'Engagement season' prompts variety of romance-travel options

The beach at Playa del Carmen's Mahekal Beach Resort.

I'm not traditional or sentimental. So I admit I was a bit surprised when I got an email promoting a hotel's romance service that noted "engagement season" was upon us.

Engagement season? Never heard of it, I said. (Though I admit that I eloped both times I got married.)

Apparently, I'm told, engagement season begins in the fall and runs through the holidays. And I've noticed that as that so-called season nears, more and more luxury hotels are responding to the demand for destination weddings with a variety of special services and packages for before, during and after the big day.

Playa del Carmen's luxury Mahekal Beach Resort , for instance, has an Amor Aficionado program to help guests craft a special proposal.

The resort will set up a "proposal paparazzi" to capture the moment, or it will arrange an underwater diving proposal, a simple private dinner on the beach or a "Marry Me" margarita garnished with a glittering diamond ring. the resort, which was the venue for country singer Jason Aldean's wedding last year, says its amor aficionado, an engagement-event-focused concierge, is available before and during the stay to arrange events and make the  proposal unique.

Moving on to wedding planning: For couples that are getting closer to the big day and perhaps stressed by all the tensions of arranging the event, the Grand Solmar Land's End Resort & Spa in Cabo San Lucas is offering an Earlymoon Package. As the name suggests, the idea is to get away before the wedding. It includes 55% savings on stays of three nights or more and an upgrade to the next room category, plus a one-day private cabana rental with complimentary cocktail and nightly romantic turndown service.

Mexico's luxury Grand Velas resorts, which are known for their over-the-top wedding, quinceanera and other special parties, are launching a Wedding Dance Experience in which couples can have their first dance choreographed by one of the dancers from the hit shows "Dancing with The Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance." Group choreography can also be arranged for the bridal party or groomsmen. The Wedding Dance Experience starts at $15,000 for the bride-and-groom dance and $20,000 for group dances. But heads up, wedding planners: this must be booked nine months in advance.

For those who prefer a more low-key ceremony, the intimate 48-room Hyatt Carmel Highlands overlooking California's Big Sur coastline is offering the Less is More ... Love is All elopement package. Starting at $4,000 for up to 10 people, it includes a one-hour ceremony in the Gazebo overlooking the Big Sur coastline and a three-hour reception with food, a signature cocktail, unlimited beer and wine and two bottles of sparkling wine.

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