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About smith3576

  1. We used Elizabeth Lloyd. She was really good. It was really hot and she worked hard. My only complaint was that a lot of the ceremony and first dance shots had the videographer in it, which I'm sure is hard to get around. It wasn't that big of a deal for the ceremony shots since there were plenty without, but we didn't have any good first dance shots because since the dance was after dark, the light from the video camera was very prominent in them - like a spotlight. I'm not sure why she didn't notice that taking the pictures.
  2. Good luck! Dreams is a great place. There are a number of reviews of Dreams you should definitely check to help prepare.
  3. Here is my list. I'll probably think of more! WOULD DEFINITELY DO AGAIN: * Have a DW during the week! Doing our wedding on a Tuesday made it so we had plenty of time with our guests – they mostly got there on Friday or Saturday – and there weren’t any other weddings going on that day. * Get there a week before the wedding. It was good to have the extra time to get settled in. * Change hotels for our honeymoon. After a week, we were ready for a change of scenery. * Greet all our guests as they arrived. It was time consuming but so worth it. We camped ourselves out in the lobby, had a few drinks, and waited with our welcome bags. We got pictures of everyone as they arrived, and they all said how much they appreciated our meeting them. * Made such elaborate welcome bags! We put a ton of stuff in ours and most of it didn’t cost us much. No one used everything, but everything was used by at least someone. It was also something that people expressed a lot of appreciation for – they said it made them feel really welcome. They were calling them swag bags, even though they really weren’t expensive. * Send out a departure mailing a few weeks before our wedding. It was extra work, but people said it made them even more excited to come. * Do my own hair and make-up. I went to the Bobbi Brown make-up counter (because most of my make-up is Bobbi Brown) a few months before the wedding and had them do my make-up and show me how. Then I bought the stuff, practiced a few times. It looked great at the wedding, and I still have all the make-up. Two of my BMs did my hair (and they don’t know how to do hair!). We went to a trial up-do before the wedding and they “learned” how to put it up. They took notes and pictures. And then we winged it the day off. Turned out great! * Have a video made of the wedding. It all went by so fast that it was good to be able to go back and “see” it. It was also good for those family members that couldn’t come. * Sleep together the night before our wedding. We have lived together for a couple of years, and it was a great stress reliever to be around one another. (If we had had a morning wedding, we probably wouldn’t have.) * Do parasols and corsages for the BMs instead of bouquets. It looked great, was practical with the sun! and was so much cheaper. I made the corsages (out of fabric) and they were able to keep them. WOULD NOT DO AGAIN * Rely on the hotel WC. We didn’t hire an outside WC, and I’m not sure now if I still would or wouldn’t given the price difference, but at least I wouldn’t put as much faith in the hotel WC as I did (see my review of Dreams in the Puerto Vallarta forum). Some things weren’t done correctly that added some stress, and our reception ended up being cut short. * Forget to look at my self in the mirror and check my dress! We were in such a rush that I forgot to even look at myself all put together! This wouldn’t have been such a big deal, except that my corset was tied kind of tightly in the back and I had a little bit of a “butt crack” in my back LOL! And my BMs didn’t tell me!!! (I saw it in the video) Fortunately it worked itself out some time after the ceremony, but still! Good thing the veil covered it for a lot of the ceremony. The bigger issue that was created because I forgot to take the time to check it all out is that the dress wasn’t on quite right and so it fell too long. I didn’t notice walking to the ceremony because I was picking up the skirt. I did start to notice, however, as I was walking down the aisle. Between tripping over my skirt, and getting through the sand, my walk down the aisle was spend mostly looking down! * Get so stressed about unimportant things! I wish I had told one of my BMs to stop me every once in a while, or when they noticed I was stressed, and make me just breath and refocus for a few minutes. They did this somewhat, although usually they did so by giving me a drink! I wish I’d given them explicit instructions to “make” me relax more directly. (I’m not a big stress basket sort of person, but I do tend to get lost in the details sometimes and forget the big picture!) * Have an informal rehearsal. We had a rehearsal bonfire planned (instead of a dinner). This we would definitely do again. But due to some unforeseen circumstances, our timing got off. We had planned to meet with those involved in the wedding first to go over logistics, with the rest of our guests joining after. But because we started late, everyone got there at the same time. So we never really went over the logistics like we were supposed to. It didn’t seem important at the time, since I generally went over it with people individually, but it caused some problems the day of. * Spend money on a cake! We hadn’t planned on it, but ended up getting a cake last minute and paying more for it than we should have because we were stressed and tired of making decisions. It didn’t taste good and didn’t look much better. * We did many decorations ourselves, but we didn’t get them all finished before we got there. Even though we had friends helping us, if we did it again I would definitely finish it all before we got there! It created too much stress!
