Luxury wedding planner extraordinaire Nicole Simeral of Nicole Simeral & Company creates unforgettable destination wedding celebrations.By Jessica Bowne | Photography by Person + Killian Photography
Picture this: Your wedding weekend has arrived and it is no small affair, as your guests have flown in from across the country for a multi-day celebration in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Day one of the weekend-long event begins with a morning fishing tournament on rented boats, before margaritas and lunch at an oceanfront restaurant. The day concludes with a beautiful sunset dinner for family. The Mexican culture is reflected throughout the course of the weekend—from a custom wedding invitation suite to a tapas-style rehearsal dinner and tacos made to order at a post-nuptial Sunday brunch, following a wedding reception of dancing to a Grammy Award-winning DJ.
“I would say to brides and grooms that the journey for a destination wedding is different [than traditional celebrations],” says Nicole Simeral, the mastermind behind this Mexican wedding. “The experience of planning something that is out of the country and your comfort zone is different. If they are selecting a destination they can’t see every day, they have to embrace it as an adventure.”
With a background in event planning at several of Boston’s luxury hotels, Simeral—whose company is based at Quincy’s Marina Bay—now specializes in destination weddings. She plans an average of 25 weddings per year at venues across the globe—some of which include a 14th-century villa in Lake Como, Italy; Sonoma, California; Turks and Caicos; and, more locally, Block Island. The planning process for a destination wedding can range from eight to 16 months, with most couples embracing the colors, culture and cuisine of their venue’s location. Simeral carefully surveys each destination in advance to scout the area’s top vendors, from lighting and music to linens and florals. She often shops at the destination but, in some instances, will import a shipping container filled with items for the wedding, as was the case for a recent Turks and Caicos wedding.
Her top piece of advice for those considering destination vows: “When people are planning a destination wedding, they should take into account that they are going to have more face time and experiences with their friends and guests than they would at a one-day wedding,” says Simeral, who had her own destination wedding at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis in the Bahamas. Naturally, destination weddings tend to be on the more intimate side; Simeral estimates guest attendance rates of about 50 percent for European venues.
When it comes to her wedding planning style, Simeral is thoroughly detail-oriented and hands-on. She and her team always arrive on Tuesday of the wedding week and stay through Sunday or Monday to ensure the event runs flawlessly. “We believe we have crafted the perfect way to handle a destination wedding,” she says, pointing to extensive walkthroughs for each event of the wedding weekend. “We are 50 percent design, 50 percent logistics—like trying to deliver 140 gift bags in Mexico with no GPS,” says Simeral. “When a bride is planning a destination wedding, she needs a partner that will go to any length to get it executed. We have set the bar in the market for destination weddings.”
Nicole Simeral & Company
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