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VaraderoBride

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About VaraderoBride

  1. VaraderoBride

    ***Iberostar Laguna Azul Brides***

    Hi Ladies, I did what you suggested and uploaded some photos on photobucket! I didn't want to post pics of people so these are the only ones I could find from my guests photos. I will update as I find more. Here is the link: Iberostar Laguna Azul pictures by JenandKris - Photobucket I hope it works! - Jen
  2. VaraderoBride

    ***Iberostar Laguna Azul Brides***

    Congratulations Lola!!! And don't panic! You have plenty of time =) These are the things you need to plan through Yahimara now: 1) Email her a copy of bride & groom's passports + birth certificates, the 2 witnesses passports, and the "mandatory documents" which is an info package for you to fill out. This should be the first thing you do as she requests it 30 days prior to wedding. But don't worry, I only sent this 3 weeks before! 2) Choose location of ceremony (beach or terrace...both are nice!) 3) Choose location of dinner. I would say Romantico is the best for smaller groups (Less than 40). Steakhouse was also good! 4) Choose whether you will have a private party after dinner. Of course, you'll probably want a dress and dresses for the bridal party...as well as attire for the groomsmen. You don't have time to order dresses, but I'm sure you'll have no problem finding them! Not sure where you're from, but Lululemon has the wicked tan coloured pants for men that look like dress pants in photos! If you have ANY questions, just message me! I've still got the ILA fresh on my mind since my wedding was 1.5 wks ago =) - Jen
  3. VaraderoBride

    WARNING for those bringing a photographer to Cuba!

    One more thing to add... The fact that the photographer + father knew the immigration officer already from previous issues (implicating that their names were already flagged) makes me feel like they were probably followed. Were they coming from a place inside Varadero? Or did they have to pass the gate into Varadero? Maybe it's like the Canadian/US border. Once you're pulled aside...everytime you go back they're going to 'bust your balls' (excuse my language).
  4. VaraderoBride

    WARNING for those bringing a photographer to Cuba!

    I see the misunderstanding here... as I know Dmitri you are not an insensitive person! The first line "The Cuban government is hunting wedding photographers from abroad..." is probably a bit extreme. I think the Cuban government probably has a few other issues to attend to before using their resources to burn photographers. Jackobelle... that totally sucks and I cringe when I think about not being able to have wedding photos!!! I know how important pictures are for such a special day and I really do hope that you can somehow still get photos. I know it really isn't the same. I had a friend whose photographer's photos were completed deleted... so what they did was they invited all their close friends and family together to have the shots taken again. I really hope everything works out! As for future brides going to Cuba, I would go the "friend" route and try to have the photographer stay at the resort. If the photographer is coming from the outside, I would make sure he doesn't have "Cuba" as a destination stamped in his passport more than a few times... It really does look suspicious. It sounds like this could be resort-specific. I know ILA didn't have any problems (was just there last week with a few other brides who also brought a photographer).
  5. VaraderoBride

    ILA Brides, what do you have planned so far for your big day?

    The ceremony goes by so fast and usually tonnes of people love standing to take photos. You can try and push Yahimara to get more fancy chairs, but this is Cuba. Unfortunately she can't snap her fingers and make the chairs appear! We had a joke during our stay...everything was in "Cuban time"... sometimes things are more relaxed, and other times the resources are just not available when you want them.
  6. VaraderoBride

    ***Iberostar Laguna Azul Brides***

    To answer your questions: - Tables were square, but put together to make large rectangular tables. - Most decisions made over there. The only real decisions I made beforehand was 1) Location of ceremony, 2) The Restaurant and 3) Having a private party afterwards. - All the decorative flowers were included. For the ceremony on the terrace, there were flowers on the ground lining the pathway where the wedding party walked. I can't really remember where else the flowers were...I'll have to look back at the pics when I get them. I remember Yahimara saying something about flowers for the archway, but I don't think that happened. Maybe they couldn't affix them to it so they went elsewhere! - I believe the 150 CUC was for a private DINNER. The private party was just 8 CUC per person per hour and I had this after the dinner reception. I highly recommend this, especially if you have a large group (we had 30). - How do I post pictures on here?? Jen
  7. VaraderoBride

    ILA Brides, what do you have planned so far for your big day?

    Hi Girls, I have posted some details of my wedding (held last week at ILA) in the "Iberostar laguna Azul Brides" forum. If you have any questions I'm happy to answer them for you! I've just been breezing through some of your comments above. Hopefully this helps: - The Steakhouse restaurant is HUGE. They set up our dinner in one half of the restaurant so that the other half was separate. They also set it up in a way where there was room between the head table and the other tables for the dances. They were able to provide a microphone for speeches and I provided them with CDs for dinner music. It was only supposed to be a "private dinner" for 1 hour, but it ended up being private the entire time. I think people showed up at 7:30pm and just figured it was closed for the wedding, then left. - There was no "gazebo". There was an archway. Very plain. But lots of flowers leading up the archway. Looked better in the terrace (where I got married) because of the enclosed space. I can see how it would look more plan on a huge beach. - Make sure when you meet with Yahimara that you bring the bride, groom & 2 witnesses' Tourist Card. She will photocopy it and give it back to you right away. No need to translate any documents beforehand. - I had a private party between dinner and the disco (8:30-10:30pm, although staff kindly stayed until 11pm). They charged me $8 per person per hour, which included full bar service and a DJ. Let Yahimara know who will NOT be drinking (I.e. kids) so she can discount it from the price. This was a great idea, as I think our guests would have gone to bed if there was a huge gap between dinner and the disco. You can have this private party at the beach bar (weather permitting) or in a large enclosed hut (like the Steakhouse Restaurant, but on the opposite side of the resort). We had it in the enclosed hut, as it had rained that day. Jen
  8. VaraderoBride

    ***Iberostar Laguna Azul Brides***

    Hello Ladies! I just got back from my ILA wedding, so I thought I'd give you some details that might help you all out! Wedding Coordinator: She was great and really tried to make our day how we wanted it. She was quite busy on the day we got married (3 weddings!) and forgot to put out the wedding favours (which had names on it to designate the seating) so the seating arrangements got a bit screwed up for the dinner. I would be specific and have someone give her reminders on the day of. Preparation: - Had my hair done in the salon for 50 CUC. Not exactly what I wanted, but she was able to fix things as we went along. I brought my own pics and she also had pics there. Overall, turned out great. - The bridal party got ready in our suite. I HIGHLY recommend you pay extra (we only paid $50 for entire trip) to book the Junior Suite beforehand. The suite is double in size, with two bathrooms, a bathtub AND walk-in shower, a walk-in closet, a separate living area, etc. - Flowers and buttonholes were delivered to our rooms (buttonholes to guys room, flowers to our room). Extra bouquets were 15 CUC each and extra buttonholes were 3 CUC each. - Yahimara picked us up from our room and had a driver drive us out to the ceremony. Ceremony: - Was supposed to be on the beach at 2pm. At 1:45pm is started to drizzle so Yahimara made the quick decision to have it moved inside on the terrace. Good decision! All the decorations and archway were moved promptly. The ceremony was delayed an hour, but so worth it! The terrace is GORGEOUS with a view of the ocean in the background. Also, a LOT less windy. I almost think it worked out for the better. - I brought my own music on CD for the entrance. - I couldn't really fully understand Yahimara as she translated...but I sure did try! The legal servant and Yahimara were great and the ceremony lasted about 15 mins. - There was a live band and champagne at the ceremony. The servers handed us our champagne before we even walked out! LOL. In hindsight, I would've asked Yahimara to let the wedding party do the traditional walk-out first...then come back in for the booze. - We didn't have too much time on the terrace as we were behind schedule and the next wedding was coming up. Dinner (6:30pm): - We had dinner at The Steakhouse restaurant, which I would not recommend if the weather was really cold. It worked out for us because it stopped raining and it was warm. - We wanted a private dinner, but Yahimara explained to us that they were having troubles with the A La Carte's so we would only have the first hour to ourselves. We ended up having the whole restaurant (which is quite large) to ourselves the entire time because people would come and see that a wedding was going on, and leave! - I had the lobster, which was really good. Groom had the steak, also good. The appetizer was a bit messy (burrito). - Wedding cake was AMAZING. And I don't usually like cake. I didn't ask for anything specific, but they did a great job. It had two layers with some chocolate design thing at the top. A cake-topper wouldn't been nice had I remembered to bring one. - We had a head table (7 of us) and 3 tables of eight. The tables were all decorated nicely and they even delivered a nice flower arrangement to our room for when we got back. - I went to the Romantico restaurant one night and it was GORGEOUS. The best food on the resort. This restaurant would be great especially for smaller wedding parties (We had 31 people). Private Party (8:30pm): - We were supposed to have a private beach party at the beach bar. Since it was drizzling throughout the day, we ended up having it in a large enclosed hut (exactly like the Steakhouse restaurant, but on the opposite end of the restaurant). I'm sort of glad it worked out this way, because I think everyone would've been bitten by mosquitoes had it been on the beach. - The price was 8 CUC per person per hour. I had it for two hours. It included full bar service and a DJ. I brought a couple of my own CDs, but the DJ also had great music. Warning: he DOES NOT have slow music, so if you want some slow songs bring your own. - The staff was nice enough to stay until 11pm. Then the DJ had to head to the disco (where many of our guests ended up). Payment: - The wedding plus the extras (private party, hair, guests staying outside the resort) were all charged to our room and paid at check-out. The only thing we had to pay in cash was the flowers. - I tipped the wedding coordinator the night before the wedding...I think this helped =) Other things: - I had a "meet and greet" lunch at the buffet on the second day because we had guests from all over. The staff were so great and set-up a really large table for us, as well as gave us 4 bottles of champagne! Although we did not continue to have large parties at the buffet, the staff did offer to set this up again. - The photographer stayed at another resort and had no problems getting in. There was no charge for bringing in the photographer, although I did say he was a "friend". Also, he coincidentally had the exact same colour wristband, which I think is the reason why he didn't get hassled at the gate. - Yahimara allowed the wedding party (7 of us) to remove our wristbands on the wedding day. We got new ones the next day. - Careful of the ocean. My mom got stung by a jellyfish. - The staff count EVERYTHING. Do not lose anything! I.e. the umbrellas in your room, your beach towels, etc. - The average wage in Cuba is 8-35 CUC PER MONTH (this includes professionals!). The people who work in tourism obviously make a lot more (with tips). I wish I had brought more things like make-up, soap, shampoo/conditioner, clothing as these are very expensive in Cuba. They also don't have a lot of the products we are used to (importing laws) and if they do it's $$$. A can of pringles, for example, was 5.10 CUC (around $6 canadian!) If you go into Havana, do bring pesos and things to give away. - If you're booking a large group (10-12 people) to Havana, talk to one of the reps (E.g. Air Canada rep) about making it a private trip. It will cost you 40 CUC per person, which is a lot cheaper than the tours. This way, you can do what you want and you won't have to pick up multiple people from different resorts. The tours tend to be a lot of cigar, rum & souvenir shops. Overall, we had an amazing week! No really big mishaps on the wedding day. The resort was great (5-star Cuba is like 4-4.5 star Dominican). I do not recommend going with something less than a 5-star in Cuba (I've been, trust me!) If you have any questions, feel free to message me! Jen
  9. VaraderoBride

    ***Iberostar Laguna Azul Brides***

    Oooooh me too please! My email is jennifer.kris.wedding@hotmail.com Thanks so much!
  10. VaraderoBride

    New Cuba Protocols: H1N1

    So essentially, if you have a low-grade fever 12hrs prior to departure... you'd better start taking some tylenol =P
  11. VaraderoBride

    ***Iberostar Laguna Azul Brides***

    My friend just got back from a week stay at this resort...she said is was "nothing short of amazing!"
  12. VaraderoBride

    ***Iberostar Laguna Azul Brides***

    I believe the civil servant (or whatever you would call the officiant) works across a few resorts... At least that's what the wedding coordinator made it sound like. When I booked my date, she said "I just need to make sure he is still available for this time." I believe there is a possibility of 3 per day: 11am, 2pm or 4pm. Chances of 3 weddings per day during March break are much higher than during off-peak season.
  13. VaraderoBride

    New Cuba Protocols: H1N1

    I wonder if there will be more leniency if you have proof of immunization?
  14. VaraderoBride

    March 2010 Varadero Brides

    Whitey_M, Are you the one who emailed me? I have actually booked a photographer! He will be flying in on the 15th I believe around 11am-ish, so I'm not sure if he would be tight for time (by the time he arrives in Varadero it could be 2-3pm-ish). What time is your wedding?
  15. VaraderoBride

    How Do I Find a Photographer??

    I've decided to bring my own photographer! It can get expensive, but this photographer's work is my favourite and he also wasn't as expensive as some other photographers. What I am trying to do is see if anyone is having a wedding around the same date, to see if they would like to split the travel costs with me and hire the same photographer. No one so far, but I've just started my search and am new to this website! You can do the same by posting your wedding date & request on this forum. From most people I've spoken with who have brought their own photomgrapher, they've said it was worth every penny. Others who haven't have regretted it. I clicked on all the side banners for photographers...you can get rates from all of them and a lot of their work is really good! Good luck!
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