Westin Wedding Review â€“ 6/8/08
All in all, the week leading up to the wedding, the day of, and the week after were perfect. We encountered a few minor and major hiccups, but everything turned out just fine. All our family & friends were so happy about making it down. Everyone had a great time. We would do it all again if we could. It was just more than words can say.
We flew down the week before our wedding date, and I would absolutely do that again. It was nice to chill out, get to know the town, and to finish any tasks that needing looking after. We flew down on Friday the 30th of May, and all our guests flew down the next Friday, the 6th of June.
I chose not hire a planner, although it probably would have been helpful the day of, because Iâ€™m a planner myself, and I enjoy doing these things, but if this is something that is not enjoyable, I would suggest hiring someone to help you, otherwise, you will be highly stressed, and that is not a way to plan your wedding.
Alaska Air â€“ We were on time. All in all, flying Alaska has been painless. Unfortunately, I wasnâ€™t able to hang my dress, but we gently folded it and put it in the overhead compartment, and it came out totally fine. We booked our reservations well in advance, so we only had a $50.00 Overage fee. The night before we were weighing all our suitcases to make sure we werenâ€™t going over the 50 pounds, but I thought we could only have one checked bag without paying, but it turns out we could check in 2 bags, so we had thought we would be paying $150.00, so it was a nice little savings right off the back.
We carried our hurricane vases in a Rubbermaid container. Ben packed everything because he is really good at it. We put foam all around, and wrapped the vases in bubble wrap, and cushioned it with the pashminas I was taking down, and nothing broke. We also had 33 favor candles, sandframe, vase gems, and I know you all understand.. I really canâ€™t believe we pulled it off. Our best man took down 30 other votives that would go with our centerpieces. Everything made it down safely. Yay!
Volaris Airlines (A+)â€“ We are in San Diego, and all our friends flew Volaris through Tijuana. The fares are half and sometimes less than half the price of rates here in the states. There is a shuttle that picks you up from downtown San Diego and drives you right to the airport and back. All our friends flew Volaris, and they had an easy and cheap flight.. And the bonus is you get free alcoholic beverages! Everyone had nothing but good things to say about them, so just wanted to put that out there for anyone who might live in this area.
First Hotel â€“ Solmar (A-)
This little hotel was very charming and inexpensive, and we had a room right on the beach. We could walk right into town, yet had the privacy we wanted when we got to our hotel. The hotel is on the pacific side, and really we thought it was in a great location. We stayed here a week. On the downside, the beds were tiny double beds and extremely hard.
Second Hotel â€“ Club Regina (Westin) (A)
These condos were absolutely perfect. I was able to rent through someone I found through VRBO.com. He was able to give us 3 one bedrooms and 4 two bedrooms. WE had a 2 bedroom that was again right on the beach. We really couldnâ€™t have asked for a better place. It was definitely wedding central. We did a big Costco shop the day everyone came in and provided margaritas, beer, sandwiches, and various snacks. The condos had kitchenettes, and most of us made use of them at some point. It was nice to have the option of not having to eat out all the time. A few guests, who were not staying the whole week, booked at the Westin. The condos are built right into the cliff, so little buggies would cart you around the property. We never had a problem getting a buggy. They ran 24 hours per day. I was a bit concerned that my 88 year old grandma would have a hard time with some of the stairs, but they gave her a room that didnâ€™t require stairs to climb, and the buggies were always available. Each bedroom had an amazing Jacuzzi tub and the wall overlooking the ocean in each bedroom was an entire window. Really, really amazing. I wished we had more time to enjoy the tub and the view, but next time. The one thing that was missing was restaurants. There was only one on the Club Regina property, and it would only serve breakfast to people in the timeshare presentations. The other restaurant options were at the Westin, and really the only non-expensive one available there was La Cascada because the La Playa restaurant was closed. This is the reason we donâ€™t give them an A+.
Transportation â€“ Transcabo (Ungraded and waiting for refund of money)
We hired aiport transportation and shuttle to and from dinner through Transcabo, and that weekend, the taxi union was halting all private shuttle services with the governmentâ€™s backing. Needless to say, the shuttles never came. I was livid and freaking out, but it all worked out. There were always taxis available. It has been over 2 weeks now, and Iâ€™m still waiting for an over 600.00 refund. As long as they give this back to me, I wonâ€™t have anymore bad things to say about them. I just hope I get this money back! Iâ€™m just crossing my fingers this refund shows in my account. Jorge was my contact, and he said they put the credit through right away. This was on the 7th of June.
