Mexico, North America

My First Destination Wedding: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

July 7, 2015
Mexico - Puerto Vallarta - Around the World with Justin

Around the World with Justin
I had never been to a destination wedding until the 4th of July last year when one of my best friends, Laura Scarpati, tied the knot to Matt Dorsey with a Garza Blanca wedding in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I love weddings – a day full of family, friends, dancing, partying – and adding travel to that list made me completely fall in love with the idea of destination weddings.

Garza Blanca wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.com
In honor of Laura and Matt’s one year anniversary and as a thank you for giving our friends an EPIC travel adventure together, I dedicate this entry to them. Congrats to you both on “surviving” your first year of marriage and I can’t wait to celebrate many more milestones together. Happy Anniversary!

Garza Blanca wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.com
Around the World with Justin
From Los Angeles, it’s pretty simple – hop on a flight to Puerto Vallarta and call it a day. Typically I travel solo so right away one of the best parts about this adventure was the chance to travel with my best friends. Once we arrived in PV, we negotiated prices and took taxis to our resort, Garza Blanca.

Garza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.com
As soon as we hopped out of our taxi and made our way into our resort, we were handed champagne. Sipping down my bubbly, I saw my first glimpse of the infinity pool with an ocean view for our Garza Blanca wedding adventure. Paradise found.

Garza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.comGarza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.com
Around the World with Justin
Pre-Wedding
From Thursday afternoon until the wedding on Saturday, we celebrated with the bride and groom as if we were on spring break. The fun included hanging by the pool and beach, snorkeling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, beer pong in the pool, tequila tasting and watching #nofilter sunsets.

Garza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.comGarza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.comGarza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.comGarza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding sunset aroundtheworldwithjustin.com
What I loved most about being at a destination wedding was the amount of QUALITY time everyone was able to spend with the bride and groom. Typically you’re lucky to clock in a few minutes with them at a wedding, but not here. Laura and Matt spent HOURS with every guest reminiscing about the past, connecting loved ones and glowing with excitement for their future together. Traveling to Mexico for their Garza Blanca wedding gave us the opportunity to go from being just a guest at their wedding to being a part of it.

Garza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.comGarza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.comGarza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.com
The Wedding
On Saturday, July 5, 2014, Laura – a gorgeous bride – and Matt said “I do” in a simple ceremony with a picturesque ocean backdrop. Immediately following was hands down one of the best receptions I’ve ever been to! With outdoor seating, a sunset over the ocean, touching speeches and a dance floor that turned into a Miami nightclub… it was a Garza Blanca wedding we didn’t want to end. So it didn’t!

Garza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.comGarza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.comGarza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.comGarza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.com
After the reception, Laura asked me to lead a lantern release on the beach. She got the idea from a trip we took together to Southeast Asia to celebrate the Yi Peng Lantern Festival in Thailand (check it out). During Yi Peng, lanterns are released to symbolize letting go of negative energy in hopes of good fortune. We released lanterns in honor of the Dorsey’s new beginning, with hopes of a lifetime full of love.

Garza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.comGarza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.com
We ended the night with as we do… with “Survivor” Flip Cup! A couple that flips together, sticks together!

Garza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.com
Around the World with Justin
Two words: Garza Blanca. If you’re ever looking for an all-inclusive destination wedding in Mexico (or just a getaway), this place has it all! A classy beachfront property, stunning views, infinity pools, bars upon bars, water sports and activities, great food… the perfect spot for our four-day wedding adventure.

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Around the World with Justin
Just because I “traveled” to #DorseyandLaura’s wedding isn’t the reason why I wanted to write a post about it. While most of my previous posts have focused on my destination-specific solo adventures around the world, this was the exact opposite. Their destination wedding represents how travel isn’t always about the actual destination, but more importantly about the people you’re traveling with. Sure, PV and Garza Blanca were perfect for a destination wedding, but I’m willing to bet that no matter where we went their wedding would have been just as memorable. Traveling enabled us to spend unique quality time together – with friends old and new. It was an experience we never would have had without making the trip.

Garza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.com

Garza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.com

Over the past seven years Laura and Matt have been an integral part of making LA a home for me. We’ve created a group of friends that has become my west coast family. I can’t imagine living in California without them and can’t wait for more adventures to come. Happy Anniversary #DorseyAndLaura!

Garza Blanca Wedding Puerto Vallarta Mexico destination wedding aroundtheworldwithjustin.com

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14 Comments

  • Reply Nancy Dorsey July 7, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Justin,
    This post was awesome. You brought back many happy memories of our fun days in Mexico. The wedding was a blast! Dave and I were thrilled to meet the many friends of both Laura and Matt. I know they consider you to be one of their special friends. Your photos were awesome, thanks for honoring them with this remembrance. Hugs, Nancy

    • Reply Justin Walter July 7, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      Thank you so much Nancy! I was so happy that over the wedding I got to spend time with you and Dave. Laura and Matt are so lucky to have you guys and we talk about their wedding all the time. So much fun and so many great memories. Hope to see you back on the West Coast soon.

  • Reply Marilyn Scarpati July 7, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Justin – thank you so much for this beautiful collection of Mexico Memories! It was so much fun to relive last years wedding adventures with Matt and Laura! They are truly blessed with a happy marriage and a life filled with amazing friends like you. We were so happy that we got to meet all of you who are so dear to their hearts. Hope to see you again soon. Happy & safe travels….love & hugs : )

    • Reply Justin Walter July 9, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      I speak for the LA crew that we can’t get enough of Laura and Matt! We loved spending their wedding weekend with both families and left with so many memories. Hope to see you guys on your next trip out west.

  • Reply Amanda July 7, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Wow – what a spectacular wedding – and what a beautiful bride & couple! You showed me a whole new, glamorous side of PV (I used to go often, but mostly just to rage and party) and the photos, as always, are amazing. I am dying to go back now! 🙂

    • Reply Justin Walter July 9, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      Thank you Amanda! Garza Blanca was a slice of paradise and I would definitely recommend staying there and I can’t wait to go back.

  • Reply Thal Heimer July 14, 2015 at 3:09 am

    This post has really made a difference within my life. Many thanks for the help.

    • Reply Justin Walter July 21, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      You’re welcome! Puerto Vallarta is a great place for a destination wedding or any tropical getaway. Enjoy!

  • Reply Freiling August 2, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    I really appreciate you making the effort to generally share these details with us.

    • Reply Justin Walter August 4, 2015 at 2:33 pm

      Great to hear! One of my goals is to share what I’ve learned through my travels in an easy, accessible way.

  • Reply Geno September 15, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    I enjoy the efforts you have put in this, thanks for all the great posts.

    • Reply Justin Walter September 15, 2015 at 5:16 pm

      Thanks for the feedback! I love sharing my travel experiences and hope my blog is enjoyable to read and a great travel resource.

  • Reply Curz October 9, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    You really have superb stories. Bless you for sharing your web page.

  • Reply Checking in to Paradise at Club Med Punta Cana, Dominican RepublicAround the World with Justin October 17, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    […] I had never been to a Club Med and had only been to an all-inclusive resort for my friend’s wedding in Puerto Vallarta. Spending four days at Club Med Punta Cana was a retreat in paradise (of course after working). […]

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