Saturday, December 19, 2015

5 Crucial Reasons To Book A Mexico Wedding Venue

Welcome to Wedding Planning For Private Wedding in Mexico

Better Than A Resort Wedding
Resorts offer affordable weddings, so why do brides take the extra time and effort to book a private beach venue? Our adventurous sophisticated brides not only want to stay on budget; They seek intimacy, need a personal touch, crave cultural rich cuisine and want to party like rockstars!

The 5 Crucial Factors

  • Budget Friendly
  • Intimate and Private
  • Personal and Original
  • Cultural Cuisine
  • Unlimited Party

No Budget Crashers
Private wedding venues give you complete control of your budget. Spend as much or as little   as you want paid in advance and all in big letters. 
No wedding budget crasher hidden fees. Ever.

Pay only for what you use and no hidden fees

Oh Yeah! It's Personal
No bride likes to feel as if they are their wedding ceremony and reception is just the "next one" in the resort. When couples realize they want more of an original and personal touch; Not the cookie-cutter packages: They book with Private Wedding Planner and venues.

Original and Personalized wedding decorations. Avoid the back-to-back wedding syndrome!

Get Street Food Cred!
Did you travel 2,000 miles to order a steak in Mexico? Didn't think so. Treat your deserving guests with a mouthwatering cultural cuisine extravaganza. We recreate local street food stand

Eat Actual Local Cuisine 

Party like a Rockstar!
Some brides may not be on a budget. Some don't care about privacy. Some brides like cookie-cutter weddings. Others may be OK with steak. But all of them want to party like rockstars!

Stay up as late as you want with the music you want, drink as much as you want!

Book For 2017 Now!

Be the one with the wedding that everyone will remember and talk about in the rest of all family Christmas parties and reunions. Please send us your name, preferred date, number of guests and target budget so we can get busy in planning your fantastic tropical fiesta! -Jimmy

Monday, December 14, 2015

Find Out Why Brides Book Private Wedding Venues in Mexico

Open up the dance floor with Salsa or Mariachi
Most large hotel chains offer destination wedding packages that are affordable, logistically practical and simple to plan.  That is true. All the guests are conveniently located in the same place and you can trust the hotel with all your bookings, after all, they are hosting your guests; Usually they give you many perks and in some cases they even say the wedding is "free" since you booked so many rooms of course. So, why do these brides go the extra mile and take a chance and go find a private venue away from the 
resort? They seek intimacy, crave 
originality and wanna party like rockstars!

Party Like Rockstars in private on a dance floor
On this incredibly special day, brides would give anything to protect the privacy and intimacy of the wedding. They do not want to have their wedding video ruined by some classic hotel scene as described by this bride in her review in a popular wedding site, "The best part is we did not have uninvited guests or onlookers looming about. Our wedding was our own private event!" Brides want privacy and no interference.

Of course there are many hotels that have a very secluded area reserved for weddings so, if you have that, then it is a great idea to book it now! Otherwise, the typical hotel wedding in an All-inclusive is mostly a courtesy section cordoned off for the wedding party but it is not necessarily separated from the other guests per se. So please verify this for your wedding and make sure you do not have a second wedding going on at the same time and you have competing music and vows. That is the only other thing that bride's hate more than a drunk womanizing wedding crasher!

Private venues allow for your own decorations
When a service provider hosts one or two weddings per day in a hotel setting, even the staff's enthusiasm and originality may get a bit stale with the routine; No bride likes to feel as if their wedding is just "the next one", they want original designs and personalized themes and service for their wedding. Although a large hotel chain provides packages that may be cheaper as a whole, it also causes weddings to become a systematic product. As stated here by an experienced travel agent on TripAdvisor,  "'Package' resorts will have their own vendors and suppliers and these plans are easy and what some couples prefer. These events tend to be a bit 'cookie-cutter,' and they are likely to be several ceremonies one after the other". When compared to a boutique wedding venue or small private hotel wedding this becomes a major advantage for the small hotel or private venue. Brides want all attention on their wedding and their guests, and not only that day, but every day during their visit. This advantage can only be achieved by having a dedicated staff and planner to one or two events per week. In most boutique villas or venues this is the case.

