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Everything posted by wilsoml2

  1. After seeing everyone else's DIY projects I figured I need to get on the ball! Here are some of my projects so far: Wedding Shoes: I bought some simple white wedges from JCrew when they were on sale for $12. I decided to add some style so I bought some blue capiz shells from a seller on Etsy and some white pearl-like beads from Michaels. The straps were wider than I pictured so I ended up with two rows of beads on each one, but I like how they turned out! Survival Kit chapsticks: After seeing Chelymo's chapsticks, I had to make some of my own! I bought the chapstick at the Dollar Tree (2 for $1) and measured the labels. Then I made a template using Microsoft Publisher and printed it out on sticker paper from Staples. I love them! Welcome Books: Again, I used Publisher to make a template. I included a letter to our guests, Schedule of Events, Resort Information like bars and restaurants and a map, Meet the Guests including where they're from and how they know my FI and I, and finally some Spanish Basics. The pictures are of the rough copy, I just wanted to see how it'd come together. I still have to buy a mini hole punch!
  2. I decided that I wanted to make my own OOT bags with my brand new sewing machine, and this is what I came up with! I used a combination of these two tutorials: Lazy Girl | Blog Make Our 1 Yard, 1 Hour Free Tote Bag Pattern For Last Minute Holiday Gift Bags Free Directions and Pattern to Sew a Simple Tote Bag The fabric I got from Joann's, all with 40% off coupons so it was a steal! I had two different fabrics, one a liner, so I had to buy double of everything. From each yard, I cut out 3 rectangles that were about 14.5" by 44". I took a rectangle of each fabric and laid them on top of one another with the print facing inside. Then I sewed the short sides together. Next I refolded the materials so that each fabric was folded in half over itself and sewed the long sides together. I made sure to stop short on the liner fabric so that I could turn the right side out. I then turned the fabric right-side out and sewed the opening that I had left. Hopefully you can see the stitching, I know it's hard with the brown thread and brown fabric! I stuffed the liner inside the outer part of the bag and the easy part was done!
  3. So I think I'm finally done with DIY projects! At least I hope since I'm leaving in 5 days! First, as promised are the menus and matchbook labels. The menus were printed on white cardstock and then glued to the blue cardstock that I've used for everything else. The matchbooks were a little tricky. I had taken like 5 packs from a local restaurant called Fogo de Chao in Minneapolis. Of course they are bigger than normal matchbooks, so I couldn't use anyone else's template. This is what I ended up with and I love them! My next project was a ribbon flower to add to pin on to my purse. I used white 1.5" wired ribbon and followed this tutorial: Miss Beagle's DIY Ribbon Flower Tutorial | Weddingbee DIY Projects I think I used about a yard. Since I thought it'd be cool if my shoes and purse matched, I used the same kinds of beads for the center of the flower. It turned out so well that I think I'm going to make one for each of my bridesmaids to wear in their hair! And finally, I decided to get a 2nd pair of shoes. FI and I started taking dance lessons and I realized that flip flops weren't going to work if we were going to be doing ballroom. My feet kept slipping out! Anyways, I still wanted them to match, so I made a flower out of the beads for each shoe. I attached it to piece of fabric that is wrapped around the bridge of the shoe and then sewed on the bottom. I couldn't find shoe clips last minute! Again, I'm thrilled with how it turned out! Well that's everything. I've attached some templates, please enjoy! Menu.pub Matchbook labels.pub
  4. Travel Agent – TA Jill – A+ Jill was great to work with throughout the whole process. It was nice having someone else deal with our guests’ questions about travel so that was one less thing on my plate. The travel packets she sent us were great, too. We got a nice case to carry all of our documents in and several luggage tags for our baggage. I’m glad that I ended up not giving out luggage tags to our guests, so that’s something to keep in mind if you go with Jill! Overall, her service was great. She responded quickly to all of my emails, and helped us to deal with some travel issues (I’ll get into that later). American Airlines – B- While my DH and I didn’t really have any problems on our flights, one of my co-MOH’s arrived 6 hours after she was scheduled and completely missed the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. They boarded the plane on schedule then were forced to sit in the hot plane for 2 hours! Finally she said a man behind her told the stewardess that he had a heart condition and needed to get out of the heat so they let everyone off. They boarded a 2nd time to find out that the plane still wasn’t fixed, so they got off again. Finally, the 3rd time was a charm and they left the ground. I can’t believe the airline would do that to people, they weren’t even offered drinks! One positive is that AA only recently changed their baggage policy to one free checked bag, and since DH and I booked our flight before the policy went into effect, we each could check two bags for free. Luckily, I was able to stuff all of our wedding stuff into just 4 bags to be checked so we didn’t have to pay any extra fees. Some of my family flew with Continental Airlines. Their flight from Newark to Pittsburgh on the way home was cancelled. The lady