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About lalabee

  1. That bouquet took my breath away! And it's included? I am so excited!
  2. Dream Wedding at the Barcelo!

    Pros: friendliness of staff, wedding coordinator, beautiful resort, organization
    Cons: spa
    I had the pleasure of having the wedding of my DREAMS at the Barcelo Maya Palace earlier this month. I have practically nothing but wonderful things to say about this experience! We spent 5 days at the resort and truly wish we had booked more time, as our departure came WAY too soon! Here is a detailed review:   Wedding Coordinator: A++   We worked with Claudia Vazquez, and had been corresponding with her since January 2011. We didn't start sending more frequent emails until mid-summer, when she began contacting us with the planning spreadsheet and choices for our wedding. Whenever I would email her, she would respond within one or two days, even on weekends. I was truly amazed at her prompt replies, as I had read on other forums that other coordinators could take anywhere between 1-2 weeks to reply. We met her in person on the day after our arrival, and she had all of our choices saved in a folder. Went over final details and gave her some of the items we had brought from home, and on our wedding day, everything was set up perfectly. Claudia is EXTREMELY nice and I hope to visit the resort again, just to say hi to her!   RESORT: A++   We took a risk and chose this resort sight-unseen, based on the recommendation of our travel agent. It was overcast on our arrival day (11/1/11), but that didn't stop us from oooh-ing and aaaah-ing at the artwork, architecture, and overall openness of the resort. Similarly, the service at the resort was stellar. Everyone - from the front desk staff to the housekeeping to the restaurant staff to the groundskeepers - was very pleasant and spoke when you passed them. In fact, it took me a while to stop saying "hola" and "buenos dias" to people once I got back to the States. :) Small tips do go a long way, especially at the bars. I ordered breakfast via room service the morning of the wedding and for $6, they brought a gigantic spread. Amazing!   WEDDING/RECEPTION: A+   We had the Mint Breeze Package and got married in the Palace Gazebo at 4:00. There was a wedding the day before ours, so we had a sneak preview into the set up at the Gazebo. The wedding was seamless. Claudia came to pick us up (me, my dad, and my bridesmaids) in a golf cart shortly after 4pm - we were running late because our photographer took some last minute photos of the guys (at least, that's what they told me). Our guests were able to wait in the covered part of the hotel until right before the ceremony. The actual ceremony was brief - 15 minutes - and they had a wireless microphone for our officiant to use. (side note: we brought our own officiant, so Claudia knocked some money off of the cost of our package). The jars we gave Claudia for the sand ceremony were on the altar. Although one of our original jars broke en route to Mexico, Claudia located an exact replica of our jar. I was thoroughly impressed by that! We had the violinist play while the moms were being seated, and provided an iPod for the bridesmaids processional, bridal march and recessional. They initially played the wrong song for my entrance, but they quickly fixed it - no big deal.   We opted not to have a formal cocktail hour and sent our 30 guests to the Carey Lobby Bar instead. This was a perfectly suitable option; everyone was staying at the Palace and could get drinks here, plus there were finger foods there for people to snack on before dinner. Our planned break was a little too long; we ended the wedding at 4:30 and the reception started at 6. Everyone was having a great time though, so no one complained. It gave my Hubby and I another chance to hang out with our guests.   Our reception was in one of the banquet rooms in the resort. This was nice because it was air conditioned, but ideally I would've liked one of the open-air grills. We had a great time though; dancing on the carpet wasn't so bad! :) We had the Lamb Entree for our dinner which was INCREDIBLE. I like lamb, but I learned to love it after that meal.   SPA: C   The Spa was the only downside to this experience. We had a couples' massage included with our package, plus I booked pedicures for the bridesmaids, moms, and me on the wedding day. We didn't realize the Spa was at another Barcelo property - that was our fault - so we were almost late for our massage. They were kind enough to send a golf cart to come get us. The massage was AWESOME. Afterwards, I talked to the receptionist to confirm the wedding day appointments, which were ALL screwed up. In spite of corresponding with Diana for months about changes in the appointments, she had the wrong people listed at the wrong times; it was a mess. They called to confirm the appointment the day before the wedding, and it was STILL wrong. The Spa has a no-cash policy, so if you don't have any change for tips, you can bill it to your room. No biggie, but on the check out, I saw that they had billed another bride's makeup and hair ($200) to my room-- I didn't get makeup and hair at the Spa! The front desk fixed the problem, but not before almost making us miss our transfter to the airport. Very frustrating. The Spa staff had to ride over from the Colonial to see my face and ensure I was telling the truth.   Speaking of HAIR/MAKEUP: A++++   I hired Adrian Guerra, who was a GOD-SEND! I had been emailing him since early this year and he was very candid about having little experience with an African-American bride. It didn't matter; he had me looking AMAZING on my wedding day! He and his team are incredible. I can't rave about them enough. They agreed to do my mother's hair too, which was a last-minute add-on. I STRONGLY recommend Adrian!!!   PHOTOGRAPHY: A++++   Okay so we brought our own photographer, Studio Four Photography, from Sarasota, FL. Totally worth the expense!!! For photos of our big day, visit www.studiofourblog.com and look for the Carla & Bryant post!   Here is one photo: