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Hi, I'm Leslee!
So nice to meet you!

Is a destination wedding worth it?  Will it really be a choice you’ll be glad you made?  No one but you can say for certain, but I can share my own experience from the side of a bride as well as a videographer planning my own Mexico destination wedding.

My wedding highlight film from the one and only PenWeddings

Four years later, my own wedding week was an experience so perfect and authentic it almost seems like a dream.

Thanks to our dear friends Sarah and Rick of PenWeddings, when it all feels surreal, my husband Chasen and I can watch the highlight film they created and be transported right back to those once-in-a-lifetime moments.

Planning our destination wedding

Chasen proposed to me in Central Park NYC in October.  By the end of January, we were traveling to Puerto Vallarta with 10 of our closest family and friends, plus 2 strangers who quickly became lifelong friends.  

We were married high up on a balcony overlooking Los Arcos, waves and rocks below, sun and sky above.

casa azul profundo destination wedding videographer
wedding photo of destination wedding videographer

Mexico wasn’t always going to be our destination.  We had traveled together to Savannah, Georgia at the end of 2016 and fell in love with the big trees, the beautiful town squares, and the southern charm.  We considered having our wedding in a historic antebellum home in Savannah, but decided it would be too cold for January. 

For about a week, we thought about having a family-only ceremony and dinner at a local mansion in a town just a few miles from where I grew up.  That idea took me way down the Pinterest rabbit hole, where I found myself bewildered before I’d even begun.  So the mansion plan was out for us.  Too stressful.  

I think the idea of searching for a big home in Mexico was born over a couple of Modelos and tamales at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  How appropriate!  We thought, wouldn’t it be cool to share a beer with our closest friends and family around a pool in some beautiful big casa somewhere a whole lot closer to the equator than frozen Oklahoma? 

We went home and began the search online.  We ultimately found a beautiful villa outside Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  We had our venue – the beautiful Casa Azul Profundo.

Next, our guest list of ten!  Our invitation was a personal video sent to each guest and an email that followed.  Here is a little portion of that email:

“As our guests, we want you to celebrate life with us. We have hired a chef and housekeeping, the meals are taken care of. Our schedule is TBD, but it will involve a lot of looking out to the sea, swimming, breathing, thanking God for His gifts and blessings, celebrating our wedding and marriage, and having the time of our lives.”

My Favorite Things

One of my favorite things about our wedding was our personal vows.  

It was a lot harder to write those vows than I thought it would be.  I put it off for as long as I could, feeling stuck every time I thought about getting started.  I worried about it sounding cliché and cheesy. 

Finally, in the week leading up to the wedding, I opened my computer and started. Five days later, I finished both the vows and a letter he would open before the ceremony. 

The statistics on that Word document tell me I made 44 revisions and spent 266 minutes editing. 

Those 4 hours and 26 minutes were the quietest, most soul-searching moments of preparing my heart for marriage that I think I could have possibly experienced.

Now, 4 years later, we have framed those vows and they are hanging in our home. They are a reminder of the heartbeat of our marriage; the promises we made before God to love and serve one another for as long as we live.

mismaloya wedding
personal wedding vow books

Moments We Will Never Forget

  • Chasen toasted each of our guests during our reception dinner.  He went around the room sharing words of love and appreciation while I sat beside him and cried with gratitude.  It was a powerful moment.  As a professional DJ and master of ceremonies (shoutout to PartyBox!) he has some great tips for writing and delivering toasts.
  • Our guests each toasted us.  Again, alllll the tears.  
  • I gave Chasen a special photo album with letters to him from each of our four children.  
  • We said our vows to one another in a very unhurried, sacred ceremony.  We looked each other in the eyes and meant every word.  We still do.
  • I called my dad back home in Oklahoma right before my first look.  My sister and mom were by my side, all of us laughing and crying.
  • We witnessed a spectacular surprise fire dancer show; a special gift from our guests to us.
  • Our whole group strolled the streets of Puerto Vallarta the day before the wedding,  stopping to buy hats, dance on the malecon, and taste the local tequila.
  • Plus a million other special moments that live in my heart and in our wedding film and our photos by the very talented Leila Brewster.

Destination Wedding Videographer: The Best Choice

I had such peace of mind during my wedding week knowing that I didn’t have to see everything.  I could be fully present in every individual moment knowing I’d see it all again through a different perspective in our wedding film, which encompassed the entire week of activities.

So, to answer the title question, is hiring a destination wedding videographer a good idea?  For my husband and I, it was the best choice we could have possibly made. 

penweddings and leslee layton

Being on the other side of the camera, in the bride’s shoes, gave me a renewed sense of purpose as a videographer myself.  I was able to fully appreciate the profound joy of reliving our most special moments; of having them memorialized forever. 

I have the comfort of knowing that even when Chasen and I have been married for 50 years and our memories have faded, our wedding film will still be waiting to transport us back in time to the day we pledged forever.

If you are looking for a fabulous destination wedding videographer, we highly recommend our friends Sarah and Rick of PenWeddings.

But if they’re already booked, Chasen and I would be honored to be your destination wedding videographers. Our wedding film is truly the best keepsake of our wedding week and we wouldn’t change a thing.


- madison

“She helped me throughout the entire engagement, even when I had questions that didn't have to do with videography! I worried about NOTHING my wedding day because she spent time laying out the day and made sure it was flawless, making sure I felt confident in everything! Most importantly, I felt like I came out of the engagement and wedding day with a new friend. If "infinite stars" was a choice, I would choose it - but I guess I'll settle with 5!!!”

"Not only is Leslee a joy to work with, she is extremely professional, and one of the kindest people I know!"

- blaire

"I've got nothing but compliments on the video, and I have nothing but compliments about her professionalism and kindness! She is the absolute sweetest person you will ever meet, and constantly strives to make your day perfect and meet your needs. I SO HIGHLY recommend Leslee for your videographer!”

"After one "get to know you" phone call, we were already good friends and I knew she'd do a great job!"

- jessica

"On my wedding day, I was worried it may be awkward having someone I don't know in the room while I was getting ready, but it was the complete opposite of that. She fit right in and was actually a really calming presence to have around. When we got our video, I watched it immediately over and over again and couldn't stop crying. It was so beautifully put together. We got SO many compliments on it. My brother didn't even cry when his own children were born and he teared up watching our wedding video!! That's how good Leslee is!”

"I don't even have the words to say how amazing Leslee is!"

- jessica

“She is insanely talented and was able to create a film that highlighted all of our favorite moments throughout the day and included all of our favorite people. I am so grateful that we chose Leslee as our videographer, and I couldn't recommend her enough. She has such a warm and calming presence and was so so sweet to work with.”

"After seeing our film and working with Leslee it was truly like she had known us for years"