at the counter told them that a notification was sent out so there wasn’t much they could do for them except get them on a flight the next day. My parents had to work so they had to rent a car and make the long drive home. I felt so bad since I didn’t hear of it until several days later. Jill called Continental and found out that the notification about the cancellation was never sent! She did get us a small refund, but I still can’t believe that the horrible customer service. I won’t be flying with them in the future. Cancun Airport and Transfers – A- Our plane arrived at the same time as 3 others, so it took us 1.5 hours to get through the airport. I think that seemed rather quick though when you think about how small the airport actually is. When I went through customs, they did stop one of my bags. Last time I was in Cancun, they didn’t scan our bags, we just went straight to the red/green light. This time, they scanned every single bag of every passenger. For the bag under question she just pointed to it and asked what was in it. I told the girl that it was favors for my wedding. You could tell she didn’t know much English, but she asked if they were like souvenirs. I said yes and she let me go. Then at the red/green light the guy asked me how much my favors/gifts were worth and I told him the value and that I had all of the receipts. He said that’s fine and let me press the light. Luckily DH and I both got green so we got through pretty easily. Just make sure to tell them that it’s your wedding and bring receipts along just in case! We didn’t have any problem with the time-share people. Our transfers were with American Express and when they found out it was our wedding they sent us in a van by ourselves. It was nice to not have to stop at a bunch of other hotels, but that’s what happened to most of our guests. They didn’t seem to mind. One thing that really irked me was the American Express guy at Dreams Cancun was really annoying. He told all of our guests that they had to stop by at some point to give him their flight information. When they did, he kept trying to sell them trips and stuff. For instance, he apparently thought my mom looked like she wanted to go on a bar crawl. Finally I started telling people to not bother going to talk to him and sure enough they still got a call the day before the departed to tell them when the van would come to pick them up. My advice is to stay away from that guy, American Express should already have all of your flight information if you booked through a TA. Now the American Express guy at Dreams Riviera where we honeymooned was much better and actually quite helpful. He even recognized us one morning when we were in the lobby and came over to say hi. I guess it’s just hit or miss with these guys. Wedding Coordinator Cecilia – A While I really want to give her an A+++++++ but there were a few things holding me back. The biggest thing being that we had scheduled our reception for the Club Terrace and when we got there it was still under construction. I really don’t mind that we had to change our wedding location, I’m just mad that she never said anything about it even though she had emailed me a week before we left to schedule our initial meeting. The second thing was that we had scheduled our rehearsal at 5 pm on July 1st. It turns out that Claudia also had a rehearsal at 5 and she showed up on time with her people. We let them go ahead, and finally Cecilia showed up at 5:30! She apologized that a meeting had run extremely late. Again, I completely understand, I just wish someone would have told us so we could have stayed out of the heat for a little longer! Cecilia helping us with the rehearsal. Besides that, she was great. While I tried hard to be angry and stern about the previously mentioned grievances, she just has this calmness about her that makes you relax. I was fuming when she showed up at 5:30, but within like 5 seconds I had completely forgotten about it! Knowing how busy they are (she said they had 60 weddings in June and 48 in July) I probably only emailed her 10 times from the initial email inquiring about our wedding date. When I did, she usually got back to me within a week and much faster as the wedding came closer. You really just have to let go and trust that everything will work out. She also does her job well and knows what looks good. Our reception was absolutely beautiful, I couldn’t believe what she had pulled off. We did tip her at our first meeting, and while I don’t think we got a ton of ‘free’ things, she did add little things here and there to make things look nice that we hadn’t paid for. For instance, we only paid for 5 lights under the tables, but she had also put lights under some of the side tables as well, like for the cake and favors. We also only paid for 4 centerpieces, but she ended up giving us a 5th for our sweetheart table. For trades, I didn’t use the flowers that came with the package since I had brought my own. I asked her to instead make some floral arrangements to go on the pillars of the gazebo and they looked great. I also didn’t have my hair done at the spa since my mom did it and instead they let me switch that out for one of my MOH’s makeup. Other than that, I didn’t really ask for anything else, although maybe I could have. Flowers on the pillars. Finally, after paying our bill and leaving for our honeymoon, we realized that she never took out our $500 deposit. When we emailed her about it, she asked us to send the information again about the wire transfer. While I’m annoyed that this was never confirmed despite my inquiring about it several times, she is trying to work it out with us. I don’t necessarily blame her though, it seems like there is a lack of communication between departments at Dreams. Hopefully we’ll get our $500 back soon enough! Rehearsal Dinner – Paloma Bonita – A+++ I originally didn’t want to do a rehearsal dinner since I thought people would want to have as much time as possible to do other things while in Cancun. In the end, my MIL really wanted to do it, so I agreed and I’m glad I did. Cecilia got me in touch with the public relations manager, Paola who set the whole thing up with us. She reminded me that Paloma Bonita does take reservations while none of the restaurants in the resort will. We had 37 guests, so just walking in to one of the restaurants was not really an option. Plus, we were all guests at the Dreams so we received 20% off our total bill. While the restaurant is not air conditioned (and it was HOT that evening), the atmosphere was great. They have a mariachi trio in the evenings and since we were the largest group there, they spent quite a bit of time with us. My MIL even danced with one of the waiters! They also gave us the huge sombreros to take pictures with and everyone loved that. The best thing though was the food. They brought out assorted appetizers for each table so everyone could try a bit of everything. For the main course I ordered the Chicken Oaxaca and it was incredibly good. DH had the fajitas and he said they were decent. At one point, Paola came over and said hi. She even kissed me on the cheek, so sweet! I feel bad because I didn’t recognize her until she was leaving but I was impressed that she made the effort to stop by. Overall, everyone really loved it and I’m so glad we did it. I’m also glad that DH and I didn’t have to pick up the bill! Paola saying hello. View from the restaurant. Mariachis Wedding – A+++ My wedding was amazing from start to finish. There were little things here and there that weren’t quite right, but overall I loved it. At 9 am I went down to the spa for a manicure. I tried doing my own French manicure and it was horrifying so I figured I’d splurge on myself a little. I had Doris and she was very sweet and did a great job. I think I also had her for our couples massage, so she really was a woman of many talents. My french polish after a spa manicure. Afterwards, my MIL came down to talk to me. Apparently DH had some sort of allergic reaction the previous night (he had his complimentary room so we didn’t spend the night together) and had to get a shot from the doctor. She said he was feeling better but still had some itchiness in his arms. We still don’t know what happened cause he’s not really allergic to anything that we know of. Anyways, she calmed me down and assured me that everything would be okay. The doctor gave him a prescription for an antihistamine. P.S. The charge for the doctor was $150. I couldn’t believe how cheap that was especially for a visit in the middle of the night! In the States that probably would have cost at least an arm and possibly a leg. Anyways, I left for our room feeling a little better, but still worried. The ladies joined me in our 2-bedroom master suite (Jill can’t usually book that room, but she got us a sweet upgrade!) pretty much the rest of the day. My MOHs came up around 10:45 and I gave them their gifts. My mom came over around 11 and we ordered room service. At 12 my mom started doing hair and I like how everything turned out. The one thing I would change about mine is that my bangs started to come loose in the wind, make sure to pin those things down ladies! It wasn’t too bad but in some of our pro pics my hair started getting wrapped around my tiara and I didn’t like them as much. Living room of 2-bedroom suite. Balcony is in the background. View from our balcony. Bangs going crazy in the wind. More coming...
  5. $6000 was for the wedding and reception. It did not include our stay.
  6. CancunBride11, Yes, our cocktail hour was at 7 and the reception at 8. I'm not entirely sure what time the spa closes, so you may be able to get in there around 7. That's something you'll have to confirm with your WC. Good luck, I'm glad to be helpful!
  7. I've finally found some time to complete more projects, or at least print off some prototypes! The first project is my place cards and table numbers. I bought the starfish on ebay and used raffia ribbon to tie them on to the place cards. The table number holders were brought from placecard holders - SEASHELL PLACE CARD HOLDERS - Wedding Things. I love them! We only are having 4 tables and a sweetheart table, but you have to buy the holders 6 at a time, so I made a sign for the guest book as well. The next project was my program fan. This was just a rough copy, I've since found the Officiant's name and added a reading to the ceremony! I used a paper cutter for the straight sides, but I'll have to cut the curves by hand. Luckily we only have 35 guests, so it won't be too many. Last, I finished my key/tip card holders. Each label is twice as long as it looks, since I folded it in half at the bottom. That way people can sandwich their money inside and others won't be able to see what's inside. I also glued the top of each side to the plastic so that when you squeeze them open, the cardstock opens, too. I bought the lanyards and ID holders as a package deal, 35 of each for $24 from Cell Phone Straps items - Get great deals on LANYARDS CLIPS KEY CHAINS, Ear Threads items on eBay Stores!. The seller was great to work with since she gives you a variety of options and you can pick whatever colors you want. I picked blue and teal. She even sent me an extra set! That's it for now. Let me know what you think! Next up I'll have menus and personalized matchbooks!