  4. Karen - those were it! Allyson - sorry I forgot to answer this! We brought our decorations down there in our suitcases. Shipping was too expensive and the hotel wouldn't claim responsibility for them so we didn't have a place to send them. It worked out fine! I sent some things along with other people (stuff we wouldn't need right away) and the rest we packed. It was a good option for us because my FH is in the Air Force so he got 3 free checked bags up to 100 lbs (on USAirways). I got one freebie, and we paid for one more of mine - just cost us $15. We packed some of our suitcases inside one another on the way back. We told our guests to get there at 4:45. We probably should have told them it was STARTING then because some were a little late and they were milling about - it took them a bit to get settled. I should have appointed someone to grab the mic and "direct" them a little more. But it was also soooo hot that I think people were waiting for the last possible moment to get out there. Since you are scheduled for Oct, it will still be warm. I would push your wedding back as late as possible! Our video is so funny - if you didn't know, you'd think we were nervous about getting married! Our faces are so funny! Until we give up all sense of being discreet and just start wiping our sweat away openly with napkins! Then you can tell we're just hot! We didn't have to pay an extra fee for the cake vendor or the photographer. Neither were from the hotel.
  5. Karen - we put the options on the rsvp card (just said chicken or fish using little symbols - it was cute). We didn't describe the dish since we hadn't really made up our mind when we sent the invites out! but we knew we'd do a chicken and a fish dish. We had seating cards that had their name and the symbol on it too. I need to post my planning thread with pictures. We used luggage tags in our wedding colors (we got them at Michael's for 25 cents each) and printed our their names and the symbol on paper that we inserted in the tag. The "handle" of the the folded back, and it made a nice prop to hold it up. We gave the hotel a diagram with the tables and where each person sat and they set it all up!
  6. Thanks Karen. He just fainted- he has low blood pressure, and just stood up too quickly! You never know what will happen!!! We got our video from Ray at Promovision - it's great - I need to write a review. Still haven't heard from Elizabeth Lloyd about our pictures yet though.
  7. Thanks everyone! FIL is doing well - he still has difficulty reading and writing (gives him headaches) and trouble walking in a straight line but should recover fully! We stayed at Quinta Maria Cortez for our honeymoon. We loved it! It's a small B&B about 5 minutes up the road from Dreams. I need to write a review of it, but it was fabulous and would be a great place for a small wedding.
  8. In short - we DO NOT recommend using Patty or Sweet Desire in PV for your wedding cake. She's slick and says the right things, but don't be fooled! We went there after we weren't happy with pricing of Pie in the Sky (for what it seems you got) or the taste of their cakes. We agreed to $260 for a two-tiered cake for 35 people. MUCH higher than we wanted to pay, but we were tired of making decisions, she seemed so nice, and really took the time to sit with us and talk about what we wanted. Plus her cakes tasted great! Unfortunately, we didn't get anything near what we paid for. The cake was supposed to be white, with navy and light blue accents (our wedding colors). The square tiers were supposed to be off set with pearl piping on the edges and a floral-squirrely design up the sides (part of our wedding motif - we sent her an image). We gave her a wedding topper, and she thought the cake would be a little plain, so we also had a few flowers (made of frosting) on it. We told her we preferred lilies, but anything but roses. What we got was not off set, plain white with no floral design, big puffy piping along the edges like you get from the grocery store, and roses. (We knew this was going to happen - the day before she sent an email saying she couldn't find the tool to make lilies in PV and so was doing roses. We didn't have time to care about this at the time. But, I seriously doubt PV lacked the necessary tool.) More importantly, the colors were wrong - they were royal blue and turquoise. NOT the same as navy and light blue. They didn't match our wedding at all. And the cake didn't taste all that great. One layer, the chocolate layer, wasn't as good as it was in the store. The other was a strawberry rum that we didn't try because she didn't have it made but she swore by it and said it was award winning. And we tried a coconut rum that was really good. Unfortunately, it wasn't good at all. It didn't really taste like anything, and she said there were fresh strawberries in it but I couldn't see or taste them. And the cake was really hard! Most of it went uneaten. All in all, a big waste of money. As a side note, my BMs had some chocolate covered strawberries from her delivered to our honeymoon suite as a surprise. So sweet! But I hope they didn't pay much because they didn't taste that good. The chocolate was very powdery tasting. We don't have any great pics of it yet (we haven't gotten the pro pics yet) but you can kind of see it here. As you can see, it's OKAY, but not worth the money, especially when it didn't taste great, wasn't what we asked for, and didn't match our wedding. Ignore my huge cheesy grin!