Brides like original themes and decorations
 Of course there are hotel chains that are much more personalized in attention but they are also  much more expensive than the average destination wedding package. For the purpose of this comparison in this post we are discussing only the 4 to 5 star typical All-inclusive packages as seen in most ads in Magazines. In which case usually they include the reception if you book 10 plus rooms and you are assigned the staff planner and the daily used wedding package decorations. Once the couple realizes they want more originality and freedom to decorate than the pre-planned package entails they seek a venue away from hotel property that gives them just that:
Freedom to create and be original.
Spacious and private: Weddings au naturelle
Some Brides who can forgive not having privacy and some even may reluctantly accept a cookie-cutter wedding, but most of the couples however, are not so forgiving when it comes to giving up their rights to party! This is a major deciding factor for couples who like to have a good time and do not appreciate being cut off at 10PM and having to party under so many rules It is usually the case that brides want simple and easy planning, however, they also do not want to sacrifice their personality and originality and most importantly their freedom to stay up late with their friends; And really party like it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Which it is. Keep in mind, most small private venues are independent and family operated. Usually a family member will be involved in your planning or a family friend who is a manager as well. So the typical, "I just work here"does not happen often. If you need help you most likely have the person in charge on property at all times. In a private venue you can have much more flexibility when it comes to hours of services, music you can play or even have live bands, unlimited open bar and many more fun options. It's your call! In the immortal words of the Beastie Boys: "You have the right; To party!"
Set up the lighting as you choose

Choose your own vendors. Photograph: Laura Dabrowski
Now, is there no limit to the hours or services available in a private venue? Yes. Every venue has rules and conditions. The rules however are much less restrictive and very easy to bend in a privately owned venue. Assuming you have enough budget and the desire to break them. Since you are dealing with an owner, owners usually like to rent their property, so as long as it is a reasonable request and the price is right I can promise you a compromise can be made. In a hotel chain, rules are rules.

BONUS!! A tremendous bonus and selling point for a destination wedding is the fact that you get a nation and a wedding for the price of one. However when choosing one resort this may limit not only the party but also the guests ability to afford your wedding. Many guests decline RSVP because of the hotel costs. So another perk of a private wedding is that guests can choose where to stay and what they want to pay for lodging. As a happy Off-Resort bride named Idania said in a popular wedding site: "We were looking for a hotel as a wedding venue, but seriously, its just too complicated, they have loads of restrictions. We stayed in a hotel around the area. And our friends chose the best option for them, some stayed in Nuevo Vallarta and some in Puerto Vallarta". Which actually makes a very good point: Your guests will not be forced to stay in a hotel in order to fulfill requirements. Therefore they can stay anywhere they like and where they can afford it comfortably.

In a many hotel wedding packages are ready made and are very practical, but all or definitely most of these restrictions apply to the package deals:

  • Limited hours of service with curfew of 10PM
  • Hefty extra fees apply for anything outside the package
  • Must rent 10 rooms minimum (Did you know you can get group rates without having to have your wedding on property anyway?)
  • No outside vendors allowed
  • Use their decorations and furniture which makes for a cookie cutter experience
  • Must use their photographer/entertainment package
  • Will eat the same food as other guests that is included (All-Inclusives) 
  • Buffet service
  • Cannot have live music
Use seasonal flowers without breaking the bank
What are the disadvantages of a non-resort wedding venue? Well, perhaps the extra time needed to research for planning and the risk of not having a brand name as reference. Although we all know of many times brand names have let us down. Also I think maybe in some cases the price point is a factor, but this really depends on the hotel. In many cases the off-resort wedding is less expensive. And regarding the ease of planning, we have had great success planning our weddings because we
Design your own pillows and so layout
                  do it all personally. So it is like having a bed               and breakfast service style versus a large chain  experience: They both serve food and have lodging.  However, in one scenario you leave with hugs and kisses, and the other you slip out the fire exit unnoticed to the      parking lot.

For instance, in hotels for example usually the staff turns over once before your wedding day since you are booking a year out or in some cases 2 years out. So that is just one example of how a large corporation may be convenient and give you a brand name to hedge your bets but also, you lose personal touch with high turnover and having to start over with the "new staff" as it happens in many cases. Can it happen in small venues or boutique hotels? Of course. Is it much less likely? Yes. 

