-AS SEEN IN BRIDAL GUIDE MAGAZINE-
After rescheduling their nuptial celebration twice, Austin, Texas couple Karishma and Shaylan Patel swapped vows in a traditional Hindu ceremony at the Pacific-ocean facing Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa. "According to the Gujarati calendar, this was the same date my parents and my grandparents got married on, so it was a really special day," explains Karishma. "It meant so much to us that it ended up working out like that. We had to push our wedding twice, and the universe always has its way of making things work out,” she adds. The couple, who chose the breezy Mexican resort for its ability to host multiple events — they had five! — at various sites across the tropical property, blissfully toasted with their guests thanks to the excellent on-site service and impeccable wedding planning. "Having the best event planner and team ever means everything will work out perfectly!" gushes the bride.
In the past two decades, the Pacific coastline stretching from Nuevo Vallarta to San Blas and hugging the Bay of Banderas, which fronts Puerto Vallarta, has been called Riviera Nayarit. The original peoples of the Nayarit region are Huichol and their tradition of beadwork is on display throughout many of the hotels, restaurants, and cultural excursion offerings in the area. Intricate, vibrant and downright gorgeous, the pieces are made in the traditional method. First a thin layer of beeswax is spread over a hollowed gourd or wooden form. Small glass beads are then pushed into the wax to create the patterns.
"We had a welcome night on the beach while the sun was setting, and we had fireworks at the end of the night. It was a perfect way to start our celebrations with our loved ones.”
The malecon (a wide beachfront boardwalk) stretches along Puerto Vallarta’s buzzy downtown. Visitors stroll the area for taco tastings, tequila flights and sightseeing. “I really loved downtown Puerto Vallarta, I think this destination is the best for anything,” recalls Karishma. One night she and Shaylan enjoyed local offerings at Pancho’s Takos. “It’s not a fancy place and that’s why it was so perfect,” she explains. “My husband and I had the best tacos right in the middle of downtown on a Monday night. It was a really fun experience and if I go back that’s where I will be going first,” she adds.
The Marietas Islands, a unique group of volcanic islands with a fascinating ecosystem, have been called the Galapagos of Mexico. The collection of islets in the Bay of Banderas is a natural sanctuary chock-a-block with wildlife, sea creatures and birds. Day trips to the site are wildly popular with snorkeling, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding being the draw once there. A quiet cove called Secret Beach with its golden sands also beckons.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton became famous tabloid fixtures as he filmed The Night of the Iguana at Playa Mismaloya, near Puerto Vallarta. The couple, for whom director Federico Fellini coined the term paparazzi after the cameramen who buzzed around Liz & Dick in those days, eventually bought a home in the area. Today, Casa Kimberly is a chic and intimate retreat. The property's Iguana — a splendid indoor/outdoor eatery and tequila bar with ornate crystal chandeliers and sweeping vistas of the city and the placid Banderas Bay — accepts reservations from non-house guests for dinner service.
While the newlyweds reposed at the expansive resort for much of their stay, they did have another heart-pumping experience off property — an ATV excursion. Traversing a verdant jungle landscape via dirt roads and foliage-edged paths, they explored the unexpected side of Puerto Vallarta. On their excursion, Karishma and Shaylan wound their way to an impressive vantage point in the Sierra Madre Mountains. "It's really beautiful. The perfect way to see all of PV," they say. As a bonus they stopped for snacks at a family-owned restaurant with a view.
The Mexican state of Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is located, is famously the home- land of tequila. Tasting experiences are a hallmark for all visitors. The Marriott offers a bespoke agave spirit for sipping
The requirements for saying "I do" in Mexico are extensive. All couples must be 18 or older and not currently married. Upon arrival in the country, the couple must present, in person, a valid passport, tourist card (issued upon arrival), birth certificate, blood-test results (done in Mexico), completed marriage application forms from the local registry and four witnesses. All foreign documents, with the exception of the passports, must be translated, apostilled and notarized prior to the application day. The couple, and their witnesses, must arrive in Mexico four business days before the ceremony to complete the legal paperwork.
With more than 400 rooms, with bars and restaurants, multiple pools, watersports and other robust activity offerings and a seemingly endless golden strand of sand, the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa is the postcard-perfect embodiment of a luxury resort property. The freeform infinity pool is the heart of the hotel and is positioned adjacent to both the barefoot Las Casitas (tip: order the lobster tacos) and the hammock-lined beach. The Ceviche and Tequila bar is a favorite gathering space that is at the same time splashy and laid-back thanks to its 180 tequila options, bespoke cocktail menu and a variety of ceviche preparations. Ohtli Spa is another standout. Breezy palapa-roofed cabanas set on the beach offer the most romantic setting for massages featuring traditional techniques. And guest rooms — all of which have balconies — up the luxe factor with sand-shaded furnishings, rattan accessories and splashy turquoise accents (room rates start at $269 a night. There is a required per-night resort fee).
- Wedding Planner: Nirali at Nirali Shah Events
- Venue: Marriott Puerto Vallarta
- Catering: Namaste Catering
- Cake and Cocktaiks: Marriott Puerto Vallarta
- Décor: Ale Magaña, Prashe Decor, Atelier Events
- Photo + Video: Ama by Aisha
- Hair & Makeup: Karissa Lenertz and Shiedha at Bat City Hair and Shiedhaobeauty
- Beide's Mehndi: Neha Assar
- Custom Outfits: Pawan and Pranav
- Music: DJShilpa and Nihal Singh