Planning a Wedding at ACRE Baja
If you've landed on this page chances are you're thinking about getting married in Los Cabos, Mexico and quite possibly at ACRE Baja. YAY! I can without a doubt say that having our destination wedding in Mexico was the best decision we ever made and stumbling upon ACRE on the interwebs was literally pure magic. (See my tips for destination wedding planning here.) Did you know ACRE was the ONLY venue we looked at? Yup, saw it online, booked a flight the next weekend and instantly fell in love. 4.5 months later we were married!
We ended up planning our wedding in 4.5 months (more tips on quick planning coming soon) because of the weather and the fact that I didn't want to wait a whole 1.5 yrs to get married. I cannot recommend ACRE enough; it's the most stunning venue with incredible food, hospitality, and more. Recently I've received tons of DM's about the venue and Los Cabos wedding planning in general, so I figured I would put together top Q + As plus some other 411 that may be helpful.
What's the best time to get married in Los Cabos for perfect weather?
I've heard a few conflicting reports but can attest to the fact that I was there in October, December and March of this past year and strongly believe that November - April are the best months. After April you're really getting close to summer and the temps + humidity rise. In late summer and early fall you may risk getting caught in a rain storm! We originally wanted to plan our wedding for Memorial Day Weekend (May) but after visiting in October I realized it was going to be way too warm and that's why we pushed it up to the middle of March. The high was 81 degrees during our wedding weekend and low around 69 degrees; it was perfecto!
Should we have the bridal party stay AT the ACRE tree houses?
To each their own BUT as of the time of writing this, the tree houses do not have air conditioning. We actually stayed in one when we went to scope out the venue back in October and while they're lovely and adventurous, I personally don't think it makes sense for a bridal party. I would suggest them for a fun couples trip (we're going back for our 1 yr. anniversary) or for any of your guests that may be feeling up for some adventure.
Where did your guests stay?
Our amazing wedding planner, Amy Abbott , helped us secure room blocks at Hotel El Gonzo and Cabo Azul. Both hotels were amazing and all of our guests raved about them. El Gonzo is a unique boutique hotel where we had our welcome party. Andy and I stayed there for 5 nights (Thursday - Tuesday) and most of the younger crowd (aka our friends) also booked there. Cabo Azul is a stunning resort - multiple pools, restaurants, all that jazz - and most of the "grown-ups" stayed there and thoroughly enjoyed it. There's also a J. W Marriott close by that a handful of people opted for as well.
How did you get your guests to ACRE?
We bused our guests to ACRE for wedding day and the Sunday pool party in sprinter vans. In the grand scheme of things it was the most efficient and reliable option, plus we wanted to provide transportation for everyone as a thank you for coming all the way to Mexico. On wedding day each hotel had a specific pick up time to transport people to the ceremony and vans started running again at 9pm until midnight to take people home. Remember, there's no Uber in Los Cabos (yet!).
Did you have to rent a lot of outside items for the reception?
Did I have to? No. Did I want to? Yes. If you're hosting a wedding at ACRE the tables, chairs, and place settings all come with the package (yay!). Of those items we ended up using their tables, plates, and napkins then rented the remaining items from Baja Boutique Rentals. Of course, Andy definitely said " do we really need copper forks?" to which my answer was "yes, it's a vibe!" And you best believe that copper flatware did not disappoint. (Btw, don't forget to read my blog post on wedding planning with your hubby-to-be.) Side note: we used our reception chairs as our ceremony chairs.
What's the food like at ACRE?
To die for. Incredible. Delectable. The food is EVERYTHING! Aside from the venue space, we fell in love with ACRE because it's a restaurant and bar first meaning they pride themselves on their food and drink. 5 months later and I still have friends telling me they can taste the cheddar biscuits in their mouth from our wedding day. Not that you need any suggestions (I'm sure everyone is throwing them at you) BUT go with family style if you can swing it. It's the best way to feed your guests multiple delicious dishes. There's not a single thing I would change from our menu, so here it is in case you need some help deciding:
Cocktail Hour: Chorizo Flatbread / Tuna Tostadita / Chicken Yakitori Skewers
Family Style Menu
1st Course: Biscuits / Kale Salad / Fried Green Tomatoes
2nd Course: Angolotti Pasta / Braised Beef / Whole Hen
Dessert: Churros / Chocolate Chip Cookies
Late Night Snack: BBQ Chicken Flatbread / Fried Mac n Cheese
Talk to me about the Mosquitos, Bugs, Zika... all the things.
To be honest, when we went to visit in October I was VERY concerned about the bug situation. During dinner one night there were so many flies trying to attack our food that I got super bummed because I thought it was going to be a deal breaker. The ACRE team assured me it was because they had just received a ton of rain, so I left hopeful. When we went back in December for our tasting I didn't notice them and on our wedding day no flies at all - thank goodness!
There's definitely mosquitos . ACRE has bug spray on the property if any of your guests need to use some. I got pretty bitten up on my back (because it was totally open) but nowhere else. And from talking to my guests most people faired okay with a few bites here and there (if they didn't wear bug spray). I didn't because it was definitely not top of mind on my wedding day - hah - plus, I always get eaten alive anyway.
Zika. Chances are if you're thinking of having a wedding in Mexico you've had some potential guests express concerns about Zika. This is such a personal decision, however, many reports show that Zika cases have gone down significantly in Los Cabos over the past year and the numbers are pretty on par with Miami. Additionally, getting tested for Zika upon returning to the US is a roughly a $28 test. We had a few couples opt out of attending our wedding because of Zika and I will say we were super bummed and upset about it. Again, it's such a personal decision and I can't judge but I will say that we had two guests who did attend, test negative for Zika after they got back, and are now trying to have a baby less than 5 months later. To each their own!
Air Conditioning + Bathroom Situation
There's not a single place on the premises (besides an off limits office) that has air conditioning. Keep this in mind as you plan your first look, photos, down time, and outfit changes, etc. Speaking of outfit changes: there's only one bathroom (multiple stalls) on the property that is shared with the bar + restaurant. This isn't a problem for guests as it's super central but may be something to think about when planning any outfit changes and/or a place to keep your items. If you don't have a tree house reserved there's no dedicated room or area to store any miscellaneous items (purses, dresses, etc.) The benefit of having a wedding planner is that she/he will figure it all out for you. I had 2 outfit changes on my wedding day and somehow my dresses were always hanging in the bathroom stall when I needed them to be and magically all ended up back at my hotel room that night!
Do you think it's essential to have a wedding planner to get married at ACRE?
I don't think it's essential but I do think having a wedding planner that LIVES + WORKS in the country where your destination wedding is being held is BEYOND helpful.
Specifically as it relates to ACRE: Jessica is their rockstar special events manager and does all the on-site wedding coordination. If you have a planner, Jessica is the one working with the them on negotiating food + staffing costs and finalizing all the day of details. Outside of food, drinks, staffing and being knowledgable about great vendors, it's not technically Jessica's job to deep dive into the nitty gritty of negotiations with other vendors, event design, making sure your family gets on the bus, holding your reception dress in the bathroom, walking your grandma to the ceremony, picking up the decorations you mailed from the US, etc. (Although she would prob do it because she's a freakin' GEM.) That's a job for a wedding planner.
If you were to have a very simple wedding with limited vendors and rentals then you could 100% plan a wedding at ACRE without a planner or day-of-coordinator. For a larger wedding that has more complexities, I personally don't know how it's possible to plan on your own, especially in a foreign country. And I was VERY involved in my planning process, plus I work from home and have a flexible schedule. Aside from the planning + prep, there are so many day-of things happening behind the scenes to ensure the day runs smoothly. Our planner was a godsend. I have so much more to say about wedding planners (dedicated post coming later) and have NOTHING but praises for ours - Amy Abbott - in case you're in the market for one.
Will the ACRE Animals be walking around at my wedding?
For the most part I believe all animals are kept in the pen towards the backside of the lawn. You can also request to have them removed from there as not to disturb your ceremony (if you have your ceremony on the lawn). We lucked out and there just happened to be a a baby donkey living at ACRE during our wedding - hi, burrito! He was the hit of the weekend, however, he has grown up and is no longer so cute and cuddly looking anymore. Just a 411 in case you're hoping to get a donkey photo.
I cannot suggest ACRE enough as a venue: the food, the team, the ambiance... our guests were flabbergasted by the beauty and hospitality. It's definitely not a traditional venue but I'm guessing that you're probably not looking for. traditional if you're this far down in the post. ;) We will cherish our wedding weekend FOREVER.
I hope this is helpful! I remember having tons of questions as I was planning, so please feel free to shoot me a DM if there's anything else on your mind. Don't forget to check out my wedding page for more planning tips and details on our big day.
Wedding Venue: ACRE | Planner + Design: Amy Abbott Events | Invites + Paper Goods: Swell Press | Photography: Gina + Ryan (Los Angeles Based) | Videography: Cinematic Touch | DJ + Sound: DJ Alex | Rentals + Design: Baja Boutique Rentals | Tablescape: Flowers + Events Los Cabos | Ceremony + Personal Florals: Lola Del Campo | Custom Decor: For Your Party | Custom Decor Graphics: Caroline Dunivant | Neon Signs: Echo Neon | Wedding Dress: Sage by Emmy Mae Bridal via Lovely Bride LA (see some of my other faves on this post) | Reception Dress 1: Nala via One Day Bridal | Reception Dress 2: For Love + Lemons | Bridesmaid Dresses: WAYF (see our shopping post here) | Bridesmaid Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Makeup + Hair: Suzie Moldavon and Julia Flaherty (Los Angeles Based)