James and Alexis Brandon, who currently reside in Marin County, California, met through mutual friends at a barbeque. They got engaged on April 30th, 2011 and chose to say “I do” in Sayulita on November 10th, 2012. James and Alexis share with El Sayulero why they chose Sayulita as their wedding destination, what their wedding was like, and much more.
How did you first hear of Sayulita?
Alexis had visited Puerta Vallarta several times and started her search on wedding blogs there. In one blog on Sayulita she saw a photo of a couple standing in a cobblestone street with colorful buildings and said, “That is where we are getting married!” Thankfully after we visited it we fell in love.
Why did you choose Sayulita as the location for your destination wedding?
We had been to a destination wedding, and loved how everybody was hanging out in a small town. We wanted the people from all different times of our lives to really connect in a beautiful place. With easy access from the US (via Puerto Vallarta), Sayulita’s charm and relaxed vibe immediately appealed to us, and we knew our guests would love it too.
Which wedding planner did you choose and why?
Alexis researched several wedding planners, but we knew instantly when we met Yazmin with Sea of Dreams Wedding that she was our girl. She was laid back, but also efficient, confident and extremely competent.
Were there any other local individuals/companies that helped out with your wedding plans?
Don Pedros catered the wedding, La Terrazola hosted our Welcome Party, and Mar Plata in San Pancho hosted the Rehearsal Dinner. But mainly, it was all Yazmin, and her amazing contacts. She brought to us the best Sayulita and the surrounding area had to offer.
What was it like planning a destination wedding?
With Yazmin as our planner it was much easier than we expected. We made two trips down to Sayulita before the wedding so that helped us plan, but without Yazmin, we would have been lost.
Where did you have your wedding and what was your wedding day like?
We had it at Villa del Oso. Our wedding day was magical from start to finish. Alexis and the bridal party had yoga and meditation and then got ready for the day at Villa del Oso. James and the groomsmen got ready down the road at the home where Alexis’ parents were staying. We had a ceremony just before sunset and then took photos in the town while our guests enjoyed cocktails and the gorgeous Sayulita sunset. Then we danced the night away on the LED dance floor with food provided by Don Pedros (and margaritas too).
How big was your wedding? Where did your guests travel from?
We had 88 people at our wedding. They came from the west coast, east coast and all over the US.
What is your most memorable moment from your wedding?
The whole week was full of amazing moments, but if I had to pick one... Walking down the aisle, seeing my future husband standing there with the beautiful backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, and all those smiling faces looking at me. That was pretty awesome. It was the culmination of a week of friends and family that only a destination wedding could have delivered.
What did you like about having a destination wedding in Sayulita?
We loved that all of our guests were in one small town together. It was amazing being able to take a golf cart into town and “run into” all of your closest friends and family enjoying this small town and falling in love with it just like we did.
What most impressed you about your wedding planner?
Yazmin never said no. She had a way of taking what we envisioned and making it real. When we told her our vision for the wedding she said, “Oh yes, I understand: Mexico Upgraded!” She nailed it in every sense. Not only did she plan an incredible wedding, but every event was so thoughtfully planned out that it made the entire week so very special.
What did you enjoy most about your stay in Sayulita?
We loved walking into town and having coffee and watching the waves break. It is beyond relaxing.
Some people have a preconceived notion that Mexico is unsafe? How did you and your guests feel about your safety in Sayulita?
We anticipated this ahead of time, and made an effort to share information with all our guests on our wedding website about how safe Nayarit and Sayulita is. We just needed to educate our guests that the region we were traveling to was a safe place. Once our guests arrived in Sayulita, they realized it was safe.
How did the cost of your destination wedding to Sayulita compare to the cost of friends’ wedding in your home of origin?
We spent as much as our friend’s back in the US do on their weddings. BUT, we got three times more for our money. We created an amazing experience for our guests in a beautiful location that lasted multiple days. Back in the San Francisco area, what we did in Sayulita would have been impossible on our budget.
What advice would you give others considering a destination wedding in Sayulita?
We tell all our friends that are considering a destination wedding the number one item you need is a good wedding planner. You’re not there to see things first hand or to meet face-to-face with the people you’re relying on for your big day. A good wedding planner will calm your nerves and provide you with creative ideas that fit in with the local environment.
Any final words or thoughts?
I would recommend that anyone get married in Sayulita. Both of us have lived in and traveled to many places around the world and there is no place like Sayulita. There is something for everyone: Relaxation, good food, great weather, hiking, surfing, yoga, pilates, walking, dancing, you name it, Sayulita has it.