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carmresu

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About carmresu

  1. Hi there, Sorry to not directly answer your question but we considered using the hotel videographer and photographer (which was included in our package), but decided to get our own vendors instead since the work on funever site (funeverphotos.com) was not that impressive. Here's the work of our vendors ... So happy we went this route! http://johnlauren.com/blog/?p=991
  2. Hi I posted a review on the gcr's page... It should have all that you need, if not, just pm me http://www.bestdestinationwedding.com/products/gran-caribe-real-resort-spa-all-inclusive/reviews
  3. I scheduled my appointment before I left, but made the appointments for my mom and one of my bridesmaids once I got to the resort. So excited for you! It'll be great!!!
  4. twoego - love the pics! I agree the spa did my hair and make-up perfectly as well - exactly as I wanted it. Erika did both my hair and make-up and Beatrice (or Beatriz?) did my mom's hair.. all fabulous!
  5. It depends what kind of package you have. For us, we had a Royal Catholic package that already included free champagne and cake for 10 people (or something like that) and we had to pay an extra $5 for champagne & cake setup for the rest of our guests. We couldn't just cancel the champagne for everyone, which didn't make much sense. I'd ask your wedding coordinator about it.
  6. carmresu

    Royal Cancun Videographer

    Hi there - Not sure if you've found a videographer yet, but I wanted to post my experiences working with Loyd Calomay, a CA based videographer. It’s hard to describe how lucky we feel to have had Loyd document our wedding at the Gran Caribe Real in Cancun on 11/22/11. After we came back from Mexico, we were on such a high from the wedding events and loved looking through our family & friends facebook pictures, but then Loyd sent us our highlight reel, which allowed all of us to relive everything in such a powerful & beautiful way. We’re still looking forward to getting our full length film, but we’ve already watched the highlight reel countless times. We initially didn’t even think a videographer was necessary but after realizing how truly amazing Loyd’s work is, we’re so happy that we decided. Here’s a link to the video: http://vimeo.com/32970125 password: cancun Here’s a link to his page: http://www.loydcalomayfilms.com/
  7. Hi Everyone – I might have gone a bit overboard with this review, and figured it might be most helpful to you 2012 brides so I hope it helps!! (An abridged version of this is also posted on the GCR's vendor page). We were married at the Gran Caribe Real on 11/22/11. Our ceremony was in Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel, the cocktail hour was at the gazebo, and the reception was at the gazebo beach… it was all perfect, despite a few glitches and a rain cloud during our reception. 152 people flew to Mexico for our wedding (we both have really large extended families), which is out of the ordinary for a destination wedding, but I think a lot we experienced could be helpful to you all. Ceremony – Everything went really smoothly. It was a beautiful ceremony right at sunset (4pm). We met with the priest (Fr. Eugenico) a couple days before and he was lovely to work with. We let him know the readings we selected and he went through the chronology of the mass with us. Since we had a large group, we asked one of my aunts to be a second Eucharistic minister, which helped expedite the communion process. Rehearsal – We didn’t pay the extra money to have the wedding coordinator (Diana) at the rehearsal. I had my Matron of Honor do the run through with our really large wedding party the day before the ceremony, and that was fine. Just note that you’ll have to find out when the chapel will be free since there are usually a lot of weddings going on. I used the tool online to find out of the chapel was available: Welcome gathering/â€rehearsal dinner†Again, because we had such large group, we opted out of having a formal rehearsal dinner. Instead, we had all our guests gather at the Trade Winds Beach Bar around 8pm. It’s largely empty at night so we had the space to ourselves (even though other hotel guests could have popped in if they wanted to). During the event, we had a couple of speeches, and then everyone hung out and had some (included!) drinks. Cocktail hour – The food at the cocktail hour was delicious (possibly better than the reception, but then again, I didn’t eat much at the reception, see below). We had a very small window to eat, but what we had was really good and our guests said the same as well. Had an array of beef skewers, coconut shrimp, and a lot of stuff I don’t remember. The beach gazebo was nicely decorated and it overlooked the reception area which was nice. Reception – Our guests seemed to like all the food at the reception (we had the avocado stuffed with crab, choice of beef fillet or salmon, and the hazelnut mousse). I was too excited to eat too much, but what I had was good. The dessert was definitely the best part! Our cake was two flavors – chocolate/raspberry & tres leches. I didn’t eat much of either because after the main course was served and most of our guests ate, it starting POURING. My husband and I were about to panic and find Diana, but we saw that a bunch of our guests were already dancing so we joined in and the rain turned out to be a pivotal moment of the reception that made it so perfect and memorable. The DJ played “Umbrella†by Rihanna, which was perfect for the moment, which only lasted for about 5-10 minutes before the rain stopped. After that, all of us were having such a fantastic time – the DJ kept playing (thank goodness Alan and his staff had a hood for the equipment!), and no one