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  1. It really depends. If the venue prices their own vendors reasonably and has a good reputation, I'd consider it. After all, getting everything in one package is not a bad thing as long as everything's top notch and affordable. Some locations insist on their own vendors so they can ensure great service and an impeccable experience. But for the most part, venues that only allow their own vendors wind up giving you a sub-par offering at double the price, all for profit. And who wants that? Unfortunately, one-of-a-kind locations often have extraordinary leverage in this regard and wind up being the worst offenders. Singular wonders of nature and other national treasure locations have no competition. It's take it or leave it. So while I wouldn't rule it out, I'd be highly suspicious. And not because I insist on a personalized wedding, just because I don't want to get robbed for lousy service.
  2. ahilal

    Hi Folks!

    Thanks for the warm welcomes! I guess one thing I would share is how we kept costs down and decided to do cash-not-gifts. We really don't need home or kitchen stuff so it seemed crazy to register in stores. My wife is Chinese so we were already expecting a number of people to want to give cash (that's the most common practice at least amongst her family). Â The way we announced it in the invitation was: "We are not registering and we ask for no gift except your presence. If you wish you may lend your support to the event or our honeymoon in any amount at [link]" We used honeyfund.com to set up the donation page. Â Once we sent out this message, we got several offers from folks that helped us eliminate some costs completely. Among our family guests there was a photographer and a florist, and they generously gifted their services, which helped a lot. Another friend served as day coordinator, and another handled the sound setup (home stereo equipment - and we arranged our own song playlist for the entire day and just played it off a laptop). The event was not extravagant so we didn't feel bad asking for financial support to put it on. We let our wedding party wear their own choice of clothes (all we said was "dress festive") which made it a little more economical for them. Â I think almost half of the guests did not give anything, which was fine with us. For some folks it would have been a difficult expense during tight times. A few people who were in a position to do so gave quite generously. And a lot of people fell in between. Several folks insisted on sending us kitchen goods, even though we didn't ask for any! Â In the end we were able to pay for the entire wedding with a little left over for our honeymoon. I was VERY grateful to be able to embark on the adventure of marriage without going into debt on day 1. I'm sure that cash-not-gifts would be tacky to some but I encourage you to consider it as an option. Â One wish-I-didn't: we should have made the event shorter, or maybe started it a little later. It started in the early afternoon and we were unrealistic to expect people would be dancing well into the evening. It was a very warm sunny day and almost entirely outdoors so by sunset folks started heading home. There was a bit of a rush toward the end of the day to speed up the cake and stuff. That was a bit of a drag. I didn't want to hurry any part of it. But you gotta keep realistic expectations, especially if you have people in the sun.
  3. People are often caught between what they would like to be able to do, and what they can actually do. Intentions sometimes overshoot reality. Mostly folks mean well, but it can cause a lot of problems if they never get real and just face up to the facts. Be sure that she understands it's okay with you either way, and things will get sorted out quick.
  4. ahilal

    UUCM in San Rafael

    My wedding, back on June 20, 2009
  5. You've got to love Zihua. I don't think I knew the word "tranquillo" before I went there.
  6. ahilal

    Hi Folks!

    My name is Andy - I got married on June 20, 2009 in San Rafael, California. Excited to join this forum!
  7. This is a review of:

    El Cid El Moro Beach Hotel

    Water made me sick

    Pros: Nice pool & beach access
    Cons: Annoying DJ by the pool, Montezuma's revenge
    I did not hold a wedding here but I stayed for several days. By the second day my stomach was turned inside out by the water. I was careful not to drink from the taps, and mostly I ate at the hotel or by the pool. Somehow it got me, so be extra careful. I think brushing your teeth with bottled water might be called for.    The pool was pretty nice but it was difficult to enjoy it because cruise ships kept brining in huge swarms of people, and the hotel provided a very loud DJ by the pool t
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