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How to Have a Destination Wedding for $5,000 | Christy and Donovan | Tulum, Mexico

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

Destination weddings are oh-so trendy right now, and for good reason. Rasmus and I got married in Quintana Roo, Mexico back in June and loved everything about it. I will spill all of our logistical details at the end of this series. I want you to meet some brides who also excelled in getting their rowdy bunches across borders and into pews!

I know Christy because she is the big sister of one of my best friends, Courtney Harms. Courtney and I played volleyball together in college and became like family. And in the process I've gotten close to Christy; I visited her a few times in Silverthorne, Colorado when I was traveling for work during my time in admissions at Fort Lewis College. Christy also helped steer me when I was planning our destination wedding. She gave me great advice! They had an incredible, intimate wedding in Tulum two years ago.

Christy (28) and Donovan Haynes (27) are actually expecting a baby boy any day now! And this wedding was the beautiful start to their happily ever after.


Meet Christy and Donovan

Wedding Date: April 27th, 2017

Location: Tulum, Mexico

Budget: $10,000

In Christy’s Words, Their Love Story

“Our love story is actually pretty interesting! We grew up about 20 minutes apart in Aurora and ended up going to the same college (UNC Greeley). In college, we didn't know each other and had never met, however, I knew some of his friends and he knew some of mine. He also knew my roommate my second year so at some point he may have even been in my dorm. We both left UNC the same year to come back home and begin schooling in Denver. I began working at the 24 hour fitness he frequented regularly. We still had never met.

One day while scrolling on Facebook the cutest boy I had ever seen showed up on my people I should know list on Facebook and we had a ton of friends in common. How had I never even seen this person before? I immediately added him and when he accepted I messaged him right away! I couldn't help myself. We chatted for a few days over Facebook before he asked me on a date. Our first date was rough. He is very shy and I am very loud, I also beat him 4 out of 5 times in bowling and despite my attempts at flirting, he just didn't seem interested. Turns out he was! And proceeded to ask me out on another date. He later told me that he had seen me at the gym and was excited the the cute redhead added him on Facebook!

I didn't really know what to think at first and we were a little rocky the first few months trying to figure each other out. Did I want to be with someone that quiet? Was this guy really as genuine and as kind as he seemed? I had never met someone so kind, I thought it might be an act of some sort. We dated for 4ish years before he asked me to marry him and a year and a half later we were on a beach in Mexico promising each other a lifetime! And now... 2 years later we are expecting our baby boy <3”

Location, Location, Location

Christy and Donovan wanted to have a wedding in Mexico, and keyed in on Cancun. They searched for hotels that were secluded, it was important for Christy that other people were not walking around in bikinis in her wedding photos. They landed on Dreams Resort in Tulum and could not be happier. Their package all inclusive, which included food, drink, tables, chairs, flowers, cake, decor, photography, videography, the DJ and the officiant. Christy says they planned the entire wedding in under two hours!


The couple was gifted $10K for the wedding or to spend on their future, and they spent it on the wedding. Christy says after it was all said and done, the wedding itself costed about half of their budget! They say if they would have gotten married in Colorado the venue alone would have been $5,000. Having a wedding at an all exclusive resort can really cut costs!


At the Haynes wedding there were 25 people total. Originally 100 people were invited. Christy says she never narrowed the invitee list, because she knew most people wouldn’t come. She says the people who came were the ones who really wanted to be there, and it was perfect. The large group got to travel and explore Mexico together, and they even all fit at a long dinner table for the reception.


It is a good time! Traveling with loved ones can be a new experience. And for these two, it was the cost sensitive option. Christy says, less people, less drama. The most important people in your life will be there.


It can be hard to keep track of everything. Making sure people have their flights and hotels booked. Figuring out who is actually to show up can be tough, some people are indecisive and did not make travel plans until the last second. Getting people to RSVP can be a challenge, because they want to come but potentially cannot afford it.

Christy’s Advice

“If you want to do it, ABSOLUTELY DO IT! You will never regret it! I would also recommend getting a really good travel agent who can handle all of your guest information so you don't have to. If you are a girl getting married in a humid place, get an up-do (especially if you are like me and your hair cannot handle humidity)! Also, dress your wedding party appropriately for the weather. Lastly, let your guests know as soon as possible so they can start saving!”


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