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About Chrestena

  1. Claire! You looked absolutely beautiful!! I am so happy to hear you had a lovely wedding day!!! Congratulations to you, and your new hubby!! (I still can't get used to calling mine that...but I love the sound of it). Your bridesmaids all looked amazing as well Thank you for sharing your pictures with us XOXO Chrestena
  2. Hi brides! Just wanted to pop on and say hello:) Carlota- I was so sorry to hear about the train accident in Spain, I am very thankful your little sister was not involved, and my heart goes out to your city and it's people. xoxo. I know you have already left for your wedding! I wish you the most beautiful ceremony!!! I will be thinking of you I am off of work this week, so I promise I will post some wedding photos to your FB page. I have been so delayed in doing that! I am sorry to hear about your girlfriends, but...the most important thing is that you will be there with your love, Thomas. Congratulations to you both Lauren- Congrats to you also! I loved seeing the Vegas pictures They were adorable...and your "real" day is coming up so fast. I can't begin to tell you ladies how fast it goes by! I'm glad you had an emotional vow ceremony in Vegas...saying those vows is such a beautiful thing! And I loved your dress I know you will have a beautiful wedding and I can't wait to see your pictures!! xoxo One thing that I noticed, reading through some of the posts, was the mention of gifts/cards at the destination wedding. I didn't mention this earlier in any of my after wedding posts, simply because it didn't matter, but as I have seen it mentioned now- I wanted to let you know (and we were VERY surprised about this) was that most of our guests (with the exception of 3) did not give us a gift or money. Some didn't even give us a card. We did receive 2 cards with well wishes. We felt kind of silly that we placed a card box out on one of our tables, but I did so because Michael and I would never attend any wedding, (first marriage or re-marriage), in any location, (local or destination involving travel) without a gift or a gift of money for the bride and groom. I was worried that the cards were misplaced, but we just didn't receive any. When we returned home, we did receive some gifts and cards with $ through the mail from guests who did not attend the wedding in Mexico. After talking to some of my co-workers, I was shocked to hear that this is a general consensus, and they all thought this was normal for a destination wedding to another country. Many of them thought it is the travel that is the gift, and said that they would not have given a gift of money either. I had never heard of this before! I am not sure if this is a new thing, or if just my group all shared this same thought...I dont know. Lol. Most of our guests are very comfortable financially, so it seemed strange to us. In the end, it didn't matter, but I just wanted to give you a heads up because I was a little confused. For the record, we are attending a destination wedding in a few months, and I will most definitely still be giving a card with a nice check in it! I can't imagine not Sarah519- hello and welcome! I used maracas for our wedding favors and got them online from a party website called Amols. There is a photo of them on this GP site...they were perfect - made in Mexico, hand painted, and surprisingly inexpensive! The funny thing is, the same ones are for sale in the GP resort stores...for about triple the cost! Brebuisson02- hi again! Regarding having an at home reception: We are reciting our vows here in New York and having a very intimate at home reception. We were married at the GP on 5-8-2013, and our NY wedding is August 17th, so we waited just a little bit There is a beautiful gazebo that stretches out over the lake, with all the boats in the background- we will say our vows there, and move to a nearby restaurant for a private dinner on the deck overlooking the water. Very simple with good food and wine:) I do not want to re-create my Mexico wedding on the beach in any way. It was too perfect, so we are doing it totally different Very upscale food with nice wine here in New York, while in Mexico we did fun, h'ors doevres and signature drinks with the names "Mamacita Margarita" and "The Goombah Smash". Lol. I loved our wedding in Mexico on the beach so much that I didn't want to compete with it in any way!! You will love your wedding at the GP- I am certain of it!!! And don't worry to much about people backing out...it happens, it did to us as well, so we just asked our family instead. And our groomsmen and bridesmaids were not an even number, so we had my stepson walk with both of my daughters- one on each of his arms It will all work out because it is your beautiful wedding I promise. Talk to you soon ladies!!! XOXO!!! Happy planning!!!!! Chrestena
  3. Hi girls:) Carlota, Oh I hope Thomas feels better soon! Follow Dr's orders, and lots of rest for him as well...I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers for a quick recovery!! And I love the photo of Thomas and your little puppy!! So cute! We are huge dog lovers as well...we have a huge, silly Golden Retriever named Cooper, and a tiny chihuahua/dachsund mix we rescued. (Michael is a fire investigator and was on a fire where he found several abandoned dogs- it was December, and very, very cold here in New York, and this little dog was about 6 lbs and very sick, living in an abandoned building next to the one that had the fire, and he is now 14 lbs and very healthy and happy in our home with his big brother Cooper!) Claire- I am so happy for you that your day is almost here!! Regarding my dress being in the sea...Yes, I too was worried it would be ruined, but then I thought...I am probably never going to wear it again and I really wanted some beautiful, artistic photos in the water. It was soaked (we went all the way in the sea) and loaded with sand and tiny shells. We stayed in one of the Mayan Suites with the outdoor shower, and so I brought my dress out there and rinsed it over the next 3 days in the outdoor shower. (I carried one of the chairs from our balcony porch into the outdoor shower and placed the dress gently over the chair each time I finished rinsing it). I didn't use any soap on it. After the third day of rinsing it, and shaking it (to loosen all the sand), I filled the jacuzzi in our bathroom with lukewarm water and soaked the dress. I gently swished it around, then drained the water, then took toweling and cleaned out all the sand so it wouldnt go down the drain, then re-did it all over again. Many times I did this. Then, when no more sand was showing up in the tub, I carried the dress outside again, and let it airdry for the next 4 days. It looks beautiful, it came clean, and the bottom hem, which was very dirty from the reception, became clean again. There was no smell of the sea because I swished it around, drained the water, and refilled the tub with fresh water so many times over the course of a few days. My husband thought I was crazy, but it was a labor of love! I wanted to see if I could save my beautiful dress, and I did It looks wonderful, and I am wearing it again for our reception here in NY in a few weeks I can only say about my dress, and i don't ever want to steer anyone incorrectly. My dress was embroidered silk tulle (very delicate) and this material did not get ruined from the water. I cannot speak about another fabric...like Satin for example...I dont know how that would hold up in sea water. I do love the photos we took in the water though, and I would have wanted them even if it meant my gown could never be worn again. I am wishing you the best for your wedding day!!!! Sincerely- Chrestena XOXO! Carlota- I have been so busy with work (I work for network television- CBS and FOX networks) so I have not had time to go on the FB page yet with an album...I promise I will this week!!! Claire- here is my gown on day 3 of being rinsed in the tub ha ha!!
