Everything you need to know about having a tropical destination wedding in the fall

Travel Tips

When most of us think of destination weddings, we imagine those sublime lower-latitude destinations that haunt our dreams while we are stuck in the depths of winter. In fact, most destination weddings in popular Mexican and Caribbean resort areas take place in the winter and spring months — right when the happy couple and their guests can’t stand another day of snow or chilly rain. That may be changing, however. Some wedding coordinators say that fall is becoming a trendy season for a destination wedding.

In recent years, the fall is becoming the second most popular season for weddings. September, October, and November have almost the same number of weddings as April, May, and June. Why might you want to consider a fall destination wedding? What are the advantages, and what are the challenges you might face? We recently sat down with several experienced wedding professionals to discuss what you need to know if you decide fall is the right season for your big day.

Couples typically gravitate toward a fall destination wedding for two reasons. First, it is not peak season, so travel costs are lower. Second, you will find lower occupancy rates at the resorts. So, fall is a great time to travel if you need to keep traveling costs down. However, it is great for your guests, too. It allows them to save a few dollars, and it doesn’t interrupt their holiday plans. And the resorts are far less busy. You can ensure that your guests will have plenty of room categories from which to choose, and they won’t be fighting for prime chairs at the pool.

The advantages of fall wedding
A beachfront reception at Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta

That is especially important if you are booking a destination wedding very close to the date of the event. Due to lower occupancy rates in the fall, your preferred resort may be able to offer more open wedding dates. As an added bonus, you will avoid the humid heat of summer and the chilly winds of winter and early spring. The weather is likely to be mild and pleasant. In the Riviera Maya, fall means sunny days and very low humidity. The weather is perfect. Well, usually. If lower prices and lower occupancy rates are the major advantages of a fall wedding, Mother Nature can be the most significant disadvantage.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which affects the Caribbean islands and the Mexican Caribbean, runs from June 1 to November 30. The Pacific hurricane season, which affects Baja California and Mexico’s Pacific coast, starts May 15 and also runs until November 30. In the fall, you definitely run the risk of encountering a tropical storm system or a hurricane. Admittedly, this deters many couples. Cancún is a popular destination for weddings, and most of the year is very busy, but most couples prefer spring instead of fall. It is a hurricane season, and guests don’t like the risk. Therefore, 60 percent of weddings are in spring and summer, and 40 percent are split between fall and winter.

The cons of fall wedding

Even if you don’t get a full-on tropical storm or hurricane, you can get days of gray, rainy weather. Although fall weddings are considered more whimsical than weddings in other seasons, you do need to consider the weather. Rain is a factor that any fall wedding should be prepared for, especially knowing that the ideal venue might be changed to a backup venue if necessary.

If a tropical storm or hurricane takes aim at your wedding destination, don’t worry — your preferred resort and wedding coordinator will ensure that you are in good hands. The hotels all have backup options, so be sure to consider their indoor venues if you want to have a fall destination wedding and check them out, if possible, on your tour. Many times, the indoor venues are just as beautiful as the outdoor ones. Talk with your on-site wedding coordinator regarding how far in advance you need to switch venues. If you do have to make the switch, work closely with your wedding team to make sure you understand how the indoor venue can be decorated and used.

Stormy wedding in fall
An alternate location at El Dorado Royale by Karisma is the beachside chapel

The best possible advice is to be flexible, be relaxed, and be happy no matter what happens. The rainy season is a risk, but Cancún usually has great weather in the fall, so don’t worry too much in advance. And in case of rain, There is always a plan B. A destination wedding in the Mexican Caribbean is an opportunity not all couples have. It is a perfect way to enjoy an unforgettable vacation with family and friends. Your guests will talk about your wedding for years.

While some couples won’t incorporate the specific season into their wedding planning, others are encouraged to incorporate the feel of autumn. This might involve color schemes with earth and neutral tones and an occasional splash of bold color. Fall colors represent an evocation of love, romanticism, and hope. The brides feel they have a special connection with nature. Remember, the color of the year is marsala, which is perfect for fall weddings.

Experts say that this color represents sophistication and natural earthiness, and it can be combined with both warm or cold colors, depending on personal tastes. Also in vogue are the use of birdcages, wine bottles, chandeliers, candles, frames, and light, flowing fabrics. Flowers should be versatile and provide a variety of colors; favorites include English roses, peonies, hydrangeas and lilies.

Fall wedding trends
Marsala is Pantone’s color of the year and the warmth of the color pops off lush backdrops

These elements complete the romantic ambiance for the perfect beach reception under a starry sky. Yet, a bride and groom should never feel constrained by the season. The sky is the limit when it comes to making your treasured vision a reality. The great thing about the colors of the tropics is that they remain vibrant throughout the year. While your friends in the United States are having a dark or neutral color theme for their fall weddings, you aren’t limited to those flowers or decor in your destination. It is the Caribbean, so vibrant colors are the norm. So much depends on the personality of the bride and groom.

When Mother Nature smiles fall destination weddings, they are pure magic. Tovilla recalled one wedding at Excellence Playa Mujeres which saw the bride arriving at the altar with her father only to realize her groom wasn’t there waiting for her. Suddenly, her favorite song started playing in the background, and in the distance, the groom was riding a jet ski like a modern prince on his white horse. Everyone was clapping, shouting, and whistling at this unexpected entrance. He arrived at the seashore, and after arranging his elegant tuxedo, he approached the altar and kissed the bride in front of everyone. Then the ceremony started.

Wedding in fall

And, even if Mother Nature proves temperamental, you will still make priceless memories on your wedding day. Cruz shared a note from a bride who got married at Live Aqua Cancún in the midst of a tropical storm. You made our tropical storm wedding the best day of our lives,” the bride wrote. “You seriously saved the day, and we ended up loving our rainy wedding. Our guests even told us it was the best wedding they had ever attended.”

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