Practically empty beaches
So I hope this post helps you understand why couples decide to go off-resort for their destination wedding. Some like to be original. Some like to party. Others want privacy. Some also just want to see something else besides the resort they have been in for days. They want to explore and see new beaches and new areas and taste non-buffet food. Like shrimp on a stick with chile and lime for tapas as seen here below. It just depends on you. So if you feel like these brides who are more adventurous and want to explore; you are not alone. There is another way! Go Off-resort! 

Shrimp on a stick! Delicious
Do not let the risk or the unknown stop you because you have made it this far. Most do not even think about a destination wedding. Like you today, many have taken the chance and have been well rewarded with a lifetime of memories that were not possible otherwise. Imagine seeing your entire family and your new family all in one place having margaritas and the single guys chasing señoritas. Your wedding will be the topic of every Christmas dinner for years. It is worth the extra time and effort or at least find out more! 

What a way to start your married life right? Going for it. All in; together!

James Basanez is the Director of Martoca Beach-Wedding Garden in Bucerias, nayarit. Mexico. 
Text USA (956)358-8701
Email for any free advice or please comment or follow the blog here for updates and fun tips on Non-resort weddings in Puerto Vallarta area.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Customized Puerto Vallarta Wedding Packages: Martoca Wedding Garden

Martoca Beach Garden was recently rated as a top full service "Indie" wedding venue in all of the West coast by Destination Wedding Magazine! Located on the Bucerias beach and surrounded by beautiful gardens as well; You will find it irresistible for your non-resort Mexico beach wedding location. Email me for more direct information and a quote! 

I am James, and I am here to help you make this easy and fun! You can text or call Mobile USA (956) 358-8701 or email me please for wedding pearls of wisdom for free! 

If you have a wedding planner already set up, well, they are welcome as well! We also allow 3rd party vendors because our idea is for you to design you wedding as you see fit. It is your day!
We specialize in private non-resort weddings. We like to be different. We are not a hotel or villa so no forced accommodations here or restrictions on number of rooms, or guests, or early curfew, or extra hours charges, or what vendors can come in... well you get the idea. It's exhausting with all the hotels rules; right? Most of our clients are couples who are independent, adventurous and want true fiesta! Of course, privacy from onlookers and strangers in speedos is a plus. No restrictions! At least nothing crazy like shutting down at 10PM.

For inquiries please email me directly to with your ideas and guest count and date. Perhaps a budget as well. In the meantime, please explore the blog which is full of great information for wedding venues in Punt de Mita all the way to Puerto Vallarta and beyond! So email now and get some ideas and packages starting as low as 5,000usd!
Email james at

Please email James at while our  website is under maintenance. Thank you! See you soon and enjoy the blog!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

10 Best English Speaking Wedding planners in Puerto Vallarta

Odette having fun in Martoca creating a masterpiece
It is wedding time! You must plan a wedding in a different country with no knowledge of the Spanish language or local connections, and you only have the internet to help you? Scary right? You are not alone. It is a daunting task to find someone you can trust to help you. As a local wedding service provider here in Mexico's West coast, I would like to help. email for help!
Wedding on garden in Martoca 
Martoca Beach Garden for 6 years now has participated, either by hosting or creating, in approximately 250 weddings; So we feel qualified to be a good judge of which wedding planners are worthy of your trust. At least the ones we have seen first hand, I cannot speak for the others in the area who have not worked with us. However, we have had the honor of hosting most of the top English speaking wedding planners in action in our Martoca Beach Garden wedding venue. We also have created our vast share of weddings, so I think I have enough experience to vouch for these professionals. The wedding venue vendor is the one who sees the wedding planner in action from the first moments, even sometimes in site visits and preliminary work before the wedding, all the way up until the last moment of the wedding and sometimes beyond. Also we get the story by the couple on either how happy or how mad they are at their wedding coordinator; So we know who has been naughty or nice!                                                                           Please email 
Wedding by Barbara in Martoca
We have had people cry of joy and cry of anger and frustration because of the service provided by a wedding planner. We have had planners not give deposits back, lose the money from guests gift envelopes or not have the right furniture delivered. We have witnessed weddings that wedding planners simply did not even show up! They send their assistant instead or leave the catering team to take care of the wedding while they do another "more important" wedding. So it is important who you find online and who refers them to you.
Martoca Wedding by In-house team leader Kelley
Here in La Martoca, we believe in good business practices and promoting good business people. I am not getting paid for this by the way. I just think it is good for you to know who you can trust. The choice of course is yours. No need to give our name as referral. My intention is to give you confidence in your wedding choices and to welcome you to Mexico as your destination wedding venue. Do not let uncertainty in planning deter you from your dream beach wedding; simply do your research and you will be fine. This is why I want to help. Email me for any questions for free
Bride and Groom table by Martoca's own Kelley
The wedding planner is the most important piece of your glorious puzzle that is your wedding. These are my top choices if I were planning a wedding for myself in PV, Nuevo Vallarta, Bucerias, Sayulita, Punta De Mita etc. Either in a private venue like Martoca, a villa or in hotels (if allowed), these planners can deliver your spectacular dream wedding. As a wedding venue that provides full service but also allows outside vendors and planners, we love to host weddings just as much as creating them ourselves. We have seen in La Martoca first hand how their clients always leave with tears of joy and gratitude. These planners will go the extra mile, answer emails at midnight, find your clutch purse and return it at 4am, find an emergency photographer and more. It is my pleasure to ease your anxiety in finding the best wedding planners in the area who are not only fluent in English, but also have US and Canada style business practices. Of course I can tell you as well who are not to be trusted but I do not like to call out any other vendors in public or without a specific inquiry about their reputation. If you have a vendro's name in mind that you would like to ask about, email me at and I will gladly tell you their record as a wedding planner in Martoca Beach Garden.

Dancefloor and tables in Martoca designed by Citlalli Pena

The following are my top picks for trustworthy English speaking wedding planning services in Vallarta area, as seen by me first hand in Martoca weddings. I will add more as we see them work. I had not kept track before but I will start today. These are the ones that come to mind off the top of my head who I can completely trust with recommending them for your wedding and our reputation as a wedding reception venue.

Kelley Karhkoff (Martoca Weddings in-house planner)
Gaby Rodriguez y Memo Zamora

Martoca beach venue in Bucerias has hosted weddings by these wonderful professionals and we see their work regularly either in Martoca or around the bay; They always deliver amazing weddings successfully and have many happy clients. We are confident you will love to work with any of them in your destination wedding in Mexico. 
Lights and wedding designed Martoca

Please email me with any questions about wedding planners or vendors

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Create an Affordable Beach Wedding in Mexico: Tips and Ideas

Can you believe these pictures are from wedding that costs half the price of an average USA or Canadian wedding? Jennie and Colin are savvy money savers who know how to travel and have good fiesta! They were married in La MarToca wedding venue in Puerto Vallarta on November 10, 2015. It was a beautiful wedding. Looks like they spent 25,000USD.  Their lovely reception was not that expensive, yet it was perfectly executed. It was a fun, chic and classy fiesta. A fun classy wedding can be made for about 13,000USD for 50 guests with great photography and all (see pictures here). That is the key to a wedding on the beach that is affordable: Perfect planning with good quality vendors who are not expensive. Email for details

We take great pride in our team of service providers. Wherever you decide to have your wedding please do not mistake the planning as being an easy concept. Or, just because you throw great parties at home do not think you are a destination wedding planner! It is not just finding people on-line and hiring them; We have now what we consider a great team; However, it does not just happen. We went through much trial and error to select the best vendors for an affordable price. After many weddings we have selected our top vendors and our team. We also blackballed many more.

Selecting great and the best vendors on-line is usually pretty easy:  Most of the time you can just hire the most expensive ones and you probably have some of the best, if not the best. However, most people cannot afford the most expensive vendors. They then tend to hire mediocre or cheap services and end up ruining their wedding because they thought they could save 200 dollars on a DJ but the DJ they hired shows up late! Or the catering team they saw on-line cooked the food the day before and did not have proper warmers and the chicken is under 165F and salmonella ensues and the whole party has 2 days of bad stomach aches instead of 2 days of fun times in the pool and touring the bay!

