An interview with our Event Coordinator, Michelle Montejo, on full-service wedding insights
With the popularity rising on the trend of Belize destination weddings, San Ignacio Resort Hotel decided to take on an interview with our Event Coordinator, Michelle Montejo, on reasons why you should consider hiring a hotel resort for a couple’s big day, insights of the DOs and DONTs of wedding planning, and other things to keep in mind when preparing the perfect wedding getaway. Here’s what we found out!
Name: Michelle Montejo
Position: Event Coordinator
Years as Event Planning: 2 Years
1. San Ignacio Resort Hotel is a full-service venue. Why would you recommend full-service over partial planning?
Michelle: One-stop-shops are the best! By doing this, you only need to deal with one location and one person who will take care of all the details and outsourcing from start to finish; everything from venue, catering, décor, accommodations, transportation, tours, officiant, you name it, can be booked through San Ignacio Resort Hotel.
2. You have a variety of venues at the hotel. Which would you recommend for weddings and how can couples transform the space to best fit their theme?
Michelle: My personal favourite is our Bedran Hall, the largest event venue in Western Belize, due to its elegance and size. It showcases high ceilings with gorgeous hanging chandeliers that illuminate the room with a warm yellow tone which is the deifying factor of its ambiance. The Bedran Hall boasts 4,500 square feet of space (with plans of expansion over the next couple of years), a large wooden dance floor, plush carpeting, band/DJ pit, AC, private entrance, and restrooms. The best part about this hall is that it does not need a lot of décor to make it amazing. Beautiful table centerpieces, table overlays or runners, chair sashes, and polished silverware is all that it really needs. With the additional perk of our professional service staff, it’s hard to ask for more—but you can always feel free to go big!
3. What would you consider to be the most important aspect for couples to allocate their budget towards? What should couples save on?
Michelle: Whenever you go to any event, you are thinking food, food, FOOD! The majority of your budget should be focused on delectable hors d’oeuvres, appetizers, entrée, dessert (wedding cake), and a midnight snack wouldn’t hurt. Couples should save on international flowers by sticking to local flowers. Flowers such as roses, lilies, carnations, gerbera daisies, and an assortment of orchids can be quite costly because we have to import these from neighbouring Guatemala, the high border fees and taxes can make your flowers cost just as much as your catering! I saw on a recent survey from Zola that one of the biggest regrets from newlyweds (22% of the couples surveyed) wish they had spent less on flowers. With that said, I truly recommend focusing on items that truly uplift the overall wedding experience.
4. What would be your best piece of advice for newly engaged couples that are planning their Belize wedding?
Michelle: Reserve your venue and date as soon as you can. Belize is quite small which means that there’s a limited assortment of venues to choose from, especially in inland Belize. Once your preferred date and venue are secured, you can take care of the wedding details at a later time. Most engaged couples secure their date and venue from 8 to 12 months prior to their big day.
5. What questions should couples ask before securing a venue?
Michelle: Don’t be scared to ask what the venue rental includes and all details. Our venues at San Ignacio Resort Hotel already include all furniture, tablecloths, set-up and clean up, public address (PA) system, and more! Also, ensure you are informed of the cancellation or date change policies. If you know that you want to “party all night” with your loved ones, ask how late the venue can extend its opening hours. Another crucial question to ask is what services or fees are mandatory for the venues to handle.
6. How does the San Ignacio Resort staff work with couples to help carry out their vision?
Michelle: We offer bespoke services; we have never done the same wedding twice! We love to have our wedding couples tell us with words and pictures how they imagine their special day to be and we do our best to make it happen. With personalized services, the bride & groom can get the wedding they have always hoped for.
7. What are some of the most unique things you’ve helped couples put into their weddings?
Michelle: We have turned our jungle surrounded tennis court into a lit-up evening wedding ceremony, hanged a 4-tiered wedding cake upside down, and we have even organized weddings at private waterfalls and ancient Maya Ruins.
8. What is your favourite wedding trend so far this year?
Michelle: I am loving all the simple and rustic wedding trends going on. Brides have been opting for less bling and more burlap and lots of greenery, the simplicity of it is fantastic!
San Ignacio Resort Hotel, awarded as Hotel of the Year 2016 and Restaurant of the Year 2016 by the Belize Tourism Board, is a family-owned full-service boutique Resort. The venue is a prime location for hosting a variety of events in the Cayo District, from destination weddings to corporate events, and known for delivering excellence in service for over 40 years.