sat down the rest of the night. Diana came to us just as the rain was stopped to see if we wanted to move inside, but we were staying put. Flowers – We had all this done through the hotel because I didn’t want to worry about coordinating with an outside vendor. All the flowers were just lovely with the exception of the centerpieces – they definitely were not worth the price we paid for them. Wedding Coordinator – Diana Rodriguez Overall, Diana was very helpful to us. Here were the positives: Initial meeting - We met with her when we arrived and went over everything for the wedding from the order of how everyone would process in to the times of my hair appointments. She was able to accommodate my last minute changes (a couple cancelled last minute, 2 people in my wedding party decided they wanted to get their hair done at the salon after I made the appointments etc). We also gave her all the items that needed to be set up (champagne flutes, table numbers, menu cards etc) and she & her staff took care of all of that. Details – she’s been coordinating weddings at the GCR for years and was able to coordinate details that I didn’t even realized need to be done. For example, we ordered decorations for the chapel, and since our package already included one set of flowers for the alter, she had that one used to decorate our table at the reception. Fixes – since it rained during our reception, two minor mishaps occurred – we didn’t get to have any cake (beyond the bite we took during the cake cutting) and our favors weren’t put out for our guests to take when they left the reception. Diana offered to send us a new mini cake for us to our room a couple days later (but we forgot to call and tell her when we wanted it) and had the staff deliver the favors to each guests room. Availability – once we arrived at the GCR, Diana was always available when we had any questions or concerns. We were able to either call her or stop by the wedding center. If she wasn’t there because she was at a wedding, the other planners were able to tell us when we could best contact her. Attitude – from what I can tell, Diana was genuinely happy to help us with whatever we needed. She often gave us helpful suggestions and you can tell that she enjoys her job. Advocacy – sometimes the hotel staff could be hard to deal with (largely because of language barriers). Diana was able to intervene on our behalf, especially one night when guests services messed up our dinner reservations – we ran into her in the hallway, and she made a few calls and was able to get us a reservation at Chef’s Plate at the Royal, which are not open to GCR guests (even though we had the presidential suite) and often need to be reserved 3 to 4 days in advance. Negatives: Communication - it was usually hard to communicate with her via e-mail before we arrived – some days she was more responsive than others. I figured out that it was best to call using the toll-free number that you can use to contact the reservation desk/initial wedding coordinator (who was Elsa for me). Since Diana and the other coordinators (Elizabeth & Flora) don’t have a toll-free number to access them the reservation desk can transfer you to them. After being at the GCR, I realized how super busy all the planners are – they sometimes have multiple weddings in a day and have a lot to handle. This all made me realize why it sometimes took so long for her to respond to my e-mails or phone calls. However, like I said above, once we arrived, it was much easier for us to access Diana. With all the given constraints on their time, I think she did the best she could, and our wedding turned out perfectly. Travel Agent – Wendy Hicks, Wright Travel Wendy is such a blessing. With our number of guests booking stays of various lengths, in different room categories, from all over the country/world – she handled all the logistics effortlessly. There was even a point when my cousin found cheaper rates for the hotel, so Wendy was able to re-negotiate our group contract with the hotel and got our group rates lowered. She responds to e-mails really quickly and was so helpful to all our guests. Photographer – John Lauren Photography I’ve already written a separate review for John & Lauren (a California based a husband and wife team) here but they don’t have a vendor page on here yet so wanted to also give them a plug here because they’re awesome in every way. They shot all of the events during our wedding week and were so much fun to work with. Here is a link to their blog: http://johnlauren.com/blog/ Videographer – Loyd Calomay Films/Red 5 Studios Again, I’ve written a more detailed review that will be posted when Loyd has a vendor page, but wanted to write a note here to reemphasize how remarkable his work is. He really provided us with the best way to relive what was the greatest time of our lives. Throughout the event he made us feel so comfortable and is just an overall great guy. Much of the time we didn’t even notice he was there, but he captured it all. Here is a link to our highlight reel: http://vimeo.com/32970125 which was ready soon after the actual wedding! The password is cancun. DJ – Neil Armstrong Neil kept all of us dancing the whole night long – there wasn’t a moment where they dance floor wasn’t packed, even through the pouring rain! He a NYC based DJ and founder of 5th platoon has a stellar reputation (including being the tour DJ for Jay-Z!) and the packed schedule that goes with it so we were lucky that one of our friends who is a DJ connected us to Neil. Here’s his website if any of you are interested: http://www.djneilarmstrong.com/blog/ Rental equipment – Alan Alexandre, www.audiobalanz.com, djalanalexandre@gmail.com Alan and his staff were great!! It was kind of a difficult for him to connect with Diana, but Alan was very efficient and responsive. He