How can you have a great wedding and not break the bank? Hire a professional planner or full planning venue! I know it sounds counterintuitive but it works. What we did as a company to ensure great service and vendors is that we selected the best value vendors. Not necessarily the most expensive. Which means, I suggest you select the ones who provide top quality services without the premium cost of being famous! That is the key to an affordable yet high quality wedding. 

So, maybe you will not have the budget 5,000 dollar cocktail lounge and elegant chic LED decorations. But you do have 1,500USD. We can find those not on-line vendors because we are local and know the system and who is reliable. Can we hire the expensive ones as well? Of course, that is easy. Just give us the money. Anyone can be great if you have 30,000 dollars to spend on 50 guests. The good planners make a 11,000 dollar wedding for 60 guests look and feel like a 30,000 dollar wedding! That is what a professional and a great planning team does for you.

So, wherever you decide to get married make sure you hire a professional to hire your team. You should pay a good wedding planner at least an average fee if not more. I would not go below average price for a planner. Usually if they are good then their whole crew is good. If I were a bride on-line shopping I would go with a planner who charges about 2,000 USD flat fee. Then you will most likely have a good team of service providers who work with her. 

If your planner is cheap that is dangerous because this means they either will charge you on commissions and hidden fees or they are just desperate. Either is not favorable. So it sounds counterintuitive but a cheap or affordable wedding can only be achieved if you hire a top planner or service provider. They will know who to hire in order to make it affordable but fun, classy and with great services. Who do you think knows more people who can hook you up? At least in  work that way. We adjust to your budget but do not hire cheap vendors. We simply tell our great vendors our price budget and limit and find a way to make it affordable. We may not have top sofa quality but we will have the best we can afford! Does this make sense? In other words, an inexpensive wedding does not signify cheap furniture and cheap food. it just means we go with a budget friendly classy menu. our chef is the same we will just serve pork or chicken instead of lobster and jumbo shrimp. Simple and classy is still fun and amazing for your guests!

Happy planning!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Entertain Your Mexico Wedding Guests with Fiestas and Siestas!

So we all know you have a wedding day planned for your Mexico destination wedding, but do you have other activities planned like fiestas and siestas? You must have a 4 or 5 day itinerary planned for your lovely guests if they are coming to your destination wedding. You know they are not just here for the wedding day! So what to do with the other 3 or 4 or up to 6 days? Well, let me help you with some ideas or email for other questions:

Arrival Evening: Welcome drinks set up at the condos or hotel you are staying in. Preferably away from the place of your actual ceremony. In our case our venue is not attached to condos or hotel so if you have a private wedding venue like ours, then you re on a roll already. If you are in a hotel then you m ay want to arrange another place that is not where the ceremony will be held.

Day 2: Fishing and Spa day. I like this day. I like to send the guys on a fishing or diving trip and the girls to a day at the SPA. Specially if final touches are needed before the wedding :)
Evening I let the people have a siesta. Maybe regroup later for night cap and walking around town.

Day 3: Rehearsal Dinner. This evening or day tour is for those who are specially close to you. Many times it is all the guests. But that is up to you. You may have a special dinner at a nice restaurant or a tour for all with ATVs. This is really up to you. The idea is for all to bond before the wedding reception and really "break the ice". So I like the boat tour or the ATV tour for this. But if you want to be traditional you may have a rehearsal dinner at a local restaurant. I suggest something not on the beach since the wedding reception will be on the beach.

Wedding Day: It is time to fiesta for real! I strongly suggest not to have any heavy activities planned for the guests on this day in the morning. Just ask them to relax and prepare. Don't let them get too much sun or eat anything out of the ordinary. You want to avoid any sudden illness or unneccesary emergencies such as a broken foot from the rock diving or whatever. This day is what you have been working, planning and investing your hard earned money on so protect it! have a great fiesta until 1AM or longer! That is the beauty of a private beach wedding venue.