  9. Hello ladies! I feel like I was gone forever. I just left a review of the wedding in a new thread. It was a mixed bag, but overall we had a great time! I left my votives and stuff there, so I hope it was there for people to use!
  10. Thanks weddinggirl! in the end, it was good. I just wish I hadn't gotten so stressed! I forget to mention the flowers. I got my bouquet and FI got his boutonniere from Dreams (I made corsages for the BM and bouts for the GM). Since no/few real flowers existed in our main colors (navy and light blue), I told her that if she couldn't get a true navy, then to just do white. I didn't care what kind of flowers. I just didn't want a "purplely" blue. I ended up with a very pretty white bouquet with a navy ribbon wrapping. FI ended up with a white and purplely blue bout. Oh well. (Although to do it again, I don't know if I would have done white. It was kind of yellow white, and although pretty, I didn't like it with my dress.) It lasted for days!
  11. Thanks weddinggirl! in the end, it was good. I just wish I hadn't gotten so stressed! I forget to mention the flowers. I got my bouquet and FI got his boutonniere from Dreams (I made corsages for the BM and bouts for the GM). Since no/few real flowers existed in our main colors (navy and light blue), I told her that if she couldn't get a true navy, then to just do white. I didn't care what kind of flowers. I just didn't want a "purplely" blue. I ended up with a very pretty white bouquet with a navy ribbon wrapping. FI ended up with a white and purplely blue bout. Oh well. (Although to do it again, I don't know if I would have done white. It was kind of yellow white, and although pretty, I didn't like it with my dress.) It lasted for days!
  12. We reserved more old tower rooms but ended up having 1/2 and 1/2. (Didn't really matter for us, because we didn't have to "fill" our block anyway.) No one got upgraded - the hotel was pretty much sold out. People who saw both said the main difference was the size of the bathroom. People in both were both really happy.
  13. This review of Dreams and our wedding there is a little overdue, but it’s amazing how much there is to do after you’ve been gone two weeks! Plus, it’s been good to get a little perspective on our whole wedding experience. First, let me say that overall, we had a great time at Dreams and in the important ways, our wedding was exactly what we wanted - we were able to spend good quality time hanging out with our friends and family, and to have a chance for all of them to get to know one another. Dreams was a great place for that and fit the bill perfectly! However, there are definitely some things we would have done differently and if you are getting married there (or considering it) maybe some of our “lessons†will help you avoid some of our problems and disappointments. The location: Dreams is in a great location. Despite being so close to town, it felt secluded. Cab rides were 50 pesos to the south side of PV (about 5 min), 150 to the marina or airport (about 15 min). We never took the bus, but there is a stop right outside the hotel. Unless you’re looking to be closer to a lot of nightlife or within walking distance of things, I think the location is perfect. The hotel: We were so impressed with the hotel. It’s very well-kept for being an older property and is in a beautiful setting. It’s small enough to be able to find people in your group but large enough that you can have some privacy too. We had 30 guests, some seasoned travelers and some who had never left the state they lived in, and they all raved about it! About half stayed in the old tower and half in the new. We stayed in the new tower and our room was great (we didn’t see the old tower rooms). You can find lots of reviews and pictures on Trip Advisor and I found them to be very accurate. A number of our guests had to switch rooms after a night or two because their room wasn’t available at the day of check-in (i.e. the right bed configuration or class of rooms) but most guests took this in stride. One got upgraded to the penthouse! I would have preferred no one had to, but oh well. I understand this is a pretty common occurrence. One guest threatened to call our TA and they got their right room without having to move so that strategy worked for them. Service there was wonderful and everyone was extremely nice! We tipped on and off. The only complaint we got was from one of the young single guys about the shortage of single gals  – it’s definitely not the singles party hotel! When we were there it was mostly couples (of all ages), families and wedding parties. Overall, it’s a great hotel if you have a variety of guests with different likes, needs, etc. Activities: We did the turtle release – fun if you’re around for it but I wouldn’t cancel something else to do it. A few guests did the jungle trek and had a great time on that (wear bug spray). Played ping pong and beach volleyball – they had a lot of activities and tried really hard to give guests a good time. We only went to one evening activity (Fire Show) and it was fine. Actually, the strength of some of the performers was really impressive. There’s plenty for everyone to keep busy. I wish we’d had more time to do some of the activities. A number of guests booked tours through the hotel (Rhythms of the Night, Outdoor Adventure, ATV, etc.) and had a good experience with that. We used the spa and got massages. Definitely NOT worth it. $80 (US) for a 30 minute massage. We only paid $40 because we had coupons and it was STILL not worth it. You’re better off going into town. My MOH got her hair done at the salon and it looked good (she brought in pictures of what she wanted – low side pony tail). I don’t know how much it cost her, but it took longer than they said it would (they said 1 hour, took more like 1 ½ hours) which made her a little late on the wedding day. I also had them apply false eyelashes - a little pricy at $16 and I supplied my own lashes. The glue only held for the day, but they did a good job and I highly recommend doing it for your wedding (yourself or someone else). We found the Rendezvous Lounge (off the main lobby) to be a great meeting place in the evenings – very relaxed with a nice view. The Sports Bar was okay – they had music playing and a dance floor – but it was never very busy. They have a good gym too, better than we expected, although we didn’t use it as much as we should have! Some of the guys went on a fishing trip that they arranged with a guy on the beach at the hotel. It was $250 for 6 guys and they were gone about 6 hours. They had a good time, but they were a little disappointed it really wasn’t fishing – they did everything for you and the guys just did the reeling in. They “caught†a ton of mahi (enough for 30 people!), and Oceania cooked it up for us that night. Tasted fantastic! The food & drinks: Food was very good for an AI and comparable to or better than a lot of the food we had in town at restaurants. We had a lot of good meals at Oceania, although the same dish was prepared differently depending on who was working in the kitchen, Portofino, and at El Patio. We didn’t care for Seaside, and the buffet (Worldview) was hit or miss although we ate there a lot out of convenience. Prepare for leisurely meals if you eat at one of the restaurants. We ordered room service a couple of times – pretty typical of room service quality and it was a somewhat limited menu but service was usually pretty quick. There are a couple of restaurants within walking distance of Dreams (El Set, La Playita) but they aren’t worth it when your meals are free because the food wasn’t any better, and sometimes worse (we ate at them on our honeymoon). Would only recommend walking there during the day if you decided to go - the road is a little treacherous at night. Drinks were very good, although not very strong so some guests would ask for an extra shot in their drink. Mango Tangos and Dirty Monkeys were popular with our guests. I was happy to discover you could order champagne all time (I was trying to watch my sugar intake!) Our wedding: This is the most important part, right? Hmmm. Honestly, if we could do it all over again, we would either hire an outside WC, or stay at Dreams and have our wedding at a villa. Unfortunately, our main regrets are about our actual wedding. But I’ll tell you why and then maybe these things won’t happen to you! And again, overall, we had a good time, and for what we paid, I don’t think we can really complain. First, some background for perspective: We decided not to hire an outside WC and to do it ourselves to save around $7000. We weren’t going for the bare-bones ceremony/reception, but we wanted to save money so planned to do it all ourselves with the help of the Rebeca, the hotel WC. Now, in retrospect, the savings would have been a little less because of the cost of our supplies. More importantly the time and stress saved, both before the wedding and while in Mexico, would have made it worth it. We didn’t have a chance to finish everything before we got to Mexico, so we were busier than we wanted while we were there trying to finish up last minute stuff. Friends and family helped, but it would have been better to have been able to completely relax. We didn’t have as much down time as we would have liked. Another big factor that affected our wedding was an accident that happened while we were there. Early Monday morning around 2 am (our wedding was on Tuesday) my FIL got up to go to the restroom in the middle of the night and fainted, hitting his head on the metal doorstop in their room. Long story short, we didn’t even know if he was going to live until Monday evening. Fortunately, one of our guests is a neurologist and his wife (my MOH) speaks Spanish, and they oversaw his care. Luckily, he is going to be okay (he was in the hospital for a week but is now back in the US and recovering). But, we didn’t get any sleep Sunday night and even with sleep Monday night, we were both really, really tired on Tuesday. Plus because we spent so much time at the hospital on Monday, we didn’t get some things done that we then had to do last minute Tuesday morning. And they said they were going to release my FIL for two hours to come to our ceremony, but then changed their mind on Tuesday, so we were dealing with that (they eventually said okay). So, in a nutshell, we were way more stressed and tired than we had wanted to be on our wedding day  This definitely played a factor. As a side note to this, we were lucky to have a doctor with us. The doctor at the hotel (who we summoned first) wasn’t qualified to deal with such an extreme injury (understandable, he’s just the doctor on call at the hotel), but he also didn’t seem to even grasp the severity of the injury – he tried to talk us out of calling an ambulance. Perhaps it was a hotel liability thing, I don’t know. We could see it was bad, and luckily with our guest there to back us up we felt confident going against what he was saying. Otherwise, we may have felt pressure or deferred to the doctor at the hotel. So I think this is a good reminder that you never know what will happen on a trip, to go with your gut because you never know the qualifications of the medical professional (true anywhere), know where a good hospital is located that you would go to if needed, and have your health insurance info (make sure you have coverage!). Rehearsal Bonfire: Instead of doing a traditional rehearsal dinner, we did a beach bonfire instead. The original plan was to meet with the wedding party and people involved in the wedding at 7 so we could go over logistics, and then other guests were invited to come at 7:30 for dessert and drinks. Because of everything that was going on, we initially cancelled it Monday am. However, when we learned everything was going to be okay with his dad, we decided to have it after all. Rebeca was wonderful dealing with this and making it possible to have it again so last minute after we’d called it off (with some helpful pleading from my BMs). Unfortunately, because of the change, lots of people came late, around 7:30, instead of earlier. In retrospect what we should have done was called the wedding party aside to go over logistics but instead I tried to do it individually with each person. I think this turned out to be a mistake because I forgot some things and no one got to hear everything, so no one knew the “big picture†except me, and I spend most of the bonfire “working.†However, the bonfire itself was great. The hotel set up chairs (pretty far from the fire though, so it’s not the cozy sitting around the fire feel if you sit in the chairs), and provided marshmallows. Be aware that the marshmallows are HUGE and are regular and strawberry flavored. Some people liked them, some didn’t. We had gone to the store when we first arrived and gotten chocolate and cookie crackers (we couldn’t find graham crackers) and brought those down so people could make s’mores. We also had bought some wine and beer; we dug a little hole in the sand, lined it with plastic bags and ice, and made a little cooler for them (we had chilled them in our room in ice in the bags). We didn’t want to pay the hotel fee for having wait staff ($15 a person, I think it was) but we also didn’t want people to keep getting up and leaving to go get drinks. This worked out great. (They did the bonfire outside Seaside Grill, and there is a beach bar nearby, so if you didn’t want to do this it wouldn’t be too far to the bar. I think the bar closes at 9 or 10.) Be aware that the waves are really loud! We had a few guitars and people were playing but without mics you really couldn’t hear them too well beyond were they were sitting (and the seats were really spread out). Also, trying to address the whole group, you’d have to probably yell to be heard over the surf. Anyway, this was great overall and I’d recommend it! The Ceremony Okay, this is were things start to go wrong  We had met with Rebecca the day after our arrival and went over everything, went over our contract, walked the locations, etc. We felt great after this meeting. In retrospect, I should have made sure she was writing down everything we were saying, made sure we had the same understanding of everything, and confirmed it all twice. She was very accommodating to everything we requested, but some of what we requested never happened. I don’t think she was just saying she would do things and then just didn’t; I think she just forgot. I don’t know. The day before our wedding she came and picked up all of our decorations, etc. My BMs and I had painstakingly labeled what everything was and put it all in piles of where it went (i.e. ceremony, cocktail hour, etc.). We also had a detailed page for each event (ceremony, cocktail hour, reception) that had what went where. The ceremony one even had a diagram  A little OCD, yes, but we wanted to make sure there weren’t any questions. I also had some guests charged with double checking a few things. So, with all of this, we thought we would be set. Our wedding was on the beach outside of Oceania. This was a good spot. Oceania wasn’t open yet for dinner, but it was later in the day, so there weren’t too many people about. And to be honest, I didn’t notice any other onlookers – I was too nervous! Apparently a woman walked right in front of our ceremony (during it) and I didn’t notice! Maybe because it WAS SO HOT!!! So much for early Nov weather! I arrived with my BM right before 5 (our start time). Rebeca said they weren’t ready yet, so we waited (you have to wait quite a ways down so you can’t be seen and it’s hard to tell when to walk, etc. without good coordination, which we didn’t really have). This was all largely due to problems with the music (I found out later). Rebeca had told me the sound guy would set up around 4 and would run the music during the ceremony (with our playlist on our Ipod). I gave her a list of the of the ceremony songs, with written instructions of what should be played when and he was to start our playlist at 4:30. Well, apparently he didn’t even get down there until right before 5; FI said when he got down there the guy was just setting up and things were chaotic. He immediately started playing the processional for the Moms on repeat, which caused some confusion. Anyway, it all got sorted out, but we started late because of it. And everyone was sitting out there extra long. And did I mention it was HOT? I guess there were also some problems with decorations that I didn’t know about because one of my guests “corrected†them before I got there! Minor stuff, though. The walk to the ceremony is long and you are kind of hidden for the beginning portion of it (while you’re walking on the boardwalk), but it was nice to have a minute to collect myself. You could start closer, but people would be able to see you if they turned around. Beware that the runner they put down from the boardwalk to the ceremony is very thin – basically like nothing. I thought it was going to be thicker, like the runners they put down for the bonfire, but it wasn’t. If it matters to you, be sure to request the thicker mats. I was okay wearing wedges, but I did have to concentrate really hard and I think I was probably looking down a lot. We had the basic set-up with 4 poles. We hadn’t requested the palms lining the walkway, but they put them up (so if you really don’t want something, make sure you ask all they are planning to do). They were supposed to hang white cloth from the poles (part of the standard set-up), along with navy and light blue that I brought. However, theirs didn’t look white. I think it was cream. Which I was unhappy about, because one of our main colors was white so they ended up just looking dirty in the pictures compared to all the white. Maybe they were just dirty? Also, Rebeca had said they would put a white cover over the poles (to kind of make a chuppah) but they didn’t. This would have been REALLY nice to block the sun. Our poor officiant (our own, not from the hotel) was sweating into the microphone and my poor FI kept dabbing sweat off me head during the ceremony! It was kind of funny, but it was also really distracting to be so hot and some shade would have helped. But despite the heat, we had a great ceremony! Except, again, for the music! Even though we had given explicit written instructions on when which songs were supposed to be played, the guy didn’t do it. I think he couldn’t read English. Which would have been good to know from Rebeca because we would have written it all in Spanish (we gave her the stuff and she gave it to him). During our ceremony one of our guests sang but we had background music he was supposed to play. When time came we waited, and waited, and waited! We were all looking at him and motioning to him. Finally someone ran up to him and pushed play. Again, at the end of the ceremony after our kiss, we stood there just staring at him waiting for him to play our recessional (which he eventually did on his own this time). So if you use their sound system at the ceremony make sure the person running it knows what’s going on!! Or have a point person ready to oversee it all. This was all mildly annoying but we didn’t really care too much – our ceremony definitely had some “flow†issues but we figured it just gave it character! One thing we didn’t like about the ceremony location was that there wasn’t any place for us to “go†after we walked down the aisle so we just stood there at the boardwalk. So then everyone crowded around us and there was kind of longer transition to get people to move on to the cocktail hour so we could start pictures. Our cocktail hour was on the Gazebo, and our reception on Las Palmas terrace. Our guests went to the Gazebo while we took pictures (which we did down on the beach by the ceremony). When I walked up to the Gazebo after pictures I immediately stressed out. First I noticed that Gazebo was not set up correctly. It was supposed to be set up with lounge chairs and cocktail tables and an appetizer table. We also had some decorations that were supposed to be put up and on the tables. But there were no tables or chairs, and the whole inside of the Gazebo was filled with the bar (which was supposed to be up in the reception area). Most of our cocktail decorations weren’t up either. (I learned later that one of my guests had fixed some of the decorations to make them more like they were supposed to be). I was really upset by this, because we had a whole conversation with Rebeca about where the bar would be and the table set-up, etc. And some of guests could not stand for long periods of time. And it had been almost an hour! So as a consequence, people were sitting on steps along the path and up around the corner in the reception area. I asked her to bring at least a few chairs down so people weren’t all crowding on the steps and would be in the cocktail hour instead of up in the reception spot, which she did (from the reception) but she didn’t even apologize or give an explanation for why things were so different from how they were supposed to be. But I didn’t have time to think more about it because I had to check on the music. Yes, the music again! The other thing we noticed when I walked up was that our cocktail hour music wasn’t playing. We rented the sound system equipment and just used our laptop. Well, they had set it all up but didn’t turn on our music – they turned on some random stuff (so at least there was something playing during the cocktail hour). When I made it up there, one of our GM (our designated MC) was already on it, switching it over. I had assumed that they would turn it on, but they didn’t. Maybe when the GM delivered the laptop they forgot to tell them which playlist to start, I don’t know. One of those things that had an outside WC been around, it would have been taken care of. But at least there was some music, just not all the cool stuff we had prepared! The music equipment was up in Las Palmas with the speaker turned toward us; this worked out fine – you could hear no problem. We also really disliked the whole bar set-up they did. Besides taking away from what should have been a really cool lounge area for the cocktail hour (because all of the underneath of the gazebo was the bar), it made it really difficult for our guests to get to the appetizers. We were told there would be an appetizer station table. But when they put the bar under there, instead they just had the appetizers sitting on the bar. But not all of them would fit on the counter, so they just had two sitting there. And they were hard to get to. If they wanted the others, people would have to ask the bartenders for them. As a result, a lot of the appetizers we paid for went uneaten. (We had the cheese plate, the Acapulco shrimp ceviche on tartlets, the beef brochette and sopes with Mexican sausage. I wouldn’t recommend the cheese plate – it just didn’t look appetizing because the cheese was all sweating. I didn’t try the shrimp, but I heard it was really good. I don’t know of anyone who ate the other two – they were the ones in the back.) I think that if the cocktail hour had been set up like it was supposed to, it would have been a really cool space and a natural place to have it if you wanted our cocktail hour separated from your reception (and your reception is at Las Palmas). Because I was feeling a little stressed and we wanted a minute just to compose ourselves and let it all go, our cocktail hour ran over a little. Plus, we were already running late because the ceremony started late. So we were running a good half hour late by time we transitioned up to Las Palmas. The hotel did a great job decorating this space with the stuff we provided and we were really happy with it. We had actually expected this to be the part most likely to be messed up, because of the kind of decorations we had and we were kind of vague with what we wanted done with them. But they looked great! We did our “announcement†at this time – we were supposed to do it when we walked up to the cocktail hour, because of the stuff we were trying to fix it didn’t happen then. But it worked out well, as there are steps up to the reception area. Dinner was really good. We had the crab salad (I didn’t eat it – it is a moist salad, like chicken salad, not leafy – but people said it was good) and poblano soup (so good!!!!!). Entrees were either the chicken fortiere or the fish with mango – both were good. We had the Tres Leches cake served as the dessert which unfortunately wasn’t good. At all. It was the consistency of pound cake (strange for a Tres Leches cake), dry, and tasted like cardboard. I think only one person actually ate it (someone who doesn’t like Tres Leches to begin with); I saw a number of people spit it out! We had a wedding cake (provided by an outside Vendor – Sweet Desires) which also turned out to be a total waste of money – I’ll write a separate review of them but don’t use them!!! The main issue that happened during our reception was the evening hotel entertainment. About half way through dinner (about when we were going to begin toasts), the nightly entertainment started up. And it was LOUD. I had specifically asked Rebeca about this during our initial meeting and she said it wouldn’t be a factor. It was. We turned up our music slightly, which helped drown a lot of it out, but it also made it hard to have conversations at the tables. And it was going to be a big issue during the speeches. So I went to find Rebeca to get it taken care of. Which she did. But this all took time (to find her, waiting for them to quite down, no one actually came back to tell us when it would be okay to start the speeches, etc.). None of this mattered too much, other than the mild annoyance and the time it took me to deal with it (I should have had someone else do it), but the main problem was the additional time it took and we were already behind schedule. The other thing the hotel forgot to do was to put out our photog and videographer’s table for dinner. We noticed about 30 minutes in that their table was missing so we had to go find Rebeca and get that taken care of too. I wasn’t really worried about the time at the time (!), but then our speeches ran SO LONG! My MOH gave a wonderful, heartfelt and thoughtful speech, but it was 30 min!!! So by the time dinner and speeches were done, it was 9:45. We did our dances and cake cutting (because our photog had to leave at 10) and then that just left us 30 min for the reception party portion because we had to be done by 10:30 because our reception was outdoors. This is one of our biggest regrets. It really felt like our reception was cut WAY short. And our awesome playlist went to waste! (Well, we do have some great stuff in our Itunes now.) We had planned to leave our reception and go start our honeymoon  but because it was cut so short, we ended up going to the Sports Bar for a while. This was okay, but not the same as it would have been if we were at the reception. A lot of people went and changed and stuff (we didn’t) and so it just kind of felt like any other night at the Sports Bar. The hotel had decorated our room with flower petals and stuff when we got back – it was really nice. The hotel cleaned everything up and we went and picked it all up the next morning. They were great with saving everything, except my veil – I’m not sure were that ended up - although we left most of it. One of our guests had left their shoes! and they were in the bag too  We checked out that day and moved to our honeymoon hotel but we had to go back a few times. I left all my shoes in our room – they were waiting for me in a bag  And then we had to go back and pick-up payment we had left for our videographer because it turns out he needed a different form of payment (long story short, he had requested traveler’s checks but discovered he couldn’t cash them so left them at the hotel for me to go back and pick up). They had them no problem. So, overall, we thought Dreams was a great hotel to stay at. Each time we went back to pick stuff up, we had this kind of missed it (although we LOVED our new hotel) feeling. I think we’ll go back to use our free anniversary room. Our main problems with the wedding were how short the reception ended up being, and the little stresses that added up that took away from our enjoyment of it. I’m not normally a stressed out person, and if I hadn’t have been so tired and stressed already, maybe the things that were “wrong†wouldn’t have bothered me so much. If we’d had done the rehearsal like planned, everyone would have had the big picture of everything that was supposed to happen and that might have fixed some problems before I had to deal with them which might have helped the stress too  But even without that our reception would have been “short.†If we’d done it at a villa, the reception timing wouldn’t have mattered. And if we’d had an outside WC, things would have flowed better, I would have been much less stressed, and I think the timing wouldn’t have been as much of an issue because there wouldn’t have been the wasted time dealing with issues. We still would have at the long speeches though! We don’t have pictures yet, but I’ll post them when I do!
  14. Platinum scratches. But it is easily buffed out (unlike white gold, I think). Also, platinum does "fade" - white gold has to be "redipped" every once in a while. I don't think it matters if they are different. He could also consider titanium or tungsten or something like that.
  15. Thanks Autjo! We're getting excited, but I must say all this DIY is making me a little stressed these last few days! I am bringing down a bunch of glass votive candle holders I plan on leaving if anyone wants them - around 40. I can ask Rebeca to hold them. Someone a while back, maybe Lauren?, said they didn't really follow her little signs anyway, so I wouldn't worry too much. So Jill maybe you could just tell them how many of each dish at each table, and they could just ask once they bring the plates? I think it's okay you didn't give options Autjo! It's an AI - it they don't like it or are still hungry they can just order room service!
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