came to the GCR a couple days before the wedding to check out the reception site and him & his crew stayed the whole time to make sure all the equipment was working. When it rained during our reception, Alan was equipped with a rain hood so the party could continue. He even added in fireworks after our first dance!! note: we originally booked Doremixx to provide the equipment for Neil, but he was so hard to get a hold of. I had to use facebook after he didn’t respond to my numerous calls (I actually bought a phone card to call Mexico!) and e-mails to all three of Doremixx’s addresses. By the time we got in contact with him, the equipment we needed wasn’t available and it was still such a hassle to communicate with Ivan so we decided to search out another vendor, which is how we found Alan. Even our WC from the GCR e-mailed Ivan with no luck. It was disappointing to have to pay the $350 outside vendor fee for Alan, but it was much better than having to deal with Doremixx. Overall resort services – The GCR was perfect for our group because our guests’ ages ranged from barely 1 to 75. The aunts and uncles enjoyed hanging out in the lobby/lobby bar area and the kids loved the pirate ship. A couple of my cousins dropped their kids off at the Oki Splash kids club, which was great for both the parents and the kids. The lobby bar was a great spot to hang out in the evening and we even brought down an ipod dock one night and did some dancing. Unfortunately, one of our guests had items stolen from her room (that were not in the safe) and we are pretty certain it was one of the hotel staff, but since the items were not in the safe, there was not much we can do. The night staff (Lorena) was very difficult to deal with but her manager (forgot his name) was much more accommodating. It’s probably a rare occurrence (many of our other guests, including us, left ipads, cameras watches etc. out and nothing happened), but the lesson that it could happen and to use the safe. Room quality - Some of our guests had to switch rooms for various reasons (one room there was a leak, another family with small kids was given a room only accessible by climbing lots of stairs, some rooms didn’t have enough light) which was kind of a hassle – Israel & Hector were definitely the most helpful staff at the front desk. Food – Overall, the food at the hotel was what you would usually expect from an all-inclusive, nothing remarkably spectacular with a handful of really good dishes (guacamole everywhere - especially at Albatros, rib-eye at the Sushi Bar, octopus salad & fillet at Sunset Grill). Helpful advice – OOT bags – the hotel charges $5 to deliver each OOT bag. Since we had so many guests, this was not an option. We distributed our bags at our welcome gathering, but because some guests were arriving days before that gathering, we were able to leave the welcome letters (5 x 7 cards) at the front desk that contained basic information, such as the schedule of events for the week, to be distributed when they checked in. Sit down dinner for large groups – like many others have said on this forum, the restaurants won’t accommodate groups of more than 10. What worked for us was to request tables of 10 close to each other and arrive right when the restaurant opens for dinner. For example, 40 of us went to Sunset Grill for “thanksgiving†dinner. We arrived at 5:45pm, right before it opened, so they were able to sit us all in 4 tables of 10 right next to each other.
  8. We were incredibly blessed to have John & Lauren (a California based, husband and wife team) shoot our wedding at the Gran Caribe Real in Cancun on 11/22/11. This may be their first mention on bdw.com, but word should spread about this amazing couple!! They arrived a couple days before our wedding and shot our welcome reception, rehearsal, ceremony & reception. We also did an “engagement†shoot around the downtown Cancun/market 28 area. They were great to work with because they made us feel relaxed and we had so much fun throughout the entire time. At no point did we have to worry if a moment was not being captured – because they handled everything perfectly. We had complete trust in them throughout the entire wedding and events leading up to it which let us focus on everything else. Because our wedding took place at 4pm, it would have been too dark to take pictures afterwards. So John & Lauren (along with Loyd Calomay, our videographer) arranged for us to have a “first-look†before the ceremony & group pictures. They recommended this to us also because since these are the first picture we’re taking – our smiles are most natural and our outfits and my make-up are still fresh. We are so happy we did this – definitely was one of the best parts of the day. John & Lauren scouted the hotel for the location for the first look, which was on the beach and after overcoming the emotions from seeing each other all dressed up for the first time, we took numerous shots and then met our family & bridal party for the formal group pictures. Because we have such a large family and bridal party – we needed about 20 shots with over 100 people (and lots of little children!) in all the various pictures. John & Lauren coordinated this so well and it the whole process when by smoothly and we still had time to spare before the ceremony. Throughout the reception & ceremony both John and Lauren were all over the place taking pictures. We even had a make-shift photobooth that was make up of two Polaroid cameras that we forgot to announce was available for guests to use. Lauren took the initiative to spread the word about the photobooth and take many pictures herself (in addition to the awesome shots with her camera!). The pictures speak for themselves of how fabulous John and Lauren are. They captured so many poignant moments throughout our wedding week and we’re incredibly happy we were able to work with them. One last point – John & Lauren referred our videographer, Loyd Calomay to us. They have worked together in the past and formed such a great team to document our wedding. Being able to spend time with John, Lauren & Loyd aside from when they were filming/shooting made us realize why their work is so outstanding – the three of them are genuinely great people, the kind of people you want to be friends with. They are caring, generous, funny and really love what they do and I would highly recommend them to everyone. Take a look at their amazing work: http://johnlauren.com/blog/