  8. CancunBride11 The spa terrace is located near the pier. Check out the Resort Map, the terrace is next to the tennis courts and behind the "outdoor spa cabins": http://www.dreamsresorts.com/drecu/resort-map.html So, the spa terrace is basically surrounded on 3 sides. The 4th side that faces the ocean has a low wall that you can see over. It overlooks the outdoor massage areas (little palapa type things) then the ocean. It was dark by the time we had our reception at 8pm, so you couldn't see the ocean anyways. I think technically you could see it though if you start your reception during the day. Here is a link to our Cocktail Hour/Reception pictures. None of them are edited (I'm slowly working on that!) so some are a bit dark. Hopefully it helps! https://picasaweb.google.com/stevenranck/WeddingReception# And finally, here is the best picture I can find to show you where the spa terrace is. The main building is where World Cafe and the Check-in desk is located. In the ocean, you can see the pier. The large building behind it is Oceana. The lagoon and pool are just out of the picture on the right side. Where the arrow is, you can see some tall light poles. That is where the tennis court is located, and the spa terrace is next to it.
  9. I have spa terrace pictures in my review: http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/forum/thread/61433/melissa-s-wilsoml2-dreams-cancun-7-2-2010-wedding-review We didn't have Juan stay for our reception (wish we had!), so the pictures are pretty dark. It was awesome though since it was very private. The spa closes in the evening, so no one walked through or anything. I loved having it there. We had 37 people (4 tables + sweetheart table) and I think there was room for a few more tables, but it might get a bit tight with more than 6. We had plenty of space for dancing. Here's the spa during the day:
  10. Engagement: First thing is first: the engagement. I posted the story on the forum here: http://bestdestinationwedding.com/fo...-4-days-48130/ My engagement ring is from GreenKarat.com and I love, love, love it! It is three blue lab-created diamonds on a recycled platinum band. I love that FI let me pick something that’s environmentally friendly! Location: We knew from the start that we wanted to get married at Dreams Cancun. We stayed at the resort in July 2008 with some friends and fell in love. Here are pictures of the Wedding Gazebo and Club Terrace where the wedding and reception will be. They’ve redone the Gazebo since this picture, but you can’t beat the location. I can’t wait to see that amazing blue water again! Our wedding coordinator is Cecilia and so far she’s been great. I haven’t emailed her too often since I know the WCs down there get swamped, but she’s been getting back to me within a few days as the wedding is getting closer. No complaints so far! STDs and Invitations: So after we decided the site, it was time to start the real planning. For our Save the Dates we used DIY boarding passes. I used so many wonderful ideas from this forum, I don’t know what I would have done without it! Note the cute return address labels with our logo on it! We printed those off ourselves. We also tried to use paper with at least some recycled content. For the invitations, I did pocketfolds. I used the same blue cardstock for the folders as the folders for the STDs. Trying to figure out where to cut and where to fold was interesting, but I think they turned out nice. Here are some more details: http://bestdestinationwedding.com/fo...tations-54156/ To be continued...
  11. Although I've had all of the items for quite some time, I finally put everything together to take some pictures of my OOT bags! For the ladies and couples, I made my own bags. The details for the bag are discussed here: http://bestdestinationwedding.com/fo...ot-bags-57739/ For the single guys we got cooler tote bags (the brand was Liberty, I believe) from Amazon seller Blank Apparel. These were a little more expensive than the totes that I made but we only needed a few and my FI loved the idea. They can fit a 6-pack. For my FI’s teenage cousin, we got a matching drawstring backpack from the same seller. I believe they combined shipping for all of the bags which was nice. Here is a picture of the contents: In the bags we had stadium cups with our logo; puzzle books; a welcome booklet with resort map, schedule of events, etc; keycard/tip holders; and finally, wedding weekend survival kits with ibuprofen, antacid meds, pepto, personalized chapstick, shout wipes, aloe gel, drink mixes, bandaids and mints. We also added some pool balls and an underwater camera to the teenager’s bag. The welcome books and chapsticks are detailed here: http://bestdestinationwedding.com/fo...-so-far-57223/ The keycard holders are detailed here: http://bestdestinationwedding.com/fo...part-ii-59457/ Here are the contents of the Survival Kits: I also included 2 postcards per bag that I had printed for free from Vistaprint. I forgot to grab them for the picture! I think I ended up paying about $8.50 for shipping and photo upload. Not too bad for 50 postcards! Overall, we'll have 25 bags for a total of approximately $350, or about $14 per bag. Not too bad in my opinion!
  12. If your WC has you down for a certain date, you're pretty much good to go regardless of the deposit. Cecilia never received our deposit so didn't take it out of the final bill but we still had our wedding as planned! It turns out that the accounting department at Dreams had received it, but never got around to telling the wedding department.
  13. If you want anything specific, you have to email the WCs with your requests. Otherwise, I don't think they'll contact you until you arrive at the resort and set up a meeting with them a few days before the wedding. At least that was my experience. For instance, if you want Juan Navarro I'd definitely ask for him. We did not specifically ask for him ahead of time and got some of his assistants since he was out of town. They were still amazing (he runs a good business) but some brides may have been put off a bit. Apparently he has like 5 photographers working under him. As for the video thing, I don't think it was up and running at the time I was there (July 2010). I could be wrong though since we didn't use it. I think I remember another bride saying that somewhere. Hope that helps! 7 weeks will go by fast, good luck and congrats!
  14. My CHI worked fine at Dreams. I've been in their standard rooms and in the tower. Didn't really matter since it was always so humid when I was there that my hair immediately frizzed when I stepped outside. I hope you can figure something out, I can't go anywhere without my straightener!
  15. I did my BD shoot in October, but am just now getting around to posting some teaser pics. My FI works from home and is ALWAYS around! Anyways, I did my shoot with Laura Ivanova and she was amazing! Her prices were great and she had lots of great tips for poses and definitely let me know when things weren't working. My makeup was done by Hana-April of Un.Veiled Styling and events. Again, she was amazing. I'm not much of a makeup person and was worried about how I'd look but I loved her work! I highly recommend both ladies to any brides in the Twin Cities area! Here are the pics! I'm only going to leave them up for so long because I'm rather modest, but I just wanted to share with you ladies, especially those in my area looking for photographers and makeup artists!
  16. For our wedding, dinner actually took about 1.5 hours so we only had 1.5 hours of dancing. You should take into consideration how long it takes for everyone to sit down and get drinks, etc. Plus it is a 3 course meal which takes longer than you'd expect. I definitely wish we would've had an extra hour to dance, but we had a lot of dancers in the crowd. It depends on your group!
  17. That's a sweet deal. I paid over $3 per bag just for materials.
  18. I bought my chair sashes here. There are several options, but these are $0.59 each. http://www.weddinglinensdirect.com/8xorsapa.html
  19. We paid $350 but they started off at $500. Always negotiate!
  20. I'm sorry that you have to go through this. Yes, the woman appears to be trying to be respectful, but it still is discriminatory. Of course the government can't "legislate peoples' heart and belief systems" but they can legislate business practices and what she is doing appears to be illegal in Mexico (assuming what you said about their laws is true). Hopefully you can find other vendors with better business practices. Try to not let this ruin your big day. As my husband constantly reminded me when we were planning our wedding (and things kept going wrong), all that matters is you two. As long as you're together, everything will be fine! Best of luck!
  21. Congrats on setting a date! Just wanted to mention that as long as you've been charged, the date is set. You won't get a signed contract from Claudia until you meet with her at the resort a few days before your wedding. I guess it's just how they do things in Mexico. In fact, we did a wire transfer and never got confirmation that Dreams received it but our wedding day was still reserved for us! Have fun planning, a year will go by before you know it!
  22. I don't think it's too hard. It's similar to Word and Outlook but much easier to get things to go where you want them! Good luck!
  23. My bridesmaids and I only had our makeup done at the salon, but it went pretty quickly, probably only about half an hour. I'm not sure how long hair takes, but I imagine a 1 pm appointment would be fine. Â Yes, Dreams does sometimes have at least 2 weddings a day during the busy season. There was one scheduled for 2 hours before mine, but somehow it got pushed back until 45 minutes before mine. Somehow they pulled it off!
  24. I feel like we only had an hour and a half for dancing, so dinner (with the speeches, first dance, etc) took about an hour and a half also. We had about 37 people, so serving everyone took a bit of time. With a smaller party it might be only an hour or so.
  25. Â I got mine at Dollar Tree. They were 2 for $1. It was the best deal I could find. Â