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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
We ended the night with as we do… with “Survivor” Flip Cup! A couple that flips together, sticks together!
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.
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.
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!