollars a person for beer and wine and soft drinks to 85 dollars for a specialty bar and a full premium bar with top notch liquors. A decent average bar should be 35-50 usd per person for 8 hour open bar.
  • DJ and dace floor services, for 8 hours, should cost about 800USD to 1,200USD up to no more than 3,000 USD with all included for a big nightclub setting with LED lighting, strobe lights, smoke and whatever else you can think for entertainment.
  • The ceremony gazebo should cost anywhere from 400 dollars and up since this varies with taste and decorations. Mostly flowers can make the biggest difference in cost. A simple setting should be about 500 USD.
  • Wedding planners charge 10% to 20% of the total cost of the wedding or they may charge a flat fee. A good fully bilingual coordinator will charge about 1,500 to 2,500 dollars for a good quality wedding. There are others who may charge 600 to 900 dollars but the service will may be lacking much promptness and they may be inexperienced and probably will not be able to speak English effectively.
  • Certified Wedding designers charge 4,000 or 6,000 dollars or more for there services. It really depends on your budget and your desire for special decorations. Most of the extra cost is spent on flowers and special decorations or handmade items. It definitely makes a difference! 

However, if you simply want a great party or "pachanga" you will not need a designer. A beautiful and fun wedding on a beach setting with good food and drinks and excellent music and entertainment, the whole enchilada should run you on average about 200 dollars a person for 50 to 70 guests for a very nicely decorated wedding with great quality food and service. I know 200 dollars per person sounds like a lot, however, it is not so; When you invite 50 guests it is 10,000 dollars compared to the average local USA wedding that costs 25,000 dollars. Besides, when else will you be able to force everyone to come hang out for a week on amazing beaches in Mexico? That quality time with family and friends is worth more than anything else in the whole wide world.

Happy hunting for your perfect spot that suits your budget.
Email James at for free consultation on Banderas Bay wedding Information. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

"Must haves" for a successful beachfront wedding

Most people associate beachfront weddings with easy going romance and carefree planning. The reality is that it is quite the opposite unless you hire a professionally designed wedding package, otherwise you will have much to work on and this may cost you more than a package deal in the long run. Expenses and stress will usually be higher by the time it is all said and done when you try to do it yourself with a long distance wedding. Many brides think they will save by avoiding the wedding planner fees or getting the cheaper package with wedding planning included they found on the internet. However, who will make sure the vendors are solid performers and trustworthy?
My recommendation is to check company references with independent reviews like a wedding location site such as this or friends on the vendor´s social media site or other vendors in the area may also coment.
On Facebook I like to go down the older posts and see what people have said about the venue or how brides react to the blogs or posts. In the pictures usually the brides comment on how it all went and also vendors who worked together on a wedding may have good or bad comments. These are obviously not advertisements so it is a trustworthy opinion you can count on.
Another way to make sure you are correctly and successfully planning a great destination wedding is once you find a location you like, then, go to You Tube and search the videos on the place. You will see more than pictures and get a much better idea of what the venue or the wedding planner´s decorations look like and how happy people may or may not be. If there is no You Tube video I would suggest you ask for one from the vendors you want to work with and if they cannot produce one most likely this is not a good sign.
Your planning should be updated for you by your wedding provider via a conference calling system you prefer with your wedding services provider at your convenience. With updated payments and schedules you will be more relaxed and focused. In case of additions or suggestions you may need or have so basically then it will all be discussed as if you were here in Puerto Vallarta enjoying the sun and planning on site.
We recommend may good wedding planners and vendors in the area. Please email us with your questions and I will give you references and reviews on each vendor you may want to verify. Be well and be in love amigos! Jimmy

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

La Martoca Wedding Beach-Venue has "It": Magic!

Weddings in Martoca Beach Garden have made brides cry for joy! Our venue has been decorated and used now by celebrities and regular Joe's alike, however, they all have come to the same conclusion; Martoca Beach Garden is one of a kind, magical.

It is one of the few places where you can have a totally private wedding without having to be so far from Puerto Vallarta that that it would have taken you one or two hours of traveling to visit. We are not a public venue like a hotel or restaurant; It is exclusively for you and your guests. Also, it has the perfect balance between modern facilities and the lovely "backyard", or a lovely ranch somewhere that reminds you of good times close to home perhaps. It is hard to explain but it is cozy, warm and it seems familiar to all. It has the "It" factor, that is what makes it special. There are much more fancy places but for some reason Martoca just has "It".

Come visit us on facebook or follow us on twitter either way come get more familiar with our family business. "Our casa is your casa"; Once you see it in person you will understand. Most brides once they get here say to me- "It looks so much better than the pictures".

So does this mean I need a new photographer?

Just email me at and let´s talk about it and figure out some details. We have many overwhelmed brides and grooms now available for references:) Bienvenidos!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stunning Center Pieces and Decorations in Martoca


En esta boda los arreglos florales destacaron y lucieron hermosos. No pude con mi camara captar plenamente lo impactante que se veía el conjunto de mesas con sus respectivas decoraciones. Ya vendrán fotos profesionales. Cada mesa tenía unas 4 o 5 miniarreglos que complementaban el centro de mesa. Realmente una obra maestra esta boda del 15 de Enero, 2011. Los decoradores fueron Lilian Ojeda y Rocco Troyanni y De Santos fué la compañía que organiza el evento junto con una Paella y otros platillos de sin igual.






Amazing Wedding on January 15, 2011 in Martoca

Un area Lounge de Lujo. Una área perfecta para relajarse en lo que los novios y los invitados se felicitan y se toman fotos después de la ceremonia. Se acostumbra un buen bar de especialidades como mojitos o margaritas de sabores para amenizar. Se complementa bien con unos canapés de varios tipos.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Lauren Poole Wedding December 30, 2010

What a nice wedding this was here in Martoca Beach Garden. Lauren was very happy and everyone seemed to be having fun and were enjoying themselves and their close friends and family. All were hapy except for this two little ones who had to go to the "kid area" which was very convenient after all.

These little guys were upset during the ceremony, probably had a crush on the groom:), anyway the party went on and looked amazing. Check out the behind the scenes photos (no photoshop obviously)

A beautiful sunset for the weddings and great buffet banquet! Also caught the bride´s maids getting some tequila shots for courage... haha