  4. Carlota_ I forgot to tell you...your wedding gown is so gorgeous!! You look beautiful Even with a headache, Chrestena PS- Hi Lauren!!
  5. Oh, I almost forgot- regarding the note "were married:) And very happy!!" at the end of my posts...I think I did that on my edit profile page...I can't remember how, but there was a part where you could leave a signature, or a message. Go to the edit page of your profile--there should be something there that will allow you to leave a signature message. Chrestena
  6. Hi Carlota I love the starfish! I would either use a ribbon the color of your dress, or the color of your bridesmaid dresses. Either would be very pretty! my e-mail address is chrestenau@yahoo.com. The letter u at the end is not a mistake- that is my middle initial (lots of people ask if it's a typo). Please go ahead and send me whatever is necessary for me to join the group You are more than welcome to upload our wedding video I am actually in the uploading a FB photo album this weekend of our wedding photos now that we got them back! (yeah!!). I will be glad to send the album your way as soon as I finish. I am sorry to hear Thomas is not feeling well Go take care of him, and dont you go getting sick either! You dont have very long until your big day! XOXO Chrestena
  7. Hi girls I had to stop on and check on all of you!! I know it's getting very close for some of you! Lauren, I was cracking up at your huge no paragraph post and then it happened again I have missed you girls!! Carlotta- I would love to join your FB group as a former Palladium Bride...gosh, that sounds so strange to now call myself a "former" Palladium Bride...it all went soooo fast!! Completely, perfect, but too fast. I know it's difficult, but try not to think about the weather too much...the more you think about it, the more you may bring it to you, so pray to Saint Clara (I think that is who you said??) and I will bury some knives for you, and send wonderful, happy thoughts your way. Just keep envisioning yourself getting married on a beautiful sunny day and it will be Claire- I love your OOT bags! Adorable - and I loved seeing the new wedding photos of the most recent bride What gorgeous photos, and thank you for sharing I still can't believe we have been married since May! We are now busy planning our at home wedding here in New York, and we are planning a trip for our first anniversary, where we have decided to speak our vows to each other again. (just us- no guests, lol). I remember the day before we left the Palladium, I walked to my ceremony beach site, taking a video the whole time, and retraced my steps. I collected sand from our site, and we have that here at home in our bedroom. I miss Mexico already and it's only been 7 weeks! I know you were asking about the videographer- and yes, we used Josef Rios, and he was the resort videographer- for any newbies who would like to see the quality of what we had (or if you would like to see the beach pergola location we used for our ceremony) or hear the vows that the resort minister used, the video is on Youtube under "Christina and Michaels wedding, Riviera Maya, Mexico, May 8 2013"...you should see it, although it can only be viewed on a computer, not an iphone as we used songs in our video that have copyrights. He was $500 usd for 2 hours, one cameraman. He recorded us girls getting ready and put that to a song we chose, then the entire ceremony is recorded, then again a song plays with fun shots of us after the wedding. We did not have the reception videographed as we had two photographers from New York there and we have over 1000 photos of our wedding week. Josef did a wonderful job- and I love our video! One thing to note: Josef was supposed to get some shots of my groom and his guys getting ready before he came to our room, but the guys had gotten ready quickly and went down to the lobby bar to have some drinks and some pictures taken by one of our photographers. This was not Josefs fault- he came to my room very worried I would be mad that he couldnt find the groom and groomsmen, but he had to stop looking for them or else he would not have time to capture video of us girls. I was not mad at all!! I felt so bad he searched for them for as long as he did He was very, very nice, and I love the video he took. I thought the price was very fair for the video as well. Our photographers were rather expensive, and we paid for their trip as well, so this was a nice break for us!! There are so many beautiful places to take photos- you girls will all have amazing photographs- I love ours on the beach, and in the trees. I will add one of the walk to the wedding- through the trees, probably the most beautiful wedding aisle I have ever seen. I even love this funny one that was no where near the beach- we were walking to find a ladies room for me to use (Ha ha!) and there was a vegetable delivery truck on the cobble road- our photographer had us hop inside with all the veggies! lol You will all have great pictures Lauren, your ring box is so cute! It was hard for us to figure out what to do with the rings too. I didn't want to use a pillow, but unfortunately,I am not crafty like alot of you girls- I wish I was! I ended up buying white starfish, and some very thin ivory tulle ribbon and we just wrapped our rings together around the starfish. I will post a pic. It cost about $9 total, and it looked very pretty. The one thing funny was that I tied the knots too tight and we all had a giggle as we tried to undo the knots during our ceremony We also passed around the starfish and rings for our guests to say a blessing over. Our reception was at La Laguna, and the bathrooms were not being used by anyone else- I think they could have been, but there were no other people around there. I dont think it would be a problem to place some items in a basket for your guests:) No one will take anything. Well, I am excited to join your FB group Carlotta!! Maybe one day we will all get a chance to meet in person!! You have all been so wonderful and helpful in my planning and I hope I have helped someone as much as you have all helped me This site would like to use our wedding in one of their features, so I am really excited about that!! I get to maybe relive it a little! Oh wait! I forgot one more thing about the airplane and transporting your dress- I had a somewhat rude woman who told me my carry on was no more important than anyone else's carry on and that there was not a closet on board that I could use for my gown. When I told her that I had called the airline and spoke with a representative regarding my dress, I was told that there would either be closet or space behind the last row where it could hang. The woman at the airport replied with "they tell you anything you want to hear". And as far as the behind the last row- there was a bit of space, however, there is absolutely nothing to hang it on- no hook, no ledge- nothing for a hangar to hang on at all. I didn't get angry, but I calmly asked her what I could do, besides crunching it up in the storage bin. She was really not helpful at all, and didn't care that it was my gown, and said there is nothing that she can do. She said I could not use a full overhead storage bin for myself as that is not fair. Another employee walked over and suggested I board last with my dress and when all the luggage was stowed. He explained that if I went on first, others would push their bags into the bin with my dress or worse yet, on top of my dress! He said to wait, board last, and he would help me find room and lay my dress over the bags that were in the overhead. He found bags that were small, and flat and put my dress straight across over those. (we had to fold the garment bag gently in half). I am sorry to pass this on- it was the one negative in our entire wonderful wedding 2 weeks, however, it all turned out allright, and my dress and veil were unharmed. Carlotta- my dress, as yours is, was of a very delicate material- embroidered silk tulle- and very fragile. It was not harmed, nor was my veil- they were steamed beautifully and delivered to our room Then after the wedding I went into the sea with it- haha! After all that! Hope that helps!! I will check back very soon to see all of your beautiful wedding photos, and to hear all of the lovely details of your happy, happy celebrations Congratulations all of you!!! XOXO- Chrestena Chrestena
  8. Hi girls Heatherlynn- try not to stress...it all will be absolutely beautiful SoontobeMrsW- The minister was really great- we originally had planned for a legal ceremony, and changed to a symbolic because it was just so much red tape to go through. We were legally married here at home in NY right when we came back- we wanted our wedding in Mexico to be our anniversary, and our first time saying our I-Do's We did not write any of the actual ceremony that you heard the minister speak- we only wrote our personal vows...however, we did tell Vanessa that we did not want a very short, impersonal ceremony. We wanted our minister to speak of love, of commitment, of the depth of marriage. We told her we wanted a very beautiful, meaningful ceremony that was personal. The minister asked Michael a lot of questions when he met with him about a half hour before the wedding. We did add the sand ceremony and had our children also pour the sand, as well as the passing of our rings around to all of our guests for a blessing. Also, (it was mostly cut out of the video) I had 2 purple flowers in my bouquet that I pulled out and gave to Michael to bring to the seat in which his mothers photograph was on. She passed away 2 years ago, so this was to honor her. I wish I knew the name of our minister! We had guests tell us that the ceremony part was so very special and they really felt it in their hearts. We were so very happy with him! MyTye2B - hi!! Your day is coming up very soon!!! Yes- I did my makeup myself-just wore a little more than usual, and darkened my eyebrows since they are so blonde The videographers name was Josef Rios- and he is right in the Kantenah lobby/shopping area at the photo shop. He was really great! Carlota and Bre- yes, I'm emotional too That's a good thing ladies!! And Jengullage--I can't wait to see your photos! Please enjoy your beautiful day coming up, and also- (I think it was you asking- I can't scroll back)- La Laguna is very pretty and it overlooks the White Sands pool. This is where we had our reception, and it was so pretty. It overlooks the pool AND the waterway surrounding the White Sands, so that may be where the confusion is. We specifically asked for the section that overlooks the pool. It is lit up so pretty in turquoise, and you will walk over a bridge to get to the reception when they announce you. Michael and I actually had to wait a bit because our guests were not all there (Vanessa was on this...) so we waited by a section that overlooked the waterway, and could see our reception lit up from afar. It was really surreal knowing that our family and friends were there celebrating and waiting for us...and we could sneak a peek of it from over the water. While we were waiting we had so many people come up and wish us well, and tell us their wedding stories. (we waited there for about 20 minutes) It was so nice! I did not see Gran Azul, but it does overlook more of the jungle area from what Vanessa told me, which is why I chose La Laguna. I was very happy with where it was. When I receive my photographers photos soon, I will post a photo for everyone. Welcome to all the new brides- and Congratulations!!! You will love this site! It really helped me very much XOXO Chrestena
  9. Hi Becci:) Thank you! I didn't think the link was working- it looked like it was starting in the middle, but people say it's working! We weren't going with a videographer either- it was the one thing I had cut since we were paying for the trip from NY to Mexico for our two photographers. However, going through this site-again I am so thankful for this site!!- I was on a thread discussing past bride's biggest regrets...and not having a video, even just of the ceremony, was the number one regret across the board. I didn't want that regret-so about a month before the wedding I asked Vanessa if they had someone at the resort, and they do. I e-mailed her, and had to pay the deposit to hold the date via PayPal, which made me nervous, but they immediately sent confirmation of receipt. There are different lengths if time- we chose the basic level for $500 for 2 hours of filming-which comes with the 22 minute DVD you watched. All editing included. I chose my songs personally:) it took me forever to decide! The music they play as we walk the aisle is actually the same song that was played by the Trio. The videographer chose to place the same song (Canon in D) there which I loved. His name was Josef Rios-and I'm certain you can ask for him. He was such a cool guy! We loved him. Typically, he shoots the groom getting ready as well as the bride, but if you notice in line- only us girls are shown primping- poor Josef went to the best mans room as instructed, but my groom and his buddies were already at the Colonial bar having some drinks with their photographer:) Josef was so nervous I would be mad but we said - Gread! More screen time for the girls!! Lol:) the video was done 4 days later and you watch it with him, then pay the balance. He really kept it fun for us- and I love the way he chose to capture all the good stuff at the end, and our second kiss timed with the music- he's good! I can't believe you chose the Lori dress! I was between mine and Lori!! How funny!! It's a beautiful dress and you will look gorgeous!!! I added the diamond sash to mine because my dress (Trudy) came with a flower one I didn't like. My seamstress sewed it into the dress so it wouldn't cover the corset back:) you have great taste!! 8 months will fly by! I can't wait to check back on here to see all the weddings!! Chrestena xoxo
  10. Hi Becci:) Thank you! I didn't think the link was working- it looked like it was starting in the middle, but people say it's working! We weren't going with a videographer either- it was the one thing I had cut since we were paying for the trip from NY to Mexico for our two photographers. However, going through this site-again I am so thankful for this site!!- I was on a thread discussing past bride's biggest regrets...and not having a video, even just of the ceremony, was the number one regret across the board. I didn't want that regret-so about a month before the wedding I asked Vanessa if they had someone at the resort, and they do. I e-mailed her, and had to pay the deposit to hold the date via PayPal, which made me nervous, but they immediately sent confirmation of receipt. There are different lengths if time- we chose the basic level for $500 for 2 hours of filming-which comes with the 22 minute DVD you watched. All editing included. I chose my songs personally:) it took me forever to decide! The music they play as we walk the aisle is actually the same song that was played by the Trio. The videographer chose to place the same song (Canon in D) there which I loved. His name was Josef Rios-and I'm certain you can ask for him. He was such a cool guy! We loved him. Typically, he shoots the groom getting ready as well as the bride, but if you notice in line- only us girls are shown primping- poor Josef went to the best mans room as instructed, but my groom and his buddies were already at the Colonial bar having some drinks with their photographer:) Josef was so nervous I would be mad but we said - Gread! More screen time for the girls!! Lol:) the video was done 4 days later and you watch it with him, then pay the balance. He really kept it fun for us- and I love the way he chose to capture all the good stuff at the end, and our second kiss timed with the music- he's good! I can't believe you chose the Lori dress! I was between mine and Lori!! How funny!! It's a beautiful dress and you will look gorgeous!!! I added the diamond sash to mine because my dress (Trudy) came with a flower one I didn't like. My seamstress sewed it into the dress so it wouldn't cover the corset back:) you have great taste!! 8 months will fly by! I can't wait to check back on here to see all the weddings!! Chrestena xoxo
  11. HI Carlota Ok, see if this link works!! It is up on Youtube : Christina and Michael's Wedding- Grand Palladium. Kantenah, Riviera Maya May 8, 2013 This is the link...I hope it works for you the end is video montage is my favorite part this minister was wonderful!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Q9YfsfdvcM Chrestena xoxo
  12. Hi brides Wow! Thank you for all the very kind words and congratulations from you all! I still can't believe we are back home already... I have been married for 17 days as of today! I am so glad the review helped, and that the pictures did too...I know that I was on this site all the time- talking to Kathy, Maybride, Carlota, Mytye (Lauren), Claire, Jengullage and Mikeycelle...we were all getting married in a row or so it seemed...and talking to all of you really helped me work through soooo many questions! I loved seeing Kathy's photo and review, and the other past brides as well. This is such a great forum. My biggest thing was that I wanted to see the rooms, see the locations, and I worried about my hair. I still laugh at how much I worried about that! Brebuisson, you asked about our hair and makeup. After all the worrying about how to wear my hair (up or down, straightened, or my natural wavy/curly, flowers or veil, ..plus I also bought a diamond headband...) I ended up realizing that I was worrying way to much. I loved how Kathy's hair looked when she posted her photo, and she had it done in the SPA, but no one ever gets my hair right- it's very wavy and unruly. In my profile pic I have it straightened. I decided to let it go natural, and just help my curls along with a curling wand so they would stay a bit. In the end, it was so windy, that my hair looked beachy wavy anyways and my husband loves it that way best, so he thought I looked beautiful. I was too happy to care about my hair! We all just curled our own hair with a curl stick, and sprayed it a bit with some hairspray- not too much because of all the wind. I really secured my veil tightly- about 10 bobby pins in an X to anchor it due to the wind, and I did switch sides from the traditional "bride on the left" so that the wind would blow my hair off my face instead of in it No one even noticed that I was on the "wrong" side. We all did our own makeup as well. But I did take cues from former brides on this site (thank you!) about wearing a bit more makeup than usual- and they were right! I felt like I had so much on- vibrant pink lipstick, and much more eyeliner than I usually wear. I also darkened my eyebrows and wore more eyeshadow than normal. I am so glad I did this! I would have looked very washed out otherwise in the bright sun. Thank you for the dress comments! I loved it too (maggie sottero- very light as a feather as it was all tulle). Mikeycelle- hey my fellow New Yorker!! Thanks for the great message! Yes, Vanessa is adorable and I loved working with her! I cracked up at your comment about "no hair issues" for Mike! i said the same thing xo Jengullage- Thank you for the kind words! I was very happy Your review, when it's time, will be super helpful to brides! I am sure you will have an amazing wedding! I can't wait to see your photos as well!! To answer your question about the building- yes, we were in 3306, which is one of the Mayan Suites in building 33 on the beach. You are correct, this is in the Kantenah portion. It is very close to our wedding site location. The Kantenah was recently redone with an updated color scheme. We were here 2 years ago, and it was the older version. The room is really pretty, and modern. Flat screen tv, king size bed, large windows to open, the patio with the hammock (Mike's fave thing) and the outdoor shower (my fave thing!) lots of mirrors and, a great bathroom! The ceiling was a vaulted cathedral so it felt very roomy. I did not see the Royal Suites, but I do know that they are pricey, so I can't imagine they would not be absolutely beautiful! My husband got ready in his brothers room in the Colonial, and they were not updated rooms. I would do as Carlotta suggested and put in a request at the Palladium Addict website (we did as well for the Mayan Suites) and also follow up with Vanessa. Either way I am sure it will be just fine I think they really try to cater to brides- especially if you are nice to them! They were so very kind to us! Claire- and Lauren Both of you tearing up made ME tear up again! lol I can't wait to see and hear about your weddings!! XO Carlotta- your post made me smile so much The photo of the running on the beach was one of my favorites too- it wasn't planned, he just started chasing me for fun, and the photographer caught it- but it really made a cute picture- Thomas seems very involved to look at the site with you- that is wonderful!! I can't wait to see your wedding as well! I am downloading the YOUTUBE video as I write this, and I promise I will put up the link so you can watch it and see the hotel, the ceremony site, etc. You can fast forward through the vows and go to the end, where they show a cute little video of after the ceremony. It is my favorite part! Also- I forgot to tell all of you new brides, we DID see a wedding a few days after ours that had the beachbash! These are part of the new Karen Busson packages that weren't available when i booked. It looked really awesome! It was white tents set up close to where the beach pergola ceremony is held. We heard the music from the DJ, and I could see the food set up in silver serving dishes like my reception was, over to one side. It was lit up very brightly as opposed to candlelight that we had at our reception overlooking the pool- and it looked like a ton of fun!! I wish i had snapped a photo of it! Thats all for now- I'll get the youtube link up as soon as possible XOXO Chrestena
  13. Hi Girls!! Ok- as promised I will try to post some photos Please keep in mind that my professional photos aren't done for about a month, so most of these are camera phone photos, and some of them have really bad quality...there are a few professional ones that our photographers sent in as sneak peak pics I really wish you could see the video because that really gives you a great idea of the rooms and the layout of the resort and wedding site. I will still try to download a link to youtube once I get it placed there Carlotta- the SPA was amazing I really hope everyone makes it there at least one day- it is so relaxing and pretty. We really did not have a mosquito problem at all- in fact, I didn't get bit. It was only that on our wedding night, there was a huge flying bug, kind of like a dragonfly, with a really large wingspan, flying around our room! I didn't want him hurt- I just wanted him outside. Other than that (and the little bugs from all the rose petals they placed everywhere for our wedding night) we were fine And, yes, I really suggest looking at both locations in person and deciding. I re-read my review and it sounded a bit confusing, so for clarity- we originally decided on the beach gazebo. When we got there, we walked both locations and really fell in love with the beach pergola location, and decided to go the barefoot, toes in the sand route. Once I saw the palm trees and the water so clear and so close, I just felt a personal attachment to this ceremony site. And yes, the time alone immediately following the ceremony was great- I wish someone had secretly followed us and snapped a photo! Here are some pics!!! I tried to upload them in order, but....no such luck! Sorry lol XOXO Chrestena Momma and Daddy My new hubby!! These were taken the next day, around 5 pm for the light. Yes, there were lots of people on the beach watching This is the set-up for our rehearsal dinner at Portofino on the terrace. This was set up for 26. It was so nicely done. Just finished! whew! One of our professional photos. Married 3 minutes. Spanish Trio playing our first dance! PS- Thats Vanessa Roldan in the background in blue!! Heart on my behind. ha ha.! Epitome of a beach wedding...a bathing suit clad couple walks by during our kiss! Loved it!! They cheered for us too These are so out of order. This is moments before the photo above this. The beach is very lush as you head inland. Lots of great photo opportunities as the sun is setting. I wanted to show my bouquet to you girls. It was so vibrant and happy!! I only got to wear my shoes for the reception. During the ceremony, we all wore foot jewelry. Funny pic Directly after the wedding, at our ceremony site. The brunette in the left is my new step daughter, and the little blonde and little strawberry blonde on the far right are my daughters. The tall blonde is my sis in law, and her daughter is our flower girl. Vanessa had Mike drink a Vodka Tonic while waiting for us girls. This is the ceremony site location. You can see there are people in the water, and some chairs, but they are kept away by rope before the ceremony. Dont worry!! The rope is removed long before any guests come to the site It was so pretty here!!! Spanish Trio in the background. Wonderful minister!! Sneaking through the trees to the ceremony site. Very romantic. I could see glimpses of him waiting... tried not to look, and he told me he was doing the same thing This was just so beautiful. The sand was pure white and sparkly, the water was shimmery, and it looked magical. You can see I just did the chairs in white so everything else stood out, the flowers, and the girls dresses, and the rose petals, against the sky and the water. Funny story about the lady in the pink bathing suit. She was so sweet- she was from Ecuador, and came over after the ceremony and asked if she could please take a photo with me. She kept saying I looked like a barbie doll, and that she wanted to be a bride again so badly. Her husband was to take the photo (they were married for 22 years). I took the pic with her, and then asked if she wanted to put my veil on, and hold the flowers for me to take a picture of her and her husband. At first she said "Oh no, I couldnt do that..." but I took my veil off and put it on her, let her hold my bouquet, and made her husband stand next to her. She was laughing and said "Dont get my legs in the picture!" and I took a bunch on their camera. It was really a wonderful moment!!! Destination wedding style!! 24 hours married! This is directly outside our villa- the beach is right behind us. This is the outside of La Adelita. The pillars are beautiful around the resort, so there are many great places to take photos!! Professional photo. I just loved the Spanish Trio. It was one of my favorite decisions. They were amazing. This is the ceremony site 2 days before we left to come home. I went here to walk the exact same path I walked on my wedding day, one more time before going home. This is how it looked when I changed my site locations. It is not decorated with a thing except Mother Nature, and it is still just so breathtaking. I took this to show the "aisle" created by the palm trees. As a bride, you emerge from the lush jungle, to this part of the sand, and walk through these threes. To the left (not showing in the pic) is a thatched roof bar. We're Married!!! Professional photo Ha! Running like dorks on the beach. There was a family right behind us wishing us well. Punta Emilia wedding arch in the background. The waves are pretty good here- as it is pretty windy! I posted this pic to show the difference in the locations for the ceremony sites. This is directly to the right of the beach gazebo. You can see the water is amazingly beautiful! The difference is this area is rocky, and because the water has rocks in it, there is lots of sea greenery growing on the rocks. Both locations are stunning. I just preferred the beachy area to the rocky area. My daughter holding my very long veil, walking to meet my groom! Trash the Dress photo shoot the day after the wedding. Those were the flowers Vanessa gave me for my hair, they lasted til the next day By the way, my dress is fine!! I washed it in the outdoor shower twice, then in fresh water in the bathtub, let it dry, and did it again, and it was actually cleaner than it was after the wedding! I think chlorine in the pool would have damaged it, but the sea did not. My fabric was embroidered tulle, so I cannot say about another fabric. My beautiful bridemaids (our daughters and sis in law). The color was so intense against the natural scenery! I am a very happy bride One thing I forgot to mention! We have been to this resort a few times now, and it is very windy!! You may notice that I am standing on the right, not the left, as most brides do, (except Jewish brides). I stood out at our site every day before the wedding and noticed that the wind blows to the right. I did not want my hair blowing crazy in my face and my veil blowing in front of me, so I made this request to Vanessa and she agreed! You may want to do the same!! Im so glad i did this because my hair was blowing away from my face pretty hard. If I was standing where Mike is, ALL of my hair would have been in my face. I remember this moment so well! My heart was pounding, but i was calm...very strange! This is our balcony with the hammock. Popping champagne. Everyone ready but the bride This is a Mayan Suite. We were in room 3306, upstairs. the rooms were beautiful! These guys were really great!! Loved them!!! Worth every penny They played right there on the beach for us!! My groom as I was walking down the aisle. You can see the roof behind him- that is the area with the sail-boards. They were true to their word, and moved everything away so it was nice and neat. I did love seeing the thatched roof in the shots though And he wore the hat because it is HOT!! I hope these help you ladies! I know you will all have just beautiful weddings- I will check back to see how you are all doing!!! Ask me any questions you wish and I will be happy to help Someone asked about El Dorado, and I do not have a photo of it, but it was very good! I would choose the place you like the menu of, and trust that they will set it up beautifully. We had a dinner 2 nights before our wedding at El Dorado, for 24 people, and a Spanish Quartet came over to play for us knowing that we were a wedding party. Make sure when you book dinners before the wedding, that they know you are a wedding party- they really want you to enjoy everything!! Talk to you soon!! XOXO Chrestena
  14. Hi girls!! I see lots of new brides-to-be We have just returned a few days ago (ended up lengthening our honeymoon) so I have been catching up on everything:) I promised I would come back on and say hello, and give details of our wedding, which was May 8th at the Grand Palladium. (I've missed you ladies). Thank you for the well wishes for our wedding day, I just saw them! Note: this will be long and detailed!! Our wedding was absolutely beautiful All the times I had played it out in my head, didn't even compare to the actual wedding we had. I can't tell you of one thing that went wrong. If you don't read another word of this review...please relax, and know that Vanessa has everything under control. She even remembered things that I forgot (petals for our flower girl to toss down the aisle). Vanessa is such a lovely lady, young, and very efficient and polite I was a very relaxed, calm bride, (it's why I chose a destination wedding in the first place...to have a beautiful, tropical wedding without all the typical, cookie cutter craziness) and Vanessa is just as calm. The resort handles weddings almost daily- and they are very good at what they do. After I got there, I realized how crazy I must have drove her with my incessant e-mails. There was no need to show her my sheet I typed up, she had it all right there herself. We ended up with 30 guests, and while I had originally had decided on the Punta Emilia wedding arch, (the beach gazebo), even though I had always wanted a toes in the sand wedding. However, when we got there, Michael and I took some time and walked the beach to both locations several times and stood there. For us, once we stood there by the water, we knew it was where we wanted to say our vows. There is an actual "aisle" created by palm trees. We saw it undressed (no wedding was going on at the time) and there is a little sailboard stand to the left, so we walked up and asked the man attending the stand what happens to the boats when there is a wedding going on. He said that they move everything out of the way. This location has it's own little thatched roof bar, and is just so beautiful. If you prefer the very white sand, and being close to the water- this is your spot. I have pictures I will attach (probably lots of them! It helps to see the actual location). The arch is also very beautiful- although the beach is more rocky and there are more trees and shrubbery blocking the view of the water. The water also has lots of rocks and seagrass in this area. Again, still very beautiful, just the water is not as clear as you are at the wedding site. You simply can't go wrong either way. I would highly suggest walking them both, standing at both, and seeing how you feel. Me heart knew immediately that I wanted to switch locations. I called Vanessa and as there is only one wedding at a time, it was not a problem. The hotel offered us one of the Mayan Suites as it was our 2nd time visiting this resort. (We stayed in the Kantenah, bldg 33) It was really pretty. About 5 steps from the beach! These have an outdoor shower, and a porch with a hammock. The ceilings are cathedral and the rooms are very pretty. All of us girls got ready here, while my groom and his groomsmen got ready in his brothers suite. The day we arrived, we settled in, and received a few envelopes included in our paperwork. Dont forget to open these!! We did, and one of them was our "Special Honeymoon Dinner" for the two of us, with the day and time we were to go. We didn't see it until the day we were packing to go home two weeks later, lol. Oh well! We flew in our two photographers from New York, where we live, but we did hire the Palladiums videographer (hotel shops-photo pro). We paid the deposit via Paypal a month before we left. The videographer came to our room, and shot for 2 hours (us getting ready, the ceremony, and the little time in between). We did not have him shoot the reception as the time must be consecutive and we had hours in between our ceremony and reception. This video is really a great thing to have! Please, if you can, I recommend getting one- he was only $500 for the 2 hours, and it was really, really worth it! I will try to post a link later this week so you can see it- it shows the rooms, and the walk to the beach, it really takes you through it so beautifully!! The videos are 20 minutes total. The getting ready part is to a song you choose, the ceremony is live, and the 2nd song you choose is another highlight reel of immediately after the wedding. I love it!! We did not partake in the new Karen Busson packages, as we had booked last year. We could have, but opted to keep what we had as it allowed us to make things personal. We chose white chairs, no color, but I asked Vanessa for flowers that were extremely tropical and had greenery as well. The only request I ever gave her that I was really adamant about was, no roses, no carnations, no babies breath, and very bright, happy and tropical. Flowers I didn't see everyday back home in New York. And not too big!! I am small, and I don't like when the bride is covered up by a monstrous bouquet. The bridal party went to the spa for eyelashes to be put on. We all did our own hair and makeup, but wanted false eyelashes. Mine peeled off on the golf cart ride back to my room from the SPA. The poor driver turned around and looked at me and said "Oh Senorita! Your eyelash!"...it was so funny. I pulled them off and said oh well! Mascara it is!! Everyone elses looked amazing though:) When I came back to the room, my dress was hanging freshly steamed, my veil, which is Cathedral length, was hanging, and also steamed beautifully. My bouquet took my breath away. It was exactly what I had asked for. It was wrapped in satin, with pearl push pins. We had champagne delivered, and took pics. When it was time to go...Vanessa came to get me, and she had in her ear/headset and was in communication with the other coordinator who was on site. Since we were steps from the beach location, I didn't need to ride in a golf cart, but was "snuck" through the beach and the palm trees...it was so, so romantic...many people stopped us on the way to say Congratulations, and everyone was whispering, it was really funny. Vanessa snuck us girls through the Royal Suites' [private beach area (beds with canopies) and we waited. I could see partial glimpes of my fiance through the palm trees, and I could hear the music (we hired the Spanish Trio to play and they made the wedding so amazing- I just told them to play whatever sounded beautiful- they played Canon in D, Spanish Guitar, while I walked the aisle). People were standing near, and watching, I saw in the video- I really didn't notice them at the time! Everyone was very nice though, and happy. Vanessa had me wait, while my father walked to greet me behind the trees so he could walk me. Vanessa had everything timed perfectly. The day was super bright and sunny, the sand looked pure white and the water was sparkling. The boats were all moved, the bar was set up and the Spanish Trio was near the pergola and the guests. My bridesmaids wore coral and the color against the turquoise water and the white sand was just so beautiful! Our minister was eloquent and had a beautiful accent, he spoke such a lovely ceremony. We did a sand ceremony with my daughters and Mike's son and daughter. We had our rings tied to a starfish with ribbon and we asked the starfish and rings to be passed to each guest for a blessing of happiness, which we would then pass on to our guests in return. When we kissed, as if on cue, a couple in bathing suits walked by and smiled...it was perfect, and the epitome of a beach wedding. All caught on video, I loved it!! The sound of the water crashing as we were getting married was simply perfect. The Trio played love songs while we signed our paperwork, and as we put our rings on each other. We repeated some of the traditional vows as we did the rings, but then we spoke our own personally written vows as well. It was simply perfect. The happiest day of my life. Immediately following the walk back down the aisle- the trio continued to play- they play for 45 minutes continually. They were awesome! Happy and funny and really good! They were singing, all the girls were kissing them (me too!) lol. There is a table set up with champagne which was passed around, some people went and got drinks at our little bar, and Vanessa moved the ministers table from under the pergola and we had our first dance right at the waters edge with the music by the trio. There were lots of bystanders, but they stayed at a distance, and never interfered, and they all were happy for us so it was all good. Our wedding was at 4, it lasted til about 5 as we had our dance, some drinks and a little partying right there at the wedding site. Since I didn't schedule our reception until 8 pm (this was intentional as I wanted time in between for photos and for people to change, or freshen up or get cocktails etc), Mike and I asked for some private time alone (no photographers either) and we walked together to one of the little bars and sat and had a glass of champage (me!) and a Cerveza (him!) and just took it all in. I put my legs and big skirt in his lap and we just had a half hour to ourselves to laugh, some kisses, and relax for our first bit as husband and wife. It has been a long road of planning! We deserved a little quiet time After that- pics and then the reception at La Laguna at 8. At our meeting I had dropped off SO much stuff to Vanessa for decorating. She had it all set up amazingly. We had a sweetheart table with a banner in front. Our cake was on it's own table with coral rose petals. We had a table set up for Mike's cigar bar, we had a table of photos and cards etc. The maracas were at every setting (our favors) and the food was off the the side (we did an h'ors d'ouvre reception). There was so much food! We had signature drinks made and signs to show what they were ("The Goombah Smash" for my Italian groom, and "The Mamacita Margarita" for me - it was blue lol). Since we opted against a sit down dinner, everyone was mingling and eating, and the dancing started right away. La Laguna is beautiful and overlooks the pool which had lights in the water. The room was decorated very pretty. The sound system worked perfectly. After our 2 hours were up at 10, we planned on going to the disco, however walking through the lobby back, there was a live band playing great music, and someone grabbed me to dance, and other people grabbed the bridesmaids and we all ended up staying there and dancing til about 2 am with more people we didn't even know...it was really funny. The next morning we had a brunch set up-and then a trash the dress session in the sea. We stayed for 2 weeks after the wedding. Vanessa put the bill together, and it is all paid at checkout. All in all, it was a perfect wedding that far exceeded our expectations and year and a half of (over) planning. I wish everyone on here, a wedding that also is more beautiful than you can imagine!! In hindsight, I think the key is to just not worry too much and realize why you're there. I kept worrying for weeks about how I was going to wear my hair...would it be too windy, should I wear it up or down, (I went with down) do I wear a veil, or flowers ( I did both!) ...which location...will I forget something...etc. When I stopped worrying, it all came together. Even the flowers I forgot to order for my hair, and the rose petals I forgot to order for my flower girl. They were there waiting for me anyways. Vanessa knows her stuff. Perhaps the funniest thing that happened, that maybe scarred me for life, was the humongous bug that flew into our room on our wedding night...haha! We spent about an hour trying to get it outside because I begged my husband not to kill it. (He didnt... We finally got the gigantic flying thing out. It was then that we really noticed that our entire room and bed were covered with rose petals. Even the floor and bathtub. They made an elephant out of towels and put my hubby's sunglasses and underwear on it!! Very funny!! however...we both had to grab a garbage pail and clean up about 2000 rose petals from our bed and floor. Everywhere! Not only that...but the petals had tiny bugs on them so those were everywhere. We actually couldnt stop laughing at how we had just spent the last hour and a half. Chasing and cleaning bugs! God Bless everyone- and I wish you all beautiful weddings!!! XOXO Chrestena I will post pics in the next post. Im afraid this one will be too long!
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