Hangover Day: Many couples and guests fly out the next day. That is rough! I suggest flying out a day after this hangover day. For those who are lucky and can stay an extra day get the Micheladas con Camaron flowing immediately! This concoction of beer and Bloody-Mary mix with cocktail sauces and Shrimp will put you right back into play. I suggest a nice hangover trip with comfortable rides and be in the water a lot; Like a pool or ocean dip area. Once you cure yourself with Micheladas you will be ready for your siesta and your trip the next day!

That my amigos, is how you do fiestas and siestas in your Puerto Vallarta wedding vacation.

Thank You for your comments and patronage!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

How to Deal With a Hurricane On Your Beach Wedding Day

Today we touch upon the number one fear of many beach-wedding brides: And no, it is not a drunk uncle doing the running man to Vanilla Ice. No, it is not the lights going out; You can have a candle light dinner and it is very romantic... Or is it the embarrasing toast by your groomsmen? No. So what is the number one fear of an outdoor wedding on the beach? Rain pouring down hard, and even worse, a hurricane! That is the biggest fear of a tropical wedding. So, what do we do about this natural party-pooper?

The best thing to do is avoid the rainy season entirely and hurricane susceptible zones. That is why it is so important and such an advantage to have your wedding in an area like Puerto Vallarta that has the best and most predictable weather as possible. Puerto Vallarta, Bucerias and any towns inside the Bay of Banderas are virtually Hurricane-proof for 8 months out of the year, from late November until early July, it is guaranteed that no hurricanes can form and come into the bay. Now August, September and October and maybe very early November are the "wet season" and those are the months and dates you may be surprised with a heavy shower or worse, a hurricane during your stay. Although hurricanes are very unlikely in Puerto Vallarta. Our last one was 2001. Even so, I suggest to increase your chances of perfect weather by avoiding these seasons and dates as much as possible. The further away your wedding is from the Summer the better your "cool and dry weather" will be. Besides, the temperature is perfect in Winter months so that is another plus! Email me for a chart of best weather! James at

Now that was easy right? But what if you have a set date for your destination wedding and it must be in the summer or early fall? Well, we have some options for how to plan for a rainy day. A hurricane is another matter of course. When planning a wedding in "Wet Season" you should prepare about 2,000 dollars for the event day in case you may need a tent and extra transportations and incidentals. Do not rent a tent unless you need it. What we do is have a back-up plan with a deposit for a stand-by tent, this way you can access it in case you need it, but not spend the entire rental fee unless you are for sure going to have rain. So you pay for example 200 dollars just in case instead of 1,000usd. So you may lose 200 dollars but you have a tent on standby. Or you can risk it and not rent it at all but if it shows rain, many other brides may have planned accordingly and you may be the one with no tent. Also, you can just plan to have the tent all along. Actually many couples have a tent even in perfect weather. So it is up to you. I personally do not like tents. It is too hot and humid under there! Please, If you want more of my opinions,email James at :)

OK so what if there is a hurricane? In this case in our venue I give the bride the option to change the date at no cost. However, if the couple MUST have the wedding during that trip or they were already in Vallarta area and the hurricane just caught everyone off guard then we can find a location that is inside or rent the tent. In our Bay of Banderas, it is very difficult for a hurricane to come into the mountaineous bay. So mostly we worry about rain from the hurricane which may last up to 3 days before or after the hurricane passes close by. Obviously if the hurricane is coming directly towards us and on the actual day of the wedding, we simply have to cancel. We of course will change the date for you. This is our policy but I do not know what is typical of other wedding venues in Mexico. I assume they would work with you but please verify.

Here are some other USA style tips!

OK, so to avoid the risk or rain and/or hurricane, do not have your wedding in July, August, September or October if possible. If not possible, then you need to prepare and have a plan B ready with your wedding planner in Puerto Vallarta. As explained above, there are many possible factors that put fear in a bride, but a hurricane or rain is easily avoidable if well planned. And, even if you do have some rain or hurricane, with a good plan B it will be less scary than someone dropping your wedding cake on the way to the party or the photographer dropping his camera in the pool after your ceremony adn losing all the pictures forever! All these things can and have happened by the way!

Have a great wedding planning day! Email me with your questions please: