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Umami

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About Umami

  1. A lot of my family and a lot of my husband's family were concerned and those with concerns we couldn't assuage stayed home. The folks that did come (we got back Friday) were impressed at how far off the mark the media has been, at least with the area we were. We stayed in Soliman Bay, Valladolid and Xpu-Ha and well, it was as we knew, beautiful, friendly and without any problems. If you go looking for problems you will find them. My greatest article I sent to people though, to answer folks directly was from the US government's website: http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_970.html AND there are travel warnings out for Europe, but I bet if you were having a wedding in Europe no one would say anything even though there has been an increase in violence. The sheer number of folks that visit Mexico versus incidents that happen is actually really low and I agree with all the folks who try and put the crime in perspective. If a murder happened in Charlotte, NC I wouldn't be concerned about violence in my town in Waltham, MA. If you think about it, it behooves the US Government to push US Citizens staying home and spending tourist dollars at home rather than abroad. Also, since we just got back we didn't see any abnormal military movements either. They were spot checking cars more often than the last time we were there so you may want to keep your passport on you if you're driving around. Not for anything bad, just tell them where you are going and that you're visiting.
  2. Update!! El Pez ended up being intractable, contrary and expensive! They had a very hard time with a gluten free diet. This should not be a big deal if you prepare your food from scratch and we've noticed that restaurants/caterers that freak out tend to use a lot of premade food, whether or not that's true I don't know, but they were not accomodating. Instead we opted for Casa Marcaribe in Soliman Bay! Caterers, florists and partying all up next!
  3. It is going! lol. Malisa's working things with El Pez. We need to get more info on the menu since Pete is a Celiac, so little things like making sure ALL the tortillas are corn and that flour isn't used as a thickener in sauces. For the most part though its hard to add flour to things like Ceviche and guacamole Malisa is also working with an intrepid baker on a gluten free wedding cake. This is less important to me and Pete because it will have a MUCH shorter shelf life than its gluten counter part and may be difficult to have come out well if you don't have the time to bake it the day before, plus the idea behind a wedding cake is supposed to be a wheat product to represent fertility and prosperity, since it will be wheat free...it kind of loses its meaning and in that case a tasty dessert works just as well. We had a great time and everything was beautiful! By the third day my face hurt from smiling
  4. Umami

    New Vendor - Destination Scout

    I also wanted to add my review. Malisa helped us take a scouting trip down to Tulum and ran our tooshies off, but in a very good way. If she put that much effort into a quick 4 day trip I know we'll do well for a whole wedding. You can read everywhere she had us go here. And you can just tell that she was trying to give us a sample of EVERYTHING without dictating what we should or should not like. This is great, now if I can just save up enough money for fire spinners
  5. Hi All, I haven't posted much, because well I haven't had a lot of information to contribute. I did want to add a post about our scouting trip. I've read through a whole slew of scouting trips other folks have gone on and found them, at this stage of the game, extremely helpful. The scouting reports gave me a list of places to look at online and to ask about. You never really know what places are like until you go there, and I highly recommend biting the bullet and going down and actually seeing the places in which you are interested. I have a full scouting trip review on my wedding blog and we have a couple of albums of pictures (Tracy and Pete) and I'm more than happy to share more in depth information to anyone. Very briefly I want to go over where we went and who helped us. First almost the whole trip was organized by Malisa at Destination Scout, she pretty much booked all day every day we were there, we actually rolled over some places to our "day off" to get them all in. Also Pete (the groom) is a Celiac and you know what, Mexico is great for Celiacs! We're working on a place to make us a cake/cupcakes, BUT given what you choose you can even bake something yourself. I may end up baking off cupcakes the day before the wedding, because I do a bang up job and well 50 cupcakes is like nothing. This is my own aside, but don't let food allergies dictate where you go and what you do! Day #1. We went to Soliman Bay, which for us is likely going to be where most people end up staying. These are luxury Hacienda's complete with private chef, maid, AC, spacious areas, private beach fronts, and amenities like kayaks that you can take out for snorkeling. We did not get to go inside any of the Hacienda's, but given what we could see through the windows and the pictures on LocoGringo you will get a really good idea of what places look like from the photos on Locogringo and I have links in my review on my blog. Along with prices, and right now this is going to likely be the most affordable luxury accomodations you'll find. The hacienda's we saw were Buena Suerta, Hacienda Kass, Casa Yardena, and Mar Caribe. Buena Suerta would be a great property to stay, but NOT for a wedding. It has plenty of space, but no areas where people can easily mill about and chat, you would end up with pockets of people and not a lot of free flowing movement. This is important to us that people can easily move about and not feel cramped. Hacienda Kass is a beautiful property and depending on when you have your wedding it may be a good option for an actual wedding location. The property is huge, and for me for the time of year we're getting married in (October 2011) there were so few people that we wanted, well, I wanted, a more open property. This one has a row of palm trees separating the house from the beach. This may actually be a really good idea if you are getting married in high season, you may want to cut off people taking their evening run from your party. Mar Caribe right now needs a paint job and some cleaning. But the property itself you can easily picture how you would set up a wedding. The beach is right in front and you can see the home in the back, you can move from a ceremony on the beach to a cocktail party on the roof and balconies, then you can have dinner set up around the pool and dancing in front. It was a surprise I didn't actually think I'd like this property at all, but it would work really well. Casa Yardena--we didn't see much of this property as there were people staying here. They loved it, and I believe them. I liked Hacienda kass and Mar Caribe better, but for a large property to put a lot of people this would be great. There are also two more buildings going in, so this time next year there will be two more places for folks to go see. We also had lunch at Sahara Cafe in Hotel Jashita. There are links in the blog to this hotel. This is a great hotel. On the pricey side, but each room has AC, nice bathrooms, balconies, and there will be a spa (mainly for massages) on site. The honeymoon suite has a HUGE jacuzzi and will have a shaded area for hammocks. We are seriously considering this place for our honeymoon after the ceremony. The owner Miss. Monica (who is really a Mrs.) is lovely and is all about taking a balanced view of the world. The hotel itself would hold a very classy wedding and you can easily picture a very chic affair. Day #3. We visited a lot of properties in the Sian Ka'an. I highly recommend just reading my blog on these properties. They are gorgeous. Their drawback is that your guests would have to make their own food or take a trek into town for restaurants. This is fine, except if say it has been raining. The road is not paved and is sometimes fine and sometimes you would be afraid the road will eat your car. Day #4. We visited El Pez, La Luna, Las Ranitas, and Ana Y Jose. There are links and pictures on the blog, but quickly. We chose El Pez, just for our wedding and reception. This is a small hotel (6 rooms), clean, open floor plan, nice beach, with a pool, pretty substantial deck, lounge area, and an industrial kitchen. I have more pictures than I put in the blog, so if you are interested let me know and I'll send you more. You can easily see how you can make this your own. The rooms do not have AC, but truly you don't need it. The water pressure is good, the views are lovely. This is also pretty central for anyone staying near here, say you have folks at Ana Y Jose they can just walk to your wedding and walk back at the end of the night. Same with a slew of other hotels right near here. La Luna was great and is our runner up. We're a bit afraid of being cramped if it rains and in October rain is a serious thing. The layout is cool, the cabanas are excellent (clean, airy and comfortable), and the food was great. You have the option of renting the whole property for a week, or just a room for a few nights. For a wedding I think they would want you to rent out more than half of the cabanas, but I didn't ask. Las Ranitas would be great for a large group (50+), and it has a good flow, you have your interior for food/dinner, deck for cocktails and the pool area for cocktails, a good stretch of beach for a ceremony and I did like the rooms. They were clean, comfortable and the larger suites have a private pool to boot. What I did not like is that for a wedding you have to (or this is what they told us) rent out at least 15 rooms. The entrance is actually really beautiful and very green. Ana Y Jose is a fabulous property, though expensive. For our budget this is just right out, but not out for folks wanting to stay at a place like this. We saw the honeymoon suite which is huge, with a minibar, AC (I believe ac, they told us that they had AC), nice bathroom, and great views of the ocean. This was not where we wanted to spend the rest of our time, but if you have picky guests send them here. Day #2 you may have noticed was not mentioned. Ths was a day that Malisa set up for us for local vendors and you can make it as packed as you need or not. We have a ton of time, really, and so I will periodically update with our progress, since our wedding is in October 2011...we are in no huge rush. I expect I'll have a really good idea of what the whole thing is going to shape up as by March. Good luck everyone. Tracy
  6. Hi Ladies, I'm pricing out places and am interested in AyJ, and this forum hasn't had much activity in a while (I agree with Lauren on that). Has anyone used a wedding coordinator with AyJ? Was it worthwhile? Any feedback or suggestions would be awesome You all can email me at tap236 at g mail dot com, I'd love to hear and get any advice. I have lots of time though we picked the last week of October 2011 and are visiting Tulum the first week of October 2010 and any other places I'd love to know about. Tracy
  7. I'm glad you posted and a few other ladies have on tripadvisor as well. Blue Tulum was on our list until we ran across this, and I couldn't make reservations for it.
  8. Hi all, Clearly new, name is Tracy (umami most places) and as of today wedding date not officially chosen, but likely October 2011. It seems reasonable given other weddings going on next year. We'd like to get married in Xcaret Eco Park, but it seems like its expensive not to go through a 3rd party wedding coordinator and regardless of cost we're now going through and figuring who that wedding coordinator should be--I don't speak spanish beyond ordering food or where is the bathroom, so...someone who does speak spanish would be super duper. Anyway, we'll be visiting Mexico early October this year to check out the location and make sure it is what we think it is. Also we'll be staying at the Occidental (and will be comparing that to Xcaret for location for a wedding) which we want to make sure is indeed family friendly but not off putting for couples only. We'll have predominately couples or families with children in their late teens so we don't want throngs of kids, but if we're having a destination wedding we don't want to say you can't bring your children. That seems restrictive on top of please buy a plane ticket and hotel room. Anyone that has gotten married at Xcaret or the Occidental please let me know how it went and I'd love to know who you used for a wedding coordinator and photographer.
  9. This is a review of:

    Del Sol Photography

    Amazing! And Amazing People.

    Pros: Professional, Talented, Creative, Communicative, Genuine, and Passionate
    Cons: None
    We have a long list of adjectives to describe Del Sol, so instead of starting with adjectives let me start with our story.  Way back in the summer of 2010, my now husband and I started looking for photographers for our wedding.  We were not even engaged at the time.  I have to thank Best Destination Wedding at this point, because while we were looking for photographers I ran across a wedding Del Sol photographed at La Zebra in Tulum, Mexico.  The photos were amazing and it was, well nearly love at first sight, well in that omg these are amazing and I want that too.

    In July Pete and I finally were engaged, so we could officially book things for our wedding.  Nearly the first order of business was to get our photographer.  I reached out and had a few conversations with Matt.  Matt is a chatter…my husband is a chatter so they got along swimmingly.  We ended up booking Vincent as our photographer (it was a balance of things for us), who has a nice photo-journalistic style.  Then well, time went by and we had a note from Melissa stating that through a series of events Vincent was double booked on our wedding date, which meant Sol was going to take our photos.  Sa-WEEET.  lol.  This is a great since they don't leave you in a lurch or replace your photographer with someone unknown, we got Sol that's awesome!

    A few more months pass and it is time for our wedding.  Now let me say the closer it got to my own wedding the harder it was for me to actually look at any photos posted by Matt and Sol, not because they were not great photos, but because I was concerned MY wedding would not be worthy of Del Sol's photography.  Unreasonable?  Probably.

    Then it was time for my wedding!  My husband and I went down to Mexico, October 23 and our wedding week was through October 30th….which was the week of hurricane Rina.  Now Pete and I live in New England, and most of the time they make a big deal out of a hurricane, and this wasn't really any different.  What was different was that it wasn't just Pete and I, it was Pete and I and another 20 people.  We had to evacuate, and in that evacuation/potential hurricane it messed up all our plans.  It turned out ok, but that's not the point of the review.  What is the point is that through all the changes for our wedding Sol was incredibly accommodating.  Whenever the time for our wedding got settled they were going to be there.  

    So…we ended up moving the wedding from a sunset to a sunrise, so instead of a reasonable hour Sol showed up at our house at 5:30am on a Saturday.  They had to drive down from Playa, so I'm sure they were all awake around 4am.  Not only did Sol show up, but Matt and Juan came.  I cannot tell you what a squeee moment it was.  We proceeded to have a sunrise cosmic Mayan ceremony and it was beautiful and Del Sol collectively were everywhere.  Heck, Matt was in the water photographing from the water and capture some amazing mirror shots, and combined with Sol and Juan's perspectives we had three versions of any moment.  That is amazing.  
    Then we went into a trash the dress (after breakfast of course).  It was fun, and silly and well a bit dirty.  Afterwards we had the pleasure of having them hang out and eat lunch, and it was great.  Pete and Matt chatted, everyone had a great time.

    The moral of the story is two fold.  Del Sol are amazing photographers, but pictures are worth more than words so click here for our slideshow, and they take time and pride in their craft.  But also equally important is they take pride in their business.  Just because it wasn't a convenient time they didn't complain, in fact they gave even more.  They were always communicative throughout the process, you cannot beat the customer service, I never felt nickel-and-dimed, and I never felt anything but trust.  To top it off you get your photos.  Do you know how rare it is that the photographers give you your own photos?  At the end of it all I don't think we only had a business relationship, but we've made new friends.   What is my favorite photo?  I think the winner over all is 202, but so many are incredible for different reasons and there are so many different styles of photos it is hard to choose just one.   Here is a list of some of our favorites, just in case you were wondering.  Though there are photos I absolutely love that are NOT on this list.       
  10. Best Investment You will Make for your Wedding

    Pros: professional, communicative, creative, calm, resourceful
    Cons: None.
    First off let me say that I am not always the best at reviews, but I will try my best to relate our experience with Destination Scout, LLC (Malisa).  

    Our wedding was a week long event in Soliman Bay, Mexico, October 23-30th, and nothing went according to plan.  Weather in Mexico in October…

    Sunday-Tuesday went basically according to plan.  Malisa had set up a great taco dinner for everyone on Sunday using local folks (which was awesome), Tuesday she had set up vans for us to get out to Chichen Itza…then it all changed.  Hurricane Rina was projected to come through the area and could have been as much as a category 2 storm, so the hacienda's we rented for everyone dictated that we evacuate.  

    Malisa was great, she arranged for two vans, found an inexpensive hotel for everyone in the group, arranged rooms for everyone and helped us pack it al up and drive inland.  We had rented two cars (one for Malisa and one for ourselves) and if Malisa hadn't been there to help and know how to rent vans then I'm not entirely certain what we would have done since 2 cars does not move 20 people and their luggage.  Once we got to Valladolid she had an impromptu tequila tasting to help everyone blow off steam from having to be disrupted.  The next day she took a few hours and arranged a reception dinner for us (I refused to have the wedding in Valladolid), so we had dinner, drinks and dancing on a lovely balcony overlooking Valladolid's central square.

    We then trucked it back to Soliman Bay, HOWEVER, it wouldn't be complete if something ELSE didn't happen.  My rental car's back driver's side wheel locked up, in the middle of Valladolid, and our phone wasn't making phone calls (one of the many little things that didn't go right that had nothing to do with Malisa).  The police in Valladolid were actually extremely nice, and Malisa started raining in folks to make phone calls to the three locations (and 8 phone numbers) for Cancun Car rental.  So we left the car and made use with the 2 vans, and single rental.  We made it back to Soliman Bay, and rearranged the whole wedding.  It went from Friday evening to Saturday morning at sunrise, she found a new hairdresser for me on short notice (the person we had booked couldn't do a sunrise ceremony), arranged the time change with Del Sol Photography (who were extremely accommodating), arranged breakfast for after the ceremony and changed the arrival time of our caterer (who was AMAZING and the only reason I had her was because of Malisa).  She took care of Charlie and Maria who were doing the ceremony, got up before dawn and trudged through the trees to cut down palm leaves for me so I could have them as part of the circle.  

    She refilled drinks, arranged all sorts of things, and generally tried to make me and my husband relax (which is no mean feat I'll tell you that).  

    Everything she did was above and beyond a wedding coordinator.  Given how much was changed and was waylaid she had every right to tell me that none of it was part of her job description, but she did it anyway and I cannot tell you how grateful I am.  

    She will be your BEST investment.    
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