  9. Loyd is based in California and we flew him to Cancun to film our wedding on 11/22/11 at the Gran Caribe Real. I think it may be his first mention on this site - but I can't speak more postive words about him! It’s hard to describe how lucky we feel to have had Loyd document our wedding. After we came back from Mexico, we were on such a high from the wedding events and loved looking through our family & friends facebook pictures, but then Loyd sent us our highlight reel, which allowed all of us to relive everything in such a powerful & beautiful way. We’re still looking forward to getting our full length film, but we’ve already watched the highlight reel countless times. We initially didn’t even think a videographer was necessary but after realizing how truly amazing Loyd’s work is, we’re so happy that we decided. Here’s a link to the video: http://vimeo.com/32970125 password: cancun Here’s a link to his page: http://www.loydcalomayfilms.com/ Loyd was easy to communicate with before heading down to Mexico. Even though we lived in different time zones (us from NY/NJ while he is from CA), he always responded promptly to our e-mails. Loyd is super talented and we were confident is what he was going to do. We didn’t give him any direction aside from telling him the times of all the events. Our first interaction with Loyd was at our welcome gathering – we didn’t even formally meet with him yet, and he was already shooting (which we did agree on in our contract), but he only landed hours before. Afterwards we found him shooting at the beach, and after watching our highlight reel, it was apparent that he was all over the place taking all sorts of awesome shots. One last point – Loyd was referred to us from John Lauren Photography. They have worked together in the past and formed such a great team to document our wedding. Being able to spend time with John, Lauren & Loyd aside from when they were filming/shooting made us realize why their work is so outstanding – the three of them are genuinely great people, the kind of people you want to be friends with. They are caring, generous, funny and really love what they do and I would highly recommend them to everyone.
  10. Hi there, 1 - I had my wedding in the Chapel on 11/22/11 at 4pm followed immediately by the cocktail hour & private reception. At some point in our planning we wanted there to be an hour lag betwen the ceremony and cocktail hour so we can take pictures, but eventually decided against it. When I brought this up to Elsa (who was also my WC) she never mentioned anything about a $400 fee. However, I've found they do add expenses from year to year. 2 - We had 150 people at our wedding at the chapel and they set up the extra chairs for us at no charge. Again, this could be an additional fee they've added for 2012 (which is absurd!). The chapel probably held 30 to 40 guests and everyone else sat in the white folding chairs. Happy planning!!
  11. I had Erika at Spazul - she did my hair and make-up and it was perfect. I showed her a photo of how I wanted my hair done and she did it exactly as it was pictured. My make-up was wonderful too - it lasted the whole day and looked completely natural. My mom used Beatrice - and her hair was great too. Our wedding was on 11/22/11 - going to hopefully post a review soon.. but please feel free to message with any questions
  12. I'd love to get some advice on this too... Congrats to all the 11-11-11 brides!!!
  13. Hi Everyone, Has anyone heard of the mandatory champagne toast? It's $5/per guest and since it's "complementary" for the the bride and groom - we can't cancel it and have to pay for all guests who attend the ceremony. I wanted to forego the toast because we are doing toasts during the reception. What have you all done about this? I don't really want to spend an extra $500+ dollars (we have about 150 guests). Thanks, Carmela
  14. That's funny I just bought these: http://www.amols.com/catalog/product/FE502 from the same site. They are tiny, but they were only 82 cents each and I figured the table holding the place cards wouldn't have enough room for 150 regular sized maracas. Nadennec - we are doing table assignments not actual seating assignments (if that makes sense) I hope it works out, but I plan to have a table with all the maracas/place card where guests can pick them up. I 3 different color tags from staples to put on the maracas to indicate what type of food the guests are having (salmon, beef, or kid's meal). Not sure if you have decided on table numbers (which I just realized we have to bring), but I found these from Ikea and think I will use them: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/30151035/
  15. Hi Everyone - Our wedding is just over a month away and I'm trying to figure out what to do about the place cards (identifying each person's food options) - we have about 150 people coming to the wedding and I was initially thinking of using color coded maracas, but that would be rather pricey. Our reception is on the beach and I'm afraid it might be too windy for actual place cards. Anyone have other suggestions about what they did? Thanks!! Carmela
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