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About courtyardbride

  1. Gricel, I couldn't imagine planning so much for just a few hours either. We partied with our DJ and staff until 12. We then jumped in the pool but still had (lower) music, our fully stocked bar (since it wasn't a hotel hourly package) and cigars. I partied until 2AM and left some friends behind. I wouldn't have any other way.
  2. Hey Gresley. Thanks! Despite the extra work needed, I was very happy with the way things turned out.
  3. Alexis, This is such a great article. I was a villa bride. I got married at Hacienda del Mar in Puerto Aventuras, Mexico (Riviera Maya) and I cannot imagine doing it any other way. I just wrote a tip, though, about some of the challenges to consider when you get married at a villa instead of a resort. It's definitely worth the extra work required. Definitely!
  4. Hi Diana, I had a villa wedding at Hacienda del Mar (an 11 bedroom oceanfront villa in Puerto Aventuras. Here's a lovely website of villas: http://www.villasofdistinction.com/villas/riviera-maya/hacienda-del-mar/. You will not regret your villa wedding. Also, I just posted about things to consider for a villa vs resort wedding, for when you are taking your next steps. Good luck!
  5. We got married in Puerto Aventuras (about 20 minutes north of Tulum) and used Gourmet Bites Playa to cater our villa wedding. We had a more formal dinner but at about 11 they bought out tacos served in authentic baskets. They were so delicious and such a hit with my tequila-filled guests. While this was not advertised on their site, they explained to me that they usually serve this at all Mexican weddings. Just ask your caterer or check out Gourmet Bites Playa on Facebook if you are considering options. Good luck!
  6. I can concur that Zaida of Dolcet cakes makes delicious and amazing cakes. They are pricier than other cakes in the area (but not if you are like I was, comparing the cost to the same in NYC). There was also a significant charge for her to deliver from Cancun to where I was, Puerto Aventuras. It was completely worth it to me, though. I had a pink champagne cake with strawberry buttercream. I ordered the cake for the look and the pink inside but was pleasantly surprised that it was also tasty. I sent her a picture of my desired cake and what she sent me was exactly that. Exactly. She delivered the cake (and other desserts for my dessert table) without a hitch. She also beautifully decorated/presented the desserts for that table. I definitely recommend her!
  7. I'm glad that Joyce posted these photos. I went to Walmart before our Welcome Reception to buy items for the welcome bag (Mexican candies and vanilla) and alcohol (non-resort wedding). I did not budget for florals for the reception but thought that I would buy flowers and candles from Walmart for some quick decor. I was very unimpressed by their floral options. I certainly wouldn't recommend depending on their flower selection for your wedding day.
  8. When I was planning my July 2012 Riviera Maya wedding, I did not like the idea of getting married at a bigger all-inclusive resort. I wanted a very intimate environment. I looked into the idea of taking over smaller boutique hotels like La Reve or Maroma (check Tablet Hotels for a better list if this is the route you're considering) but my 36 person wedding would not have sufficiently taken over any of those locations. I decided instead to book a private oceanfront 11-bedroom villa in Puerto Aventuras, Hacienda del Mar (website). My other guests stayed 5 minutes down the beach at the Omni and in nearby condos. Hacienda del Mar was beautiful, spacious, well maintained and had an excellent staff. We would certainly recommend it for any bride considering an hacienda wedding but there are certainly some things to consider if you take this route. You will have a few extra things to consider and plan. We had a welcome/dessert reception on Thursday night at the hacienda catered by Chef Tomas of Gourmet Soberanis. He provided a bartender (who was mediocre), the desserts (which were beautifully! presented and absolutely delicious) and the rentals that we needed for serving/eating (something that you don't need to consider at a resort). He was so professional that my family was curious of his training and he treated this reception like it was a wedding. I highly recommend him. Highly! We had a rehearsal dinner in Playa del Carmen which is 15 minutes away. We went to the rooftop of Luna Maya restaurant. We used Paradise Tours to transport everyone there and back. Again, I imagine that at a resort, there would be no need for extensive planning for a rehearsal dinner but I loved the change of scenery during our wedding weekend. On the wedding day, we had to organize not only the typical caterer, dj, etc. We also had to organize table/dinner rentals, ordering of ice (who would have thought of this), bartenders and lighting. There were a handful of extra things to consider since we did not take the resort route --- the work and cost can add up for this kind of wedding, No regrets, I just wish I would've appreciated this in advance. We had our dinner and bar service handled by Gourmet Bites Playa and our dinner (scallops, watermelon/goat cheese salad, surf& turf) was amazing. Also, we served late night tacos towards the end of our wedding and they were some of the best tacos I've ever had. One great thing about an hacienda/vila wedding was that we were able to buy our own alcohol and take home or send our guests away with the items that we didn't use. We bought a full bar, basic mixers and great wine from Walmart and a local supermaket. A car rental was essential during our wedding week. We asked Gourmet Bites Playa to bring more specialty mixers and items like mint for mojitos as we had two specialty cocktails. Our cake and dessert table, which I thought was picture perfect was done by Zaida of Dolcet Cakes and transported from Cancun (about 45 minutes away). I wrote an excellent review about our DJ, DJ Bijan of Mayan Vibes. Lastly, we used Gina Vallarino as a wedding coordinator. She was ok. Her responses were quite slow until the very end of my wedding planning process. Once I had her attention, I realized that she had a great eye/nice taste, which I really trusted. She also recommended all great vendors and definitely understood some of the trendy suggestions which I made. I felt that her overall vision was great although her attention to detail was a bit spottier at some moments throughout the day. For her reasonable price, I definitely recommend her. Sorry for the lengthy post. I gathered such great wedding planning information from this website that I felt that I needed to pay it back. Good luck planning, brides. Cheers!
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