Welcome Dinner â€“ Mango Deck (A)
I found this restaurant from BDW. Everyone really enjoyed it. Garrit, who is on BDW, was extremely helpful, and very responsive with all my emails and questions. He gave me a good price, and Iâ€™m really glad we went with Mango Deck. The only thing was we were supposed to have fajitas, and the tortillas took a long time to come, so I was finished with my dinner by the time they came. Thatâ€™s it though. Everyone really loved the atmosphere. I was looking for something fun and on the beach. We had fajitas (chicken, beef, shrimp), chile rellenos and flan. Everyone raved about the chile rellenos and the flan. They portioned out a section of the restaurant with balloons. There was an MC there keeping us all entertained, Benâ€™s brother volunteered for a â€œgameâ€ and won everyone free tequila shots. Again, it was great, but it was FREEZING cold!! Luckily, they had nice Mexican blankets waiting for us. If youâ€™re looking for a fun & laid back atmospheres, I totally recommend them.
Flowers â€“ Cabo Flowers (A+)
Francine was extremely helpful and easy to work with. I basically told her my colors, and she made a recommendation, I responded back and that was that. Originally we had chosen a canopy that was really pricey, so I opted for 2 flower arrangements instead that could frame the ceremony, the reception, and we had them for the whole week to admire, and I would just sit at the kitchen table and stare at them. It was so many beautiful flowers. I really had a hard time leaving them. We managed to smuggle a few roses and daisies back with us. I really, really loved our flowers, and Iâ€™m so happy because ordering them from afar was a little sketchy, but I really couldnâ€™t have asked for more beautiful flowers.
Hair & Make-up â€“ Suzanne Morel (A+)
Well, I know they always received high grades and really they were truly professional and excellent at what they did. I did go in and have a trial. My stylist and make-up artistâ€™s name was Deana, and she was fabulous. Suzanne wanted me to mention that brides should have trials that way you know exactly what youâ€™re going to get the day of. I have a bob right now, and wasnâ€™t sure exactly what could be done, so Iâ€™m extremely happy I went in for a hair trial. I only had my make-up done the day of. I really wasnâ€™t concerned about that. I figured anyone can do make-up better than me, and from what I had read about Suzanneâ€™s, I had nothing to worry about, and I didnâ€™t. They transformed me into a beautiful bride. They also did my sisterâ€™s hair and my momâ€™s, and a great job on them too. They were both very happy.
Photographer â€“ Bradley Fraser (A+)
Another extreme professional and I really appreciated this. Like he says, he made us all feel comfortable, and his photos were more than we could have asked for and something we can cherish forever. He was late for our pre-meet, but was apologetic and compensated us for this. He delivered our discs to us the morning we left, and it was so nice to be able to come home and look at pictures. I really canâ€™t say anything more about him except if you go with him, you will be happy you did.
Westin â€“ (B- to c+)
This is the hard part to write. After we visited the Westin last year, we were so excited to have our wedding day there, but honestly, they were pretty difficult to work with. Throughout the year, it took 2 emails in order to get a response back. My planner, Lorena Vasquez, was always very nice, but it was just frustrating a lot of the time to always have to send an email and know youâ€™re going to have to forward it again to get an answer. When we were finalizing all the plans, it took so many back and forths because they just didnâ€™t have it right. She had recommended a particular salad to go with our meal, and on the menu she sent me, it was a Caesar salad not the salad she had recommended. She quoted me a price on cake, and then on the invoice, it was a different price. She had one sound system listed, when I had reserved 2. I had to look very closely at everything because there were just so many little things wrong or missing. Also, they had presented it to me like I had to go through them for everything, and all the vendor prices they were quoting me were outrageous. After I started looking into hiring my own vendors, I realized they were quoting me a 50% mark up plus 10% on top.
We had a pre-meet the day before the wedding. The meeting, they were very professional and organized, and had everything in order. I was so relieved because I really didnâ€™t know what to expect. They said they would be at our room the next day at 11am to pick up our centerpieces. They had a layout of our reception, and we visited the beach area. The meeting went well, and I was feeling better about having our wedding at the Westin.
The day of the wedding, 11am, and nobody shows up. I finally called them. Iâ€™m not sure if it was Â½ or 1 hour later, but again, it took that second follow-up for something to happen. They did come and picked up our centerpieces. The set-up was beautiful. The service during the ceremony, cocktail, and dinner was perfect. The food was exceptional. We had sea bass and orange-mustard pork. We had an apple tartalet for dessert. I had ordered a cake in addition to the dessert. I had told them we would do our cake cutting during cocktail hour. We did our cake cutting during cocktail hour and they took our cake away, never to be seen in all its glory again. They claim they cut the top layer up and offered cake to our guests, but they NEVER offered cake to any of our guests. There were guests, who were waiting for it, and it never came back and it was never offered, and Iâ€™m still pretty upset about this because they lied. I really need to get over this cake drama, but I was really looking forward to our cake, and after I saw it, I thought it was so beautiful, and it was just taken away from us. But, all in all, the day of at the Westin was perfect and the service was exceptional.
This is where I again have a problem with the Westin. As soon as 10:30 rolled around, they just started cleaning everything up, and not giving anyone a chance to collect anything. I had asked the Westin to collect our centerpieces and we would get them at a later date, but they threw away our placecards and our menus. The only thing they saved was our centerpieces. I donâ€™t know. I guess I thought they would save everything we had given them, and I apparently was wrong, and quite disappointed. I called on Monday for our cake (cake drama again), and 4 hours later we received the bottom layer of our cake with no explanation as to where the other layer was. This is when I contacted Lorena, and she informed me that the banquet captain had cut the top layer and offered to everyone, but nobody accepted (LIE). I met with Lorena to go over final billing, and scheduled to have the centerpieces delivered at 9am the next day. They never showed up during the entire next day. I called her and told her they didnâ€™t show up, and she said they would come the next day. They did come the next day after another phone call wondering where they were at. They came with some of our votives and our large hurricane. I asked where the other votives were, and they had left them back at the hotel, so he had to go back and get the rest. It was just kind of the last straw with them.
Again, I have to say, the day of at the Westin was perfect and the food was exceptional! They did a great job, and the property is breathtaking. I just want everyone to be warned that theyâ€™re pretty flaky there, and sometimes it can get really frustrating. I wish those other things hadnâ€™t happened, but Iâ€™m not surprised they did just because of what I had encountered with them throughout the year.
Sadly, if we did again, we would have to go with another venue because they were just so frustrating.
Music (IPOD & Rented sound system)
This was a perfect choice for us. It worked out perfectly, except the â€œfriendâ€ we asked to handle our ceremony music ended up getting wasted on the day of the ceremony, came strolling into the ceremony after I was already there waiting, and screwed up our recessional music too. Ben ended up putting on our processional music, and another friend saved the day when she finally went and took the IPOD away from Dru, who had for some reason unplugged it from the sound system and brought it over to the ceremony area, and played our song. We were seconds away of having to walk down the aisle without music. It was that bad. What she did was rude and unacceptable. She wasnâ€™t even paying attention to our ceremony. She wrote us an apology letter, but I didnâ€™t want to deal with her during the week. I had already had issues with her that Friday night, so she literally hid in her room the rest of the week. We really didnâ€™t care. But, back to the IPOD. This was a great choice for us, and if youâ€™re considering it, it will work. We had our play lists set for cocktail, dinner, and after dinner dancing. Everyone loved our dancing music, and it was fun to hear our favorite songs during cocktail and dinner.
Thatâ€™s about it for the wedding day. Most of us stayed the week after. We had a great time. The wedding night party went on until 5am. I couldnâ€™t hang, and was in bed at 3, but the new hubby stayed up. Everyone had a great time.
That Tuesday, 20 of us went on the Buccaneer Queen for snorkeling. Tons of jellyfish in the water, but the cruise was great, and the pirates were awesome. Everyone really enjoyed the day out.
Wednesday was supposed to be a big beach day on Medano beach, but it was stormy. Black clouds and even a few drizzles of rain. We all stayed in and chilled, and then in the afternoon, a group of us played mini golf at the Westinâ€™s little putting green. This is one of my most memorable events. It was so much fun. Itâ€™s always those little unexpected times that end up being the most remembered.
Thursday, our best man cooked a huge brunch in our condo. We had everyone over, and everyone had a chance for a last visit. After brunch, we had a final pool/beach session.
So much good food, good drinks and especially good friends. It was definitely the best 2 weeks of our lives, and it just went by in a flash. There was some drama, but not enough to overtake the complete happiness we felt. We would do it again in a heartbeat. Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps some other brides out there.
If anyone has any questions, please let me know! Iâ€™m happy to help out.